Joining Tom Jackson, in a special programme recorded at the Birmingham Conservatoire as part of the Birmingham Literature Festival, to discuss the postcards from their pasts are writer and BBC 6Music broadcaster STUART MACONIE (Long Road From Jarrow, Pies and Prejudice, Adventures on The High Teas, The People’s Songs) and award-winning poet LIZ BERRY (Black Country, The Republic of Motherhood). We uncover long-distance love, the best LP ever made, working class autodidacts and the mysteries of landscape. Along the way we visit the Wren’s Nest, a steelworks, a series of royal arches, an Aberystwyth clifftop, the back streets of Salford and a New York church. Wish you were here?

Liverpool multiview  “Car okay, apart from puncture. Sunshine now, but no doubt rain on the way.”
Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, 1973 “I’ve bought Woodstock and it must be the best LP ever made. Also bought a Free LP but will change it if possible. Looking forward to Status Quo on Saturday.”
Liz’s 1904 card of the Spring Vale Steelworks by night. A romantic, painterly view of industry in the Black Country.
The reverse of Liz’s Spring Vale card.
“The entrance to heaven itself”: The Wren’s Nest, Dudley Castle, on a 1903 postcard from . Liz Berry has fond memories of the Wren’s Nest.
The Wren’s Nest postcard reverse: “Yours forever…”
Stuart’s postcard of the Richard Long artwork, England 1968. This card first caught Stuart’s eye when he was a teenage, and has travelled with him through several house moves, and still bears the Blu Tack traces…
Children in Back Alley, Salford, 1962. Stuart’s postcard of a photograph by Shirley Baker (1932-2014). Salford is now home to BBC Media City, where Stuart is based for his BBC 6Music programmes. This card was sent to Stuart by someone who had read his Jarrow book.
I’ve Turned My Back On Work at Great Yarmouth. “Camp has everything. I even came third in egg and spoon race.”
A postcard commemorating the royal visit to Birmingham in July 1909: The Firemen’s Arch.
A second postcard from the 1909 Birmingham visit: The Cycle Trades’ Arch, New Street.
A third postcard from the 1909 Birmingham Royal visit: The Gas Department Arch: “Dear Gladys, Charlie and I think of cycling over Sunday, weather permitting, arrive between 8 and 8.30. Hoping to find you all well. Ada”
Liz’s postcard advertising the Church of the Heavenly Rest, on Fifth Avenue, New York. The church was founded in 1865, as a memorial to soldiers who had died in the American Civil War. It is affectionately nicknamed by New Yorkers, “The Church of the Celestial Snooze.”
Proof of Liz’s love for this church postcard – Blu Tack still visible.
An Aberystwyth postcard sent by Liz’s partner to her when she was a student in Edinburgh. Outfits not endorsed by Ramblers GB (President, S. Maconie.)
I’ve Forgotten All About Work at Aberystwyth – or has he? Another student postcard sent to Liz Berry.
A postcard sent to Stuart Maconie by Nicky Wire of the Manic Street Preachers, showing the band in their early days: the exuberance of youth.
Nicky Wire’s message to Stuart Maconie.
Barnes Mill, Chelmsford, 1974. “Three cheers for Mrs Brown.”
The sound of the Bahamas on a musical postcard.
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