About me

Caribee Island, Wolverhampton - the focus of my research. Picture and more information here: http://www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/people/migration/irish/caribee

Coles Croft,  one of the streets in the area that became known as Caribee Island, Wolverhampton – the focus of my research. Picture and more information here: http://www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/people/migration/irish/caribee

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:

Email me via Gmail or University of Birmingham
Twitter me @sbriercliffe
Academia My (sparse) profile

Linked In my profile

6 Responses to About me

  1. Hi, I have been waiting for some info on the Cracker for ages. As I recall, it was the actual limestone extraction plant that was called the Cracker. My Grandfather had a haulage business and he used to take me there in the 1960’s to collect loads, presumably of limestone. I can still recall the noise of rotating barrels which, again, were presumably sorting the various sizes of stone. I can also recall a small truck on rails being lowered into an entrance of some sort (a shaft?)and being pulled out full of limestone which was then tipped into the plant which seemed to tower above. So my recollection is that it was the plant that was called the Cracker but, of course, that may not be true. I think you can actually view it on the website Britain from Above. If you need any further info or thoughts from me, please contact me.

  2. I like everything about this blog.

  3. Pingback: The Cracker: reprise | Up The Oss Road

  4. Pingback: Using Lefebvre’s triad | Up The Oss Road

  5. Good work – thanks for sharing – I found you when searching for Pump Street, New Village, Bilston 1873 – birth place of my husband’s grandfather James Churm. After reading about the belated introduction of sewerage systems for Bilston I am guessing Pump Street was place of a communal water pump in a new estate – can’t find any references to it.
    It’s incredible that any baby born into these conditions survived and lived to follow Dad down pit. I don’t think washing hands was a regular thing. Poor baby James learning to crawl….
    Doing family tree has shown that living in a slum was common for the commoners. The Churms came from agricultural labouring in the green and pleasant Salop to Bilston. So did they build a workers paradise in the New Village?

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