John Owen (Jo) SMITH

19 Kay Crescent, Headley Down
Bordon, Hampshire GU35 8AH
Tel 01428 712892

Subjects: History, biography, plays, poetry, short stories.

Services: Publishing, writing, lecturing, talksBookshop

Publications (self-published):–

'One Monday in November'The Story of the Selborne & Headley Workhouse Riots of 1830. Research done at the request of East Hampshire District Council in order to write a community play. Self-published in May 1993, broke even in October of that year and still selling well. Reviewed favourably in Writers News, Farming News, Local History Magazine and elsewhere-now a reference text for SEB exams.
Information also at

'RIOT!' (or 'This Bloody Crew')The script of the community play mentioned above. Performed at the end of October 1993 to full houses in Selborne, Bordon and Headley, and again in October 2002.

'Condemned' (or 'Not Fit to Live in England')A version of the same material, completely re-written for radio. Commissioned by the Alton & District Arts Council for broadcasting locally during their May Arts Week in 1994.

'All Tanked Up'The story of the Canadian regiments in Headley village during World War II. Self-published in May 1994 with markets identified as Canadian veterans visiting Europe for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, plus local sales. Broke even within 6 months. Best seller in Grayshott Bookshop for 2 months, and second-best seller there overall during 1994.
Information also at

Two commissions to mark the 1995 centenary of the National Trust:-

Flora Thompson in East Hampshire – Researched the periods of time the author of 'Lark Rise to Candleford' spent in Grayshott and Liphook for use in two further community stage plays and a book.

Information also at

Headley's Past in Pictures Researched and published in December 1999 the first of a planned series of books containing photographs of Headley parish in the first half of the 20th century, with historical notes.

Walks around Headley and over the borders – Published in July 2005, with illustrations, maps and historical notes.

Walks through History at the West of the Weald – Published in January 2007, with illustrations, maps and historical notes.

Walks from the Railway Guildford to Portsmouth – Published in October 2008, with illustrations, maps and historical notes.

Headley WebsiteMaintain historical information for Headley parish on my website at

Talks & LecturingAccredited lecturer for Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex WIs. Give regular talks to organisations, schools and societies in the area.
See further details
of my talks. I am available to speak most days, mornings, afternoons or evenings. Contact me for further details

Publishing – Research and publish books on the local history of an area surrounding Headley. For these and other books see my website at
For information on Self-Publishing see

Pantomimes and Plays – Twlve full pantomimes written and performed. Also two mini-pantomimes written and performed, on both local radio and stage. Also a number of historically-based plays. Information at

Poetry – Self-published four booklets of verse. Also produced Photo-Verse where a verse supports a photograph, or vice-versa-over 250 titles in stock list, including every major church in East Hampshire District (and there are 61 of them).

Poems accepted by: The Countryman, Poetry Digest, Weyfarers, Poetry Now and a number of anthologies.

Published Articles – Articles published in local history/genealogy magazines, and (relating to community plays) in Amateur Stage.

Short Stories – Own collection Never Ripe published in 2002.

Writers Courses & Circle Have run two 10-week writing courses, entitled 'Writing for Pleasure and Profit' and 'Pardon. My Slip', and have also organised Writers Circles (one specifically for scriptwriting) at the Phoenix Arts Centre in Bordon.

Literary Festival – Co-founder in 1995 of the Grayshott & Hindhead Literary Festival, 'a rural weekend for readers and writers' which ran until 2001.

Acting/Producing Organise and produce touring community plays (since 1993), and take to the boards myself from time to time.

Prior to all this:—

Born October 1942, Gerrards Cross, Bucks and brought up in Chalfont St Giles, Bucks

Traditional education to 'A'-level – Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe

BSc Degree in Chemical Engineering – Imperial College, London

Over 25 years in industry: papermaking, sales & distribution, marketing, computer systems management, consultancy (clients included: ICI, Procter & Gamble, Northumbrian Water, BOC, WH Smith, Grand Metropolitan)

Took redundancy package in 1994 and now concentrates full-time on writing, speaking and publishing.