Welcome Shed of the year 2011 judge – Gordon Thorburn

I launched readersheds.co.uk in July 2001 and 2011 will be a special shed year as its the tenth anniversary (maths is my strong point) of readersheds and will be the fifth of shed of the year competition.

So Iam very happy to announce that the shedfather of modern shedism Gordon Thorburn has agreed to be a judge for Shed of the year 2011.

Gordon preparing for judging

As all sheddies know Gordon is the man behind the best selling shed bible Men and Sheds (which was published in Oct 2002), it’s been the “go to” tome for all things sheddie since it was launched, and I have four copies (given to me over the years as various Xmas presents), plus a signed one from the man himself! and I always find myself going back to it for shed inspiration.

I believe he is working on a follow up to Men and Sheds to help bring shedism into the 21st century (more on that soon) so look out for some of the Shed of the year winners in that I would think.

Anyway welcome to Gordon and hopefully he will be able to bring his shed knowledge and wit to the already bustling panel of judges for Shed of the Year 2011, including Sarah Beeny & Simon Mayo.

Gordon Thorburn

…is the legitimate child of Hrothgar Tørbjorn, Swedish air ace, whose Volvo night
fighter was mistakenly shot down over Dewsbury. Hrothgar sold his parachute and
married Ivy Milburn, a Geordie ice-cream girl and exotic-dance understudy, in a
private ceremony at Leeds City Varieties.

As a boy, Gordon was keen to be a bought ledger clerk with the Assembly of the
Free Churches of Scotland but his father wanted him to be a poet or sculptor. As
a compromise, Gordon enrolled at the Kirkstall Lane Temperance College to learn
black-pudding knotting. He supplemented this with a course in participle dangling
then ran away to London to be indentured to the advertising legend S H Benson,
gent., as an infinitive splitter (hot metal).

After two years’ trying to think of a different way of saying ‘Guinness is good for you’,
Gordon joined McCann Erickson where he became known as ‘The Nine out of Ten
Copywriter’. Phrases he coined there included ‘The Esso sign appertains to happy
motoring’, ‘A Double Diamond works quite well considering’, ‘Oh, Bisto’, ‘Hardly
anything acts faster than Anadin’ and ‘I’d like to buy the world a Jennings of

Gordon lived in Suffolk for 15 years, where shed enlightenment began to dawn but
was cut short by a large number of Essex people moving in and erecting fibreglass
Victorian street lamps in their gardens. After ten years in Appleby-in-Westmorland
smallholding and good-lifing, with many stone sheds, a bull pen and a barn, he’s now
back in Suffolk with his wife Sue. He is working on several new books, including one
about sheds.

More info

Its not just sheds that Gordon writes about here are some of this other stuff.

Published 2010
The Classic Allotment. March, Remember When/Pen & Sword
The Classic Herb Garden. June, Remember When/Pen & Sword
Travelling Art – Gypsy Caravans and Canal Boats. June, The History Press
Cassius – paperback edition, July, John Blake
Pubs and their history. October, Remember When

For 2011
Celebrity double biography (under pseudonym). February, John Blake
Remembering the High Street. March, Remember When
Me and My MG. Remember When

Currently working on The Wonder Book of Sheds also for 2011

Other books published
No Need To Die – Americans in RAF Bomber Command. July 2009, Haynes
Cassius, the true story of a courageous police dog. March 2009, John Blake
Animal Spy – undercover investigations into animal cruelty. Sept 2007, Vision
Bombers, first and last – WW2 with No IX Squadron, RAF. June 2006, Robson
Men and Sheds – October 2002, New Holland (140,000 copies sold)
Ghosted autobiography of undercover agent. Simon & Schuster, August 2001
43 Unsporting Moments, Village Cricket, The Appleby Rai, The Buxton Baths Murders – own

Awards London BISFA ‘Best Scriptwriter’, Los Angeles ITVA ‘Golden Reel’ (both for
video documentary about lack of treatment for kidney patients); Lakeland Books of the
Year, Jennings Prize (The Appleby Rai).

Newspaper and magazine articles and stories – many, including Art Review, Crafts,
The Independent, Yorkshire Post, Garden News, Garden Answers, Yorkshire Journal, Police Review,
At Home (medical journal), Golf Monthly, Whitbread Magazine, Yours, Plain English, FlyPast,
Armourer, Britain at War. American magazines Logbook and MAKE. Weekly humorous
column This world of ours in the Yorkshire Post.

You never know if you Share your shed for Shed of the year 2011, you could make it into Gordon Thorburn new shed book? (maybe).

By Andrew Wilcox

I love sheds Founder & judge of Shed of the year - Wilco writes mainly about sheds. About the blog Enter your shed into #shedoftheyear

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