by Glenn Adams
I created this website to recognise and showcase Chris Butterfield's role in generating interest and bringing new people to Alfred Wainwright and his work.
I first became acquainted with Chris when he married my sister-in-law Priscilla. I only got to know Chris sometime later when I innocently asked about a neatly presented set of books in his study on a visit to their house in Scotland. Three hours later, Chris was still answering the question and displaying his immense passion for a long-departed author! Three years later, that small collection of books has grown into a full-blown archive, and Chris has grown in equal measure, fueled by his Alfred Wainwright passion.
Chris is not from the Wainwright generation and never actually met the great man whose work he now champions. However, this is never obvious because he has a unique way of telling AW stories that bring the great man and his work to life! Chris brings enthusiasm and passion to all things Wainwright and has that special ability to inspire others to acquire the same. Chris has also helped make AW collectable again and brought new relevance to AW's work by acting on his belief that it is deserving of a new audience.
His most significant success has arguably been creating the Alfred Wainwright Books & Memorabilia (AWB&M) group, of which I am proud to be a member. Andrew Nichol, who was Wainwright's publishing manager at the Westmorland Gazette and a close friend of the author, recently posted on the group that, for him, Chris now carries the Wainwright torch, having exceeded all his expectations in keeping the interest in Wainwright alive for the next generation.
But Chris is not doing this alone.
As a regular reader of the AWB&M group posts, I know that the group's success is as much down to the fantastic participation of its thousands of members, many of whom are as passionate about AW and his work as Chris is.
Another vital ingredient has been the group's patrons. You know who you are! The Wainwright luminaries who've not only been prolific advocates of the group but have also actively encouraged and supported Chris. Whether that's been by sharing your stories of working with AW, donating AW artefacts to Chris’s archive or giving him the platform to spread the AW word via your websites, magazines, newspapers, films and podcasts. Chris knows he would not have achieved what he has done without your support and encouragement. This support has also influenced his recent decision to step back from his engineering day job and devote his time to the growing demands of his Wainwright journey. AW would undoubtedly be proud of what Chris is doing to get a new generation interested in his work.
On the 30th anniversary of Wainwright's passing, Chris launched an eponymous website to chronicle the great authors' book-related publishing and printing history. Chris's Wainwright journey is approaching its 4th anniversary, so I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to gift him a website to showcase highlights of the journey so far.
So here it is.
I hope you (and Chris) enjoy viewing the content as much as I've enjoyed pulling it together. Don't forget to bookmark the site or, even better, add it to your favourites!
Photo by Mark Richards