Author Archives: simonbriercliffe

Distance and Strangeness: the murder of Anne Spencer

I sometimes feel like I’ve spent the last three years trying to figure out my place within history. I still feel like there’s probably a huge mountain of scholarship that I’ve completely missed, but in general I’m starting to work out … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, Everyday Life, History, Maps, PhD, Sources, Space, Staffordshire, Wolverhampton | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Telling family stories

As part of my research I will inevitably have to tell you some family histories. I say have to – it’s a vital, fascinating and relevant part of my research. But have you ever had someone try to tell you their … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, History, Irish, Maps, Migration, PhD, Sources, Wolverhampton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

St Patrick’s Day, 1873

Today is, of course, St Patrick’s Day, and no doubt pubs across the country will be celebrating this typically alcohol-soaked celebration with a wide range of inflatable shamrocks, green top hats, and “kiss me I’m Irish” t-shirts. I tend to think … Continue reading

Posted in Irish, Wolverhampton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Clay miles: Henry Doulton in the Black Country

On the North Worcestershire Path, not far from Iverley, there is a broken water pipe lying to one side of the track. It’s a bit forlorn, but clearly a very nice thing: it’s glazed, and the makers have taken the trouble … Continue reading

Posted in Birmingham, Black Country, Canal, History, industry, Public Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Righteous Among The Nations

I often walk the dog in Mary Stevens Park, in Stourbridge, and walk through the grand, now-restored gates. This morning though, it was a plaque on the wall to the right of the gates that caught my eye. There’s a … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The desi dialectic

Recent blog posts have been a little sparse, and that’s mostly a function of learning to be a freelancer – sometimes, apparently, work comes in thick and fast and leaves little time for much else. However, it has it’s upsides: … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, Irish, Migration, Wolverhampton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Country Irish: lies, damned lies and statistics

We’ve had a quick look at some of the stories and statistics behind the Irish in the Black Country, particularly focusing on the census data for 1851. Data is an essential part of the story, but it is just a part. … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, Irish, Quantitative data | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

That particular articulation of social relations which we are at the moment naming as… Doulton Brook

A break from the Irish this week. I’ve been mostly reading Doreen Massey this week – if you’re not familiar with her she’s an urban geographer of major importance, who died earlier in the year (2016 striking again). She was … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, History, Housing, Space, Stourbridge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Black Country Irish: Willenhall

The rule of thumb with any sort of migration, especially when looking at the industrial era, is the larger the town, the greater the gravitation pull. Thus, London drew from all over the country, Birmingham pulls mostly from the Midlands counties, and … Continue reading

Posted in History, Irish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Country Irish: Oldbury

The 1881 census records just under 200 people living in the parish of Oldbury, then in Worcestershire, but having been born in Ireland. The census is of course a snapshot, and that’s particularly true of the newly-transient working class of … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, Irish, Wolverhampton | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment