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Crashes, skirmishes and lives of hardship - the best history books of 2013
In his second piece on the best local history books of 2013, Chris Upton looks at air crashes, wars, drovers and lost pits.
It’s scary what’s lost to history
Scientific breakthrough and breakdown are close relations. The History of Science Museum in Oxford is proof enough of that.
Precious manuscript lost in library blaze
A fire at Birmingham’s Central Library saw the loss of thousands of books. Chris Upton looks at one lesser known manuscript which went up in flames.
Diverse analysis of our rich local history
Local history books could be a welcome gift this year. Chris Upton takes a look at some of the best on offer.
Birmingham city centre
Auction will be a step back into library's past
The other week I voiced my worries about the future of the spiral staircase in Birmingham’s former Central Library.
Roadside pub has long been serving the weary traveller
Chris Upton looks into the history of a former coaching inn in Hagley Road.
Peaky Blinders through the eyes of Cecilia Costello
Recovered song gives an insight into the real Peaky Blinder.
Queen Victoria and the shocking Swede
A revealing photograph featuring naked women was enough to shock the Victorians when it went on display in 19th century Manchester. But were viewers in Birmingham more sexually liberated? Chris Upton finds out.
The MP, the tramp and a lesson in life
From time to time a politician feels the need to experience head-on what it’s like to be poor, and so he sleeps rough for a day or two.
Top public school Bedales was an innovation - and founded by a Dudley man
John Haden Badley introduced radical new ideas when he set up the boarding school in Hampshire
A doorway to the past, our libraries are now becoming history themselves
The author of the successful Horrible Histories stories has said society no longer needs libraries
Gruesome fate of shipwreck survivors
In the second of a two-part series, Chris Upton looks at what the future held for the shipwrecked son of a Wolverhampton vicar.
A new white car and my true colours start to show
Isn’t it interesting that vehicle colours are almost always designed to appeal to the male market?
What events led to elderly vicar’s suicide?
In the first of a two-part series Chris Upton retells the tragic tale of a vicar’s death and the mystery behind it.
Once upon a time in the Lickey Hills tea-room
If you slowed down the credits on Peaky Blinders – as I did regularly with a flush of self-indulgent pride – you could find my name, about three feet below Cillian Murphy.
Simple grave hides great woman’s achievement
The country’s first female reporter is buried in a simple grave in Birmingham’s Key Hill cemetery. Chris Upton looks back at her influential life.
Making their peace among all the guns and weapons
John Greenleaf Whittier accompanied Joseph Sturge, the Birmingham industrialist, on a tour of slave plantations during the latter’s visit to the US in 1841.
Plant hunter searched the Orient for exotic seeds
A taste of the Far East can be found in a quiet Warwickshire village, writes Chris Upton .
How our city became a star of the silver screen
Without Balcon, it’s unlikely that British cinema would have hung on as long as it did. David Puttnam certainly thought so.
Abberley lock tower – the biggest juke-box in the world?
Chris Upton looks at the history behind an iconic clock tower in Worcestershire.
Feathers fly as hens rule the roost
The city of Durham is one of England’s greatest treasures, a world heritage site, crowned by its Norman cathedral and castle, with a network of medieval streets rolling down to the River Wear.
Midland spy at the centre of Rasputin plot?
Could the man who shot Rasputin have come from Smethwick? Chris Upton finds out.
Cannon Hill Park
A forgotten river’s night to remember
Some years ago now, the then editor of the Post came up with a smart (albeit spoof) idea of raising the River Rea.
Scythe industry forged a name for quiet village
Belbroughton in rural Worcestershire was once the home of a bustling industry. Chris Upton reports.