A retired college lecturer in engineering, Mike Mumford describes himself as a visual person with an insatiable appetite for both acquiring and sharing knowledge.
A book collector and seller for many decades, over the last few years Mike has produced ebooks on a wide range of subjects.
Those currently available include titles on racing cars, clothing, fishing, flying, lifeboats, science, telephones and weapons.
Mike spends considerable time researching his topics before selecting suitable illustrations for his ebooks and adding his own inimitable texts.
“My background is engineering, working for Rolls Royce as an instructor,” says Mike. “When I was made redundant by the company, I left to become a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Caernarfon Technical College.”
Mike divided his time between lecturing at the college and setting up his own business on Anglesey.
His grandmother had lived in Bull Bay and so Mike took the opportunity to convert the old Post Office into the Taurus Crafts Centre.
The shop stocked imported caneware, Welsh jams and honey, and jewellery made by a local silversmith.
When Mike designed and made his own Jigger and Jolley (a type of industrial potter’s wheel) for making pottery, Taurus Crafts Centre added plates, soup bowls and other stoneware to its range of products.
Another innovation was the production of token wall plaques. Made from terracotta, hand-pressed, hand-chased, biscuit-fired, waxed and burnished, Mike’s unique gifts were modelled on designs found in North Wales, including famous castles and bridges.
“By this time,” explains Mike, “we needed more space as we were selling wholesale. The shop business was sold in 1979 and we then found a rundown ex-dairy farm, with a 100-metre cow shed, ideal for full production pottery.”
With the increasing popularity of cheap holidays abroad, sales to tourists in North Wales dropped off and so in 1999 Mike started yet another new venture: Mumford Books.
Already the author of a softback book commissioned by Caernarfon Town Council – ‘The Millennium Town’ – Mike started selling both new and old books online.
His unflagging energy and creativity, combined with his engineering background and an interest in history, led to him creating his own ebooks, all fully illustrated and with only limited text because Mike – who is dyslexic – believes that “the right picture can replace a thousand words”.
The original Mumford Books website (for buying and selling old, hard to find, quality books) is due for a facelift, but Mike’s ebooks business has now got its own home here on Saturn Books.