Introducing Hispanic Britain, or, an Anglo-Spanish Miscellany

Why did Coventry city council name one of their streets Ebro Crescent in the 1930s? What’s the origin of the house called Villa Maria in Liverpool’s elegant Sefton Park neighbourhood (below)? Why didn’t anybody tell that Leamington wine merchant in the 1870s that ‘bodega’ is a feminine noun in Spanish – and what did his customers make of his extensive advice about the properties of Spanish sherry?*

Villa MariaSo.  After three years blogging over at Books on Spainit’s time for a new adventure. As those of you who’ve followed me there or on Twitter will know, during those three years the focus of the posts has moved away from books and authors, as I’ve developed new interests and new obsessions research projects. This new space is a home for all the intriguing stories, odd reflections, obscure traces and, yes, funky souvenirs I’ve been turning up as part of my work on the personal, cultural, commercial and material connections between the British and Spanish empires during the long nineteenth century. I’m especially interested in the traces of these connections that we can still find in British streets, homes, museums and archives – if we know where to look.

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* James Daily, whose advert you can see in the blog header, is an intriguing character whose window display of a full-size Spanish pigskin wine vessel was the talk of Leamington at Christmas 1871. He’ll be reappearing in these pages very soon…

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