Searching for: "Phil Benson"

  • Thomas Newbigging

    An eclectic collection of essays on late 19th-century Lancashire culture and life, including essays on the poets John Critchley Prince and Edwin Waugh. Thomas Newbigging was born in Glasgow and died in Knutsford, Chesshire, living in between in Rossendale, Pernambuco, and Manchester. A gas manager by profession and writer-historian by inclination, his two major works were the Handbook for Gas Engineers and Managers (1889) and the History of the Forest of Rossendale (1893). (Summary by Phil...read more

  • David Dickinson Mann

    Convicted of forgery at the age of 23, David Dickenson Mann narrowly escaped hanging and was transported instead to New South Wales, where he arrived in 1799. Three years later he received a full pardon and was soon working in the secretary's office of the colonial government. Mann fell foul of Governor Wiliam Bligh and was about to leave for England, but in 1808 found himself in favour with the rebel government that deposed him. The Present Picture of New South Wales, dedicated to the recently arrived Governor John Hunter, gives a detailed account of the colony . It includes a brief history, an A-Z encyclopedia of political and economic progress and Mann's own ideas on the future...read more

  • C. L. Freeston

    A guide to cycling in the European Alps in the days before surfaced roads and automobile tourism. As the author explains, the spectacular views are well worth the effort of pushing your bicycle up the passes and perfectly safe as long as your cycle is equipped with brakes. Summary by Phil...read more

  • Robert Burrows

    An eye-witness account of the so-called Flagstaff War, fought between Maori warriors, led by Hone Heke, and British troops between March 1845 and January 1846 in and around the Bay of Islands. Ostensibly triggered by the cutting down of the flagstaff above Kororareka (now Russell), Heke's attack on the town was a consequence of festering grievances following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and annexation of New Zealand by the British Crown in 1840. The Reverend Robert Burrows had charge of the mission station and school at Waimate, inland from the Bay of Islands. His day-by-day account paints a vivid picture of the conflict, in which his chosen role was to mediate between the two...read more

  • Ann Hawkshaw

    An early figure in the birth of poetry in industrial Manchester, Ann Hawkshaw published three collections and another was circulated privately. Her first collection. published in Manchester and London in 1842, begins with an epic poem, Dionysius the Areopagite. Based on the New Testament story of the conversion of Dionysius by St Paul, much of the poem centres on the consequences of Dionysius' conversion for his betrothed, Myra, and her sister, Corrina. The collection also includes two of Hawkshaw's most important works, The Past and The Future, and a number of shorter poems on themes of history, loss and faith. (Summary by Phil...read more

  • Isabella Varley Banks

    Jabez Clegg, the Manchester man, floats into this historical novel in 1799, carried downstream by the River Irk in flood. Jabez's rise to commercial success mirrors the rise of the city at the heart of the industrial revolution. Mrs George Linnaeus Banks (nee Isabella Varley) weaves a web of historical fact and fiction in a fast-paced story built around the rivalry between the Jabez and his nemesis Laurence Aspinall, and the fate of Augusta Ashton, who is loved by both but loves only one. An entertaining fictional journey through the early 19th century history of the city of Manchester, the book also has serious points to make about women's choices and domestic violence. (Summary by Phil...read more

  • Walter Ferdinando Grew

    From the velocipede to the motor cycle in twenty chapters. A short history of the British bicycle industry from its origins in a Coventry sewing machine factory in 1868 to its transformation into one of the countries most important industries. A reminder of the days when bicycles ruled the roads from the Pitman's Common Commodities and Industry Series. - Summary by Phil...read more

  • Ann Hawkshaw

    The history of Britain up to the Norman Conquest in the form of 100 prose commentaries, each followed by a sonnet. The commentaries set the historical scene, quoting from Bede, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and noted historians of the times, Hawkshaws sonnets are both imaginative and reflective, often casting new light on historical figures and events. Born in Yorkshire, Ann Hawkshaw spent much of her creative life in Manchester, where her husband John Hawkshaw was elected to Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society and, as a friend of Elizabeth Gaskell, she was drawn into the intellectual and literary circle of the city. - Summary by Phil...read more

  • Anonymous

    Follow the Manchester Evening News 'special correspondent' and his guide - recently back from a 'seven stretch' - as they take you on a tour through the dimly lit quarters of late 19th-century criminal Manchester.- Summary by Phil...read more

  • Francis Archibald Bruton

    A companion volume to F.A. Bruton's 'The Story of Peterloo', the full title of this short collection is 'Three Accounts of Peterloo by Eyewitnesses, Bishop Stanley, Lord Hylton, John Benjamin Smith with Bishop Stanley's Evidence at the Trial'. The three contemporary accounts, each with a short introduction by the editor, give different perspectives on the events of 16 August 1819, when a troop of Hussars accompanied by the local Yeomanry rode into a peaceful reform rally at St. Peter's Fields, Manchester, leaving 18 dead and more than 700 injured. (Summary by Phil...read more

  • John Leland

    John Leland's 'Itinerary' was the product of several journeys around England and Wales undertaken between 1538 and 1543. The manuscript is made up of Leland's notebooks, which were first published in the 18th century, and later in a ten-part, five-volume edition published by Lucy Toulmin (1906-10). Part IX of the manuscript begins in the south of England and gradually meanders its way, county by county, through central and northern England up to the borders of Scotland. Leland did not prepare the manuscript for publication and it is sometimes difficult to follow, with occasional geographically-misplaced sections, lists of headings with content yet to be added, and the odd lapse into...read more

