Turning page on Spen’s history

Alec Suchi with the books he had had re-printed
Alec Suchi with the books he had had re-printed

WITH interest in local history soaring, Cleckheaton trader Alec Suchi found himself facing increasing customer demands for a book on Spen Valley’s past.

However the book, Norman Ellis’s Images of England – Spen Valley, had been out of print for several years, so rather than leave his customers disappointed, he decided to pay for a re-print himself.

Alec, who owns Spenborough Stationers in Albion Street, began selling books two years ago after reading an article in the Spenborough Guardian about Gordon Suggitt’s Lost Railways of South and West Yorkshire.

“I bought five copies from the publisher which quickly sold, then I bought more and developed a broad range of transport books, books on walking, Yorkshire dialect and local interest,” he said.

“I found there were several books concerning Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield but nothing in print covering the Spen Valley.

“I became aware of Norman Ellis’s book, as several requests were made for it and contacted the History Press, which published the original in 2001, and subsequently reprinted in 2002. They were willing to reprint the book, provided a minimum print run could be agreed.”

He has now taken stock of the new print-run, much to the delight of his customers.

However it is not the first time that Alec has taken the initiative in promoting the Spen Valley.

“Recently, with the help of Matthew Crowther from Matthew’s Coffee Shop in Market Street, I had published a postcard of Cleckheaton which have sold really well,” he explained.

“In the past the Spenborough Chamber of Trade had produced a postcard of Cleckheaton and Spen Valley Civic Society did a calendar of the Spen Valley.

“But there is now a stark shortage of materials promoting Cleckheaton and the Spen Valley in general.

“For example the walking books featuring Kirklees do not include anything covering Cleckheaton, Gomersal, Birkenshaw etc.

“It is important that further efforts are made, similar to those made in other locations like Otley, Skipton, Ilkley, ensuring that the Spen Valley enjoys a high profile.”

Also available at Spenborough Stationers is Terry Sutton’s Hard Graft which was featured in the Spenborough Guardian just before Christmas.

Images of England – Spen Valley is selling at £12.99, but Alec has offered a copy as a competition prize to Guardian readers.

To enter, answer the following question and send your entry to Book competition, Spenborough Guardian, 1 Market Street, Cleckheaton, BD19 3RT. Entries must reach us by Monday January 24. Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Q. Who is the author of Images of England – Spen Valley?