I was born into a family of farm workers and was brought-up in the village of Boughton in south-west Norfolk.1 Having attended the village school I then spent seven years as a student at Downham Market Grammar School (now a Sixth Form College).2 Following a course of study for a joint History/Geography degree at Hull University I was a secondary school teacher for 37 years, 35 of which were spent at Cottingham High School. For the next three years I taught adult literacy and numeracy at Everthorpe Prison.
Furthermore, I hold qualifications in Regional and Local History and Countryside Management as well as a Master of Philosophy research degree having undertaken an independent course of study leading to the publication of Housing for the Rural Working Classes of East Yorkshire in the late Nineteenth Century and the Development of early Rural Council Housing up to 1939.
I have been the tutor for many adult education classes organized by the local authority, by the Workers Educational Association and by Hull University, some of which have resulted in publications.3 I am a reasonably well known speaker and tour guide to groups and organizations across the Humber region.
Since 1990 I have lived on the south-bank but consider my principal field of interest to be the whole of the Humberside region. For reasons related to my biography I also am particularly interested in the landscape history of west Norfolk, London and north Wales.
Since the summer of 2019 have lived in Hull, or correctly Kingston upon Hull, as my address shows.
WHY LANDSCAPE STUDIES? To me Landscape History is a current term for what use to be known as Historical Geography – that being to study a physical area, its history and the history of physical things within the landscape, both man-made(e.g. field patterns, drainage patterns, housing, places of worship, farm buildings, industrial sites etc.) and ecological (e.g. farming practices, plants, trees, hedgerows, woodland etc.). Landscape study overlaps with the study of architecture, geology, hydrology, agriculture and urban studies. It follows that Landscape Studies is closely link with environmental concerns.
Currently the main thrust of my research, but not the only one, is the history of municipal parks, cemeteries, playing fields and allotments.