Welcome to Just Curious Jane
Hello! I’m Jane Gulliford Lowes, a non-fiction author, and history (especially social history and the Second World War) is my “thing”. I’ve lived in County Durham my whole life, and as a result I’m passionate about the people, places and history of North East England.
My debut best-selling book, The Horsekeeper’s Daughter, was published in 2017. My second, Above Us The Stars: 10 Squadron Bomber Command – The Wireless Operator’s Story, was published in September 2020 (now available here).
I give talks and lectures around the North East (and sometimes further afield) to schools, colleges, youth groups, local history societies, Rotary Clubs, Womens’ Institutes and U3A groups, and have contributed to several podcasts and radio shows, including History Hack, Khaki Malarkey and Home Brew History. If you’d like to arrange a talk, discussion group, book signing or a chat over a coffee, get in touch – all enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out more about forthcoming events and talks here.
UPDATE: COVID 19 – All talks can be given by Zoom, to groups all around the country.
You can find me on twitter at https://twitter.com/LydiaJane13
Please submit booking enquiries, comments and questions about the blog or my books to the email address above. I’d love to hear from you!
Heather Chin January 19, 2018
Thank you for writing this book about my great grandmother,I didn’t put it down inspite of the fact I was looking after5 of my grand children all day Sarah Marshall made these children possible
I wish I could have met you while in Australia
My mother jimmy Campbell s wife died nov 2017 and I hung on to every word when she spoke of the family history I remember her telling me that when topsys mother was dieing that she wanted to be with Alf
Jane January 19, 2018 — Post author
Hello Heather, thanks so much for getting in touch! It’s lovely to hear from you and I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. I’m sure I’ll be back- I fell in love Queensland !
John Oliver January 19, 2018
Hi Lydia/Jane, Just to say I recently finished your book and found it a excellent read, that last chapter ‘Full Circle’ had me all misty eyed and those final Four words ‘Hello Sarah. I’m here’ so simple yet so beautiful. As someone born into a large family in the shadow of a colliery during WW2 I can relate to the book in so many ways, and whenever I read a book which I really enjoy, I wait a couple of months or so then read it again, which I certainly will do with ‘ The Horsekeeper’s Daughter’ a wonderful effort on your behalf which I am sure your proud. Thank you. John Oliver.
Jane January 19, 2018 — Post author
Hello John, thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and that it provoked such an emotional response! Best wishes, Jane
Lucia Luck July 3, 2018
Dear Ms Gulliford Lowes
My name is Lucia Luck and I am the booking secretary for Gainford Local History Group. Gainford , as you may know, is a small village between Barnard Castle and Darlington. Our History Group meets once a month and we always try to choose a variety of subjects. I have heard about your book and I think that the true story of a North East lady and family in Australia would be agreat subject for our group.
I was wondering whether you would be willing to come and speak to us about your book, perhaps next year, if you could . It would be wonderful, one of our members has just read it and, by chance, I saw an advert for your Ferryhill talk, which I am hoping to attend.
If you would like to get in touch with me, I would be very grateful – I am now going to the library to reserve your book.
Thank you very much
Jane July 3, 2018 — Post author
Hello Lucia, many thanks for your message. I’d be delighted to come and speak at your local history group. You can email me at email@example.com to make the arrangements. In the meantime I look forward to meeting you at the Ferryhill talk! Thank you.
ALLAN MARSHALL August 12, 2018
Hi Jane I have just read your book The Horsekeepers Daughter and what a book it was i have read many books non-fiction i just could not put the book down like you i was with Sarah every step of the way well done great book 10/10 My family history is also Marshall spent years on that they worked on the land living in CoDurham then to North Yorkshire Bolton-On-Swale my grandad joined Leeds city police in 1889. Once again Jane many thanks for a great book
Jane August 12, 2018 — Post author
Hello Allan thanks so much for getting in touch! So glad you enjoyed the book- it really was a labour of love. Best wishes, Jane
Fiona Clarke December 8, 2018
I loved The Horsekeeper’s Daughter and thought you had written on an original theme that would appeal to many of us who have pondered what happened to some of our more intriguing ancestors. The book was realised with sensitivity and empathy for the people and the challenges they faced. I have recommended it to friends who are interested in these subjects.
