After Carribee Island: 1891

This post follows the period of my research into Carribee Island, and an earlier post looking at the space in 1881. By 1891, The Space Formerly Known As Carribee Island had been destroyed, its "congregation of ruinous cottages" razed to the the ground, its filth dispersed. So too its population. In the Inquiry for the … Continue reading After Carribee Island: 1891

“Slums” of the Black Country

We've come to the end of this series on some of the distinct areas of the Black Country that found themselves with a special stigma in the nineteenth century. Based on the Birmingham Daily Post's 1866 series on the sanitary condition I've had a look around some of the broader issues of housing, sanitation, labour, demography and democracy … Continue reading “Slums” of the Black Country

“Slums” of the Black Country: Anvil Yard, Cradley Heath

Not far from the Lye Waste lies the ancient manor of Cradley. At the first talk I gave at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in the summer, somebody mentioned to me that I ought to check out Anvil Yard. It turns out, the history of this little yard has already been comprehensively written on the excellent Cradley Links site, so … Continue reading “Slums” of the Black Country: Anvil Yard, Cradley Heath

“Slums” of the Black Country: Town End Bank, Walsall

Class distinction, democracy and proper drains. John Betjeman, In Westminster Abbey The protagonist of Betjeman's satirical poem unwittingly summarised the approach of mid-Victorian society to many issues. As we've seen, poor drainage is one of the emblematic signifiers of a unsanitary area, and was the consistent complaint of the Post's correspondent. It almost goes without saying that the areas poorly drained … Continue reading “Slums” of the Black Country: Town End Bank, Walsall

“Slums” of the Black Country: Darlaston

I've ummed and aahed a bit about what to write about the Post's report on Darlaston. It's really the same old story: surface drainage, evils, abomination, bubbling and seething, stagnant, over-flowing, the cholera, back courts, and so on; there's not a lot to add compared to previous outrages at Oldbury or Bilston. Despite the fact that the journalist's … Continue reading “Slums” of the Black Country: Darlaston

“Slums” of the Black Country: Quarry Lane, Bilston

If there's been some research into Carribee Island in the past, and a little into the Mambles in Dudley, there's almost nothing to be googled on another of the Birmingham Daily Post's 'low-lights' of the Black Country, the next in a series of exposées on the shocking sanitary conditions of the Black Country. Quarry Lane in Bilston … Continue reading “Slums” of the Black Country: Quarry Lane, Bilston

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

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

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

Poor Door

Before I moved to the midlands I lived in London for nearly ten years, starting at university. A penniless student is not exactly the best way to enjoy life in the Great Wen, but on leaving and finding a Real Job (albeit nothing to do with my degree), I was able to find out a … Continue reading Poor Door

Block Capital

I'm very cheerful to be involved with the new Block Capital project that the Distinctly Black Country network are running. It's great to be getting back into doing some actual social research, and this ties in with my academic interest in Wolverhampton and the Black Country, and my personal interest in the rise and fall … Continue reading Block Capital