Rose George

Rose George’s books include Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping. She lives in Yorkshire.

No Bottle: Water

Rose George, 18 December 2014

On a green hill​ above a lake in my local park in Leeds, there is a handsome stone structure. The Barrans Fountain was built by the Victorian clothing manufacturer Sir John Barran, once also the city’s mayor. He must have been a man with ambition. A building he constructed in the city centre is Moorish and beautiful, a small glimpse of Granada in the middle of West Yorkshire, though...

Diary: Travels in the Sewers

Rose George, 11 May 2006

Beside a manhole in a street in Clerkenwell, I am presented with the things that will protect me in the hours to come: a white paper overall suit; crotch-high waders with tungsten-studded soles that will grip but won’t spark; a hard hat with a miner’s light; heavy rubber gloves, oversized; a ‘turtle’, a curved metal box that holds emergency breathing apparatus, to strap...

Diary: in Dewsbury

Rose George, 17 November 2005

Dewsbury, a middle-sized mill town in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was my home for 17 years. After I left I paid little attention to the town, though I’ve always come back to see my family. When people asked where I was from, I’d say it was a place called Nearleeds, because no one had heard of Dewsbury, unless they’d read Betty Boothroyd’s biography or remembered who...

You can tell you’re flying into Liberia because the world goes dark. An hour out of Banjul, lights on the ground disappear. Eighteen months into its first proper peace since 1989, after 14 years of spectacularly brutal civil war, Liberia still doesn’t have electricity or running water. It hasn’t had any since February 1990, when Charles Taylor – former warlord, later...

Diary: in the New Beirut

Rose George, 23 January 2003

On my first night in Lebanon, there are fireworks and a ruckus. A local by-election has just been held in a Christian area of Beirut. The two candidates were the sister and the uncle of the Interior Minister. When the votes were first counted, the Minister’s father claimed that his daughter had won. His brother contested the result, and now he has won. The fireworks are the...

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