Author Archives: Doc

Food On The Move: The Extraordinary World Of The Motorway Service Area

Food on the Move is a lustrously presented social and cultural history of the motorway service area in Britain. After finding the distant origins of this non-place in the coaching inns of the turnpike era, David Lawrence traces the germination of … Continue reading

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Newcastle Through the Eyes of Nazi Planners

When war planners during the Second World War settled on aerial bombing raids as an effective strategy, the need for an unprecedented level of geographic intelligence intensified. In order to ensure maximum destruction both sides looked beyond traditional military targets—weapons … Continue reading

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England’s Underwater Cities – Plashetts

In a testament to the power of the legend of Atlantis, myth seems prevail when whispers of any potential underwater city are in the air. For decades the legend that an obscure mining village called Plashetts was submerged to facilitate … Continue reading

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England’s Underwater Cities – Dunwich

For centuries we have delighted in the mythical possibility that the lost city of Atlantis remains undisturbed and exportable under the sea. Adventurers, explorers and even scientific investigators have dived into the mystery with the hopes of seeing the sunken … Continue reading

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Topography melts into biography in Nick Papadimitriou’s Scarp. Landscape immersion becomes Papadimitriou’s analgesic for alienation from society as he is guided by a brew of scattered concepts—some grounded in the international avant-garde of the 20th century, others borrowed from obscure … Continue reading

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Cumberland Hodge Fights the Devil in Gateshead

All ye whom literature engages, Come read my book through all its pages, It far surpasses former ages For truth and diction; Compar’d with which the wisest sages Wrought nought but fiction. When the irrepressible Wesleyan preacher Hodgson Casson arrived … Continue reading

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Art as Technique

When Calvin Payne decided to release a book documenting his research into the history of manhole and sewer covers in Sheffield he got an unusual amount of media attention. A national tabloid newspaper called him “The Drainspotter”—running an article with … Continue reading

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Oystershell Hall, Newcastle

Although considered something of a gastronomic indulgence now, Oysters were once staples of the English diet. In 1910 the British Government estimated that the oyster trade was the most important industry in the world and in Victorian metropoles oysters were … Continue reading

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Shopping malls are surreal. Time stops in them and you are simultaneously somewhere and nowhere. The sumptuous consumer paradises have no history—they just exist. They force you to adapt to a new geography—one of a prescribed route through nameless air-conditioned … Continue reading

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Guerilla Heritage in Newcastle

Newcastle does not boast much in the way of Czech heritage so it’s surprising to see a blue plaque dedicated to Jára Cimrman, the famous inventor, traveler, philosopher, detective, amateur obstetrician, writer and poet. Cimrman’s national acclaim was recognised when the Czech people voted … Continue reading

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