Barnstaple, the main town in North Devon, is quite possibly the oldest borough in the United Kingdom and is home to a community rich in history, ambition and achievement. The town still preserves its medieval layout. Its wealth was derived from its licence to export wool, which was also later imported from Ireland. After its harbour silted up, the growth of other industries such as sawmills, foundries and shipbuilding were established. Its Victorian market still survives and the railway is still in much use. In Barnstaple & Around: The Postcard Collection, authors Denise Holton and Elizabeth J. Hammett explore the town and its surrounding areas through the use of beautiful postcards.
Denise Holton is a writer and local historian and has lived in North Devon for over 25 years. She worked for the Town Council for 16 years and was the manager of Barnstaple Heritage Centre for most of that time. Denise is interested in all aspects of history, but her specialist subjects include ancient history and the history of costume. She plays several musical instruments and enjoys watercolour painting. Elizabeth was born and educated in Barnstaple. Her ancestors have lived in the town for at least 150 years and in North Devon for centuries. She has been interested in history for as long as she can remember and has written several articles, as well as the previous book on Barnstaple's history with co-author Denise Holton. She has been a volunteer at Barnstaple Heritage Centre for 13 years. Her work there includes leading tours of Barnstaple and researching and writing about the town's history.