Why commission a company history?

Firstly, it puts the record straight. Who did what, and when? It's remarkable how many different versions of any one story can circulate, not so remarkable how people try to grab the glory - and shift the blame.

Secondly, it lets people know who you are and what you do. My clients have found their books an effective calling-card. Thirdly, it's a chance to celebrate the achievement of the board, the management, and the workforce.

Writing a company history can

involve historical research in written records as well as the collection of anecdotal material from past and present staff.

It presents plenty of opportunities for free publicity through press releases - and, of course, as the launch approaches. A full-length history may take as long as a year to compile, or as little as a few weeks.

It can be a 300-page blockbuster, a soft-cover brochure or even a leaflet which can be slipped into an envelope. I am always willing to discuss options, and make every attempt to keep costs within bounds.

From Corner Shop to Corner Shop in Five Generations

This is the history of Hull food manufacturers and retailers William Jackson and Son plc, (1851). It was well received when it came out. One reviewer paid me the back-handed compliment of comparing the plot to a Jeffrey Archer novel. Well, as with most businesses, there was a whiff of scandal - and enough ups and downs to keep the pages turning.

The Old Five-Sailer tells the story of one of Britain's last independent flour millers, Edward Timm & Son of Goole. I didn't enjoy breaking the news that their letterhead was wrong - they were founded in 1864, not `54 - but they were pleased to get the record straight.

From Molasses to Acid celebrated 75 years of production at BP Chemicals' Saltend Plant on the banks of the Humber. BP had a terrific archive, and were surprisingly open about such issues as environmental pollution. They contributed generously to an attractive, glossy publication. Like all my clients, they enjoyed the mildly subversive stories emanating from the shop floor. They don't do any harm.

What happens to Round Tablers when they reach forty? They’re shunted off to The 41 Club. Continued Friendship celebrates the club’s Diamond Jubilee and traces their history from a first meeting in a Wakefield pub just days after the end of the 1939-45 War, through the glory days when the membership reached 30,000, and looks ahead to a future with open membership.