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Paul Crampton was born in October 1957 in Canterbury and has lived in the City for most of his life. For 28 years he worked for BT, where his many and varied duties included debt collection and malicious call investigation; the latter often involving media appearances, and also representing BT in court cases. Various unforeseen circumstances forced retirement in October 2003, and a subsequent change of ‘career’.


 So far, Paul has published 13 non-fiction books, and narrated 4 videos – all mainly on the subject of Canterbury – but he has also been writing fiction since April 2002.  In 2005, his first novel ‘Strangers In Focus’ was published by Pen Press, followed in 2007 by the semi-autobiographical ‘Ronnie Darwin Was My Uncle’.


 The year 2009 saw the publication of three further works of fiction, by the Arts Council-sponsored YouWriteOn.com: ‘Toby’s Burden’ – a novel with the theme of homelessness, ‘I Want To Be Half-Jewish’ – a topical dark comedy, and, in collaboration with his ex-wife Mary Anne, ‘Positive-Negative and Seven Other Stories of Loss and Gain’ – an anthology of short stories.


His hobbies are numerous: music, reading, gardening, natural history, photography, architecture and local history.  Indeed, over the past twenty years, he has combined some of these interests to produce his published works. Paul also loves Egyptology, especially the Armana period from the 18th Dynasty. 


Another interest of Paul’s is religion – although he claims to be a fervent agnostic – particularly the three great monotheist faiths, and he is inspired by the many factors they have in common, as opposed to the more publicised differences.  This resulted in the writing of ‘The Dream Messiah’ – another of Paul’s completed, but as yet unpublished novels. In May 2010, this work reached the semi-finals of the 2010 Brit Writers’ Award. 


His current work in progress, ‘Apocalypse of the Canterbury Saints’, combines further religious themes with his considerable knowledge of the City’s history, together with a love of story telling, and fascination with conspiracy theories. A pictorial history of the Cathedral Precincts is also at the planning and assembling stage.


Published during 2010 was the non-fiction pictorial book: ‘Canterbury Suburbs and Surroundings’, as well as the newly reprinted ‘Canterbury’s Lost Heritage’.  So far, 2011 has seen the publication of the non-fiction textual anthology ‘The Canterbury Book of Days’, and a colour re-issue of 'Canterbury Then and Now'.


Paul is now single and living on the outskirts of the Ciy.

















ISBN 978-0-7524-5572-3

Canterbury Suburbs and Surroundings by Paul Crampton

Canterbury is so much more than the relatively small area enclosed by what remains of its ancient city wall.  During Roman times, when the city wall first appeared, the areas occupied by today’s suburbs were used as burial grounds. From the Saxon period onwards, houses, inns and small businesses appeared along the main approach roads to the city, such as those from London, Dover and Whitstable.  This was when Canterbury’s suburbs were truly born. In early medieval times, churches such as St. Dunstan’s, St. Stephen’s and St. Paul’s had been established outside the city walls. The suburbs continued to grow and establish themselves around these places of worship, and gradually acquired their own identities.

Through a plethora of unpublished photographs, Paul Crampton’s book shows the changing shape of these suburbs as they developed during the twentieth century into what we know today.



Canterbury Suburbs and Surroundings. Station Road West St. Dunstan's, 1910


The junction of Station Road West from St. Dunstan’s Street, in about 1910: a fascinating lost scene. To the left, is an 1890s development of three storey shops: at Nos 1 to 11 (odds only) Station Road West. These featured Court & Son – pianoforte tuners (No. 3) and the London Restaurant run by Walter Targett (No. 5).  On the right are the old Canterbury Baths, run by Walter Cozens, in a building that also encompassed the proprietor’s own small museum.  In the distance is Canterbury West Station, the only building that survives from this photograph today.  



(Images from this book can be purchased via the

‘photo-collections’ page).












ISBN 978-1-84923-427-6


Toby's Burden by Paul Crampton

How many of us have seen a young vagrant on the street, and then wondered what awful set of circumstances, or unhappy twist of fate, had brought them to where they are now?

