Our Books

For information on ordering any of our books, please visit the Ordering page.

READING'S ABBEY QUARTER, AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY                             by John Mullaney

After three years of research I have produced a book which gives a new insight into the changing face of the Abbey Quarter. This includes the ancient ruins of the Abbey and the modern buildings that now stand on its site. The reader will see how old buildings have changed or vanished to be replaced with those we see today.


For more detailed information click here.


ISBN 978-0-952772-6-7

£5.00 plus £1.99 post and packing.


This book not only shows, in full colour, all the windows in St James' church but gives an explanation of their meaning and something of their history and place within the church. 


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REFORMATION, REVOLUTION AND REBIRTH                     John Mullaney and LIndsay Mullaney

ISBN 978-0-9572772-0-5

Price £10.00 plus £1.99 post and packing with the UK. Please enquire for other destinations


The book has a sub-title, The Story of the Return of Catholicism to Reading and the Founding of St James’ Parish.


This book indeed does tell the story of how a banned religion slowly made its reappearance in Reading. Its members, outcasts from society, secretly met under the threat of fines, imprisonment and even execution. But in an era of revolutions, culminating in war with France, they gradually re-emerged to become valued members of the community.


The book traces a part of the journey Reading has travelled to become the multicultural, multi-faith town, that we know today. It explains how and why, during the 19th century, the face of Reading changed in one of its most historic and beautiful districts: the Abbey Quarter and the Forbury Gardens.


As a direct consequence of these events, Reading can boast the very first church design of one of England’s greatest architects: A.W. Pugin.


For more detailed information about the IMAGES, DOCUMENTS AND SOURCES click here.

Life in Old Caversham by Mary Kift

Price £10.00 plus £1.99 p&p within the UK. Please enquire about other destinations. Following teh closure of Wordplay I am happy to deliver this free within the RG4  area. If you pay by Paypal I shall refund the postage when I deliver the book.


Mary Kift was a remarkable person. She joined the Woman's Land Army in her early 20s, going on to become a Montessori trained teacher and Headteacher at Mapledurham School.


She was a keen and knowledgeable gardener and a local historian. She was an early member of the Board of the Caversham Bridge newspaper. This was unique in its time, being an ecumenical Christian newspaper which sought to bring together different traditions of Christianity. For many years Mary wrote a monthly historical column in the Bridge and this became the core for two books. The first edition of Life in Old Caversham was published in 1980, followed a few years later by a photographic sequel Look Back at Caversham. It was around this time that Lindsay and John opened their bookshop and soon became friends with Mary. In 2004 they co-published the revised edition of Life in Old Caversham. Following a stroke Mary died in 2010 aged 89. She is still greatly missed and this book is a testament to her love of Caversham and Reading, and most of all its surrounding countryside, its nature and its history which she saw as a part of the unfolding story of all our lives.


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Catholic Reading - A Pilgrimage Trail        Edited by John Mullaney and Lindsay Mullaney

ISBN 978-0-9572772-1-2

£3.99 including post and packaging within the UK. Please equire for other destinations.


This is a unique booklet produced by the combined Catholic parishes of Reading to mark the Year of Faith.


The book takes the reader through the streets of Reading looking at places of historical importance to Catholics. It is also of interest to anyone who wishes to find out more about important aspects of the town’s heritage.


Walking and pilgrimage are means of discovering one’s inner self and we hope in this book to show how you can do this for yourselves, even in an afternoon, by looking at the town’s landmarks with a different eye. We would encourage people to go in groups of twos and threes to share the experience of this mini pilgrimage.


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The Cowslade Manuscript   Edited by Lindsay Mullaney

ISBN 978-0-9572772-3-6

£2.99 including post and packaging within the UK. Please enqurie for other destinations.


This is the fascinating story of how a major document in the history of Reading could have easily been lost forever and how it came to survive.  The manuscript is key to understanding the role played by the Catholic community in the town and how Reading came to have AWN Pugin’s very first church design, St James’ in the Forbury.


The Smart and Cowslade families were the owners and editors of Reading’s main newspaper, The Reading Mercury, from the middle of the 18th century through to the First World War. It would be difficult to imagine a more influential group of people than the members of this  family.


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Battle Lines

£6.99 + £1.99 post and packaging within the UK. Please enquire for other destinations.


Lya Turner was born in 1928 in Nõmme near Tallinn in Estonia.


She had to leave her country because of the war and came to England in 1947. She worked for a family for a few years. She then did her nurses’ training in London, where she met her husband. Lya has 6 children and 7 grandchildren.


Her experiences on the ward inspired her to draw her cartoons which, in a humorous, but gently critical way, chronicle the changes that were taking place in the NHS at the time, as bureaucracy proliferated and cuts began to bite. She also drew birthday cards for her patients, many of whom remember her and Cookham Ward with great fondness.


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ISBN 978-0-9572772-2-9

Watercolours & Weevils ... A light-hearted look at expat life.


£12.00 + £2.75 post and packing within the UK, please enquire for other destinations.


At the beginning of 2000 Mary’s late husband, Pat, was working as Training Manager for a global Engineering company. When he was posted to the Philippines Mary accompanied him:  they lived there for two years, in the Provinces, some distance from Manila.


Life there was unfamiliar, interesting, exciting and often downright challenging;  Mary started a journal which she continued during subsequent postings to Egypt and China, detailing the often-humorous day-to-day events which made up their lives and featuring many of the fascinating people whom they met, both local and expat.  Mary also started painting in the Philippines and continued throughout her time overseas.  In response to a number of requests she has finally turned these journals into a book, using her own paintings, line-drawings and photographs.


The book, ‘Watercolours and Weevils’ is ‘a light-hearted look at ex-pat life’ and is published at £12


Click here to read more about this book.

ISBN 978-0-9572772-7-4