In 1995 Philip Atkins and Michael Johnson had the idea to create a guidebook to Oxford, featuring a dodo. They not only wanted to write and illustrate the book, but to do the design, typesetting (using typefaces created by Michael), publishing, marketing, and sales themselves. In 1999 Dodo Publishing launched The Heart of Oxford.
The Heart of Oxford only dealt with Oxford’s academic centre, based around Radcliffe Square. In 2005 they published The Dodo Guide to Oxford, which extended coverage to the whole city. It was later renamed The Pocket Guide to Oxford and is now in its eighth edition.
Sadly, Philip passed away in 2009. In 2010 A Dodo at Oxford, which had been in proof shortly before Philip’s death, was published. It is the unreliable account of a student and his pet dodo.
Michael continues the business under the name of Oxgarth Press. Various postcards, bookmarks, fridge magnets, prints, and greetings cards, have since been added to Oxgarth’s range of products, and in 2019 Alice’s Alphabet Book was published.