Righteous Among The Nations

I often walk the dog in Mary Stevens Park, in Stourbridge, and walk through the grand, now-restored gates. This morning though, it was a plaque on the wall to the right of the gates that caught my eye. There's a tribute there to one Frank Foley, a Devonian by birth but one who died in …

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The good death of Lawrence Britcliffe: reflective microhistory

This is a summary of the last five posts on the life and death of Lawrence Britcliffe of Cliviger, Lancashire. You can read about the sources and inspiration for these posts here; about Lawrence's birth, life and religious trials here; about his murder of John Hindle and subsequent escape here; about his trial and incarceration …

Walkies

Just a quick one to say a massive thank you to everyone that came out on a bright - but chilly - Saturday to have a walk around one of the less glamorous parts of Wolverhampton this weekend. Thanks too to Wolverhampton Art Gallery for organising it. I had a fantastic time wandering around the remains …

“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 …

Don’t read below the line

Controversy de la semaine around these parts comes in the wake of the increasingly-popular Black Country Festival. This sort of thing is a great idea - fostering a bit of community spirit can only be good for morale amongst a particularly under-employed, under-paid part of the country, and encouraging people to make use of their local areas …

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, …