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They stifled our potential, now let's do it to London
While London and its environs are in the fast lane to prosperity, much of the rest of England is stuck on the hard shoulder, waiting for an AA man.
Sweet memories of a tin full of promise
Chris Upton discovers that his childhood toffees didn't come from heaven - but from down the road in Worcestershire
How they did like to be beside the seaside
Last Sunday, courtesy of the Flatpack Film Festival, I had the opportunity of hosting John Krish’s marvellous 1961 documentary, They Took Us to the Sea.
Getting to the bottom of a mystery over religious relic
Chris Upton looks at the battle over a chair, once thought to be the oldest in Britain when it was discovered in a Herefordshire church.
Muntz family distinguished themselves in industry and politics
Chris Upton examines the history of a famous family of Birmingham
Frontiers of history are rarely final
I’m always surprised how my medieval history lectures accidentally stumble into topicality.
Grisly past of industrialist's fine mansion
From social campaigners to shocking murders, Chris Upton looks at the varied history of a prominent house in Birmingham.
The Great War - finally the nation has a debate
You might have noticed that there's a war on. No, not what’s happening in the Crimea or in Syria or Afghanistan, but the legacy of one which broke out a hundred years ago.
The Black Country origins of an unusual instrument
Historian Chris Upton looks at the Black Country origins of an unusual instrument played by bands such as Black Sabbath and The Who to singer Leonard Cohen
Those old hits we must remember to forget
A choir of some 400 voices from ten or so higher education institutions tackle a large-scale choral work from the classical back-catalogue with as much finesse as we can muster
Song with a message has me singing in the rain
Mess with the atmosphere, sang Malvina, and you mess with the rain. And as it continues to tumble down, I find myself humming it rather often.
Rector's part in the history of animal rights
A poem about a blackbird ruffled a few features for an 18th century Warwickshire vicar, as Chris Upton reports
Sad end to plan to bring happiness to the Black Country
Chris Upton examines why a Black Country town was unable to pursue its dream of becoming the happiest place in Britain.
Pretentious nonsense of Olympic proportions
Are we inclined to elevate what blokes do with a ball above its proper station?
Explore medicines long and painful past
Chris Upton uncovers the delights of our medical past in two museums in Worcester.
There are benefits to living in Benefits Street
Getting to know your neighbours is the one advantage of being home during the day.
The rise and fall of city's pleasure zone
It was once Birmingham's pleasure gardens but when less desirable visitors began turning up, the owners swiftly sold up and moved on. Chris Upton looks at the history of Vauxhall Gardens.
Pretty legacy from beyond the grave
The little Worcestershire village of Birlingham contains the most unassuming of tourist attractions.
A war of words and the rest is history
The First World War might be a hundred years young, but it’s still eminently capable of provoking controversy.
Deluge of water saw bridges 'blown up'
A dramatic flood in 18th century Shropshire changed the face of the county forever. Chris Upton reports.
Peeling back park's layers of landscape
A Birmingham archaeologist has revealed some of the history of Sutton Park in a new book. Chris Upton reports.
Slavery: Our shameful past with deeper roots
One of the problems with slavery is that it’s almost always portrayed as a matter of us and them, black and white, and, as such, it remains a divisive issue even today.
PM launched election battle at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
After the bloody years of the First World War, Prime Minister David Lloyd George chose Wolverhampton to declare a general election. Chris Upton looks back at his prestigious visit to the Black Country.
No caravan - but we joined the club anyway
We stayed in what looked like the same caravan every year, the same smell of calor gas and the last occupant’s fry-ups.