North-East Heritage and the Coalfields: Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival talk

This is the text of a talk I gave this week at the Radio 3 Freethinking Festival at The Sage in Gateshead. It was broadcast on Friday 11th November in The Essay slot on Radio 3 – you should temporarily be able to find a link to the Listen Again facility here “Arriving in the …

Muddy trenches and ivory towers

I’ve been looking at the recently published Southport Group report, a document resulting from a working group drawn from a cross-section of the English archaeological sector which aims to address the implications of PPG16 with the new PPS5. PPG16 was the planning policy guidance document which in 1990 established the current system integrating archaeology into …

Bunny Huggers and Red Tape

I’ve just done a broadcast on Radio 3’s Night Waves about the commercialisation of British archaeology. It’s only a short piece, and broadly speaking positive about the unexpected surprises that have arisen out of archaeological excavation that has been carried out as part of the planning system. It was not intended to be an in-depth …

Canal Ghosts

Following on from my last entry, the two key figures in founding the Inland Waterwazys Association were Tom Rolt and Robert Aikman. However, I’ve stumbled across another interesting connection between these two men; they also both wrote ghost stories. Indeed, both have stories anthologised in the excellent Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories. Rolt’s ‘Bosworth …

Cecil Sharpe: Photographer!

I’ve just come across the on-line image gallery of the photographs taken by Cecil Sharpe of the singers and musicians from who he collected his music. These are an absolute revelation. Despite the massive expansion of photography in the later 19th and early 20th century it is incredibly rare to see portraits (and this is …

‘People who don’t like to hear an old song, I don’t know what they do want to hear’

Cecil Sharpe is one of the founding figures in the English folk revival. He was in the forefront of collecting traditional songs and tunes in both England and the Appalachians in the early 20th century. Like most such pivotal individuals he has been the subject of much revisionism, and there is a tension between celebrating …