I had another reason to be interested – I recently discovered that my great-grandmother was born in Seaton, one of a large family who came originally from Yorkshire but who settled in the Easington district. I’ve tried repeatedly to find out what happened to her after she gave birth to my grandfather, who seems to have been illegitimate, although his birth certificate claims otherwise. Her name was Ada Stockill, the 7th of 13 children, and two months before the birth she was living with her sister’s family at West Cherry Knowle Farm, Seaham. The baby was adopted by his father’s sister and her husband, but what became of Ada fascinates me, and I’m determined to keep trying to find out.
Have you ever heard of the Stockill family in your neighbourhood?
Jane December 9, 2018 — Post author
Many thanks for taking the time to get in touch. So glad you enjoyed the book! Stockill is quite an unusual name, but not one that I’ve come across before. Have you got a rough idea of dates? West Cherryknowle is actually closer to Ryhope than Seaham, and may therefore fall under Sunderland area records. I’m busy writing my second book, about a Seaham family during the Second World War, so keep an eye out for that too. I’m hoping it will be ready for publication in the Autumn. I’ll ask around the village for any info on your ancestors. Best wishes, Jane x
Fiona Clarke December 10, 2018
Thanks so much for your prompt reply, and for offering to ask around. I was amazed by the coincidence that Ada was born in Seaton. West Cherry Knowle Farm was in also the Easington District at census time. My great-grandmother was born on 18 January 1872, and my grandfather on 12 June 1891. His father was John Scott who was coachman/groom to Sir Robert Marillier, the civil engineer responsible for the construction of Hull docks, who lived at The Easplanade, Scarborough and later became Mayor there. I suspect he thought that Ada was too lowly in status and would affect his superior employment.
On an entirely different subject, I am involved with the volunteer-run Jesmond Library in Newcastle, where we hold weekly lectures. I’m sure there would be a good audience for you to speak about your book and any other local historical subject, and would be an opportunity to sell copies of your book. Would you be interested? There’s no rush if you are too busy at the moment with the second book and your regular employment, but we’d love to hear from you if you think you’d be interested. Unfortunately there is no payment – our objective is to raise funds to keep the library open.
Jane December 10, 2018 — Post author
Hello Fiona, yes of course, I’d love to. If you’d like to send me an email (details on the contact page) we can get something set up ! Many thanks, Jane
Fiona Clarke December 11, 2018
Many thanks. I’ve emailed contact details.
Although I’d be interested if you hear anything about the Stockills, I have traced Ada – she married a George Dinsdale and moved to Stockton, but not before she’d produced another illegitimate child!
G M Rough December 29, 2018
Hi jane. Loved the book. BeUtifully written. So easy to read and a great ztory. I m from Sunderland but have lived in Mount Nebo (wezt of brisbane) fot 30 years zo the ztory resonates well with me. Looking forward to your next publication. Best wizhez. Malcolm.
Viv Wilson January 13, 2019
Just finished reading The Horsekeeper’s Daughter and thoroughly enjoyed it! It has helped me solve a couple of mysteries in my family history. I always wondered why my great great grandfather Patrick Cullen who had originally come over here during the potato famine had then taken off with his wife and numerous children(my great grandfather remained here) to embark on a new life in Pennsylvania in the 1880’s. He had been working at Murton as a miner. Also my grandfather Adam Derby who I never met was a coal miner at Silksworth and he left his family (my mother was only 3) in 1923 to go to America via Canada. I now realise it was to find work during exceptionally hard times. It must’ve have worked out and he returned however unlike Patrick Cullen who lived in Pennsylvania until his death in his nineties.
Your book has inspired me to delve further….!
Jane January 13, 2019 — Post author
Hello Viv thanks so much for getting in touch! Glad you enjoyed the book. Yes there were so many miners from this area who left for Pennsylvania in particular. I hope you’re able to find out more information about your family! Best wishes,
G Joyce January 19, 2019
Last Saturday a friend passed her copy of your book on to me. She thought I would be interested as it was connecting Seaham and Queensland (my son lives on East Shore Village and I returned from a visit to Queensland six weeks ago).
