Mawddach Crescent is an isolated row of eight three-storey, Victorian houses situated in a secluded cove with glorious views across the Mawddach estuary, North Wales. Very few are aware of its... More > existence. Not on a main road, it is only seen by walkers or cyclists on the Mawddach Trail, those travelling from Dolgellau to Barmouth on the north side of the estuary, or by people using the river. Those who stay or visit this beautiful spot in North Wales will not fail to be surprised. Having visited the Crescent for over twenty years, I have enjoyed researching its history and the lives of some of its former residents.< Less
Harold James Andrews, known as Mike, was born in 1897. Fascinated by planes, he joined the Royal Naval Air Force during the First World War and later the Royal Flying Corps flying bombers.
After... More > working as a test pilot, in the early 1920s he moved to Barcelona to train the Spanish Air Force in anti-submarine warfare. Returning to Britain in 1930 he was Blackburn’s foreign representative, and t e photographs he took of airports and airfields across Europe were passed to the Secret Intelligence Service. He designed and later managed Liverpool airport and designed Kallang in Singapore.
During the Second World War he was posted to Lisbon as Air Attaché but this was just a cover. His mission was to help a secret organisation operating in France, Spain and Portugal to get escaped prisoners-of-war, downed pilots, aircrew and other evaders back to Britain.
Based on his grandson Simon’s stories, autobiographies of other intelligence officers, contemporary documents, this book tells his story.< Less
In 1843, an Oxford university professor reported to British academics and agriculturalists on a deposit of phosphorite he had visited in Logrosan, Extremadura, Spain. A mineral much in demand by... More > manure manufacturers, once crushed, it was dissolved in sulphuric acid to produce superphosphate, the world's first artifical chemical manure.
Once the railway between Madrid and Lisbon was constructed in the 1860s, the industry took off. Although competition from cheaper overseas phosphates caused many of the phosphate companies to go out of business in the 1890s, demand from Spanish superphosphate manufacturers ensured the industry's survival until the mid-1900s.
Today, with the assistance of EU funding, a number of these mines have been developed as tourist attractions as part of Spain's geo-mining heritage.
Bernard O'Connor and Leyre Solano's book investigates the origins, development and eventual decline of the Spanish phosphate industry.< Less