History of Birmingham on your Doorstep
(and other downloadable documents - see below.)
A History of Birmingham Places & Placenames . . . A to Y derives from William Dargue's History of Birmingham on your Doorstep which is to be found on the Birmingham Grid for Learning, the city's educational website, at www.bgfl.org. It is stressed that this is work-in-progress and not a finished document. It is copyright-free under the conditions set out in that document. The author is keen to hear feedback from readers and, under the conditions specified, welcomes contributions, which will be acknowledged. There is an extensive annotated bibliography in this document. The version concurrent with the publication of this A to Y is available here.
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The History of Birmingham on your Doorstep was written initially as a resource for Birmingham schools. I compiled it to support history teaching with the aim of encouraging and enabling local Birmingham history to be included in general history teaching. It is vital for children to know the history of their locality and how it fits into the broader picture.
There is history right under your feet, in your own backyard, there is history on your Doorstep - or not very far away! Wherever you stand in Birmingham, people have walked over that same spot for a quarter of a million years, and here is the evidence to prove it. Whatever history topic or period you cover there is local information here. I am keen to give teachers the precise locations of evidence of past times. I want you to be able to take your children and their educated imaginations to the very place where a Stone Age hunter dropped his axe, to the exact riverside site where corn was ground for a thousand years, to the very place where steam transformed the industrial history of the world - and for children to know that history happened right there, where they are standing. And is there anything surviving that gives a clue to the past?
This resource will help you to help your children begin to explore the two great historical themes of Change and Continuity - and it's all on your Doorstep.
This document is not the result of primary research, but compiled from a very wide variety of secondary sources. Information is presented chronologically for the most part, and in periods rather than centuries, though later periods and centuries are roughly concurrent.
The Contents list is chronological. Each period has local background information usually alongside a regional or national perspective. For teachers to easily find out about their own locality Gazetteers form a major component. They are organised by the type of site and chronogically - so there is, for instance, a gazetteer which includes churches with surviving medieval evidence. The Gazetteers list and detail archaeological and documentary evidence and surviving buildings and their locations. They are in postcode order and give district and street names. Browse the A-Z Index to see the variety of Gazetteers available; this is also a good starting point for browsing the whole document. I also include sizeable extracts of contemporary documentary evidence to show people's experiences and opinions of Birmingham.
Readers should also find useful a number of potted lives of Birmingham people in the Biography, a Glossary with local examples, and an Appendix of items contributed by other authors which includes a good section on the origins of Streetnames.
See below for other related materials.
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