About keithbracey

Brummie poet, historian, writer and blogger AKA #BrummieBard Please read my Birmingham Blog from downtown Bearwood at https://keithbracey.wordpress.com Twitter: @1truclaretnblu and Facebook: Birmingham: The City of Enlightenment Villa and Bears fan and Moseman through and through although my fave AVIVA Premiership team is Wasps @Ricoh

Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution by Priya Satia

#Birmingham is the ONLY British city with a dedicated ‘Gun Quarter’ where guns were made and tested…..Truly guns have played an important part in the history of Birmingham…..from the ‘Battle of Birmingham’ when Royalist forces under Prince Rupert in the English Civil War laid waste to the small manufacturing town of Birmingham for its support of Parliament and its provision of guns to the Parliamentary forces and the New Model Army…..to the role that Birmingham’s Gun Quarter played in the supply of guns in both world wars with the Birmingham Small Arms Company becoming world famous for the quality of its weapons….My Dad Leslie Charles Bracey worked in the Gun Quarter before the second world war carrying sporting guns to the Birmingham Proof House for testing as my Dad’s family lived and grew up in the Birmingham Gun Quarter living in the back to backs of Little Shadwell Street in the shadow of the Roman Catholic St Chad’s Cathedral

The Iron Room

For Black History Month, this week’s blog post is a review of a recent addition to our holdings:  Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution by Priya Satia published this year by Duckworth Overlook.

At the heart of this studious discourse rests an argument which provides a new appraisal of the forces which drove Britain’s place at the forefront of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The central premise of the tome is that the real cause of economic and imperial expansion was due to an exceedingly lucrative military contracting the production of guns and other weaponry which kept the nation in an almost constant state of production and warfare. This revisionist view of the genesis of the industrial revolution places conflict and Britain’s global expansionist desires very much at the forefront of the country’s change to an industrialised nation.


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9 places that tell the story of early flight

My daughter is a serving member of the RAF Police and this year the RAF celebrates its 100th Anniversary…..this is a special piece about the places that played a role in the story of flight in Britain

Heritage Calling

On this day 110 years ago, 16 October 1908, the British Army Aeroplane 1 took off in what was the first formally recognised, sustained, powered, heavier-than-air flight in the United Kingdom.

It was built by American aviation pioneer Samuel Franklin Cody at the Army Balloon Factory in Farnborough and signalled a new age of daredevil experimentation and sky-high ambitions.

In celebration of this anniversary, we take a look at nine listed places that tell us about the early days of aviation:

1. The Balloon Stone (Lunardi Monument), Standon Green End, Hertfordshire, Grade II listed

A large stone monument surrounded by a protective metal barrier. A plaque can be seen on the stone The Lunardi Balloon stone -The first flight from English soil – 15th September 1784 via Wiki commons

This stone monument commemorates the first ever feat of aviation in England- the first recorded hot air balloon flight. Italian aeronaut Vincent Lunardi launched from the Honourable Artillery Company grounds in Finsbury, east London, flying for 2 hours and…

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Re-nationalising the railways: what are the prospects?

And while we renationalise the railways let’s abandon the “rich man’s railway” HS2. ….a huge waste of money….let’s run our current railways better and more effectively and efficiently!

Our Birmingham

This Birmingham Socialist Discussion Group meeting has been called to discuss the state of the railway system in Britain today and the case for nationalisation.

7 pm Wednesday 24th October first floor room, the Wellington, 37 Bennetts Hill City Centre

The front pages of the mainstream press have recently described the chaos in the British railways. Right-wing newspapers who have always supported the privatisation of the railways are now reflecting the dramatic failures of this system.

The Times 20.9.18. “Rail failings exposed by chaos over timetables” In which it informed its readers that “Nobody took charge of May’s timetable overhaul leading to the cancellation of 800 services a day.”

The Daily Mail headline on the same day was “Off the Rails!”. It said “Passengers are routinely being failed and the timetable chaos highlighted systemic weakness, poor leadership and lack of accountability.”

Two railways Northern Rail and…

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Motown The Musical at The Alexandra, Birmingham

Totally agree Motown the Musical is a brilliant show full of songs that people living through the sixties and seventies will know…..go and see if while it is on at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham


by Julie Wallis twitter.com/nicenic63

Motown The Musical at The Alexandra, Birmingham

Motown the Musical launches the new look to The Alexandra theatre in Birmingham. How very fitting that this dazzling, star studded, music feast is the first production at the now equally dazzling Alexandra. Fresh from a huge makeover that brings her bang up to date.

Motown The Musical, as it’s title suggests, tells the story of 25 years of Motown music, following founder, Berry Gordy (Edward Baruwa) as he mets and signs the likes of Diana Ross (Karis Anderson) Smokey Robinson (Nathan Lewis) Marvin Gaye (Shak Gabbidon-Williams) and then goes on to produce hit after hit. This show has over 60 songs and you will know each and every one.

Motown The Musical West End cast - The Supremes photo by Tristram Kenton Motown The Musical West End cast – The Supremes photo by Tristram Kenton

There is something about the…

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Review: War Horse at Birmingham Hippodrome

The futility and brutality of war is brought to life by this production of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, the poignant tale of a boy and his horse


by Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour

War Horse at Birmingham Hippodrome

War Horse has arrived at Birmingham Hippodrome until 3rd November, and last night I was lucky enough to attend the press performance of this must-see National Theatre production.

Starting in 1912, we see Albert (Thomas Dennis) trying to stop his father Ted (Gwilym Lloyd) using the mortgage money to bid against his brother Arthur (William Ilkley) for a horse at a local auction. Ted’s wife Rose (Jo Castleton) is angry when they return home with the horse, but they soon see the bond between Albert, and his horse now named Joey.

War Horse Photo by Brinkhoff and Mgenburg War Horse Photo by Brinkhoff and Mgenburg

Two years or so later and the The Great War (First World War) has begun, an Lieutenant Nicholls (Ben Ingles) buys Joey from Albert’s father and Albert tries to sign up for the…

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