Julie hails from a Cambridge town family of bakers, bus cleaners, booksellers and college bedders, and works independently as a social historian, author and micro-publisher.
Julie is available as a guest speaker on topics such as the history of Heffers of Cambridge, the history of labyrinths and mazes, haunted hostelries of Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire, and aspects of doings social history and publishing.
Her standard fee for delivering a talk in Cambridgeshire is £45 including travel. Separate charges apply for talks further afield. Julie can be contacted by email: email@example.com
Talks currently available:
’The Remarkable Story of Heffers of Cambridge, 1876-1999’
William Heffer started his bookselling and stationery business in 1876. By the 20th Century this family business had become a famous Cambridge institution and was known all over the world. Occupying the middle ground between ‘town and gown’, the Heffers shops became a haven for many Cambridge characters and eccentrics. Capturing the spirit of a past era of retail, publishing and printing, the talk portrays the character and style of the firm – its people, the premises, outings, parties and other special occasions, and the unexpected.
’The Curious History of Labyrinths & Mazes’
The curious history of mazes does not run in a “steady straight” line, but, instead, begins with the labyrinth: a simple motif that is no doubt familiar to us all. With its true origins still shrouded in mystery, the chronicle of the labyrinth, and more recently of the maze, spans the past four thousand years, taking many twists and turns. It is a truly fascinating social history. We will explore famous examples worldwide including local mazes at Hilton, Bourn and Saffron Walden.
‘Beer and Spirits: tales of sightings, sounds and sensations in our local haunted hostelries’
Ghost stories and strange happenings are an integral part of our folklore, in every city, town and village. In some places we feel a palpable sense of timelessness, of standing still, as though nothing has changed. We feel that people from the past are still with us. But of course, over the years people have come and gone, and communities have witnessed many changes. It seems inevitable that reported hauntings reflect our rich seam of history and often originate from well-known stories and legends that echo the past.
Background and publications
In April 2016, Julie was awarded a doctorate from the University of East Anglia after passing her viva with ‘no corrections’. Also, in 2016, Julie wrote and published an illustrated social history of Heffers of Cambridge, and in September 2017 was presented with a Local History Personal Award by the Cambridgeshire Association for Local History, for the Heffers publication.
In 2017/18, Julie wrote an illustrated popular history of labyrinths and mazes, entitled The Curious History of Mazes, for the US publisher, Wellfleet Press (out Oct 2018). She also assisted History Needs You with a 2018 Heritage Lottery funded Project for Gt. St. Mary’s Church, Cambridge, entitled ‘A Window on the War’. For this project, Julie’s curated a photographic exhibition about Cambridge women in Cambridge during WW1 and wrote an accompanying blog post, ‘It’s not knitting: Cambridge women supporting Belgian refugees 1914-18’
During 2018, Julie co-authored and published Beer & Spirits: Haunted Hostelries of Bedfordshire, with Trevor Bounford; a gazetteer of haunted public houses accompanied by an original ghost story. A Cambridgeshire edition is underway.
In 2016/17, having published the history of Heffers, Julie went on to project manage the third Cambridge History Festival on behalf of the Museum of Cambridge. In 2018 Julie volunteered at the Museum, helping out with collections on Monday mornings. She now helps out at the Cambridgeshire Association for Local History.
Julie lives with her husband, Trevor Bounford, in the village of Great Gransden, west of Cambridge. Trevor is a talented graphic designer and illustrated The Curious History of Mazes. Julie is the proud mother of George and Phoebe, two young people who are pursuing their careers in computer science and social care respectively. She is also proud and pleased to be step-mum to Ellie, Hannah and Felix.
Previously, Julie was employed at the University of East Anglia from 2005 to 2014 as a manager in public & community engagement and then as a research fellow. This nine year period followed nineteen years in local government and voluntary sector roles in Norfolk. She has extensive management and partnership experience in homelessness, social policy and criminal justice. In 2005, Julie instigated UEA’s Annual Community Engagement Survey and in 2007 she co-authored UEA’s successful bid to host a ‘Beacon for Public Engagement’ and subsequently managed the four year Beacon, CUE East, from 2008 to 2012.
After decades of labouring full-time on management reports, committee papers and such like, Julie is finding her own, more expressive, writing voice, particularly through her social history research and writing.
Julie’s voluntary activity over the past forty years has included the Samaritans, Cambridge Women’s Aid, Norwich Leeway (women’s refuge) and NORCAS (a charity helping people to overcome substance misuse and gambling addiction). She is a member of ARVAC ( the Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector) and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.