Robert Beaumont

‘It’s a fight to the death here’

David Cameron has said that the two most beautiful constituencies in England are his own, in Oxfordshire, and Oliver Letwin’s in Dorset. He obviously knows little of Thirsk and Malton, a small slice of North Yorkshire heaven, but the area will certainly be on his mind next Thursday. For here, the now supposedly united tribes

City Life | 15 August 2009

My abiding Bradford memory is of the aftermath of the terrible fire at the Valley Parade football ground in May 1985, which claimed 56 lives. As a young reporter on a Yorkshire paper, I had been sent to the scene to write what was then quaintly called a colour piece. There was precious little colour

City Life | 4 April 2009

‘From this filthy sewer, pure gold flows’: that was in 1835, but it could be today Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French political commentator, visited Manchester in 1835 when the city was the capital of the world’s textile industry. He wrote: ‘From this foul drain, the greatest stream of human industry flows to fertilise the

City Life | 6 December 2008

At last, a fine statue of Brian Clough — but still not even a plaque for Jesse Boot ‘All Nottingham has is Robin Hood — and he’s dead,’ said Brian Roy, a Dutch footballer who starred, briefly, for Nottingham Forest in the 1990s. Roy’s assessment of this bleak East Midlands city, as wounding as Orson

City Life | 2 August 2008

Paul Theroux, in The Great Railway Bazaar, paints a louche portrait of the capital of Laos. ‘The brothels are cleaner than the hostels, marijuana is cheaper than pipe tobacco and opium is easier to find than a cold glass of beer,’ he wrote in 1975. When Theroux finally got his beer, the waitress told him

City Life | 9 April 2008

I must declare an interest from the outset. I was born in Wakefield. I have never been especially forthcoming about my birthplace, not because I am ashamed of it, but because few people know or care much about this little city. Wakefield’s points of reference, ranging from the Battle of Wakefield in 1460 to rhubarb,