A badly injured mugging victim arrives at a London hospital.  He looks, but does not sound or behave, like an archetypal vagrant.  Duty doctor Candida Cornish instantly recognises him: it is her long-lost brother Toby, who has not been seen or heard from since vanishing from their home village in Kent, many years before.  In the difficult days that follow, the siblings try to discover what had gone so badly awry for Toby in childhood.  However, nobody will be able to help him, until he can first help himself, and finally start banishing all those ghosts he’d been carrying around for nearly 20 years. 



Toby's Burden. A Novel by Paul Crampton.


…The thought of somehow being possessed was bad enough, but Toby could not come to terms with the fact that none of this would have happened if he had been more careful on that log stack, and not clumsily drawn Mark’s attention to their little spying game. But that was academic now; there was a good chance that he was indeed possessed by the vengeful ghost of Mark Trevithic, and it was no more than he richly deserved. And it had to be true; why else would he be yearning to hear that strange modern jazz; why else would he have this uncontrollable urge to raid his dad’s drinks cabinet; why else would he prefer his own company these days; why else would he have such – what his father called – low self esteem?  Wasn’t that all an accurate profile of Mark Trevithic himself? Perhaps he should try his hand at writing too; if he could churn out somethinghalf-decent, then that would be proof positive of the possession…












ISBN 978-0-7509-4319-2




Canterbury's Lost Heritage by Paul Crampton


Canterbury is one of England’s most historic cities. A rich heritage of Medieval, Georgian and Victorian buildings survived until the mid-twentieth century, a period that brought wholesale destruction of much of the city’s fabric. The bombing of 1942 caused a lot of damage, but not as much as the empty sites of the late 1940s suggested. In fact, ruthless post-war clearance saw more buildings destroyed by the local authority than by the Luftwaffe.  All too often, minor damage was used as an excuse to demolish a building that was in the way of a proposed road-widening scheme.

            Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, demolition continued apace. It wasn’t until the local government reorganisation of the early 1970s, and the establishment of the City Council conservation department, that things began to change. Now, it can be argued that the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Many important post-war buildings have already been replaced by overscale developments in a pastiche of various architectural styles.








Canterbury's Lost Heritage. Stour Street. 1960


Numbers 53 to 62a Stour Street: This picture, from September 1960, is dominated by the early 19th century brick-built ‘in-fill’ house at number 62a.  Next to it is a terrace of three, three-storey houses (60 to 62) that date from the mid 17th century.  All the featured houses would soon be condemned as ‘unfit for human habitation’ in the Canterbury Compulsory Purchase order of 1961. The Canterbury Society was aggrieved by the threatened loss of Nos. 60 to 62.  As a result, the City Council announced its willingness to permit the Society to take over the properties. Sadly, such an offer proved impossible to fund and all the affected properties were subsequently demolished.




(Images from this book can be purchased via the

 ‘photo-collections’ page).









ISBN 978-1-905203-48-2


Strangers in Focus by Paul Crampton

Curiosity about an old black and white photograph provokes Helen Turner to find out more about her family history.  Puzzled by finding a picture of himself as a baby in an old album he picks up at auction, Peter Milton also sets out on a quest to find out more. As these two strangers delve deeper, their pasts - and their future - become inextricably entwined until at last their quest becomes an urgent search to find each other.

Set in contemporary Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay, this compelling novel is both a detective and a love story. Delving into their family’s history, both Helen and Peter have to confront the simmering resentments and deep-rooted prejudices lurking just below the surface as the tales are told and truths unravelled.

“Strangers in Focus is an enthralling and hugely entertaining read”.



Strangers in Focus. A Novel by by Paul Crampton.


…‘This picture of Martin, aunt, where would you like me to display it: on the sideboard, or perhaps here on the television?’


            ‘That’s not Martin!’ the old woman retorted, looking up at her as if she were a complete cretin.


            ‘Of course it’s Martin…who else could it be…what other toddlers would you have a picture of?’ Helen reasoned, staring at the little curly-haired child in the black and white photo. ‘I know I was a bit of a tomboy back then, but it’s certainly not me!’


            ‘No sweetie, it’s not you…and it’s not Martin neither’, countered Aunt Louise, beginning to get a little irritated. ‘It’s Peter; that’s who it is!’


            ‘Who’s Peter?’


            ‘Peter is Peter!’ replied her aunt emphatically. ‘He’s another little boy I used to know…I used to know his mother quite well too!’


