Touring ’bout my generations: a photo-essay

One of the best bits about a holiday is the journey home. We had a few very happy days in the Lake District last week, camping amidst glorious mountainous scenery, allowing our Patterdale terrier Maude to get overexcited by sheep, and reading lots of books. The journey up was grim - a vehicle fire in …

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Birmingham’s furthest outpost: Michel de Certeau and the strategies of Elan Village’s builders

 I was very fortunate recently to get to camp in one of the most beautiful spots in the country, in the Elan Valley, Powys. It's among the most sparsely-populated parts of the UK, falling within what John Henry Cliffe described as 'that great desert of Wales' as far back as 1860. Despite that descriptor, it's far from …

“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 coalfield knows no political boundaries either, stretching well into Worcestershire in the South (see this map Bob …

Tekkin’ the wammel up the cut: a landscape history

Cobbs Engine House and the Netherton Tunnel Branch Canal, by Stuart Hyde. Apologies firstly for the lack of recent posts, deadlines and yadda yadda. Happily, my most recent is just past, so I rewarded myself by taking the dog for a walk on the cansl (or as it's properly said, tekkin' the wammel up the cut). I lived …