Category Archives: environment

“Slums” of the Black Country: Anvil Yard, Cradley Heath

Not far from the Lye Waste lies the ancient manor of Cradley. At the first talk I gave at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in the summer, somebody mentioned to me that I ought to check out Anvil Yard. It turns out, the history of … Continue reading

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“Slums” of the Black Country: Waste Bank, Lye

The South Staffordshire coalfield defines the Black Country for many purposes, but as a culturally-defined region, its borders are highly porous. Wolverhampton is in or out, depending on who you ask; Walsall preferred to be out, at least in 1866. The … Continue reading

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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. … Continue reading

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“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 … Continue reading

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“Slums” of the Black Country: a tour of Willenhall

It comes as no surprise that our loquacious correspondent was a fan of the eminent art critic, writer and proto-environmentalist John Ruskin, whose prose was classically Victorian (read, excessively wordy). In his Birmingham Daily Post article of 11th June 1866, we are introduced … Continue reading

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“Slums” of the Black Country: Quarry Lane, Bilston

If there’s been some research into Carribee Island in the past, and a little into the Mambles in Dudley, there’s almost nothing to be googled on another of the Birmingham Daily Post’s ‘low-lights’ of the Black Country, the next in a series … Continue reading

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All the pieces matter

Disclaimer: I’m no expert on American history, not at all. I’m keen that any theory I want to study be portable though, so I’m attempting here to look at a TV series I’ve been re-visiting through a particular lens. No Black … Continue reading

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The Planner’s Eye

Heath Town Estate, Wolverhampton, by Smileyface on the Skyscraper City website. Click the pic for a link to some truly frightening pictures of the estate at its worst. Multi- and inter-disciplinary research is a major part of academia these days, and … Continue reading

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Taking the waters

The eighteenth century was, for many of the new middling sorts and gentry, the era of leisure. If you were very well-heeled of course, you had nothing to do but leisure, and the historical traces of Pensnett Chase, for instance, hark … Continue reading

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Great Dodford

In 2009 I cleverly broke my hip while cycling home from work. My recuperation was aided by a boxset of the first series of The Wire, a gift from work; we quickly purchased all the following series, essentially because it’s … Continue reading

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