            Confused and frowning, Helen lowered herself into the only other armchair, and studied the picture more closely.













ISBN 0-7524-2457-2











Canterbury 1945 to 1975 (front). Paul Crampton


In this intriguing collection of old images of Canterbury, the town is evocatively recreated during the period 1945-1975. These years saw more changes to Canterbury than in almost any period of the city’s recent history, including the blitz.

            As well as images of everyday life, the book illustrates the enormous changes that have taken place in the city, showing areas that have changed beyond all recognition today. In the 1940s Canterbury was recovering, not only from bombing, but also from an overly thorough post-blitz demolition and clearance policy. Although rebuilding began in 1951, often in keeping with the feel of the city, the ‘50s saw a number of significant historical buildings being lost. Whilst demolition was again a feature of the 1960s, new buildings now soared above their older neighbours, breaking the old unwritten law that nothing should challenge the Cathedral for dominance in the city centre. In the early 1970s, Canterbury lost its autonomous county borough status and the importance of conservation was officially acknowledged for the first time.

            This book is a valuable pictorial record, which will provide older residents of the area with a nostalgic look at the recent past, and bring to newcomers an opportunity to look at how things used to be.













Canterbury 1945 to 1975. Paul Crampton. St. George's Street.


The beginning of the reconstruction of St. George’s Street in the spring of 1952. The Woolworth’s shop is nearing completion, whilst on the left, a sign announces that the construction of new premises for Dolcis Shoe Company and James Walker Jeweller was about to begin. A utility bodied Guy Arab East Kent bus heads westwards on the 27a service from Thanington to Blean. The narrowness of St. George’s Street is quite apparent, with the bus occupying most of the available width. Street widening would begin in October the same year.


(This book is currently out-of-print, but images from it can be purchased via the ‘photo-collections’ page).




POSITIVE-NEGATIVE (and Seven other Stories of Loss and Gain).


By Paul Crampton and Mary Anne Crampton.    


ISBN 978-1-84923-228-9










Positive Negative (front). Paul Crampton and Mary Anne Crampton






People can be struck by sudden changes at any time – be they devastating, life-affirming, wonderful, terrible, positive or negative.  These stories explore the affects of such changes on eight different individuals, and those close to them:


BAD HAIR DAY: Clerical supervisor Jude takes drastic steps to maintain her position as office queen bee and centre of attention.


POSITIVE-NEGATIVE: Miles’ life is profoundly changed after discovering a dark secret in his photographer father’s past. (Based in Canterbury, Sturry and Chestfield)


DAY LILIES: A deeply troubled Eva takes a day trip into town, in order to overcome a recent, yet unspoken of tragedy.


IF ONLY… : Steve would give anything to turn the clock back one year, and then suddenly finds he can…by literally meeting himself.


SITTING TIGHT: Laura desperately tries to face up to leaving the only home she’s ever known, by reaching back into her childhood.


LOSING A CHILD SUBSTITUTE: Harriet’s husband puts his feelings into words, after a beloved family pet suddenly goes missing.


FOLLY: Unexpectedly, Ralph falls for his young assistant Shelley, but is history somehow repeating itself?


‘IN MEMORY OF MAISIE JENNER’: Rachel investigates the life of a woman she never knew, after discovering her unmarked, untended grave. (Based in Whitstable, Herne Bay and Seasalter).












Positive Negative - 'In Memory of Maisie Jenner' by Paul Crampton. (Seasalter Whitstable)



…With the train gone, and both silence and stillness once more with them, Rachael turned back to Maisie Jenner’s bungalow, and noticed a pair of French windows, around which a wisteria had been allowed free reign. To her alarm, she soon noticed that the flimsy-looking doors had been forced open.

            ‘Vandals, or a casual burglar I shouldn’t wonder!’ sighed Mark, with a fatalistic shrug of the shoulders. ‘They won’t have got much though!’

            Rachael looked up at him with concern, and then waded her way through what would have once been a small lawn, in order to peer through that screen of shattered glass and splintered wood. ‘You’re right, the place is utterly empty!’ she commented, with a brief backwards glance, as he came over to join her.