After a few pages I was riveted and put it on my Kindle. I have picked it up in every spare moment since and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The combination of local, mining history (I come from a mining family but was ignorant of so much you wrote about), Queensland history and a personal story, both yours and Sarah’s, was fascinating. I learned such a lot. I wish I had read it before visiting Tambourine Mountain, I would have loved to have traced the footsteps of your characters too. Perhaps next time!
Thank you, Jane. Your book has given me so much knowledge and pleasure.
Jane January 19, 2019 — Post author
Hello thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch, and for your very kind comments about The Horsekeeper’s Daughter. You know something, it’s amazing how many people from this local area have a connection to Queensland. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Jane x
Marion Johnson January 22, 2019
I have just read your book The Coalminers Daughter and I enjoyed it but I grew up in Seaham in the 1940,1950’s.A much different time during the war years.
Jane January 22, 2019 — Post author
Hello Marion thank you for getting in touch . Ahhh you’ll enjoy my next book then which is all about a Seaham family during the war! It’s called Above Us The Stars and will be published towards the end of this year. Best wishes, Jane
Graeme Cardy March 9, 2019
Made a mistake this morning. I accidentally clicked on a tweet of yours that someone had liked.
This had ended up with me discovering your wonderful website, having that fuzzy warm feeling inside while reading about my home town and looking forward to tomorrow when my copy of The Horsekeeper’s Daughter that I’ve just should hopefully arrive.
Just hope all of my future mistakes end up as fruitful as this one. Thanks.
Jane March 9, 2019 — Post author
Hello Graeme. Well you’ve made my day ! Hope you enjoy the book – do let me know what you think of it. Best wishes, Jane
Denis Harry Fox January 20, 2021
Hi Jane, I have sent you an email at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org two days ago and I was wondering if you have received my information?
David George Mullinex February 19, 2021
Hi Jane. My brother-in-Law has informed me about your book, which I believe is available for purchase.
My Father, George Mullinex, served in Bomber Command, with 10 Squadron at Melbourne, Yorkshire, as a Wireless Operator, from November 1043 until August 1044, before leaving as an instructor.
He left many stories and books, which I have turned into a life story from his joining on his 19th birthday in 1944, until his demob, called “Lost Days Of My Youth”.
I look forward to your book.
Jane February 19, 2021 — Post author
Hello David! Lovely to hear from you . I recognised your father’s name from my research immediately as he was at Melbourne the same time as my great uncle Jack “Andy” Clyde and the Pennicott crew (May 43 to March 44). I can get a signed copy to you if you’d like one.
David George Mullinex February 22, 2021
Hi Jane, that would be lovely, yes please, thank you very much.
I have copies of “Bomber Command Profile, 10 Squadron” by Chris Ward and Ian MacMillan, plus “Brooklands to Brize”, also by Ian MacMillan, being the centenary history of 10 Squadron.
Barry March 8, 2021
I just finished reading your excellent book ‘Above Us, The Stars’.
Congratulations on the accomplishment of writing this book and thank you for writing it.
My father had many similar experiences to your uncle in wartime, entering active service with 640 Sq just as your uncle was leaving 10 Sq. He was shot down and became a prisoner on his 14th trip, the June 2nd Trappes raid referenced on p. 280. In fact he was amongst the 168 Allied Airmen who were in Buchenwald Concentration Camp before Stalag Luft III described on the same page. He lived a long life, passing away in 2014.
I am a voracious reader of WW II non-fiction, particularly on areas that touch upon my Father’s experiences. It can be difficult reading but I feel necessary to keep the memory of those days alive and appreciate the sacrifices that were made so that we may enjoy our freedom today.
Your book stood out, the fact that is was a ‘labour of love’ obvious to me and I salute your effort and wish you continued success in your writing.
Finally, an odd coincidence, I inherited a cup, saucer and plate commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Blaydon Races in 1962 from my uncle’s estate. He was originally from the Northwest and I hadn’t heard of the races previously or the associated song until your book.
Geoff April 26, 2021
The Comet Line was set up in 1941 by Andrée De Jongh, a 24 year old Belgian woman with the aim of repatriating shot-down Allied airmen.
Bayonne in SW France became a focal point for these evading airmen en route to Spain and Gibraltar via the Pyrenees. I became actively involved with a local association (“Friends of the Comet Line”) about 10 years ago after moving to Bayonne in 2007.
