In 1989 we went to the East Yorkshire Coast fishing town of Whitby for the first time. Like Bram Stoker in the previous century, I was completely enchanted by its narrow alleys and the sound of the sea. I was 29.
I was quite happy just soaking up the Dracula atmosphere [Stoker wrote it and based it there], when I stumbled across an old book shop called Cuvvins. Cuvvins had a huge section of childrens' annuals and in amongst them was... yes, .....a Project SWORD annual, which I proceeded to buy for around £2.95 [a must for the SWORD fan].
This was the first time I'd seen the SWORD Annual since owning one in 1968 and I was blown away. Up to this point all I could remember was that I'd had a load of SWORD toys as a kid. The Annual brought the whole thing back to life again and armed with it I set about trying to find out more.
A couple of websites and a blog later I am still learning twenty six years after getting that first SWORD Annual back.
On our latest trip to Whitby last weekend things came almost full circle. I didn't find another SWORD Annual but I did get a TV21 Annual from 1973. They're Like two book ends spanning the half-decade! Yet despite being called TV21 on the cover, I don't think there are any Gerry Anderson-related stories in my new annual at all!
In just six years the glories of Project SWORD, Thunderbirds, TV21 et al had faded into obscurity. What a sad end to an amazing Nineteen Sixties publishing phenomenon.