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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Clayhanger's footsteps

Thursday, December 16th., Burslem.

Yesterday morning I did part of the walk that Clayhanger must do as he comes finally home form school in the first chapter of "Clayhanger". The original bridge over the canal, where Edwin and The Sunday had their 'spitting' contest, has long since been demolished and replaced by the modern one visible in this photograph. To the right, on the Porthill side of the canal, was (and maybe still is) McGuinness's scrap yard where I often used to scavenge for parts for my old bangers. The canal-side building is very slowly crumbling, but has retained its structural integrity remarkably well considering.

Slight signs last night on the part of the wire pullers to soften down my manifesto, but I refused to do so. It went to press today.

Religion plays quite a part in "Clayhanger", in the sense that Edwin is in reaction against his conventional methodist upbringing. He never actually declares himself to be atheist, and would probably use the term 'humanist' as a self-descriptor if alive today. I was put in mind of this listening to the new President of the British Humanist Association on the wireless this morning; a man with a Christian mother and a Shia Muslim father; a scientist, who has rejected religion but embraces an optimistic and compassionate view of human potential. I am thinking about joining.

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