            ‘Yes, the house clearance people were very thorough’, he recalled unhappily. ‘I couldn’t bear to watch them smashing up the things they thought wouldn’t sell!’…













Canterbury Then and Now (front). Paul Crampton


Over the last century, Canterbury has seen an enormous number of changes in its buildings and daily life. This fascinating collection of over 80 pairs of ‘then and now’ images charts some of the most important changes, from the redevelopment of the city centre to the evolution of modern transport, fashions and leisure activities.

            The effects of the blitz and the subsequent building programme are charted as they took place and the full extent of the expansion of the road system is depicted. The slum clearance programme of the 1930s and 1950s resulted in the demolition of many well-known buildings and the appearance of new landmarks. Street scenes have changed beyond recognition through the closure of small shops, the arrival of chain stores and, more recently, the pedestrianization of parts of the city centre.

            This book will trigger nostalgic memories of old Canterbury in those who remember how it used to be, while those who know only the modern city will be fascinated to see how familiar places used to look.













Canterbury Then and Now. Paul Crampton. Mill Lane & King Street




Mill Lane, seen from across King Street, in 1964. The cottages at Nos 19 to 21 date from the second quarter of the 19th century. Demolition occurred in 1966. Other houses on the corner site had been pulled down some time before. During the year this picture was taken, the Blackfriars area of Canterbury – encompassing Blackfriars Street, King Street and Mill Lane – was identified for slum clearance and redevelopment. However, by this time, local conservationists had found a voice and protests were lodged. Sadly, many of the old houses, including these in Mill Lane, came down in 1966 despite protests. A neo-Georgian housing development later appeared across much of the site in the late 1960s, dubbed a ‘miniature Chelsea’ by its critics.


(This book is currently out-of-print, but images from it can be purchased via the ‘photo-collections’ page).






ISBN 978-1-905203-99-4












Ronnie Darwin was My Uncle (front). Paul Crampton


Ronnie Darwin was an up and coming comedian, on the brink of stardom, whose young life ended tragically in 1969. Dave Darwin is his hero-worshipping nephew and ‘Scar Brother’.  It is now 1991 and Dave is bored with his job, disenchanted with his deteriorating marriage and, together with his best friend and confidante, Tim Cross, hovering on the brink of alcoholism.

            As Dave struggles to find answers to his own life’s problems, he realises that it is uncannily beginning to mirror his uncle’s. As events unfold, rather than find a solution, Dave slips ever deeper into self-destruction…and will he be able to resist the attraction he feels for his stepson’s 17 year-old girlfriend?

            With parallel events from both Dave’s childhood and adult life narrated in detail, this is a poignant and enthralling story of love, death, humiliation and the power the past has on the present.

“A wonderful family saga that explores all those themes that both enliven and plague our lives today”. 

            (Based in Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable, and the Sittingbourne area)











Ronnie Darwin was My Uncle, by Paul Crampton. (Rodmersham Green, Sittingbourne)


…Len Darwin was quick but careful in helping his injured brother Ronnie into the back of the car, before getting in alongside him. David scrambled into the front seat, and then looked back with concern at his dazed uncle. However, from the corner of his eye, he couldn’t help but notice the contractors removing rafters, doors and floorboards from the demolished cottage and then placing them inside the base of the old mill. It soon dawned on him, with absolute dismay, that they were making a bonfire; they intended to set fire to the windmill as a means of destroying it. As the car accelerated away, David could clearly see that the fire had not only been lit, but was already beginning to take hold. Finally, as the car turned off Rothermead Green’s perimeter track at the far end, none of its occupants could fail to observe that the mill tower had become a flaming beacon, with orange fire and black smoke rising into the clear blue sky…







ISBN 0-7524-1584-0





Before the Channel Tunnel (front). Paul Crampton




Much has been written about the Channel Tunnel, its history, the previous failures and then its final realisation, having overcome massive financial and technical problems. Indeed, it is an incredible achievement for which everyone involved can be justly proud.

            However, there is another story, that of the people who had to leave their homes; the disappearing buildings and communities; the changed landscape. This book tells that alternative and more personal story. Many ex-residents have been interviewed and most happily donated images of their former homes. ‘Before the Channel Tunnel’ contains photographs of every building lost during the construction of the terminal and its access, combining family snaps, professional survey materials and many personal images of the changes. To enhance the historical perspective, archive views of the affected area have also been included.

