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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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. …

Reading the landscape

Read most economic histories of Britain and you'll get a strong sense that the Black Country made its name, wealth and population based on the extractive industries, and that as easily accessible resources were found elsewhere in the country in the first half of the nineteenth century, the region went into decline. It's certainly true that iron and coal …

Wordsley glass

The map of the Stour Valley in 1750 posted by Distinctly Black Country last week is another excellent example of the differentiation between BC towns that made it such a distinctive environment (compared to say, Burnley, which like the rest of the region around it were massively dominated by one industry). The glass quarter in Stourbridge (well, …