This year, 2023, marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in Essex on 22 June 1948. The ship brought around 500 people from Jamaica and Trinidad to the UK. Many of the new arrivals were employed in state services such as the NHS and public transport filling post-war employmentContinue reading “The Windrush Generation, Seventy-five Years on – 1948-2023: Caribbean Immigrants to Britain; Policy, Music & Culture”
Category Archives: Manchester
‘Peacelines’: Britain, Ireland & Europe – The Making & Keeping of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement; 1973-2023.
Borderlines – Remembering Sojourns in Ireland: The recent ‘post-Brexit’ negotiations over the issue of the trading relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have made me reflect on my two ‘professional’ visits to the island as an adult, in 1988 and 1990, a decade before the Belfast talks led to the ‘Good Friday Agreement’.Continue reading “‘Peacelines’: Britain, Ireland & Europe – The Making & Keeping of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement; 1973-2023. “
Old Gold, ‘Golden Team’ & Ballon d’Or: The Globalisation of Football & The Legendary Career of Flórián Albert, 1953-93.
The ‘Magical Magyars’: As I was born in June 1957, I have no personal recollection of the Hungarian national ‘Golden Team’ (Aranycsapat) of the early fifties that began a new era of football with their famous 6-3 and 7-1 victories over England, never before beaten at home in the ninety years of the Football Association.Continue reading “Old Gold, ‘Golden Team’ & Ballon d’Or: The Globalisation of Football & The Legendary Career of Flórián Albert, 1953-93.”
Ukraine from Askold to Zelensky: Language, Culture, Art & Architecture, 862-2022.
“The British have not forgotten how the Nazis wiped out Coventry, … bombed forty-one times. They have not forgotten the Luftwaffe’s so-called ‘Moonlight Sonata’, in which the city was under contant air-raids for eleven hours. They have not forgotten how Coventry’s historic centre, how its factories, how St Michael’s Cathedral were destroyed. When they see the missiles hit Kharkiv and damage its historic centre, its factories and the Assumption Cathedral, they remember. … when they recall how Birmingham was bombed, and they see its sister city Zaporizhia under attack, they remember.”
Majesty & A Fall from Grace: The Lives & Times of the Latter-Day Windsors – Part One: Big Days, Budgets & Bigotry 2002-17
Another Royal Fairy Tale Begins – William & Kate, 2002-2011: The sun was coming up over Westminster Abbey on Friday 29th April 2011, and on the Mall, some of the visitors were sleeping on chairs near the road, and others were standing and talking. They came from all over the capital city, as well asContinue reading “Majesty & A Fall from Grace: The Lives & Times of the Latter-Day Windsors – Part One: Big Days, Budgets & Bigotry 2002-17”
Majesty & Grace X: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – Winter of Discontent to Golden Jubilee, 1979-2002; Part 2 – The Peace Process & The People’s Princess.
The Sectarian Divide in Belfast & the Peace Process, 1980-98: After the Provisional IRA assassinated Lord Mountbatten on his boat off the Western coast of Ireland in 1979, the mainland bombing campaign went on with attacks on the Chelsea barracks, then Hyde Park bombings, when eight people were killed and fifty-three injured. With hindsight, the emergenceContinue reading “Majesty & Grace X: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – Winter of Discontent to Golden Jubilee, 1979-2002; Part 2 – The Peace Process & The People’s Princess.”
Majesty & Grace VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – New Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.
The long and broad view of the British Economy: The economic historian, P. Calvocoressi, writing in 1978, provided a long view of the British economy from 1945 to 1975. He saw the failure of successive governments to manage it successfully as the result of their unwillingness to dismantle the ‘mixed’ economy model of private andContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth Windsor – New Age, New Commonwealth & Popular Culture 1958-63.”
Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.
Above: British propaganda poster, ‘On to Japan!’, 1945 (The Bridgeman Art Library). Fighting Back in Malaya & Singapore: The State Opening of Parliament, which took place on 15th August 1945, saw a return to the pomp of pre-war years, with thousands of people lining the streets of London as the King and Queen travelled toContinue reading “Majesty & Grace VI: The Life & Times of the Windsors, 1945-1952; George VI & The People’s Peace.”
Majesty & Grace II – The Lives & Times of The Windsors; George V & Family, 1921-1936.
1922-23 – Four Royal Weddings: The betrothal of 24-year-old Princess Mary to Viscount Lascelles, 39-year-old millionaire son of the Earl of Harewood, was officially announced at Buckingham Palace on 22 November 1921: On the last day of February 1922, the marriage was held at Westminster Abbey. The Abbey was thrown open to the public afterContinue reading “Majesty & Grace II – The Lives & Times of The Windsors; George V & Family, 1921-1936.”
The Making of an English Mythology; from Reality to Fantasy and back again, 1917-1954: Tolkien’s Creative Years.
Following his recovery from the Somme and ‘trench fever’ on his return from France in 1916, Tolkien was determined to create an entire mythology for England. He had hinted at this during his undergraduate days at Oxford when he studied and wrote of the Finnish ‘Kalevala’:
“I would that we had more of it left – something of the sort that belonged to the English.”
This idea now grew during his recuperation until it reached ‘epic’ proportions. This is how Tolkien expressed it when recollecting many years later:
“Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen), I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large to the cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story – the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply: to England, to my country. “