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So how many tailors were there in Leeds on the brink of WWII?

It’s been another roller coaster of a month here at Four Colman Getty. 

First we had the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, the UK’s leading non-fiction prize, which was awarded to San Francisco-based author and journalist, Steve Silberman.  His book, Neurotribes, The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently is, amazingly, the first popular science book to win the prize in its 17 year history. In awarding Steve his £20,000 cheque, chair of judges, Anne Applebaum described Neurotribes as a ‘tour de force of archival, journalistic and scientific research’.  It’s a humbling read and well worth it.

Hot on its heels and every bit as exciting was the online launch of The 1939 Register.  I’ve been mentioning this for a while in the build up to the launch from Findmypast in association with The National Archives.

Details of a staggering 41 million people were recorded in one day on the eve of WWII to give the most comprehensive survey of the population of England and Wales ever taken, a nation on the brink of war.

It was an irresistible news story, with coverage ranging from the tabloids to the broadsheets, on TV, radio and online, to the regions and overseas…  How many tailors were there in Leeds on the brink of the war?  What was the major occupation of women in 1939?  How many couples were divorced as war broke out? (hint – very many fewer than today!) 

It’s a fascinating archive and well worth checking out on

I talked last month about Four Colman Getty’s growing focus on cultural regeneration and this month has seen a particularly interesting example of that. Through our Four practice network we were asked to work on the launch of the Foundation for FutureLondon, the new charity created to deliver the London 2012 legacy vision of Olympicopolis. 

The project will see a new cluster of world-leading arts, education and cultural institutions including Sadler's Wells, the V&A, UCL and the London College of Fashion, which will work in tandem with east London's existing thriving cultural and education scene for the benefit of everyone who lives in the surrounding area. 

The project is truly Olympic in scale - it will create 3,000 jobs, attract 1.5 million visitors a year, and deliver a £2.8 billion boost to the economy of Stratford and the surrounding area.

The launch itself took place, fittingly, at the Olympic Stadium, where London mayor Boris Johnson and key figures from the delivery of the Games handed over the baton to Sir Bill Castell, the new chair of the Foundation. This is set to be one of the most important regeneration projects ever undertaken in Europe, and with £45m of private pledges already received, it's off to a flying start.

For the first time ever we broadcast The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction winner announcement live via Periscope - a live streaming app for iOS and Android devices which was acquired by Twitter in March this year. Periscope's live feeds can be shot from iPhones and iPads and watched through smartphones, desktops or laptops either through the app or on Twitter's site for up to 24hours after the event.

Twitterbooks (4 million followers) promoted and pushed out the Samuel Johnson messaging about the livestream as did we, across the Samuel Johnson Prize social media channels.  

Almost 100 people tuned in to watch the event live - which is a good number given the infancy of this new channel. Periscope offers a good opportunity for growth and we plan to utilise this across more of our client campaigns during 2016.

Our events team at Four Colman Getty is increasingly working with other practices within the group and this month saw a pretty special event when we worked with One&Only Resorts to unveil the luxury Marie France Van Damme ‘City to Resort’ collection. It was a somewhat different event from our usual press conferences and formal dinners and all the more fun for that!

I was very proud that Four Colman Getty was involved this month in the inaugural Rising Global Peace Forum. Given the current developments in the Middle East, it was very timely that the city of Coventry hosted this along with Coventry University and Coventry City Council, to celebrate Coventry Cathedral’s key role as a global centre for peace and reconciliation since the bombing of WWII.

Speakers included Hilary Benn MP, Gordon Brown, Terry Waite and Samuel Jonson Prize shortlisted author, Emma Sky. We worked closely on the delivery of both media and social media comms for the event, which we hope will push forward new ways of thinking about peace and conflict in our turbulent world.

To end on a brilliant piece of news, I’m delighted to let you know that the Samuel Johnson Prize has just signed a new sponsorship deal with Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford, who will be sponsoring the prize for the next 5 years (or more).  This is a really exciting time for the prize, which will henceforth be known as ‘The Baillie Gifford Prize’. The additional funding will give us huge scope to expand the prize and build its profile both nationally and internationally. I for one can’t wait to see what the future has in store.      

That’s all for this month and indeed until 2016 so I wish you all the best for a very happy and peaceful festive season – and a prosperous 2016 to come.

All best 



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