I was privileged to meet a few RAF wartime evaders (now known as ‘veterans’) – one of whom was George Duffee, a Halifax pilot, who had been shot down on his first trip. A charismatic gentleman, his ŔAF sense of humour had survived intact and it was always a great pleasure to meet him here.
George and his dear wife Janet sadly passed away within a few weeks of each other in 2018.
Here’s his remarkable story:
Each year in September, we hold a long ‘Comet’ weekend during which we commemorate those brave souls who stepped forward at great personal risk to help the evaders – after which we retrace the exact same routes over the Pyrenees taken by the Comet guides and the evaders into Spain – the only difference being that we take two days to do what they did in one night.
The weekend attracts people from far and wide (Europe, the US, Australia) and – be warned – it’s addictive!
Keith E. Heaton. (U.K. Writer) December 18, 2021
I hope that you are well.
Just wondered please if you might take a look at one of my novels, now available on Amazon in both electronic format but also in paperback.
THE ITALIAN TRAP By.- K.E. Heaton.
During the last few days of the second World War, as Benito Mussolini makes his way North towards Switzerland, in the hope of escaping his enemies. There are many different groups and individuals who wanted to catch up with him and administer their own kind of justice. One of these groups is the S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive) who planned to apprehend Il Duce and bring him to trial for crimes against humanity.
Mussolini’s demise is complicated and dozens of people claim to have arrested him, and numerous people have said that they were responsible for pulling the trigger.
This particular book examines the dictator’s last few days and offers yet another explanation.
And its free to download from Amazon for two days on Saturday, 18th, December, 2021 & Sunday, 19th, December, 2021.
Please take a look & if you might be so kind… let me know what you think?
Thank you for your time.
Rev. Fr. J McCallion, M.Phil, cc April 11, 2022
Hi Jane! I have just listened to your piece on the Halifax bomber on woody’s podcast WW2 and it was excellent. Like yourself, I will be starting a Military History MA degree with Birmingham Univ. in the autumn, and best wishes for your own endeavors. However, given your above presentation, you should head to the Ph.D. level instead!!
As a Catholic priest from County Tyrone, may I wish you the joy of the Lord’s Resurrection this Sunday along with your family! God bless and keep the writing!
Fr. John McCallion, M.Phil, cc
Jane April 17, 2022 — Post author
Hello Fr McCallion! Thank you so much for your very kind words – so glad you enjoyed the show with Woody. Good luck with the MA, I’m sure you’ll find it incredibly rewarding. I’m nearly finished mine now and I’ve really enjoyed it. Wishing you a blessed Easter too! Very best wishes, Jane
normsn lindsay August 20, 2022
Dear Jane,I have just finished reading,Above US THE STARS, a wonderful book thank you. My copy had been printed back to front so I had to read it backwords,no problem, Jackie Clyde was a good friend of my brother,William. Ihave a photograph taken when Jackie w.as groomsman at my brothers wedding. Thank you once again for a wonderful book.
Jane August 20, 2022 — Post author
Thank you so much for getting in touch! It’s lovely to hear from people who knew Jack personally. I’d love to see that photo!
Where did you get your copy of the book from? That’s not a problem I’ve encountered anywhere else! If you can let me know I’ll try to resolve the issue with the publisher. I know Amazon sometimes ‘print on demand’ rather than selling hard copies.
Keith Meloy May 8, 2023
Dear Jane, I have enjoyed reading your piece about the Handley Page Halifax. I agree that it is unfairly maligned and became a very fine aeroplane. I was disappointed by your denigrating remarks about the looks of the Avro Lancaster. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but the Lancaster is a magnificent looking beast. I think you do your argument a disservice by making a sarcastic comment about it.
I look forward to reading your piece on LMF. I have been fascinated by PTSD and the Historical treatment of it, for many years, having nursed many traumatised veterans. I am very pleased to have stumbled over your work.
Kind Regards, Keith Meloy.
Jane May 8, 2023 — Post author
Thanks for taking the time to read the blog Keith. Glad you enjoyed it. The comment regarding the Lancaster was tongue-in-cheek. Hope you found the pieces on LMF of interest too!