S66: Journey into the English mind

If you’re on the M18 you are probably lost. Weren’t you on the way to ‘Bronte country’ and its bleak, dramatic moors, or maybe James Herriot’s vibrant limestone dales? What literary association could possibly draw you to the unexceptional countryside and post industrial sheds peppering the urban sprawl on the east side of Rotherham? Julian Baggini began his ‘Journey into the English mind’ here in June 2005 because it appeared so unexceptional. This was England’s most representative postcode: ‘most typical mix of wealthy pensioners, struggling families, aspiring singles…’ Typical, but not what Baggini thought was quite normal. After only two days the self styled ‘man of Kent’ fled Maltby when ‘things started to feel weird’. He sought refuge over the M18 in Bramley. Baggini settled, and his exploration of working class values is ultimately uplifting, because it lays bare the basic decency that lies within. There’s much below the surface of postcode S66, as Clancy Sigal, David Peace and Fred Kitchen discovered. All three wrote powerful explorations  of working class life during the Industrial Era within a stone’s throw of the M18.


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