When I first started Up The Oss Road it was meant pretty much as a private blog, a space for me to arrange my thoughts while preparing a proposal for a PhD. On that basis, today would be the day I’d wrap it up because, excitingly, I officially start my PhD at the University of Birmingham today. It’s been very helpful not only to write down my thoughts, but also to see what interests other people, and it only goes to confirm my suspicions: what people care about is not always the big dramas or the big personalities, but the ordinary things of life and history that mean something to us.
I’ve been very grateful to everyone who’s commented here, linked to the site or even just looked at it, and I hope to waffle plenty more on a variety of different subjects. But what they all boil down to is that, despite Theucydide’s tower of political history dominating popular perception, what really matters is the nitty gritty of everyday life – to find out “wie es eigentlich gewesen“, how things really were, for ordinary people – and to work out what that all means.
So with that in mind, today I start by digging into the Black Country’s long disappeared slums, and asking “who lives in a house like this?” Simon: it’s over to me.