Josephine Butler and spaces of reform in Winchester

There ought to be a word for the mixture of thrill and dread that comes with hearing someone talk about your home town on the radio or TV. Coming from Winchester, it's usually dread that someone in red cords is suggesting feeding the poor to their rare-breed pheasants or something. In fact (of course) the town is, …

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The Other immigrants of Carribee Island: Wolverhampton’s Jewish community 2

This post follows my first on the early Jewish community in mid-19th century Wolverhampton, last week. We explored the Bernsteins who lived at 64 Canal Street, and the opening of the Fryer Street Synagogue, Wolverhampton's first permanent such building. By 1871, I can't find the Bernsteins in the Canal Street area, but I can find others I …

“Slums” of the Black Country: The Mambles, Dudley

A young girl in the Flood Street area of Dudley, 1954. Image from Alamy (click for link to buy)

I've had a wonderful time speaking on my research at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Archives recently - I've met tons of new people, heard anecdotes and stories and generally had a ball. I was discussing Carribee Island, a site of extremely poor housing, poverty and job insecurity, criminality (perceived, at least) and a very dense …