Ken Howe: The Man Behind the Words

Regular readers will be familiar with Ken Howe’s trademark wit and warmth through his columns in TW11. Last month we proudly published Teddington TW11 – A Collection of Local History Articles to coincide with Teddington Together’s local history trail. The book brings together Ken’s magazine articles over the past eight years, showcasing his ability to educate and entertain, and taking readers on a journey to the Teddington of old. 

Familiar to many in the area, Ken has lived in Teddington all his life. He started to take a serious interest in local history when he became “too old to be knocked around the park every Saturday playing rugby”, as he puts it. After joining the History Section of The Teddington Society and the Borough of Twickenham Local History Society, he spent countless hours in the Local Studies Library, digging into old files and books to research Teddington’s history. 

It’s clear that Ken’s many years of work and dedication to the subject have been a labour of love that’s given him great satisfaction, but what about the man himself?

We asked him to share a few details about his own life: 

• Ken spent his career in the insurance business: “It was something I drifted into after being blocked on going to Teacher Training College, although I suppose it was the right move in hindsight.”

• He lives with his wife, Teresa, plus “a very scheming cat, Felix, who is the real owner of the house.” An army of nephews and nieces keep them busy and, admits Ken, “it’s hard work keeping up with them all!”

• History – particularly local history – has always been a very keen interest of Ken’s and one that has grown over the years: “Fortunately my wife has always shared this interest, which has avoided some confrontations,” he quips.

• Ken started writing about Teddington history with friends of The Teddington Society and produced “Teddington Past and Present” in 1994. Since then, he has had several picture books published – his last major work was “Edwardian Teddington” where he edited the journal of a lifelong Teddington lady.

• His pet subject was the Bronze Age Barrow in Sandy Lane, leading to a paper being published in 2005 and culminating in the siting of a Teddington Society Local History Plaque in 2018.

• Ken’s favourite spot in Teddington is Bushy Park, even though, as he points out, most of it is actually in the parish of Hampton. “It’s always been my playground, since childhood. After breakfast I would call for my friend Mick next door and we would wander off to the park and not return until tea-time.”

It’s great to hear that Ken has no intention of hanging up his storytelling hat anytime soon. “I have met many wonderful people in the course of writing my articles, all of whom have contributed something towards the quality and continuity of my work…Thank you all. I love meeting and talking to you and acting on what you have to tell me. Keep the stories coming.”

Teddington TW11 A Collection of Local History Articles 

Priced £12.99 and available at Teddington Waterstones, The Loft on Broad Street or via www.twmagazines.co.uk. Find out more here!

A note from the Editor

There are a great many things to consider when publishing a book. Although we already had the content covered, it required some specialist knowledge to co-ordinate the flow of the pages and ensure the layout worked in book form. I entrusted this role to Christina and Mary from Teddington-based The Word Sanctum, which specialises in copywriting and content creation for small businesses. Here’s how they helped: 

“Before we started our copywriting business, we worked as journalists and editors on magazines, so being involved with this project was a step back in time for us in more ways than one! 

“We were thrilled to be asked to lend our editorial skills to the production of the book, casting an eye over the content and layout of the pages. We were also able to offer advice about the book’s Foreword, Introduction and synopsis – whilst not the main content, these are important pieces of writing that need careful consideration. 

“More often than not, these days we use our skills to support small businesses by writing or editing content for their websites, social media, blogs, press articles and more. We’re big believers in the importance of writing copy that’s easy to understand; words that reflect a business’s brand, communicate clearly to their intended audience and help grow their business. 

“We’re well aware of the pressures and budget constraints small independent traders are facing, which is why we also offer affordable advice and coaching sessions that help businesses create their own content.

“It’s been fascinating being involved in the book project, time-travelling and learning about the place we thought we knew so well. Ken’s knowledge of the subject shines through his words, and we enjoyed the opportunity to find out a little more about the man himself.”

www.thewordsanctum.co.uk 

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