David Renno was born in Hertfordshire and educated in London and Tunbridge Wells, Kent. On leaving school he returned to Hertfordshire and joined a computer company where he became a draughtsman after completing his apprenticeship.
David moved with his family to Hastings in 1973 and joined the local Hastings Motor Boat & Yacht Club. It was the club anglers talking about the various shipwrecks they fished, that sparked his interest to know more about local wrecks. This resulted in his book East Sussex Shipwrecks of the 19th Century being published in 2002 and his second book Beachy Head Shipwrecks of the 19th Century which was published two years later.
During his research into his first two books he came across a number of references to the Hastings, St. Leonards and Eastbourne Steamship Co. Ltd. He found that very little had been recorded about it and so started to look into its background and before long found himself writing his third book in 2008.
His first two books were also responsible for his next set of books on the commemorative plaques and tablets in Hastings & St. Leonards. David came upon the story of the death of a local fisherman in 1821, Joseph Swaine, at the hands of George England a local member of the Coast Blockade Service and was made aware of a plaque to this event on the wall of 4-6 Pleasant Row in Hastings Old Town.
Having had this plaque drawn to his attention he set out to find what other similar such plaques and tablets there were in the town. The result of his search was a series of three books entitled History on the walls or Hastings Town/…St Leonards/…Old Town Hastings covering over 120 of them.
One of the plaques was in respect of a James Rock who in 1822 started a very successful carriage building business in the town and went on to provide carriages for members of the royal family. In 1892 the business out-grew its premises at White Rock, Hastings and moved to Tunbridge Wells, Kent and in 1948 was bought by Caffyns Ltd of Eastbourne. It was such am interesting story to be told that David decided to write his latest book J. Rock to Caffyns Ltd – The Diary of a Hastings & Tunbridge Wells Royal carriage builder. The book covers the events of both the business and its owners throughout that 126 year period.
In 2011, having decided to try the game of lawn bowls, David attended a Hastings community based project to get involved in the sport. Like so many others before him he soon became addicted to the game which resulted in being invited to join the Alexandra Bowls Club based in the town’s picturesque Alexandra Park. It was reading the Club’s Honours Board in the pavilion that made him aware of the club’s history which goes back to 1893. The Alexandra Bowls Club was the first bowls club in the town and only the third in the county of Sussex. It was this information along with the many photographs and records of Annual General Meetings that inspired him to write a book about the Club’s development over the past 120 years, including its involvement in establishing the indoor game of bowls in the town.
And David’s next book? Now that he has retired who knows?