Category Archives: History

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, … Continue reading

Posted in Black Country, History, Politics, Public History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Pragmatism not idealism

keeping in contact with old friends It was twenty years ago today, went one of the contenders for greatest album ever. It was twenty years ago today since I and my friend Nathan made the eager after-school trip to MVC … Continue reading

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Josephine Butler and spaces of reform in Winchester

There ought to be a word for the mixture of thrill and dread that comes with hearing someone talk about your home town on the radio or TV. Coming from Winchester, it’s usually dread that someone in red cords is suggesting … Continue reading

Posted in Hampshire, History, Space | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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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 … Continue reading

Posted in History, Irish, Migration, Wolverhampton | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Coming over here, taking our jobs…

Crowds of miserable Irish darken all our towns. The wild Milesian features, looking false ingenuity, restlessness, unreason, misery and mockery, salute you on all highways and byways… He is the sorest evil this  country has to strive with. So wrote the great crusading reformer … Continue reading

Posted in History, Irish, Politics, Representation | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments