It’s finally getting close to time for me to actually start my PhD. As I mention here, I originally set this blog up as a place to organise my thoughts for writing my thesis proposal, and we’re just about swinging round to a start date now. See below for thoughts on giving up paid employment:
So I’ll be getting back into the thought processes of the nineteenth century mind (don’t worry twentieth century, I still love you!). My research is on housing and immigration in industrial era Wolverhampton, and no doubt you’ll be hearing much, much more on this in the three years ahead. Hence the picture above: 1960s it may be, but look past the trolleybus for some clues (PS this post was inspired by this picture at Lost Wolverhampton).
The scene above looks along Westbury Street, just off Broad Street, Wolverhampton, in the days prior to the St Patrick’s Ring Road. This is a fairly spacious street and was home to the YMCA, who occupied the former Hickman’s and Mould Dairy (not sure I’d buy milk from Mr Mould…). On the corner of Whitmore Street is the Limerick Inn, and just out of shot by the further trolleybus is the Dan O’Connell pub. These (and the name of the ring road section, after the local Catholic church set up for their benefit) act as late reminders of the area’s original claim to fame – the home of Wolverhampton’s Irish community in the nineteenth century. In fact, the nice wide Westbury Street was a Victorian effort at urban regeneration, replacing the narrow and crowded courts and alleyways of the infamous Carbury Street and Caribee Island area, an archetypal, Dickensian slum. This was a neighbourhood notorious for its filth and criminality; I’ll be looking at what it was like of course, but also why – why it was like that, or at least why it was thought of like that.
I’d be thrilled to hear from anyone with any connection to the area then, or any other historians into their housing or immigration history. I know, it’s a thrill a minute round here!