top of page

A PRIMROSE PATH tells the story of Neil Primrose, the favourite son of a Prime Minister (Rosebery) and his Rothschild heiress wife. Raised in almost unimaginable wealth and luxury, Neil spent his entire life surrounded by the Liberal political elite, including Gladstone, Asquith, Churchill, and Lloyd George. 


However his life-long love for his Oxford friend and fellow Liberal MP Thomas Agar-Robartes marks him out from the generality of Edwardian upper class male privilege. The Great War, which tragically curtailed his life, brought Neil political success as Chief Whip, and at the Foreign Office. It also led to Thomas’s 1915 death in France, leaving Neil grief-stricken and guiltily haunted. 


In the finale, Neil abandons the safety of London political life, to join the 1917 campaign to liberate Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, resulting in his own heroic death. Neil’s story has never been told, in large part because of Lord Rosebery’s opposition. This biography is the result of extensive archival and newspaper research.

'a very well-researched and lively written life'

Andrew Roberts, Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year 2020

Raif Pomeroy's recording career spanned a decade from 1993 to 2003, both as a solo artist and working in collaboration with bands Drifting Sun and Ballyrag.

COLLECTED LYRICS brings together the words of the five extant albums and a dozen recorded but never publicly-released songs.

ALL QUIET is the edited 1945 / 1946 diaries of Bill Woof, an ordinary enlisted soldier in an extraordinary time. Following the end of the Second World War, he was posted to Bergen-Belsen, where he remained until his accidental death in January 1946.

The book gives an insight into the life of one young man in one specific place at one particular time. More generally, the reader gains a feel for life running a displaced persons camp in post-war Germany, and the well-known tedium of much of Army life.

SERVANT OF EMPIRE is a life of Thomas Wilson Bracken (1865-1932).  Born and raised in the high Pennines on a farm next to what was then the highest railway station in England, he was inspired by the adjacent marvels of engineering to qualify as a civil engineer. After training in the town that had cradled the railways, Darlington, he was involved in the final phase of Victorian railway building in England, Scotland and Ireland during the 1880s and 1890s.

By his own admission, his boyhood imagination was captured by Disraeli’s imperial adventures, so fixing his political allegiance and loyalty to the British Empire for the remainder of his life. In that context he seized the opportunity to participate in the building of the first railway on the west coast of Africa. Soon after his arrival in Lagos in 1897 he inadvertently became wrapped up in the scramble for Africa, in the form of a potentially explosive Anglo-French struggle over what are now Nigeria’s borders.

In 1901 following completion of the Lagos Government Railway he returned to England and practised in the thriving world of Edwardian Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Endowed with both money and leisure he became a regular newspaper correspondent, providing us a fascinating commentary on the great Liberal/Tory struggles of 1905-1914.

In 1915 when the War Office appealed for experienced civil engineers to volunteer and help to break the Western Front’s appallingly costly stalemate he became, aged 50, Lieutenant and then Captain Bracken R.E. and while in France and Belgium, experienced the full heat of battle at Arras and the awful horrors of Passchendaele. 

When he eventually returned to civilian life in 1920 he took up his pen once more and in a series of nostalgic newspaper letters and articles commented on the post-War transformation of so much that had gone before.

Meticulously researched and quarried from numerous unpublished sources, ‘Servant of Empire’ is not only a fascinating, vivid account of the life of an eminent engineer and World War I Captain, but a keyhole through which the achievements and upheavals of the British Empire are illuminated. From the hills of Westmorland, to the swamps of Nigeria and the trenches of the Western Front, Martin Gibson follows his subject on a journey that will inform and enthral anyone with an interest in the development of, and fight for, modern Britain.

Dr John Leigh, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

bottom of page