Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part Two – ‘Shadowy Abstractions’

There was a good stretch of time between Jack Lewis’s conversion on the way to Whipsnade and his writing of the Tales of Narnia. Throughout this time, while Tolkien was writing his Hobbit stories, Lewis was musing on the physical similarities that men and beasts have in common. This is why he felt that Kenneth Grahame, in The Wind in the Willows, made exactly the right choice in giving his principal character the form of a toad

Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part One – Creator & Sub-creators.

Entertaining Angels Unawares: When Tolkien returned to Oxford in 1925, an element was missing from his life. It had disappeared with the breaking of his fellowship of the TCBS at the Battle of the Somme, for not since those days had he enjoyed male friendship to the extent of emotional and intellectual commitment. He hadContinue reading “Faith, Fantasy & Fairy Tales – Tolkien, ‘Jack’ Lewis & ‘The Inklings’, 1926-66: Part One – Creator & Sub-creators.”

J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English

The South African Prelude – Beginnings in Bloemfontein: Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Suffield (pictured above in the family group), both from Birmingham, were married in Cape Town Cathedral on 16th April 1891, after which came an exhausting railway journey of nearly seven hundred miles to the capital of the Orange Free State. Less thanContinue reading “J. R. R. Tolkien & Birmingham, 1896-1916: The Formative Years, Part One (to 1908) – Middle English”

A Gentle Gulliver – Warwickshire Adventures & Sojourns

Mooching with Seymour Henry: Forty years ago this summer (2022), my grandfather, Seymour Henry Gulliver, died aged eighty-two. He was born at the beginning of the twentieth century at Ufton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire, the seventh child and one of the younger sons of a large family of thirteen children, eleven of whom survived into adulthood. Seymour wasContinue reading “A Gentle Gulliver – Warwickshire Adventures & Sojourns”

Britain, Europe and The World in 1937: A Moment in History Repeating itself? Part Two

‘Special Operations’, 2022 & April 1937- March 1938: Just as the so-called Russian ‘Special Operation’ which began on 24th February 2022, did not represent the beginning of War in Ukraine, the invasion of its sovereign territory having commenced in 2014, so too, no single event in 1937 or 1938 represented the beginning of war inContinue reading “Britain, Europe and The World in 1937: A Moment in History Repeating itself? Part Two”

Britain, Europe and The World in 1937: A Moment in History Repeating itself? Part One

Democracy and Dictatorship – 2022 & 1922-1937: Beginning his keynote address on Russia’s War on Ukraine on 28th June 2022, the newly-commissioned Head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, spoke of the similarity of the events of 1937 in Europe to the continuing and impending events of 2022 in the central-eastern part ofContinue reading “Britain, Europe and The World in 1937: A Moment in History Repeating itself? Part One”

The Book of Exodus and Hebrew Law & Wisdom in its Ancient Eastern Context

The Covenant and the Torah: Closely associated with the story of the exodus in the Old Testament is that of how the Israelites journeyed to a mountain where Yahweh ratified a covenant between himself and his people. There is still a great deal of uncertainty about this mountain of Israel’s destiny. Its very name isContinue reading “The Book of Exodus and Hebrew Law & Wisdom in its Ancient Eastern Context”

The Incredulous Twin – Finding Faith: The Second Sunday of Easter

Thomas the ‘Doubter’: On the second Sunday of Easter, ‘western’ Christians celebrate Thomas the Apostle and the Gospel story in John of how, as the disciple who missed Jesus’ visit to the ‘Upper Room’ after his resurrection, he overcame his doubts about his master’s physical appearance to the others in the first days of ‘EasterContinue reading “The Incredulous Twin – Finding Faith: The Second Sunday of Easter”

‘You Can’t Stop Them Singing’: Welsh Experiences of Exodus and Exile in England, 1927-47.

This is an edited version of an article originally written for the Modern Wales Unit at the University of Wales, Cardiff in 1998, drawing on material in my unpublished PhD Thesis, presented in September 1988, The Re-Making of a Working-Class: Migration from the South Wales Coalfield to the New Industry Areas of the Midlands, c.Continue reading “‘You Can’t Stop Them Singing’: Welsh Experiences of Exodus and Exile in England, 1927-47.”

Scenes from Baptist History, 1814-1914: Missionaries, Mechanics & Manufacturers.

Includes a scene from Regent Street Baptist Church, Smethwick, Birmingham, from November 1897, ‘The Church in Meeting Assembled’ by Rev. A. J. Chandler, Minister of Bearwood Baptist Church, Birmingham, 1965-79. Revival, ‘Respectability’ & Reform in Britain, 1814-1859: In 1814, there was an evangelistic revival at Redruth in Cornwall which continued for nine days. An eye-witnessContinue reading “Scenes from Baptist History, 1814-1914: Missionaries, Mechanics & Manufacturers.”