A Place in History
This book is all about a sense of place, about our fascination with the fact that, wherever we are in the world, we're living, breathing, feeling and thinking where thousands of other people have done so before us. That fascination is heightened when the location in question has been the scene of great events - sometimes joyous, sometimes calamitous - a place where history was made.
Colin Philpott takes us on a personal journey around Great Britain to visit destinations, such as sports stadia that were built to stage great events, or places made famous by a single incident such as a disaster, or an event of social, political or cultural significance.
Poignant sites include the scene of the last civilian death in the Second World War; Aberfan village in South Wales, where 144 people died in the 1966 coal tip disaster; and Brighton's Grand Hotel, where the Provisional IRA attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984.
Here, too, are places where joyful events took place: the site of the landmark Isle of Wight Music Festival in 1969; Iffley Road running track, where the first sub-four- minute mile was run by Roger Bannister in 1954; and a suburban garden in south London where a dog called Pickles found the stolen World Cup in 1966.
Also revisited are places where great scientific discoveries were made, including the Old Cavendish Laboratories in Cambridge, scene of groundbreaking DNA research in 1953, and Royal Oldham Hospital, where the first test-tube baby was born in 1978.
The journey is not just sentimental or nostalgic. It examines what has happened to the places touched by history, how changing uses reflect changes in society, particularly in economic circumstances and in leisure time. Above all, it is a journey to inspire further exploration and discovery and an enduring sense of place.
About the author
Colin Philpott has a passionate interest in places and in news. He worked for the BBC for 25 years as a reporter, producer and editor, and was head of BBC Yorkshire from 1997 to 2004. From 2004 to 2012 he was director of the National Media Museum. He lectures on media at the University of Bradford.