  • Harold J. Laski

    Born in Manchester in 1893, Harold Laski was a leading figure in the left-wing of British socialism in the first half of the 20th century. An executive member of the Fabian Society and member of the Socialist League faction of the Labour Party, he was party chairman in 1945-6. As a professor at the London School of Economics he influenced a number of prominent politicians of the post-war years, including leaders of the independence movements of Asia and Africa, and Ralph Milliband, father of the current Labour Party leader, Ed Milliband. His political views were complex and embraced democratic socialism, revolutionary Marxism and Zionism. This highly readable 1922 essay on Karl Marx is a...read more

  • Various Authors

    In the early days of the penal colony at Sydney, rumour was rife among the convicts of another colony beyond the Blue Mountains and perhaps a route to China. In the hope of quelling the rumours, Governor John Hunter put together a bizarre exploration party, charged to travel as far into the interior as it could. The party consisted of four convicts, two guides and four soldiers to protect the guides from the convicts. The leader of the party was John Wilson, an ex-convict who had elected to live in the bush among the Aborigines, who had named him Bunboee. He was accompanied by John Price, Hunter’s adventurous young servant and, as the only literate member of the party, its diarist. The...read more

  • Francis Archibald Bruton

    On 16th August 1819 around 60,000 people gathered at St. Peter’s Fields, Manchester, to rally for parliamentary reform. Shortly after the meeting began, a troop of Hussars and local yeomanry rode into the crowd, wielding clubs, swords and sabres, leaving 18 dead and more than 700 severely injured. In the following years, the Peterloo Massacre was the subject of several trials and inquiries. It now counts as one of the most significant events in the history of the British labour movement. Francis Archibald Bruton’s account of the day’s events, published for its centenary and based on a detailed examination of contemporary accounts, is both dispassionate and moving.(Introduction by Phil...read more

  • Edwin Waugh

    A selection of poems in the Lancashire dialect by the foremost exponent of the form. A printer by training, Edwin Waugh left his trade for secretarial work and began his literary career in 1852. His first dialect poem, 'Come whoam to thi' childer and me', was written at the Clarence Hotel, Manchester, on 10 June 1856 and published in the Manchester Examiner the following day. The best known Lancashire dialect poem of its day, it inspired numerous followers whose dialect poetry and prose provided an often nostalgic accompaniment to the sound and fury of the industrial revolution. This selection of dialect poems was published shortly after Waugh's death alongside a selection of his standard...read more

  • M. E. Francis

    M. E. Francis was born Mary E. Sweetman in Dublin and moved to Lancashire on her marriage to Francis Nicholas Blundell, of the Blundell family, who remain squires of Little Crosby, the last Catholic recusant village in England, which lies a few miles north of Liverpool. Blundell died young and Mary went on to write more than 50 books, using her husband's Christian name as pen name, including this collection of 12 stories set in Little Crosby (‘Thornleigh’). A romantic portrait of mid-19th century village life written from an aristocratic point of view, In a North Country Village (1896) is built around striking portraits of strong Lancashire women surviving in the face of Hardyesque...read more

  • Robert W. Service

    Reputedly the best-selling poetry collection of the 20th century, 'Songs of a Sourdough' is best known for Robert W. Service's classic Yukon ballads, 'The Shooting of Dan McGrew' and 'The Cremation of Sam McGhee'. Service was born in Preston, Lancashire, and grew up in Scotland. In his twenties, he made his way to Canada and settled in the Yukon where he worked as a bank clerk but evidently dreamed of more adventurous pursuits. Service's readings of his poems show that he could adopt either a Scottish or North American accent. Here they are read in an accent that is not too far removed from the place of his birth. - Summary by Phil...read more

  • Percy Bysshe Shelley

    The Masque of Anarchy was Shelley's response to the Peterloo massacre at St Peter's Fields, Manchester, where 18 died and hundreds were injured, after Hussars charged into a rally for parliamentary reform. Written in Italy in 1819, the poem was not published until 1832, ten years after Shelley's death. This reading is from the first published edition with the addition of three words that were inserted in full only in later additions ('Eldon' in Stanza IV and 'Bible' and 'Sidmouth' in Stanza VI). The poem is preceded by Leigh Hunt's preface to the 1932 edition and followed by Harry Buxton Forman's 1887 lecture on the poem to the Shelley Society. (Summary by Phil...read more

  • John Byrom

    A scion of the Byroms of Byrom Hall in Lowton, Lancashire, John Byrom was born and lived in Manchester and Salford for much of his life. Educated at Cambridge, Byrom become a member of the Royal Society and a leading poet of his day. In addition to his poetical works, he invented a system of shorthand, composed the Christmas carol "Christians awake! Salute the happy morn", and coined the phrase "Tweedledum and Tweedledee". Byrom's work included three early poems in the Lancashire dialect, for which he was well remembered by the Lancashire dialect writers of the 19th century, in the form of satirical dialogues on topics of current political interest. - Summary by Phil...read more

  • William Wordsworth

    Gordon Bottomley's verse drama in two scenes is a prequel to Shakespeare's Macbeth. He provides Lady Macbeth with a name - Gruach - and imagines her family life and how she meets Macbeth. (Summary by Elizabeth...read more