Medieval ‘Footprints’ in Birmingham

All my life I have watched my home city, Birmingham being rebuilt, piecemeal. True, we go through periods of phased development – the Jewellery Quarter – where I live – appears to evidence speculative building, and we are in such a phase now – if you define now as a span of time stretching from the early 90s to around 2020.
To me, the beauty of this city lies in the fact that it persistently, continuously develops, reinvents and redefines itself. It is a mish-mash – and as such, rich in historical instruction.
It has always fascinated me how place names and ancient boundaries persist, even after the bombs and the wreckers’ balls have gone.

The title of this blog doesn’t refer to the sort of footprints you leave behind in the mud or snow, but rather the type that define the area or space occupied by a building, or in this instance the boundaries of a burgage plot. By ‘burgage’, I’m referring to the long and narrow strips of land arranged along street frontages that functioned as the basic units of a town that could be built upon.

So perhaps footprints isn’t the best word to use, because I’m actually referring to plot boundaries rather than the actual buildings. But, footprints is, in another sense, an appropriate word to use as it calls to mind the idea of ‘evidence’ left behind and that’s exactly what the landscape historian and archaeologist has to work with when attempting to reconstruct medieval towns. For a city that’s never been overly keen on preserving its most recent heritage, it…

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South-East Teaching Assistants Petition to Spare the Axe!

GMB (Photo credit: Nick Efford)

South-East Teaching Assistants Petition to Spare the Axe!

Teaching Assistant members of the trade union (GMB) to which Gogwit belongs will be asking the public to sign a petition asking the UK Secretary of State for Education not to axe the jobs of around a fifth to a quarter of a million Teaching Assistants.

If you will be in the vicinity of the Woolwich Arsenal DLR Station on Saturday 27 July at around 1300BST please visit their stall (near the Green’s End entrance) – chat to them about why TAs are so important – and PLEASE sign their petition!

Childish Song, No. 3 – without refrain.

Chalky alkaline blues
and pale pastel pinks
Acid reds and yellows
And every shade of green.
Every hue in nature
The spectrum and creation
Side by side, together
In the Garden I have seen.
Ovate, Palmate, Pinnate
Lanceolate, Digitate
Simple leaves and compound leaves
And shapes of every kind.
Every form conceivable
In endless combination,
Side by side, together
In the Garden I will find.
(C) Ben A Harvey
July 2013CE.

Church Street

Are you going to Ibiza?

Smart-casual bar disgorges
Tall, summer frock well-filled
And heels click-clack on to
The pavement.  Loud, confident,
Cultivated big girl’s voice, as fake
As her tan, as real as
The extra height her shoes afford.

Indistinct low muddy voice lost
In reply; no-one of importance.

Why not?” incredulous, contemptuous,
Supercilious, arched interrogatory
With plucked brows and painted
Expression of perpetual surprise.

Indistinct low muddy voice lost
In reply; no-one special, outclassed.

I do not need to stop, to look
Behind but laugh out loud
And continue on my walk.

Ben A Harvey,
July 2013


© Ben A Harvey. All rights reserved

Breaking – Edward Snowden to seek refuge from US justice in Wall St

Too believable!

Pride's Purge


In a new development, Wall St – which is notorious for giving safe haven from US justice to hundreds of well-known criminals and gangsters – has confirmed that whistleblower fugitive Edward Snowden has made a bid to escape US courts by asking for asylum in the notoriously fugitive friendly gangsters paradise.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Mr Snowden said the ex-CIA operative was optimistic the eight-block-long financial district in the heart of New York would agree to grant him asylum because the lunatics have been running the asylum there for years.

Experts say it is a masterstroke by Snowden – who is extremely unlikely to face US justice if his application for refuge in Wall St is accepted. Although Washington has been aware for years of the numerous criminal activities taking place in the tax haven – not one criminal harboured by Wall St has ever been tried…

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