About Me

Where Stories in Welsh Stone began

I  spent my childhood in Sheffield and graduated from Leicester University with a degree in English and History. I became a teacher after training for a year in Birmingham.

I started my career in Gateway Sixth Form College in Leicester and then moved to my wife’s home town of Swansea in 1981. We have lived here ever since.

I was initially head of English in Dillwyn Llewelyn Community School and then moved to Cefn Hengoed Community School in 1991 as Deputy Head teacher. Apart from a short period in 2006 when I was Acting Head teacher, that job became my professional life and it is the job from which I retired in the summer of 2011, after 38 years as a teacher.

I always wanted to write. I have spent my time in the classroom commenting upon the work of others in one way and another as a teacher. I didn’t want to be a parasite for ever. I had to write for myself. Only then did I have the right to comment on the processes involved. I felt that it was time I stopped preaching and did something creative. As an art teacher once said to me, you wouldn’t appoint an art teacher who couldn’t draw, you wouldn’t employ a music teacher who couldn’t play the piano. Why should English teachers be different? Uncomplicated words, but they have stayed with me always.

Once our children were old enough (Laura, Catherine, Jennie and David) I devoted more time to writing and started to submit short articles. I was very fortunate that the first piece I had published appeared in The Independent newspaper in 1998 and other work soon followed. I began to appear regularly in The Times Education Supplement. In 2011 I was nominated as Columnist of the Year (Business Media Category) in the PPA Awards  for my work with the TES

My first book was a GCSE Study Guide for York Notes – Heaney and Clarke and Pre 1914 Poetry. ( ISBN 0-582-77264.-8) I enjoyed writing this book very much and I am pleased that it appears to have helped many students since its first publication in 2003.

A piece I wrote in the Times Education Supplement led to an invitation to write a book on dyspraxia for Continuum Press. There is a page here on the site about dyspraxia because it is something which is very important to me. Click on this link to go to my Dyspraxia  page. My books on Dyspraxia are still available on Amazon and in bookshops.

My other books for Continuum have been

How to be a Successful Deputy Head ( ISBN 0-8264-8647-9) published in 2006.

The Complete Guide for Teaching Assistants in Secondary Education (ISBN 0-8264-9906-6) published in 2008

Once again you can find these books on the Amazon website. Click on the titles of the two books above and you will be taken to the appropriate page.

I have also completed two more study guides for GCSE English Literature students.

The first was published in 2010 to support learners in their study of poetry for AQA English Literature. It deals with one of the prescribed poetry collections called Character and Voice.  Here is a link to the book on Amazon. It is in the York Notes series.
AQA Anthology – Character and Voice

I was then asked to edit another Study Guide. I was asked to re-format an older version of the York Notes guide to Robert Cormier’s book Heroes which is now available.

My writing for Welsh Country Magazine led to the publication of my book Stories in Welsh Stone which explores the stories behind gravestones across Wales. 
In the summer of 2021 I published a sequel  Grave Tales From Wales, which has been very popular. There is a link in the list below,

I have also written local history books about Swansea and Wales. All my books have pages on this website where you can find more information about them – just click on these links below

Stories in Welsh Stone

Bloody Welsh History – Swansea

Swansea Then and Now

Swansea Murders

Swansea in 100 Days

Welsh History Strange but True

Swansea in the 1950s

A-Z of Swansea

Grave Tales From Wales

I have also written two travel guides for Amberley Publications which were released in April 2018. Follow the links below for more information. These pages will open in a new window.

50 Gems of Mid Wales

50 Gems of South West Wales

In 2019 my first novel was published – In Knives We Trust. It is a murder mystery set in Swansea in 1880. You can find out more about it if you click on the link here

In Knives We Trust

The sequel, the second book in the projected series about Inspector Rumsey Bucke, was published in November 2020, It is called Our Lady of Mumbles. Click on the link below to find out more about it.

