Monthly Archives: September 2005

Steel Pulse

Steel Pulse‘s first album was Handsworth Revolution in 1978. It spoke eloquently about Black experience in Britain and Birmingham epitomised by Handsworth. This is another example of the artistic incubator which celebrates the vibrant diversity of the area. Handsworth Revolution also gives testament to the inequalities faced by their communities. Inequalities echoed in the death of Mikey Powell now two years on and still without explanation of how or why he died. There will be a memorial event in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham on 2nd October.
A film has been released about people who have died in police custody. The Mikey Powell Campaign stands in full support of others who have suffered grievous and painful losses in this way.
Steel Pulse is still on the scene as is shown in a recent interview. While injustices continue in our midst a sustained campaign is regrettably still necessary.

Continue reading

Nelson in Birmingham

As I emerged from the Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham yesterday I encountered a small troop of red coated soldiers escorting a well-dressed lady. I was somewhat puzzled, but a report in today’s Evening Mail (1/9/2005) reminded me of the occasion. It was the visit to Birmingham by Lord Nelson in 1802. The lady being escorted was Lady Hamilton. They were on their way to the unveiling of a plaque to remember the occasion, and of course, part of Birmingham’s celebration of the Battle of Trafalgar.
A result of Nelson’s visit was that a medal commemorating Nelson’s campaign and the Battle of the Nile was commissioned from the Soho Mint by Matthew Boulton who Nelson visited in Birmingham. After the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson’s death in 1805, Boulton produced his own tribute.
One of the features of the Bullring is the re-instatement of the statue of Nelson. This was the first memorial to Nelson in Britain when it was erected by St Martin’s Church in 1809. It faces out towards St Martin’s, now beautifully restored showing the light colour of sandstone after the removal of several centuries of grime. At the time of the replacement there were arguments which way the statue should face. Looking into Birmingham or outward. The other is the issue of the missing railings. The Bullring’s developers, Hammersons, have resisted their reintroduction because of their sharp points. This was deliberately modelled on pikes in use at the time. (These have now been re-instated: see comment below)
To take in the statue of Nelson in a walk about Birmingham click on this link.

Continue reading