Tuesday, May 22, 2012



Founded - 1983 at Stokesley Comprehensive School by the WEA

(Workers' Educational Association) - Stokesley Branch. It began as a WEA Creative Writing Course and continue as such with the students continuing as an informal group in between  courses. The group were active into the 1990's.

Stokesley Writers Group and WEA branch member Cynthia Wardley takes up the story in the group's first anthology - Leven Lines -

"In September 1983, Maude Warwick, Tutor Organiser for the Workers' Educational Association , arranged a new class in Stokesley called ‘Creative Writing'. The tutor, Ray Brown, required every member of the class to write a short piece each week which had to be read out aloud at the next meeting. Amazingly, when the six week course came to an end, most class-members continued to meet once a week, writing and reading aloud as before. The following September, we once again had a tutor, Peter Rushforth 1984; in 1985 - Andy Croft ; and this year - 1986 - Trevor Teasdel. We thank them all for their help and encouragement."

Cynthia Wardley 1986 said in the second anthology In 1988 that the group had Eugenie Summerfield
(who writers children's books) as tutor. Other tutors included John Bond (Playwright / Eleanor Fairburn (author of The Green Popinjay), Mark Adlard (A Leeds University tutor and science fiction writer).

Core Members - (included) Core members of the group were -

Cynthia Wardley, Ann Earle, Daphne Franks, Nigel Beard, Stan McMahon, June Wakeford, Pam Betterton, M. Evans, Mary Bassett, Wendy Broad, Melinda Thompson, Paddy Sargeant, Magda Tinning. But members came and went.

Publications - Although early tutors had intended to do an anthology with the students / group, it was (in 1986) who finally started the group off. Trevor incorporated it into the syllabus of the course. He earmarked the last two sessions to it with some work being done at home to complete it. For the last but one session the members were invited to bring in some work both from this and previous classes that they wanted to be considered for the anthology. Trevor outlined some models of editing adopted by other groups and the group voted on the method they felt might work best for them. Two members had brought their Amstrad word processors in and as work was earmarked for the anthology, so they were typed up and spell checked and printed out for the layouts. Any pieces not typed in the class were sorted out when the students got hope for the next session. We also chose a title and one of the student's volunteered their husband to do a sketch for the cover and illustrations. She took copies of some of the poems for him to illustrate for the next session. Next and last session was the layout. We did a manual layout as desk top publishing on the Amstrad was not as well developed as Publisher is on the modern PC's. With graphics and typing complete over the week, Trevor organised them and instructed them on basic layouts. Final touches and amendments were done afterwards and Trevor got anthology printed or rather photocopied. Tutor Organiser Maude Warwick was invited to the launch at the Golden Eagle in Stokesley and over a meal copies of the anthology were distributed. In 1988 Eugenie Summerfield oversaw the second anthology also called Leven Lines. (Both anthologies are available on here as PDF files (or will be soon!).
Trevor Teasdel

The cover and graphics for both anthologies were drawn by Wilf Franks whose wife Daphne Franks was also a member of the Stokesley local history study group and Daphne and Wilf had been involved in producing local history booklets including the fascination booklet Printing and Publishing in Stokesley of which Daphne gave a copy and which later on stimulated my interest in George Markham Tweddell who features on this site quite abit.

Latterly the group's secretary was Wendy Broad who with her husband ran the Stokesley bookshop until recent years.

What did members go on to?

In 1986 Trevor Teasdel was in the throes of initiating Outlet magazine and Write Around with Terry Lawson
By Daphne Franks

and was both a member of Tessside Writers Workshop and Write Now. Through Trevor the group members contributed to Outlet and the Write Around Festival as a group they got involved in the negotiations toward Write Around in it's very early days - Nigel Beard in particular took an active part. Daphne Franks gave Trevor a copy of her booklet Printing and Publishing in Stokesley (available to buy from Stokesley Library and worth the read!) which later led to research into George Markham Tweddell - the Stokesley Printer Publisher and Chartist with Paul Tweddell - see sidebar links for details.

View the Anthologies on Issuu. If you want to download a pdf version, create a free account with Issuu and you can download it from the viewer on the site.

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