This is a superb article reblogged from BrownhillsBob’s Brownhills Blog; supporting my argument that academic historians tend to be less focused on unimpressive patriotic narratives: they argue that they very often tend to glorify the people or individuals, therefore they attempt to be more objective and offer a more complex analyses of social and intellectual forces.
My argument is that this approach to history and the past is far too narrow. The ideas of the academic route of documented and externally sourced evidence is far too dry and is in fact restricted by its intellectual approach, which concentrates on structure, form, and historical conventions.
Access to memories is not only accessible though the conventional academic routes of well thumbed and quoted documents and manuscripts, but a richer and more engaging past can be accessed through application of the disciplines of public history.
By taking this approach, we can then see that anecdotes such as this can develop into a rich and factual based narrative about very ordinary people. We are then able to form link to the past, which enables us to create a device, so we may understand the voices that are not heard, the voices who want to speak: the very same voices that allow ordinary people to make history.
Oh dear. That Young David Evans has come over a bit gooey. He’s gone sentimental on us… could it be springtime, and a man’s fancy turning? Who knows – but he’s written a lovely, evocative piece today which made me smile.
There’s much in this. As a mere whippersnapper, my concept of ‘old’ Brownhills and Walsall Wood is informed by memories recorded, told, corrected and debated here. To me, the old days were the 70s, of Joes Ice Cream, The Why Not cycle shop and the like. To other people here, like David Oakley, a much earlier time is recalled, retold.
From this communal patchwork, we assemble a picture. Mine is chiefly of hard times and pride, of poverty and dignity. History’s wheels grind slowly on, and incremental change transforms so much. I think David has encapsulated the memory well.
My normal practice here would be to link to related…
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