Podcast: Estuary English

The Estuary. Image: Getty.

As I write, it’s local elections day here in England. There are elections in large chunks of the country, but to my shame I’ve only really been paying attention to two: the London borough ones (where there’s a lot of tension around how they might go for the various parties), and the Sheffield City Region mayoral one (where there’s no tension whatsoever because we’ve basically known that Labour’s Dan Jarvis was a lock for months now).

Anyway. I talk about those, briefly – but because we won’t have any results until some silly time this evening, our main feature this week is something else entirely.

Caroline Crampton was for many years in charge of the internet here at the New Statesman, and is one of the hosts of our pop culture podcast Srsly. Last year, she took on a new role as head of podcasts, and moved to Merseyside to write a book about the Thames Estuary.

So, all things considered, I thought it was about time I invited her onto Skylines to talk about it. She tells me how her parents’ journey from South Africa and her childhood in Kent inspired an interest in the estuary; how and why its human, natural and economic geography all differ so radically from the proper Thames, up-river; and why the towns of the estuary keep showing such an enduring enthusiasm for right-wing populist racists.

She also tells a frankly horrific story about 600 Victorians who drowned in sewage. It’s a fascinating conversation.

Next week, in all likelihood, will be the local election post mortem episode. See you on the other side.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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Podcast: Brizzle

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, in Bristol. Image: Getty.

This week, we’re off to an English city that, to my shame, I’ve been neglecting: Bristol, the largest city in the south west, and indeed the largest city in the south outside London.

I’m joined by Sian Norris, founder of the Bristol Women’s Literary Festival, to talk about the city she’s lived in since her childhood. She tells me what makes Bristol so liveable, why it’s struggling with inequality, and how it’s coping with the recent influx of London expats bidding up house prices.

Since we’re on his patch, I also spoke to Marvin Rees, who since 2016 has been the elected Labour mayor of the city. He tells me why he was so keen for Bristol to host the Global Parliament of Mayors, and why local politicians need to work together after Brexit. Oh, and he talks about his transport plans, too.

The episode itself is below. You can subscribe to the podcast on AcastiTunes, or RSS. Enjoy.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.

Skylines is supported by 100 Resilient Cities. Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, 100RC is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook.