Welcome to my website. It’s very much under construction, so please bear with me and do come back from time to time to see how I have updated it.
I have wondered why some people, without some commercial interest to promote, maintain websites. I suppose I do have interests in wider forms of history that I would like to publicise, and maybe this site will help. However, I think of this site as a private store in which I have placed a range of items, so that I can find them! If you view this site, you are welcome to see what is in my store, but it is personal.
I have various and varied interests, and have placed on this site matters trivial and not-so-trivial, some of my outpourings over the years. Some writings have been moved from blogs that I had maintained elsewhere. I have been tempted to produce separate “academic-related” and “trivial/personal” sites, but don’t see why the seriously frivolous should not be mixed up with the trivially serious!
There is a lot less about environmental, conservation and transport history on these pages than I would hope – primarily because much has been formally published elsewhere.
Links to relevant pages are on the top of this site – hover the cursor over each category to reveal sub-pages which contain specific articles.
You may have been referred here from the Raymond Williams Foundation site. If so, it is best to go straight to “Raymond Williams Work”, which concerns my musings about the work of this very significant writer and critic. My involvement with the Raymond Williams Foundation has made – perhaps – a small contribution to a better world?
“Bibliography” is a portentous term to describe my published output; much of it is trivial, but I may as well list it anyway.
“Miscellaneous writings” are mostly pieces lifted from my blogs, musing about all sort of matters. These include “Joyce’s Ulysses”, which contains my very occasional musings on that book and its author. “Local history” deals mostly with pieces about my home town of Wallasey, largely expansions of those that I wrote in the 1980s.
“Personal writings” are about themes personal to me. This includes – a substantial category – “Autobiographical writings”, which record some of my scattered unpublished musings on my personal history; perhaps sentimental in places, but there is no need to read them if this deters! “Verse and Worse” contains my very limited attempts at “poetry of a sort”. Maybe I should have expressed such thoughts and feelings in prose form.
“Transport history” should be expanding, but at the moment comprises “On waterways history writing – thoughts of a heretic”. This reproduces what was a developing series written for the Boat Museum Society’s journal Re:Port, about research and writing related to inland waterways history. Since that Society was demolished and closed, and Re:Port with it, I stopped the series. However, I may add to this as items get written and published here.
A more recent innovation is “Joseph’s Monthly Essay”. In October 2015 I decided to write an essay, somewhat off the cuff, every month; I have not been able to fulfil this, so these are more occasional. Subjects have overlapped with other concerns – notably environmental, transport and conservation history. The first one, about Venice, certainly falls into those categories. Others may be far distant from these concerns.
Other categories are vacant at present, but I will be updating these as time permits.
I’ve tried to keep this as simple as possible; hopefully I have succeeded!
Once again, please note that the tone of these contributions varies greatly. I was from an academic background and enjoy reading academic writings, but I also feel that the purely personal is worthwhile. If so many pieces do not seem serious enough for some readers, there really is no need to read them! I am trying to work on some much more serious and rigorous themes, because I do not see the role of academics – retired or not – as solely the pursuit of specialised studies in strictly disciplined “silos”, but as a critic of all that presently exists and might exist. This may be portentous, but there are thoughts here, that if others have committed these to publication, I have yet to read them!