The Matthews and the Blomfields

Kate’s parents were recent migrants into Yorkshire from Suffolk. To leave eastern England at that time was not uncommon. Traditional rural industries were fading away, so that there was little to supplement agriculture’s poor and seasonal pickings. Thousands of people left Suffolk for London. But setting off from there to the north was much less […]

The wedding

So to start in the middle, with a marriage in 1900. There is only one photograph of Jonathan and Kate together, perhaps taken for this occasion, though no ring is visible. They are in a studio, she, seated, a slight and serious figure with anxiously clasped hands. She wears a heavy jacket with leg of […]

Coal mines

The remains of coal workings still mottle the Spen Valley landscape. Mostly they have become submerged within the land, but capped shafts mark some later mines. Traces of the railroads that carried coal out to the main rail network are visible in places. Only one pit survived here after 1950. This, at Gomersal, was not […]

The here and the now

There’s something apocalyptic about 2016. A wild and pointless referendum with a senseless result, the government falls but essentially continues, a dangerous fool is within touching distance of the American presidency. Bigotry and prejudice are liberated to flourish in public. The people least secure, as always, have few choices under an order which, as ever, […]