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 to brand it: Doulton. There are many industries that have a ready association with the …

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“Slums” of the Black Country: Gold’s Hill, West Bromwich

The Black Country is constructed not just upon topography but upon geology. Mines can only be built where there's something to mine; other sorts of works require proximity to those materials; infrastructure is built around, and to meet the demands of, the geology. The communities that build up around such environments therefore tend to be ad hoc, at the …

“Slums” of the Black Country: Eel Street, Oldbury

The Post's next community is one I'm loathe to try and explain in detail. Oldbury was infamous as one of the most polluted towns in the country - so much so that Dr Janet Sullivan recently completed a top-notch PhD thesis on the environmental and biological costs of industrialisation in the town. For a quick overview of …

Fens Pools

One of the advantages of a period of limbo between formally starting my PhD and a first supervision meeting is that I can take a little bit of time to hitch up the dog for some really long walks and explore the local area again (added bonus of completely wearing an insane puppy out here). …

Oxford Canal

Back in July I tweeted about a trip up to Stockport to collect some doors off an eBayer seller, and how I crossed no less than 16 separate bits of canal in one day. In fact, if I'd have taken the time to do this for the day before, I'd probably have equalled it - …

Saul Junction

There must be very few places on the waterways network that demonstrate so clearly the complete shift in use from industrial to leisure as Saul Junction. We swung by (a pun for ship canal enthusiasts there) on a sunny Sunday afternoon in July and were quite charmed - with cricket on the green and an ice cream walking …

Pottering

I'm just back from my hols from work, which mostly consisted of abortive DIY and collecting things to do the do it yourself myself, if you see what I mean. On Sunday we took a trip up to Stockport to collect some doors. Whilst there we set off seeking some history of my own - when …