Publishing three books alongside running a successful agriculture contracting business is not something many can say they have done, but the hard work from William Alderson, of Grange Farm, has certainly paid off.

Now based at Girsby, Darlington, in William’s ‘working days’, he was well-known for being the driving force behind WR Alderson Contracting Services, but he’s now into retirement and some new skills have come his way. And what a success he has made from writing books, already having published three.

“Writing was something that always engaged with me and something I always enjoyed, it is a great pleasure to write about personal daily traits,” said William. “My father was an agricultural contractor specialising in threshing. Threshing machines are still in existence having now passed down to younger men, who never actually witnessed a threshing day. Many of these younger chaps do not understand all the complexities of setting and running a threshing machine.

“So, I felt that those of us who had taken part in this job should put some of our experiences down on paper for future generations. From that I found a publisher who was sympathetic to the idea and so the publication went ahead,” added William, whose ‘Threshing days’, published by Japonica Press, is on retail sale at £9.99.

The Scottish Farmer:

The first book William published was “Threshing Days”

He didn’t stop there. After his first book being a real hit, William went for his second book entitled ‘Post-War land drainage’. “As the threshing work was declining at the end of the 1950s, my father looked for alternative work. The path he chose was to start a new business with land drainage being the mainstay.

The Scottish Farmer:

William's second book entitled “Post War Land Drainage”

“This book charted our progress from a stuttering start in 1960, charting the mistakes and problems we encountered along the way, up to 1972 when we ran four Allen Trench Diggers, three Priestman excavators, a Track-Marshall bulldozer and many tractor-based hydraulic diggers,” said William. This book was published by the same publisher and you can grab this book for £14.95.

His third book is on the history of the development of balers and bale handling equipment, named ‘Balers and bale handling equipment’, again from Japonica Press, A4 size in hardback, and priced at £26.95.

The Scottish Farmer:

The history of the development of balers and bale handling equipment is told through “Balers and Bale Handling Equipment"

“This was my biggest project, beginning with the early hay presses in the United States in the 1880s. The First World War was an interesting period with, in excess of 1m horses in France all to be fed on hay grown in this country.

“The stationary balers continued in production until the 1950s by which time pick up balers were becoming popular. I then move on to look at the development of the big round baler and finally the big square machines,” said William.

Although once the book is written, that is not the job done, it still requires marketing to sell, and although the publishers do their bit, William also puts a power of work in.

“In normal years, I attend local shows and vintage working events, with my card table and books for sale, this year I have hardly been able to sell a book. It has been a very tough year, but we just have to hope for some sort of ‘normality’ again soon, and for the meantime hope everyone stays safe.

“In the current situation, if you can’t meet up with one another, buy each other a book,” concluded William.