“Slums” of the Black Country: Oatmeal Square, Wednesbury

Our Birmingham Daily Post correspondent is concerned with the sanitary condition of the Black Country. Filth, smells, pigs, crowded courts - all acted as signals for diseases like cholera, typhoid, smallpox, that terrified the middle-class, newspaper-reading sets. This accounts for his willingness to skip over Tipton as one of the best towns in the Black … Continue reading “Slums” of the Black Country: Oatmeal Square, Wednesbury

Dead ends and back alleys

Just a short one today as I'm in the midst of a massive trawl through several decades' worth of census enumerators returns. I'm writing this from my local library, from where I can work on their computers (for free) (albeit in Internet Explorer) and use Ancestry.com (for free). I'm very lucky to be funded out … Continue reading Dead ends and back alleys


Montaillou, in the French Midi-Pyrénées. The town is best known for being the focus of Emmanuel Le Roy's study of heresy in medieval France. I enjoyed reading Brodie Waddell's post on microhistory yesterday (if you don't follow the many-headed monster already, you should - the blog is not strictly in my era, if you like, but … Continue reading Microstoria

History from below

The picture above is by the well-known late C19 landscape artists John Fullwood, of a scene off North Street that no longer exists. Fullwood was not all that common in that beside his landscape work, he took time to document some of the Black Country's poorest parts, most notably a series of etchings of Wolverhampton prior … Continue reading History from below