Bristol Radical History Group

Since 2006 BRHG have organised over 250 events; staging walks, talks, gigs, recreations, films, exhibitions, trips through the archives and fireside story telling. We have several active research projects, publish a range of books and pamphlets and host an archive on this website.

BRHG projects and events are organised by local people from Bristol and are NOT funded by universities, political parties, business or local government. To break even we rely on members giving their labour for free, donations from the audiences and the sale of publications.

BRHG are associated with several other history groups in Bristol including Remembering the Real World War One, Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group and the Counter-Colston Group. BRHG have also recently become a member of the International History From Below Network.

BRHG LogoHistory From Below Network Logo

New Book: Hugh Holmes Gore

Hugh Holmes Gore Front CoverNew Book: The Enigma of Hugh Holmes Gore: Bristol’s Nineteenth Century Christian Socialist Solicitor. As a radical solicitor he gained a national reputation during the 1893 defence of Walsall anarchists on trial for a bomb plot instigated by a police agent. In 1898 Gore vanished under mysterious circumstances. His friends’ comments suggest a scandal, most probably because of his sexual attraction to men at a time when homosexuality was a criminal offence. Read More...

Have you a Conchie in the family?

Whiteford brothersDozens of men from Bristol were imprisoned as conscientious objectors during World War 1. Are you related to any of them? Read more...

100 Fishponds Road

Front Cover100 Fishponds Rd. Life and Death in a Victorian Workhouse. The research that found out about the 4000 people buried in unmarked graves at the Eastville Workhouse burial ground. The second edition is now available. Order yours now.

Recent Books

Army of Shadows

Front cover of Army of Shadows

  My partner brought me this book for Xmas. It was priced at 2/6, about 12p in today’s prices. I hoped she paid more than that, but this classic is priceless. This copy was […] More

54

WuMing 54 Cover

What does the Italian/ American mafia, the Italian Communist Party, Cary Grant, Field Marshal Tito, the KGB, and a McGriffin TV have in common? Well read this book and you will […] More

Eric Hobsbawn: Socialist Historian

This publication by The Socialist History Society is a record of a special event in 2013 to celebrate and assess the work of the late Marxist and historian, Professor Eric […] More

Angela Remembered

Rosie MacGregor remembers Angela, that is Angela Gradwell Tuckett (1906-1994); a stalwart Communist, an all-round radical and something of a Renaissance woman. I’ll call her simply […] More

A Girl Among the Anarchists

From its advent as a modern worldview anarchism was always too pure a faith to be properly judged by the conduct of its adherents and practitioners. Or so it would seem from A Girl […] More

City Under Fire

City under fire cover

From Dreadnought Books The riots of 1831 gripped the city of Bristol for three days at the end of October. Most general histories of the city include some reference to this […] More

Central Labour College

Written by William Craik a railway guard who got kicked out of Ruskin College, Oxford and was then the principal of the CLC in the early 1920s The Central Labour College schooled a […] More

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday not only draws upon the historic stigmatisation of anarchists but also self-consciously explores and develops the caricature. The novel […] More

A Child of the Jago

A child of jago

Arthur Morrison’s 1890’s novel A Child of the Jago is set in the slum courts of London’s East End. Life in the Jago is a Hobbesian war of all against all, a socialist Darwinist […] More

Anarchy In A Cold War

Anarchy In A Cold War is set in divided Berlin in 1981. But Berlin is far more divided than just the Cold War divisions of East and West. The book centres on the squatter culture […] More

The Nightmare Trail

Scenes from the Life of Poet and War Casualty: FW Harvey The poet FW Harvey (1886-1957) spent the last thirty years of his life in Yorkley in the Forest of Dean. I was brought up […] More

Dreaming A City

This book describes the making of the 1991 TV documentary ‘Hughesovka and the New Russia, Dreaming a City’ created by the author and the Welsh historian Gwyn Alf Williams. Focusing […] More

Recent Articles

The Eastville Workhouse Memorials

100 Fishponds Road

Where am I? You are on the site of Eastville Workhouse, which opened its doors in 1847. In the 1930s it became an old people's home and was finally demolished in 1972. This page is […] More

Walter Ayles

Walter Ayles 1945

If I believed in the efficacy of slaughter to remedy evils, I would long ago have advocated the killing of those who, year after year, have been responsible for the sweated, the […] More

100 Fishponds Road

Eastvillle Workhouse

In 2015, the Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group unveiled a memorial for the 4,084 paupers buried in a mass grave at Rosemary Green. We follow them and the Bristol Radical History […] More

What we did on our summer holidays…#1

The annual Fete d'Humanitie originally began in 1930 as a fund raiser for the Communist newspaper L'Humanitie. It was the idea of the editor of the paper in Paris and attracted […] More

The Rosemary Green Memorial

On this site over 4000 men, women and children who died in Eastville Workhouse, known as 100 Fishponds Road, were buried in unmarked graves. A further 118 were given to the medical […] More

Eastville Workhouse memorial unveiling programme

This is a copy of the programme handed out at the Eastville Workhouse burail ground memorial unveiling 16/11/2015. Download the programme here... More

Colston and slavery still obscured?

