Sticky Post

Cultural Traces from Ordinary Places

Welcome to this new blog. I’m the editor and new to this sort of writing, off the cuff, in the moment. I’m going to enjoy writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it. is at heart a desire to link our past to our present. The dominance of the industrial era, for this country at least, appears to be over – for now. As … Continue reading Cultural Traces from Ordinary Places

CLR James’ “Minty Alley”

CLR James began ‘Minty Alley,’ (1936) in Trinidad and finished it in Nelson, Lancashire. It is about the intimate lives of of working people living in close proximity in the barrack-yards of Trinidad. Living lives not that different from many working people’s lives in Nelson at that time.James was also author of two other seminal books written in part in Nelson: ‘Beyond a Boundary’ (1963) … Continue reading CLR James’ “Minty Alley”

The Rocket

“Stephenson’s snorting locomotive was at least capable of being understood by the common man…The chemists and physicists of the newest industrial revolution…are merely wizards whose spells are unintelligible save to other wizards of the same order of wizardry.” Harry Hopkins: England is Rich: (1957): 231 Continue reading The Rocket

Ellen Wilkinson creates Boris Johnson

Ellen Wilkinson could be describing Boris Johnson when she paints a picture of the fictional Home Secretary in her 1932 crime novel“…he had marched by well-signposted stages to the place which was obviously his due…Very regrettably, as he had considered, certain newspapers had been encouraging the low craft of the caricaturist. These fellows had seized with joy on such magnificent copy he provided… Continue reading Ellen Wilkinson creates Boris Johnson

The Division Bell Mystery (1932)

In 1924 Ellen Wilkinson became MP for Middlesbrough. She was Labour’s first female MP. Previously a trade union official and a constant campaigner and activist, she became MP for Jarrow in 1935 and authored ’The Town that Was Murdered: the life story of Jarrow’ (1939). She wrote two novels, “Clash’ (1929) and a whodunnit, ‘The Division Bell Mystery’ (1932) where the hero is Robert West. ‘West tried to shake off the thought that so often came into his mind in these days – that this was all a facade… Continue reading The Division Bell Mystery (1932)

‘These days our hometowns are often more exotic and full of new curiosity than Timbuktu or Easter Island’ *

What must the American tourists be thinking as they wait at Halifax station? The train’s late, nowhere to sit, passengers hang around looking washed out, and the platform needs a spring clean and lick of paint. On the other hand, on the sandstone wall across from platform 2 there’s a poster advertising Shakespear’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at the Viaduct Theatre. Parents shout at their … Continue reading ‘These days our hometowns are often more exotic and full of new curiosity than Timbuktu or Easter Island’ *