Ben Waddington, UK / by Claire Farrell

Ben Waddington, UK

Ben Waddington is the Director of Still Walking and was commissioned as part of LPAP to support the creation of the Alternative Longbridge History Tour, which was inspired by Ben's work with Still Walking.

Working closely with the LPAP team and Longbridge residents the Alternative Longbridge History Walk explored two distinct layers of expertise, provided by Dr Mike Hodder, former Birmingham City Council planning archaeologist, and local historian Steve Wright.

Dr Mike Hodder held a discussion with the group about physical evidence found in Longbridge that shows us how people used to live. By reading pollen build-up in layers of dateable river silt, a picture emerged of how the landscape was gradually thinned out of trees, allowing heath plant species to prosper. The tree removal demonstrates early human activity in Longbridge, before any written records began. Steve revealed a story dating back to the English Civil War in relation to Hawkesley House and a visit to Longbridge from King Charles I.

Lastly the group was introduced to Mr Alan Taylor, 92 years old and the president of Austin Village Society. Alan gave a talk about the history of the Austin Village and how it came to be transported from America all the way to Longbridge.