Trevor Fisher, as I have always been known, saw the light of day in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in October 1946 and was brought up in the Hockley area of the city. Father was a carpenter and handyman and his mother a part time waitress and full time housewife. Both had left school at 14. I only learned later that they had not always been working class. I was educated at All Saint’s Church of England Primary school, and after passing the 11 plus attended Lordswood Boys Technical School on the Hagley Road where the Number 11 bus crossed into the suburb of Harborne. Hockley was a slum area. Harborne a leafy suburb and class was built into the journey from home to school. That journey is revisited in the Hockley section, the symbol of the wider journey I made, leaving my family partly behind and all the children I grew up with totally behind.
After a third year in the sixth form I spent a year as a primary school assistant before matriculating to read English Literature at Warwick University. On the first day I switched to read History and Politics, in part to study under E P Thompson, which happened in third year. I believed, as did my parents, that there was nothing too good for the working class. At Warwick he was elected by his fellow students to serve on the student Committee of Seven during the Warwick Files Affair in the spring of 1970. At least it showed I had lost my Birmingham accent – when I first arrived at Warwick other students could hardly understand me.
After graduating with an upper second class honours degree in June 1970 having narrowly escaped some of the nastier consequences of being a student rebel, I studied for an MA at the Centre for Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, graduating in 1973. My supervisor was Stuart Hall. The experience showed I could never be comfortable in academia, and I went into teaching where I spent 37 years as a classroom teacher. I subsequently gained a Master of Education degree at Keele University in 1990, an experience which again showed that academia was not going to be part of the journey.
I worked as a part time lecturer to finance his first Masters Degree, and from 1975-76 was employed as a researcher for the Birmingham Inner Area Study. I took a PGCE 1976-77 and from 1977 to 1986 taught at Walton High School in Stafford. From 1986 till retirement in 2009 I taught at Newcastle under Lyme Tertiary College, mainly teaching A Level history and writing, plus sundry political and cultural activities in what was at the time known as social democracy. I published eight books, three school text books, three historical studies of Victorian social history, a study of stately homes in the West Midlands, and his most recent book on Aston Villa’s England Internationals.
A life long Aston Villa supporter, following in the footsteps of father and grandfather, I retain my club share despite the takeover of Aston Villa by Randy Lerner. A one time committee member of the Aston Villa Independent Supporters Assocation, with a life long friend and Villa Supporter I edited a Villa Fanzine, Villa Matters, and have been a member of the Villa Trust.
I have never lived more than thirty miles from Villa Park and consider myself still to be a Brummy. He is currently researching and writing the problems of education in England, the state of football in a globalised era, the challenges to history in an age of conspiracy theory, with particular reference to the revisionism of Tudor and Stuart history and the impact of the entertainment industry on history and its celebrity dominated relation heritage, and the failures of academic study to pick up major trends in current culture. Retirement gives more time to be active, and less money to indulge. Perhaps it was as well that I never married and have no children. If there is one thing that sums up my life so far, it is what that curious genius Rudyard Kipling wrote of the character in the Just So stories that I always warm to – “I am the cat that walks alone, and all places are alike to me”. Or perhaps not all places. Hockley when I grew up there was a very distinct place. But it was the place where I learned to walk alone. What happened after is a complicated story, which I do not claim to understand. But here are a few insights in a website that you might find interesting.
Trevor Fisher 1st September 2015
28th October 2011