Maps for the National Plan

Over December I was the very fortunate recipient of a book advent calendar from my lovely wife. I could rhapsodise about some of the books but to avoid losing the reader, I'll concentrate on just one. It wasn't a hint when I retweeted Otto Saumaurez-Smith, but also it wasn't subtle: WANT https://t.co/KMKWgGPu2q — Simon Briercliffe …

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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 …

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 Thomas Carlyle in 1839. Heroes of the Left like Friedrich Engels were little better: True, the …

The Other immigrants of Carribee Island: Wolverhampton’s Jewish community 1

My PhD research focuses on a small section of Wolverhampton town centre in the nineteenth century that was well-known - perhaps notorious, even - for it's substantial Irish immigrant population. "Carribee Island" and the "Stafford Street district" became by-words when any sort of unrest occurred amongst Wolverhampton's Irish. My cursory go at statistics so far …

“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 …

“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 …