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David & Charles (also David and Charles) is a publisher whose aim is to inspire, inform and connect communities passionate about their leisure interests and hobbies. The company was founded - and is still based - in the market town of Newton Abbot, in Devon, UK, on 1 April 1960 by David St John Thomas and Charles Hadfield. It first made its name publishing titles on Britain's canals and railways. In Newton Abbot, the company was based in the old railway station building and as the business expanded they took over the locomotive shed for use as a warehouse.

During the early years D&C became particularly renowned for its classic books on the railways and canals of the UK. Since then David & Charles has expanded into many new areas; however this heritage has continued with recent books such as Memories of Steam.

In 1971, David & Charles bought Readers' Union, a group of book clubs catering to enthusiasts of needlecraft, gardening, equestrian pursuits and photography. D&C's publishing programme began to reflect these subject areas, moving away from the traditional transport titles for which it had become famous.

In 2000, David & Charles was acquired by F+W Publications (now F+W Media), a leading US publisher of special interest books and magazines. F+W's audiences include genealogists and family historians, graphic designers, fine artists, writers, crafters, quilters, photographers and woodworkers.

In 2002 F+W bought Krause Publications, adding the famous American publisher of collecting books to the family. Krause books are now also available in the UK and Europe through David & Charles.

In the summer of 2003 F+W acquired Adams Media, offering an even wider choice of books to the spectrum. Adams Media books are now also available in the UK and Europe through David & Charles.

David & Charles also distributes in the UK and Europe Reader's Digest books and the American list Dover Publications.

Over the years David & Charles has evolved to meet demands and new trends and the now publishes a wide range of practical, colour-illustrated books on leisure pursuits as well as gift and general interest titles that appeal to an international market. The company's book clubs have evolved into an online and mail order direct-to-consumer business, and its websites RUCraft and RUBooks sell books and products at prices competitive with most online retailers.

David & Charles celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2010.


Among the early titles were The Canals of the British Isles series, edited and often written by Charles Hadfield: he wrote in full or part, at least five of the volumes. Another series was the A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain (15 volumes); with the first volume written by David St John Thomas.

The Springburn, Glasgow, writer John Thomas was the author of a series of books on Scottish railway lines and railway companies first published in the 1960s and 1970s by David & Charles. John Marshall was another railway historian published by the company.

Although its range has expanded enormously since, the company still publishes railway titles such as Branch Line Britain.

Postal address: David & Charles Brunel House Forde Close Newton Abbot Devon TQ12 4PU


  • Anon. (1981). Good books come from Devon, the David & Charles twenty-first birthday book. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8139-3.  
  • Boughey, Joseph (1998). Charles Hadfield: Canal Man and More. Stroud: (Alan Sutton) Sutton Publishing in association with The Inland Waterways Association. ISBN 0-7509-1052-6.  

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