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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, January 26, 2006
    To Dewsbury
     
    Poring over an A-Z of West Yorkshire this evening in anticipation of tomorrow's trip, with Jim, to Dewsbury. Inspired in part by a brilliant article by Rose George in a recent edition of the London Review of Books in which she describes a return to the town which was her home for 17 years, an ex-mill town become national centre for bed manufacturing, BNP stronghold and more recently tainted by association with the July bombers [Read it all on her website: Part 1 / Part 2].

    Our interest? Exploring the processes and realities of urban change; sampling the exotic and trying to catch some understanding of the complexities of community relations there (by contrast, our predominantly white ghettoised city has little of the racial mix of the old mill towns, meaning that the host culture can evade serious engagement with the issues our Yorkshire cousins face each day). And for me, something lingering about my roots: my quarter-Yorkshireness merits further reflection and it will be interesting to compare Dewsbury with Shipley, from where my maternal great-grandparents made the journey to the Mersey some eighty-odd years ago.

    Something else, too, in Rose George's piece, has caught the eye. Mention of The West Riding, 'the best pub in the country'. More on all this, no doubt, tomorrow.