Family Fortunes

By Stan Smith

Price: £8.95

ISBN: 1 904886 75 4

For more than a century and a half, from the 1810s to the 1970s, the Smith family lived in and around the half square mile of School Brow, the original site of Saxon and medieval Warrington, Lancashire, before it became the urban wasteland it is today.

Drawing on public record as well as family anecdote, ‘Family Fortunes’ re-imagines the lives of five generations of this quintessentially English, conservative and Protestant working-class family. The family’s fortunes are interwoven with the nation’s economic and imperial destiny through the main local employer, Rylands Bros, initially a supplier of sailcloth for the Fleet and then a manufacturer of wire for most of the world.

A second sequence, ‘Journeys to War’, places this local and personal history within the wider context of relations between poetry, politics and war, by evoking key moments in the lives of a number of poets from Aeschylus to Lowell.

This is his first collection of poetry. He says that his primary influence in writing it was The Sopranos.