Slavery and the Black Country: collars and chains

Last week I looked at money: finance that filtered from Africa to Jamaica to Britain through the holdings of wealthy landlords such as the Earls of Dudley. This week I want to look at things: the industrial links that the Black Country had with enslavement and unfree labour. These are not easy to trace, just as …

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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 …