The persistent Irish quarter?

My PhD research on the Stafford Street area of Wolverhampton finishes, pretty much, in 1877: the date that Parliament approved the Wolverhampton Improvement Scheme which led to the demolition of Carribee Island, the laying out of Princess Square and the new bit of Lichfield Street, and so on. I'm focusing at the moment on how …

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Slavery and the Black Country: coming home

We've recently looked at how deeply the trade in human lives was embedded in the financial and industrial creation of the Black Country, with roots running through almost every facet of life in the eighteenth century. But of course, slavery was not solely a distant project, enacted on continents and islands thousands of miles away …

The Black Country flag and the uses of history (again)

In 1897, Robert Sherard published a collection of his Pearson's Magazine articles documenting the exploitation and suffering of the working men and women of Britain in some of the 'sweated' trades - he visited chemical works in Widnes, white-lead works in Newcastle, nailmakers in Bromsgrove, chainmakers in Cradley Heath, and more. The title, The White Slaves of England, has …

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 what historiography is (I'm not a historian by background - everyone else just calls it 'the literature' …

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: whether through teaching, writing, researching or anything else I've been getting a tremendous overview of …