Sunday, 13 July 2008

Penguin Handbooks

VP has sent some more pictures for posting, of some more vintage books, saying:

“It's actually a set of 3, all by the marvellously named Raymond Bush. 'Soft Fruit Growing' + 'Tree Fruit Growing Part I (Apples)' and II (Pears, Quinces and Stone Fruits). They all bear the classic Penguin cover that's now gracing many a literary mug. I think these must have been the first 3 books in the Penguin Handbook series as they have the serial numbers PH1, PH2 and PH3 on their spines.”

She adds that she has Penguin Handbooks S146 and S147 - The Vegetable Growers' Handbook Vols I & II.

Now this fired my inner trainspotter. Why did some Penguin Handbooks have the serial number PH and others S?
So I dug out three Penguin Handbooks of my own.

I have Tree and Shrubs (and how to grow them) - which is definitely a Penguin Handbook, but is S145 [pub October 1944]

And 2 others
PH9 - The Penguin Handyman
PH13 - Your Smallholding.

They are published 1945 & 1947 respectively, and so the PH numbering must have started in late 1944/1945.

This still raised a number of questions, such as when exactly did the S pre-fix change to PH and why?

And also what is the full list of the PH series?

If you haven’t yet fallen asleep, I can report that I spent an hour and a half searching the net for answers to these questions. I did discover a wealth of fascinating information about Penguin Books, but drew a total blank on the answers that I was after. maybe someone will read this and enlighten us.

I should have known better really, I had a similar fruitless quest for the definitive list of Wisley Handbooks a while back.


VP said...

I bet that shop in Kew might have the answer - or one of the shops in Hay on Wye. Oohh I definitely feel the need for a little light field work. Might need to take out a mortgage for all those books I'll be tempted to buy though.

I'm also trying to get hold of the definitive list for the New Naturalist series...

The Garden Monkey said...

New Naturalist series?

I'm not even going there.

Finding the list is easy tho'

VP said...

OMG - I have just 10 of them, courtesy of hubby's parents and a 2nd hand find at Trowbridge College. Only about 110 to go then...

emmat said...

smouldering jealousy

The Garden Monkey said...

I reall hearing a radio programme about them about 6 months ago.

A couple are really rare.