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”

Orbán versus Soros: Whose Values? -The Continuing Confrontation.

Extract from a Speech by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the 31st Bálványos Summer Free University and Student Camp, 23 July 2022, Tusnádfürdő [Băile Tuşnad]: We have managed to separate our big debate on the whole gender issue from the debate on EU money, and the two are now moving forward on separate tracks. HereContinue reading “Orbán versus Soros: Whose Values? -The Continuing Confrontation.”

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”

Tolkien’s Shire: From Middle England to Middle-earth – People, Places & Past Times.

Sarehole as Hobbiton: J.R.R. Tolkien lived near Sarehole Mill as a child in what was then a Worcestershire village and is now part of the Hall Green district of Birmingham. Together with the neighbouring Moseley Bog, the Sarehole area inspired the Tolkien stories of Middle-earth. The Tolkien Trail – Late Victorian & Edwardian Birmingham. Birmingham’sContinue reading “Tolkien’s Shire: From Middle England to Middle-earth – People, Places & Past Times.”

‘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.”

Bible Battles & The ‘Ascent of Man’: Nineteenth-Century Sceptics & Critics – Religion, Philosophy & Science.

Victorian Britain – An Age of Conformity? For many people in the early twenty-first century, the title ‘mid-Victorian Britain’ conjures up an image of church-going, sabbath seriousness, packed pews and the head of the household, invariably the father, questioning his progeny on the points of the morning sermon. The very word ‘Victorian’ has passed intoContinue reading “Bible Battles & The ‘Ascent of Man’: Nineteenth-Century Sceptics & Critics – Religion, Philosophy & Science.”

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.”

Scenes from Baptist History: Persecution of the Puritans, Evangelical Revival & William Carey, 1662-1812.

Persecution of All ‘Nonconformists’, 1662-87: It was not until 1687 that the dissenting or ‘nonconformist’ churches felt able to look back upon ye Times of our late Troubles since the Act of Uniformity in 1662 had taken away the relative toleration they had experienced in the Interregnum. The Presbyterian minister Richard Baxter (1615-91) had takenContinue reading “Scenes from Baptist History: Persecution of the Puritans, Evangelical Revival & William Carey, 1662-1812.”

Three Scenes from Baptist History – The First Fifty Years, 1612-1662: The Puritan Revolution & The Civil Wars.

Two more scenes from Rev. Arthur J Chandler’s unpublished plays on Baptist History, featuring Thomas Helwys and Col. John Hutchinson, plus a scene from David Starsmeare’s play, ‘Diggers: The Story of a Commune’, featuring Gerrard Winstanley. Background – The First English Puritans & Exile in the Netherlands: The Elizabethan puritans wanted to reform the churchContinue reading “Three Scenes from Baptist History – The First Fifty Years, 1612-1662: The Puritan Revolution & The Civil Wars.”