The Photographs Of William Blake

New on eBay, The Photographs Of William Blake, a 2005 Stoke-on-Trent photobook I didn’t know about and that even Google Books isn’t aware exists. Sadly, what with the virus and all, I don’t have the funds to justify purchasing it. But some reader may want it. The seller provides nice scans…

48 pages, at A4 size. Presumably there was also a People and Places of the Potteries series, at the time, of which this was the first.

Press here for the fantastic

Well, who’d ‘a thunk it? The virus lockdown has turned a senior reporter at our local The Sentinel newspaper into a Tolkien and Lovecraft fan, and spurred by this reading he’s turned his attention to our local folklore. There’s hope for local journalism yet, it seems.

I wonder if he knows about Tolkien’s Stoke / Gawain-in-the-Moorlands local connections, that Stoke is also home to a leading scholar of Lovecraft’s life, and that there’s a handy new free annotated bibliography of all our local folklore?

Midderlands for D&D

The old-school fantasy Midlands role-playing game Midderlands runs on Swords & Wizardry Complete… but is now Kickstarting for a Midderlands D&D 5e edition. I’m no expert on tabetop RPGs but it looks like this will convert the existing game and its material to run with the popular Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, in the form of a single large letter-sized book (the American ‘sort-of A4’). The Kickstarter for this ends 2nd April 2020, and currently looks like it has a good chance of hitting its target.

I have a Midderlands Stoke-on-Trent expansion, for free.

Buy Gun Moor

Thanks to Karen Bradley MP for the tip that… “Staffordshire Wildlife Trust are trying to raise £156,000 to buy Gun Moor.”

The Moor is wildlife-rich un-ploughed moorland in Gawain country, above Rushton Spencer in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

The Rushton Spencer Historical Society has a public talk on the 16th March 2020 (7.30pm): “Gun Moor; Past, Present & Future’, with local historian Alan Weeks and Jon Rowe, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Warden for the Roaches and Gun Moor.

The Birmingham Oratory’s ‘Retreat’

New on eBay, a picture of ‘The Retreat’, kept by the Birmingham Oratory at Rednal in the Lickey Hills near Birmingham. The young Tolkien spent the summer of 1904 at a cottage in the grounds, and Tolkien would sit on the veranda of the main house with the house dog ‘Lord Roberts’ and Father Francis while he smoked his large cherrywood pipe. Cardinal Newman was buried nearby, in the grounds.