CharlieChadwick.org is the personal project of my father, David Warner. The treasure trove that is Charlie’s archive came to him by an unusual route as he tells us:
Some years after Charlie died his wife mentioned on one of our family visits to see her, that she had removed from her loft all Charlie’s books, “and did I want to look through them before they were thrown on a bonfire?” I imagined she was referring to yet even more printed books, for he had a formidable library downstairs of travel and all manner of classic books, all well thumbed. I was quite stunned to be shown piles of ledgers and other original manuscripts, all dating from before his marriage in 1936.
Realising that I had indeed acquired a ‘treasure’ I set about trying to publicise them in any way I could, for I have always believed that they should see the light of day at some point. I made the acquaintance of a BBC TV producer called Nick Peak, who hung onto them for four years, but who couldn’t get funding to do anything with them. I then went to ITV and also eventually drew a blank. Then I started to cherry pick magazines such as the ‘Dalesman’, travelled to Godalming to see Les Warner the CTC secretary, various publishing houses etc, but really what they all wanted was a finalised product ready to go on instant sale in some form or other.
Unfortunately David didn’t feel that he had either the requisite skills or time to produce the ‘finalised product’ that seemed to be required. Following his retirement in 2004 David did find that he had more time and he did find some avenues for publishing some articles, primarily in the CTC Manchester DA quarterly, Northern Wheel, which is now very regrettably defunct.
My Epiphany was provided by David Higman, at the time the Curator of the National Cycling Collection Museum at Llandrindod Wells. On a visit to the Museum we got talking and his tremendous enthusiasm inspired me to look into the subject of desktop publishing and the possibility of archiving all Charlie’s work on the Museum website. That led to a three year project for me to transcribe all the written material and capture Charlie’s pictures.
Eventually this effort led him to the John Pinkerton Memorial Publishing Fund who are planning to publish a series of volumes containing a selection of the Charlie Chadwick archive. The first of these is currently scheduled for publication in early April, 2012.
Although I was living some 200 miles away, I was aware that David had begun the task of transcribing Charlie’s journal. It was only rather late in the day that I finally put together the facts that (i) David had already done most of the hard work in transcribing much of the Charlie Chadwick archive and (ii) his desire to reach the largest possible audience. Once I had passed this mental roadblock it was a relatively small step to first propose putting together a website and then offering my services to help administer and maintain it.
The long-term plan is to make as much of Charlie’s archive accessible as we possibly can. Even though David has already transcribed a great deal he has, to date, focused primarily on those things that would readily be included in one or more books. However, there is also a lot of other material that whilst not so suitable for publishing in book form could readily be published here on the website.
Thus it is our intention to both complement and develop the volumes that will be published by the JPMPF with some of the items that ended up on the cutting room floor, as well as more personal reminiscences and anecdotes from Charlie’s life.
We do hope that you will enjoy what you find here but please get in touch to let us know what you think and we will be very happy to do our very best to accommodate any suggestions that you may have for how we can improve the site and enrich the time that you spend looking at it.