Best-selling author Brian Groom will lay out the dramatic events that created the north – waves of migration, invasions, battles and transformative changes wrought on European culture and the global economy – based on his book Northerners: A History, from the Ice Age to the Present Day. In a sweeping narrative covering 180 million years, Brian will show how the people of Wakefield and the north have shaped Britain and the world in unexpected ways.

A work of unrivalled scale and ambition, Northerners is the defining biography of northern England.

This book has to be the authoritative history of place and people, published in 2022. It tells the story of ‘the north’ and how our concept of northerness has evolved from pre-Roman times to the modern day.

At least six Roman emperors ruled from York. The Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria was Europe’s leading cultural and intellectual centre. Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes, deserves to be as famous as Boudica. Neanderthals and Vikings, Central European Jews, African-Caribbeans and South Asians, have all played their part in the making and remaking of the north. Northern writers, activists, artists and comedians are celebrated the world over, from Wordsworth, the Brontës and Gaskell to LS Lowry, Emmeline Pankhurst and Peter Kay. St Oswald and Bede shaped the spiritual and cultural landscapes of Britain and Europe, and the world was revolutionised by the inventions of Richard Arkwright and the Stephensons. The north has exported some of sport’s biggest names and defined the sound of generations, from the Beatles to Britpop.

Northerners shows convincingly how the past echoes down the centuries. The author considers how the North-South divide has ebbed and flowed and explores what northerness means today – even looking at the friendly rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

About the author:

Brian Groom is a journalist and a leading expert on British regional and national affairs. His career was spent mainly at the Financial Times, where he was assistant editor and worked in various capacities. He is also a former editor of Scotland on Sunday, which he launched as deputy editor and which won many awards. Originally from Stretford, Lancashire, he returned to live in the North, in Saddleworth, in 2015.

Northerners is his first book.

The event:

This talk will be presented in the Kingswood Suite at Wakefield Town Hall, Wood Street, Wakefield, WF1 2HQ, starting promptly at 7.30pm. (Doors open at 7pm.)

The event is free to attend and is open to all who are interested in the subject matter.

A live stream option will also be available for anyone unable to attend in person. When selecting your tickets, please make sure you select either an ‘in person’ ticket if you wish to come to the Town Hall, or a ‘live stream’ ticket if you wish to watch on-line via Zoom. A link to the talk will be emailed to you on the day of the event.

This talk is being presented as part of Wakefield’s Our Year 2024 and is one of a number of aspirational series of talks and events around Wakefield district in the Key to the North programme. Talks, lectures and other events will shine a light on the rich heritage and popular culture of the Wakefield district and Yorkshire.

    Access facilities

  • Accessible Toilet
  • Wheelchair Accessible

Venue Details

Find us at

Town Hall, Wakefield, WF1 2HQ