Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.
There are stories bound up in objects which are hidden in plain sight. A pot donkey silently carries memories down through generations; an unopened envelope of newspaper cuttings tells of journeys in the past. Untold histories surround us, on mantelpieces and in display cabinets.
There is a small bureau in the corner of our box room in Birmingham. Standing on fresh-painted floorboards, its scuff marks and scratches and tea ring patina suggest the passing decades. A glass fronted display cabinet reminds us of what it has hidden in the past; a fold-down writing desk conceals drawers, shelves, scraps of paper. Look closely enough, and here are the traces of my family’s recent history.
The bureau hasn’t always been in a box room in Birmingham. It reminds me of other rooms, places, lives. Thinking back through offices in Oxford and Liverpool takes me to my grandma’s sunlit corner room in Nassau…
View original post 1,093 more words