Lancaster and the Slave Trade

What’s in a Name?
The Naming of Parts
The Grave at Sunderland Point

There’s an embarrassment in walking to the grave,
Out there at causewayed Sunderland Point,
From where ships once sailed the seven seas,
Now a desolate mudflat skyscape,
A couple of miles beyond the last post village –
But once all seascape hustle and bustle,
Shipshape and Lancaster slavery fashion.

There are still two pubs there in Overton,
The Globe and The Ship –
Cottages bear dates coeval with the slave trade.

The signposts curtly say: ‘Sambo’s Grave’,
It’s out there at windswept Sunderland Point;
The steps he climbed at the brewhouse are still there –
He climbed to pine and die in lonely isolation,
Or so the story has it;
The building – now a house – was up for sale,
When I visited in late summer 2021;
It’s history, like a name, silent.

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Broadway Elegy

When you’re a slightly star struck English tourist, Visiting NYC for the very first time (‘It’s that Broadway Melody!’), It’s easy to forget the Paris Situationists: ‘Underneath the paving stones, the beach!’ You might stare...

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Mocking Birds Don’t Do One Thing Except

We were walking the New York High Line,
The old freight line of lower Manhattan,
On the hottest October day since 1928 –
So Trish took a breather on a bench
Beneath some tangled autumn branches;
A mocking bird immediately began to sing
‘Melodious at the noontide of the day’,
A couple of feet right above her head:
“It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird”…
“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing
except make music for us to enjoy.”

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The Black Boy Clock

There you stand, not so much a sentinel, Nor servant, but rather more a slave of time, Obeying the diktat of cog, wheel and pendulum, The mechanics of the hours and minutes, For every second, until the end of time. You have no name; identity obscured By a costume...

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Sapperton Manor and Hidden History

The church in Sapperton is dedicated to St.Kenhelm, A much venerated Anglo-Saxon saint, Whose shrine at Winchcombe Was thus extolled by William of Malmesbury: ‘There was no place in England to where more pilgrims travelled than to Winchcombe on Kenhelm’s feast day’....

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Slavery and a Cotswold Landscape

On re-reading The Country and the City by Raymond Williams It must be thirtyish years since I read this, when my responses were all about William Cobbett, John Clare, enclosure, industrialization, urbanization, the fate of the peasantry and the rise of an urban...

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