I write blogs, first and foremost, because I enjoy it. I’ve always been interested in history, travel, literature and the arts generally and I want to write about the places I’ve been to and things I’ve seen. I particularly love seeing places which the general public don’t normally see. As a novelist, what interests me are the stories. I want my readers to become involved, and for that, my writing must be both emotionally engaged with the topic but I must also retain my professional objectivity to ensure that what I say is accurate. It can be a tricky balance.
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry
For example, on 2nd April this year, I put up a blog on The Whitechapel Bell Foundry. I was in the last group to visit it before it closed after nearly 450 years. I wanted to do it justice and to get across each stage of the bell-casting process in language which ordinary people could follow. In other words, if there was a word I didn’t understand – and there were quite a few – I had to explain it. And the whole post had to be interesting and readable.
The Horological Journal, September 2017
Fast forward to 14th July when, out of the blue, I was contacted by Eve Makepeace, editor of The Horological Journal, which is concerned with instruments which measure time. She had been thinking of writing an article for the journal about what the Whitechapel Bell Foundry did and something about Westley Group, the company that had taken it over.
Bell stand – a work of art in itself
She continued, ‘Having read your blog, it is beautifully written and the photos show so well what they did at the foundry, that I wanted to approach you to see if you would be open to having your blog published as an article in the journal.’
Bells lining corridor to outside
I have had articles published before (in The Times Higher Education Supplement and The Islington Archaeology and History Society Journal, for example) but I never expected the journal of the eminent British Horological Institute to be interested in one of my blogs. I had to re-read the email several times before it sank in. Naturally, I said, ‘Yes.’ I rang Eve and we discussed it.
My article; page 1
In due course, I checked the proofs, and discussed the photos’ titles with Sam Battle, who is responsible for design. On Saturday, a copy of the September Horological Journal arrived with my article in it. It’s obviously at the softer end, technically, with regard to the other articles, and provides a sort of bonne bouche for the journal but I’m delighted that it has made a second appearance with a completely different readership – and it looks great.
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