Slavery and the Black Country: collars and chains

Last week I looked at money: finance that filtered from Africa to Jamaica to Britain through the holdings of wealthy landlords such as the Earls of Dudley. This week I want to look at things: the industrial links that the Black Country had with enslavement and unfree labour. These are not easy to trace, just as …

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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' …

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 a radical, a feminist, an unorthodox Marxist, and one of the best at problematising what …

Legitimate concerns?

There's been a lot said in the last few days about migrants - how they should be listed and categorised, how people's "legitimate concerns" over influxes of labour should be heard, how funding should be changed so we don't have to invite so many, say, doctors to work here. I am not a migrant in …