Delgado, Alan

About the author

Alan Delgado (1909–1983) is probably best known in equestrian circles for his work with the Pony Club Annual, but he also wrote at least one pony book.

He was born in London, and most of his working life was spent in publishing and printing. His father, Gershom Delgado, was a director (and possibly owner) of a publishing company. When Gershom Delgado applied for the Freedom of the City of London in the Company of Stationers in 1927, he described himself as a fine art printer and publisher. I haven’t yet been able to trace the name of the company, but it appears that Alan worked for his father. In the 1939 census, Gershom was described as the director of a publishing company, and Alan as an assistant editor. It’s likely that this was his father’s company, though I can’t be absolutely certain.

During WW2, he served in the Royal Artillery, ending his service as a captain.

The first Pony Club annual appeared a few years later, in 1950. Whether Delgado worked on that isn’t clear. The first two editions have no editor stated; three and four are produced by Alan Delgado Ltd, and all editions after that (five to fourteen) are edited by Alan Delgado. He was though the first stated editor of the Pony Club Book/Annual, and edited or produced at least twelve of the fourteen editions of it until it hit a bit of a hiatus in 1963.

Delgado wrote as well. He contributed short stories to several annuals, including two on Uncle Torquil and one set in a London reliant on horse transport. One of these was to an annual he himself edited, but the other two were in the Genevieve Murphy era.

His non-fiction included Introducing Ponies, which was one of the constant companions of my childhood. My step grandparents found me a copy at a jumble sale, and I knew every page, every black and white photo.

He wrote several books for children, among which was one pony book, Hide the Slipper, aimed at younger children. His other books included social history (A Hundred Years of Medical Care; The Enormous File: The Social History of the Office) and books on printing (Printing; The Print Buyer’s Handbook).

Finding the books
Hide the Slipper isn’t the easiest of books to track down, and can be more expensive than you’d expect for a pony book. Introducing Ponies is surprisingly variable in price. Tracking down all the Pony Club Books and Annuals isn’t impossible, and they are well worth the effort.

Dustjacket of Hunt the Slipper

Bibliography (pony books only)

Hide the slipper

Brockhampton Books, Leicester, 1963, illus Edward Lewis
Brockhampton Books, Leicester, 1964

The sequel to the (non-pony) The Very Hot Water-Bottle, this story features Mike and Caroline, but mostly Caroline. They go to stay in Suffolk, and meet a pony called Slipper who is going to be sold at a market. Caroline is determined to prevent this by hiding Slipper away until the sale is over.

Non fiction

Introducing Ponies
Spring Books, 1961
Golden Pleasure Books, 1963

The Pony Club Annual/Book nos 3–14
Naldrett Press, 1950–1963

It’s possible AD edited and/or produced the first two annuals, but there’s nothing stated in either one.

Short stories

The Cart Before the Horse, illus Monica Walker
The Pony Club Book no 10
A clash of cultures: Sid and his pony Beetle meet well-off Angela in a story set in a London reliant on horse transport.

 Uncle Torquil, illus Helen Collins
The Pony Club Annual 1966
Uncle Torquil is determined to buy a horse, despite the many reasons it might be a bad idea.

 Uncle Torquil Again, illus Helen Collins
The Pony Club Annual 1967