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Civic Books was established as an imprint of Can of Worms Enterprises to publish books that celebrate and promote social engagement and social enterprises both locally and globally. It is an eclectic mix of titles.

Many of the titles are London based because Can of Worms likes to reinvest in its local community. The first title produced by Civic Books is a celebration and history of the Borough Market situated just down the road from Can of Worms at London Bridge. The Borough Market has been an active London market for over a thousand years. The subsequent Borough Market Cookbook was produced to champion and celebrate the producers who trade at the market for the provenance and their exemplary animal husbandry. The cookbook is unlike any you will have ever seen and was a winner of the prestigious Radio 4 Food Programme Cookbook of the Year. (It has its own site where you can get a flavour for its offerings. Click here to visit.)

Further down the Thames from London Bridge is the area of Tower Hamlets. In 2007, Can of Worms joined forces with SALIDAA (South Asian Arts and Literature in the Diaspora), Deesha, Toynbee Hall, and the Royal Literary Fund to support the local Bangladeshi community. In collaboration with local primary schools, Raj and Rajni, a children's book was created and distributed for free within the community and elsewhere.

The Letter from Death, is not strictly a Civic Books publication, but was an undertaking to provide distribution of this eminently important book in the UK.

In truth, all of Can of Worms imprints produce books that have some social benefit. Can of Worms Kids press titles support and encourage outdoor play for children, fight bullying, and promote science and engineering amongst young girls/women. Can of Worms Press makes Shakespeare's plays more accessible through full folio editions in graphic novel format. Click here to visit the Graphic Shakespeare website.

You can browse through the Civic Books titles below and click on any of the covers for more information. All are for sale through our online shop or via other online and bricks and mortars retailers.


"Moats uses death not as a threat, but as a prism through which to examine the most profound questions that confront the human race today." - from the foreword by Howard Zinn

To read more about this title click the cover image below:


How many have you killed in your beloved wars? And you call ME the "Grim Reaper?" What do you know of me? Nothing! Read on – you may never see me the same way again.

"... In her fourth book, Moats performs an astonishing feat. By imagining Death as a patient suffering entity fluent in human affairs, she broaches matters of daunting complexity with galvanizing directness. ... this clarion critique offers an arresting perspective on religion, our 'growing militarism,' our 'inexhaustible genius for denial,' and our paradoxical failure to nurture our best qualities. ... Moats has created a wise, unsettling, and beautiful book." – Donna Seaman, BOOKLIST


The Borough Market Cookbook was Sheila Dillon’s pick for the Radio 4 Food Programme’s Cookbook of the Year.


The book is the result of a wonderful collaboration of devotees of the market celebrating food and cooking. 101 plus recipes cover canapes, starters, main courses and signature dishes sourced from the producers and traders who are relentlessly passionate about their livestock and livelihood and for whom provenance is paramount.

To read more about this title click the cover image below:


Winner of the Radio 4 Food Programme Cookbook of the Year.

The Borough Market books have their own site at:


In The Pullen's Story, Roger Batchelor illustrates the development of the Pullen's Estate from 1879 to today with a passionate, informative tone. While growing up on the estate, Batchelor researched the development himself. 


Batchelor outlines the history of the estate's founders, architecture, important events, occupants who live[d] there, and companies within the yards. He writes, "Pullen's Estate is a very special place for me, and many others. I would like you to join me in celebrating this thriving community located in southeast London." 

To read more about this title click the cover image below:


Nestled behind Elephant & Castle in South East London is a gem of Victorian architecture. The Pullen's Yards is the home to Can of Worms Enterprises.


Prince Raj is a mischievous young boy who loves meeting different kinds of people. He's very kind and doesn't like to hurt anyone. His father, the mighty Raja Jiten, says he has to be a fighter, but Raj thinks fighting is cruel.

Princess Rajni is a beautiful, quiet girl who has to learn sword fighting because her father, the mighty Raja Niten, wants her to be a fighter. But Princess Rajni thinks fighting is wrong.

To read more about this title click the cover image below:


Raja Jiten and Raja Niten are fierce enemies and are going to have a terrible battle.

What can Prince Raj and Princess Rajni do to stop this dreadful battle?


The Accidental Birth of Military Medicine reveals the collaboration between the Army Medical Department and two major London universities that led to the creation of the first Army Medical School.

To read more about this title click the cover image below:


Using new research, Professor Miles unfolds details of the collaboration and gives a detailed history of the developing Army Medical Department, from the time of Waterloo, through the Crimean War, up until the founding of the Army Medical School at Fort Pitt, Chatham. The book pays special attention to key figures in the Army Medical School’s Development, including Sir James McGrigor, Florence Nightingale and Sir Andrew Smith, as well as charting the foundations of two major London universities, King’s College London and University College London.


Informative and engaging, Professor Miles’ ground-breaking book shows evidence of hushed activity between the government and the two universities that helped to develop and standardize the education of army medical officers. The Accidental Birth of Military Medicine brings to light the collaboration that revolutionized officer training and produced significant benefits in the armed forces for the first time in history.


Every village in London needs its own character and idiosyncrasies, and Southwark, perhaps more like a town than a village, has Pullens Yards with its diversity of handmade activities.


Any intelligent observer of community life will tell you that this is an extraordinarily valuable quality, and must be nurtured and cherished whatever the cost.

To read more about this title click the cover image below:


This book comprises 27 black and white images of the makers of ship and railway engine fans, musical instruments, surgical instruments, hats, brushes, a bookbinder, stonemason, calligrapher and catering equipment manufacturer. They provide a snapshot of the richness of commercial life—past and present—in Southwark. Borough Market, its producers and traders also feature, together with some images of longstanding Southwark residents.


A long proportion of the photographs are of craftsmen and women who occupy Iliffe and Peacock Yard’s—a part of the Pullens Estate just off the Walworth Road. These very special buildings (not currently listed) were built as artisans’ homes. The workshops arranged in “Yards” are linked to the flats adjoining them, an early precursor to the modern concept of live/work units. Many of the workshops still house artisans to this day, although commercial pressure and lack of investment threatens their continued existence. Other trades depicted here have simply been overtaken by events and no longer exist. Borough Market, despite being on its present site for almost 250 years, has recently witnessed a renaissance, with the development of a retail market—recently voted the UK’s “best market” by the Observer Food magazine.

Open For Business

Seeing things from a new angle.


“In order to teach people to see from new viewpoints, it is necessary to photograph ordinary, familiar things from completely unexpected angles and in unexpected positions”.


Alexander Rodchenko

To read more about this title click the cover image below:


This book provides a snapshot of the commercial life in North End Road, and surrounding streets in Fulham, London. It contains 36 black and white images of a range of small independent businesses, similar to those one finds in town and city alike all over the country. The story behind each picture is the antidote to the oft repeated cry that shopping places in the UK are becoming bland or “cloned”. Indeed, the businesses present in and around North End Road—retailing and services—represent a rich diversity, something that in turn promotes a very distinctive identity. Anchored as it is by its historic market, the street therefore plays a vital part in the retail offer of Fulham. For too long, areas like this have been neglected and branded as “secondary”. As Alexander Rodchenko said, it is necessary; “to teach people to see things from new viewpoints”. These photographs, published as they are at the same time as a major exhibition by Rodchenko that is showing at the Hayward Gallery, draw inspiration from his work.

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