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 in the Brooks Centre in Winchester to buy Radiohead's brand new album, OK Computer. It was …

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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: Darlaston

I've ummed and aahed a bit about what to write about the Post's report on Darlaston. It's really the same old story: surface drainage, evils, abomination, bubbling and seething, stagnant, over-flowing, the cholera, back courts, and so on; there's not a lot to add compared to previous outrages at Oldbury or Bilston. Despite the fact that the journalist's …

“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 the environmental and biological costs of industrialisation in the town. For a quick overview of …

Land of my fathers

I've been reading Henri Lefebvre's Rhythmanalysis lately. I'm no expert on continental philosophy or cultural theory really, so I've enjoyed this - it's light and possible to read in an impressionistic sort of way, glossing over all the Bachelards and Nietzsches, the Objects and Subjects. Lefebvre's key ideas throughout his career were around the 'everyday' - the mundane, …

Empty space

Warning again: I'm going to be talking Black Country history a little further down, but I've been interested in what maps do and don't show, so the preamble is a bit... vague and theoretical. Maps are complex beasts. They show what they show, for reasons their makers choose, and the inclusions and omissions can define a district. …