Slavery and the Black Country: coming home

We've recently looked at how deeply the trade in human lives was embedded in the financial and industrial creation of the Black Country, with roots running through almost every facet of life in the eighteenth century. But of course, slavery was not solely a distant project, enacted on continents and islands thousands of miles away …

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The Black Country flag and the uses of history (again)

In 1897, Robert Sherard published a collection of his Pearson's Magazine articles documenting the exploitation and suffering of the working men and women of Britain in some of the 'sweated' trades - he visited chemical works in Widnes, white-lead works in Newcastle, nailmakers in Bromsgrove, chainmakers in Cradley Heath, and more. The title, The White Slaves of England, has …

The Other immigrants of Carribee Island: “men of colour” in the 1860s

One of the most fun elements of my research to date has been trawling the British Newspaper Archive for references to my study area - mostly because you just never know what you might find. There's likely to be plenty of property sales, perhaps reference to the grand annual event which was the municipal licensing …

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 …