Our Lady of Mumbles

In September 2021 I published a novella called The Swansea Camel, a nativity story set in Swansea on Christmas Eve in 1880. This was followed in October 2021 by the third full length Inspector Rumsey Bucke novel, A Swansea Child.

A Swansea Child

This link here will take you straight to my How to Buy Page   where you can see details of all my books available on the website and also details of any current special offers.

9 Comments

  1. I like to think of the relationship between an English teacher and the works (s)he is teaching as symbiotic rather than parasitical Geoff and I think your students would agree. Hope the book sale in Swansea market goes well tomorrow. Regards to Liz and family.

  2. Swansea and District Writers’ Circle
    Dear Geoff Brookes,
    We are presently looking at the availability of potential speakers for the Swansea and District Writers’ Circle for 2020.
    Talks/workshops are normally of about one hour, including questions from a small audience – usually no more than 10/20 people.
    Our venue is County Hall, Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3SN at 7.15 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month except August. At present we have available dates from February onwards. I’m sure our members would benefit enormously from your advice regarding writing and I know that a writer of your status and prestige would be given a very warm welcome by our group.
    We have to book writers far ahead to comply with LitWales funding requirements and most bookings are dependent on receiving their funding. Our present budget for fees is set at a maximum of £120 per speaker event in total. If you are interested could you please let us know what dates would be most suitable and your required fee.
    If you do not wish to speak at these events then please accept my apologies for contacting you speculatively, though your reply would be appreciated.
    Kind regards
    Alan Bryant
    http://www.swanseawriters.co.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/Swansea-and-District-Writers-Circle-183386015060585/

  3. Hi
    Read your ‘Swansea in the 1950s’ book today. Very fluent and illuminating, smart but not cynical – fills a gap in an otherwise crowded local history market. I’m a Jack who’s recently returned home after 30+ years away; born after the 50s, but much of what you relate about the town really resonates (not bad for someone from Sheffield!). And although I miss the ambience of the old Central Reference Library, I agree with you that the Civic Centre incarnation is definitely top notch.
    Best wishes for future publications.

  4. Hi Geoff,

    I’m currently working on a BBC documentary about cold cases in South Wales, and I’d be interested to speak with you! If you could drop me an email I’d really appreciate it.

    Best wishes,
    Meg

  5. Hello Geoff
    I am a filmmaker researching for a film on the Palace Theatre, Swansea. In 1950s: Ten Years that Changed a city you mentioned the following;

    ‘The Palace Theatre of Varieties at the top of High Street had already had its heyday. … Perhaps it was appropriate that it had been used as a mortuary to receive victims during the Blitz’

    Do you have any evidence that the Palace was used as a mortuary? I have heard rumours but nothing as yet that confirmed it.
    Any help appreciated.

    Paul O’Connor

  6. I came across your website when doing my husband’s family tree. His 1st cousin 1 x removed David Forbes RICHARD was killed/drowned aboard the MV Maja on 15 Jan 1945.
    Would it be ok if I include your information on the MV Maja on my FT on Ancestry?
    Best regards
    Miranda Mitchley

  7. When searching through some family documents we found a solicitors itemised bill for the trial of Rhys Davies , who is a distant relative, we decided to look further into the case and came across a newspaper article in the South wales daily post but we wanted to print it out to look at it more easily. finding that impossible we searched again and found your article, the itemised bill runs to more than 10 pages and makes interesting reading particularly in view that the solicitors themselves appear to have done actual investigations and interviews.

  8. Hi Geoff,
    I live in Dublin and I’m currently researching Frances Power Cobbe and was wondering if I could request a photo of her tombstone? I found an image of her grave in one of your posts but it’s not possible to read the inscription. Do you have a photo with a closer detail?
    All photos will be formally acknowledged according to correct academic protocol if you are willing to share.
    Thank you kindly,
    Regards,

  9. Hello Geoff,

    I have just purchased some books from you and would like some notes inside if that is possible please?

    Kind regards

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