            This book will appeal to all those who recognise the upheaval caused by Eurotunnel’s plans to build the tunnel and the District Council’s involvement with the access routes. It is an important document of the changes that occurred, not only to the immediate infrastructure, but also the lives of the people of Kent and the surrounding area.





Danton Pinch, Before the Channel Tunnel, Cheriton Kent




The charming house ‘Eastgate’, amidst the mature trees on its three-quarter acre plot, in February 1988. This property was the easternmost in the hamlet of Danton Pinch and stood near the junction with Danton Lane.  The original owners were the Wards, who later rented the property to Howard Phillp. The Alexanders lived at ‘Eastgate’ for many years. They were keen gardeners and planted the trees visible here. Final occupants were newlyweds Phyllis and Arthur Bone, who took residence in 1968.


(This book is currently out-of-print, but images from it can be purchased via the ‘photo-collections’ page).






ISBN 978-1-84923-229-6









I Want to be Half Jewish (front). Paul Crampton


Lionel Silverwood is divorced, in his late thirties, and manic-depressive.  He is also lonely and frustrated, but nervous about dating again.  When Lionel decides that his persona could do with a more exotic edge, he capitalises on a vaguely remembered story about Jewish ancestry on his father’s side, and pronounces himself half-Jewish.  Adorned with fake tan and an old Star of David pendant, his finds success straight away with the petite and lovely Ruth.   However, an unexpected revelation by his father threatens to shatter all of Lionel’s hopes and dreams for the future.

'I Want to be Half-Jewish’ is more than just a dark, romantic comedy, it is a thought-provoking and multi-layered exploration of many topical issues: family rifts, marital relationships, human interaction, racism, bigotry…and even incest.











I Want to be Half Jewish, by Paul Crampton


…With the box replaced in the dust-free oblong that marks its position on the shelf, I carefully scoop up the Star of David and take it downstairs, being careful not to skid on the cat sick that Boris hasn’t quite eaten up. I go to the airer in the kitchen, remove one of the clean white shirts and put it on. Mm, it feels good to wear clean cotton again, even though I’ve not ironed it; then again, why should I bother; I’m not a bloody girl!  And then, having got the silver chain tangled in my hair twice – with the resultant tirade of loud staccato expletives – I go and look at myself in the mirror again. With the top button undone, the Star of David shows up just fine, without me appearing too much like some kind of Jewish ‘medallion man’

I stand back from the mirror, and then stare at it hard. ‘Oy vey!’ I say, and then study my reflection again. ‘You silly sod Lionel!’ I quickly add…and then I can’t help but laugh. My God that felt good; I can’t remember when I last felt compelled to laugh like that…   




CANTERBURY – The Archive Photographs Series 



ISBN 0-7524-1024-5 (Pocket Book: 1-84588-257-1)






Canterbury - Archive Photos Series (front). Paul Crampton


‘Canterbury’ is a collection of over 200 old photographs, many of which are drawn from the author’s own extensive collection.

            In the first chapter, we see Canterbury as it was before the destruction of the blitz.  Many buildings that are now lost to us can be seen here, including some that disappeared long before the bombing. In the second chapter, the affects of the blitz are all too evident. Pictures show bomb damage across the south-east quadrant of the city, and also the lucky escape of the Cathedral. The late 1940s is covered in the third section, and council members and officials can be seen touring the flattened parts of the city whilst planning the rebuilding.

            Post-war reconstruction is covered in the fourth chapter. New buildings appear on the bomb sites and the motorcar really begins to make its presence felt. Rebuilding continues in the 1960s and spreads into areas of the city not affected by the blitz. So-called slum clearance was widespread but the ring road also swept away many intact and cherished buildings. The final section of the book looks at the 1970s and at more recent years in which demolition slowed as the value of conservation was realised.






Canterbury - Archive Photos Series. Paul Crampton. Castle Street.


A fascinating cityscape from the top of Canterbury Castle ruins in the autumn of 1932. It was taken by Mr Mann of the City Council’s surveyors department prior to the castle keep’s much-needed consolidation and repair. Until recently, it had been used as a coal store for the nearby gas works, which can just be seen beyond it. Reparation of the keep was carried out by City Surveyor Mr H.M. Enderby.


(This book is currently out-of-print, but images from it can be purchased via the ‘photo-collections’ page).





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