At last year’s Merchant Venturers Charter Day service at the cathedral the Bishop of Bristol, stated that Edward Colston had: lived a life of significance... [and there]... may be […] More

From the Young Patriots to the Rainbow Coalition

Introduction The last twenty years or so have seen a wave of publications recounting and examining the history of the New Left and radical Black, Latino and Native American […] More

The Lawbreakers

The Lawbreakers

A BBC film from 1973 about the squatting movement in Bristol. See also Mac McConnell's talk "Housing Activism and Squatting in 1970’s Bristol" at the 2015 Anarchist Bookfair. More

Gallipoli and Bristol

A WoundedTurkish Infantryman Having A Drink Of Water

The horses, the horses, we couldn't get the horses off the beach; we should not have been there A British veteran of Gallipoli In the Autumn of 1914 a number of men from Bristol […] More

Arrowsmith and the ‘Bristol Revolution’ of 1831

Queen Square on the Night of 30th October 1831, 1831, W. J. Müller

I was fortunate enough to acquire, among a collection of books, both the 1884 and the considerably expanded 1906 edition of Arrowsmith’s Dictionary of Bristol, edited by Henry J. […] More

Do You Have A Conchie In The Family?

Whiteford brothers

From 1916-19 many men & women in Bristol organised opposition to conscription. Dozens of Bristolians were imprisoned as conscientious objectors. These included Walter Ayles, […] More

Recent Pamphlets

Lady Blackshirts

Lady Blackshirts Front Cover

During the 1930’s a small group of ultra-nationalistic women, who considered themselves feminists, joined Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. Surprisingly some of these […] More

The Smoke-Dragon and How to Destroy it

Smoke Dragon front cover

Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was one of the most progressive thinkers and writers and activists of the late-19th, early 20th centuries. He was an early supporter of the Bristol […] More

The Enigma of Hugh Holmes Gore

Hugh Holmes Gore Front Cover

The Anglo – Catholic convert to the left, Hugh Holmes Gore, was a key figure in Bristol’s labour movement during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Gore linked Clifton […] More

The Maltreated and the Malcontents

The Maltreated and the Malcontents front cover

The history of Bristol’s Great Western Cotton Works in Barton Hill, which opened in 1838, is little known. The story of its workforce — mainly low-paid women and children — has […] More

Slaughter No Remedy

Walter Ayles Front Cover

Walter Ayles was a fighter – but a fighter who didn’t believe in killing. He fought against unemployment and ruthless employers but also against the pro-war fever that led to the […] More

The Life and Death of Hannah Wiltshire

HAnnah Wiltshire Front Cover

During the year of 1855 rumours of murder and cover up were circulating in the small north Somerset village of Walton-in-Gordano. An epileptic destitute country girl had died in […] More

100 Fishponds Rd.

2nd Edition. Revised and substantially expanded. In 2012 some radical historians poring over old maps of East Bristol came across a disused burial ground at Rosemary Green close to […] More

The Bristol Deserter

The Bristol Deserter front cover

The years leading up to 1914 saw a wave of strike action across Britain; at the same time there were fears of war with Germany whipped up by the press and in popular culture. Some […] More

Class Cohesion versus Spurious Patriotism

With a new afterword by Kevin Morgan. A 2015 reprint of a 1915 pamphlet, originally published at the height of reaction during World War One. Proposing class struggle and […] More

Strikers, Hobblers, Conchies & Reds

Strikers, Hobblers, Conchies & Reds front cover

This book can be bought from breviarystuff.org.uk. In the 1970s and 80s a revival of interest emerged in researching Bristol’s vigorous radical past, reflected in the publications […] More

Poaching in the South West

Poaching in the South West

Poaching is known in some quarters as the 2nd oldest profession and defined as the taking of wild animals without the landowners consent. Here lies a significant problem: how could […] More

Bristol Independent Labour Party

#31 Bristol ILP Front Cover

During World War One a significant minority of women and men throughout the country took part in a peace movement. They demanded the democratic control of foreign policy, a […] More

Recent Events

A ‘night of infamy’: Black Friday, 1892

Bristol was rocked by two major strike waves in the late 19th Century, the first (1889-90) marked the emergence of ‘new unionism’ representing male and (significantly) female […] More

Film showing: The White Ribbon

This film showing kicks off a series of events this year from the Remembering the Real World War One group looking at WW1 from a German historical perspective. Film Summary: In the […] More

Kurdish/Syria Solidarity night

Tonight is an evening to find out more about the situation in Northern Syria and the region that the Kurdish groups and those that support them call Rojava. We are going to show […] More

100 Fishponds Road

The Kingfisher Cafe, 8 Straits Parade, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2LE In 2012 some radical historians poring over old maps came across a disused burial ground at Rosemary Green close […] More

Women and Conscientious Objection to Military Service

Quaker Meeting House, 126 Hampton Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6JE A free event on women and conscientious objection to military service. Note: Registration is required for this […] More

Spies and Trouble Makers

In 1917 in Britain, one of the government’s worst nightmares was developing. There had always been a ‘hard-core’ of opposition to the war on political, moral & religious […] More

The 1831 Bristol rising

  After the defeat of the first reform bill in early October 1831 violent protests exploded in many British cities. The rising in Bristol was the most spectacular and suffered […] More

The Captain Swing Riots

United Reform Church Hall, Boulevard, Waterloo St, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1LF The ‘Swing riots’ were a massive wave of protests, machine breaking, arson and extortion carried out […] More

The Dings and World War One

Bethesda Methodist Church, 138a Church Road, Redfield, Bristol, BS5 9HH An illustrated talk by Geoff Woolfe author of The Bristol Deserter on the life and times of Arthur and […] More

Life and Death in two Victorian Workhouses

Downed Local History Society. Downend Folk House, Lincombe Barn, Overndale Road, Downend, Bristol, BS16 2RW Bedminster: the true story of how the local community pulled together to […] More

Slaughter No Remedy

Upper Engagement Room, The Students' Union at UWE, Union 1, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY ‘Canting humbugs’ was the way some in Bristol characterised […] More

Detroit: Future City?

The US city of Detroit had a population in the region of 1.8 million in the 1950s but automation and the flight of big business, particularly in the automotive industry, led to […] More

Pin It on Pinterest