This blog began as a place to organise my thoughts in advance of writing a PhD research proposal. and as such is full of half-formed theories, photos and maps, lots of maps. Having now begun my PhD, it’s still for half-baked theories and diatribes, but also some of my research (although categorically not anything formal or fully thought-through!), plenty of Black Country History, and probably lots and lots of pictures of canals, which is my best and favourite thing.
My name is Simon Briercliffe. Yes, that is an odd name. Although I’ve ended up doing a PhD in History, I’m not really a historian by background. After being convinced that a life in university administration is perhaps not the most fulfilling thing one can do, I took an MA in urban geography at King’s College, London in 2009/10. I came out of that with the realisation that not only does history not mean much without geography, but that geography – particularly human geography – doesn’t mean a lot without history. Every place is a product of its past, and apparently I find it all fascinating, so much so that I’m undertaking a PhD at the University of Birmingham with a working title of “The Stafford Street area of Wolverhampton c. 1800-1871: space, demography and ethnicity.” So: if you have any interest at all in: the history of the Black Country; Wolverhampton; working-class housing; slums; nineteenth-century social history; space, place and landscape history; immigration history, particularly Irish to England; or anything else really, do get in touch.
I’ve written quite a bit on here by now, but there’s a couple of useful starting points:
- Series on so-called “slums” of the Victorian Black Country summed up here
- Irish immigration history and its modern context, and a series on Irish migration to the Black Country
- Maps and how they mess with your head
- Henri Lefebvre and ‘social space’. [Lefebvre’s ideas as laid out in The Production Of Space (1974) form the theoretical backbone to my research]
- My posts on the BAVS research blog: Wolverhampton and the urban text; and Maps, Modernity & False Economies
Linked In my profile