May 2023: Letters

Bookshop’s link with Tolkien

DID you grow up in Westbury Park? You might just remember the book shop at 12 North View. In the 1950s it was called Roberts and Alford Limited, but by 1960 was owned by James Farmer.

We have been contacted by a Tolkien enthusiast from Belgium, Pieter Collier, asking for memories of the Roberts and Alford bookshop, as Charles Alford had corresponded with Tolkien over a specially bound edition of Lord of the Rings. Any memories you might have from this era would be welcomed, so do please let us know. Pieter says: 

If you or anyone at the Westbury Park Community Association remembers Charles Peter Alford or has any information that may be relevant to my research, I would greatly appreciate your help. Here is some background information that may be helpful: Charles Peter Alford was born on April 5, 1913, in England to Annie Lisette and Charles Symes Leslie Alford, a chaplain to the forces. He was baptized at Zejtun Gate Church Room in 1913. On December 29, 1942, Peter married Dorothy Marion Jones in Taunton, Somerset, England. He worked as a bookbinder or bookseller and had a passion for books. In 1956, he wrote to J.R.R. Tolkien requesting permission to create his own custom binding for The Lord of the Rings with his own subtitles. Tolkien not only granted permission but also provided his preferred titles for the six books. The set was bound by Bayntun in Bath, but unfortunately, they no longer possess records of the set or Peter Alford.

Westbury Park Community Association

Check in and Chat is back

WE know it can be difficult to stay socially connected, but keeping in touch and chatting with others can have a huge impact.  Conversations can create connections, offer new perspectives, teach you new things, boost happiness, and increase mental wellbeing.

Which is why the NHS Volunteer Responders programme has reintroduced the Check in and Chat service, where local people who would like a friendly chat or simply a listening ear can request a phone call with a volunteer, whether it be a one-off call or a series of calls.

Receiving a Check in and Chat call is easy and completely free. You can organise it by calling 0808 196 3382 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week). You can also visit where you will find further information.

If Voice readers would like a call, we are encouraging them to please reach out on the number above, or, to share this information with a loved one, friend, neighbour, or anyone who may need a little extra support and would benefit from a Check in and Chat call.

Sam Ward, deputy CEO, Royal Voluntary Service