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

Bristol Radical History Festival 2017

Bristol Radical History Festival 2017 Flyer FrontBristol Radical History and the Remembering the Real World War groups are teaming up to bring you the Bristol Radical History Festival on Sunday 17th September (10.30am – 4.30pm) at M Shed. 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

Edward Colston Research Paper #2

Introduction This research article is an examination of the Royal African Company (RAC) and the role of Edward Colston (b. 1636 d. 1721) within the organisation as both an investor […] More

Davis Day

When Thomas Davis and his wife Annis and their family from Pillowell in the Forest of Dean decided to emigrate to Canada in 1890 they could not have known that their choice would […] More

Edward Colston Research Paper #1

Introduction Edward Colston was an investor, official and eventually deputy governor of the Royal African Company (RAC) from 1680-92. Over this period the RAC purchased and […] More

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

Recent Pamphlets

Turbulence

Turbulence Front Cover

Turbulence describes how the expanding armaments industry of the First World war drew thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled workers – women as well as men- into Bristol’s […] More

The War after the War

“Every intelligent person now admits that the antagonism among the nations of Europe that led to competition of armaments and the present world war was fundamentally due to a […] More

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

Recent Events

History Walk 2: Riots, Massacres and Reform 1700s-1832

This 1.5 hour walk in the centre of Bristol takes us through a century of working class history, charting the path of the 'crowd' from the 'moral economy' of the 1700s, through the […] More

Studio 1 & 2: Three British Anarchists in America

This talk examines the lives of three British migrants who became Individualist anarchists and part of the network around the journal Liberty. The Bristolian activist and poet, […] More

Studio 1: Mutiny

The biggest revolt in the history of the British Army occurred during 1919 involving hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Massive mutinies by stroppy soldiers humiliated generals, […] More

Studio 2: Wales and Socialism Before the Great War

Socialism, which presented itself as a new and exciting ideology in the Britain of the 1880s, was essentially universalist in nature. It proposed a set of solutions to the problem […] More

Life Gallery, Level 1: A Tribute to Heathcote Williams

A Tribute to Heathcote Williams, public historian of great English insurrections: excerpts from ‘The Red Dagger’ and ‘The Invisible Captain Swing'. Poetry recited by Ciaran Walsh. More

Studio 2: 800 Years and Counting

The Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire - royal larder or people's larder? The Charter of the Forests, a lesser-known but wider-ranging companion to the Magna Carta, confirmed any […] More

Studio 1: John Maclean and The War After The War

This talk places John Maclean's pamphlet The War After The War in its broader international and political context. Exploring connections (and differences) between the various […] More

Studio 1: Refusing to fight

Conscientious Decision-Making [Lois Bibbings] This talk gives a brief insight into what First World War conscientious objectors to military service meant when they talked about […] More

Life Gallery, Level 1: Dorothy and Archibald

 A performative reading of the tragic tale of Private Archibald Knee and Dorothy Beard who died together in 1916: a mutual suicide of two victims of the First World War. Stuart […] More

Studio 2: Bristol Radical History Group highlights

                  A series of 10 minute 'taster talks' covering recently or soon to be published Bristol Radical History Group texts. […] More

Studio 2: ‘History should be common property’

The History Workshop movement was a grassroots coalition of radical-academic, feminist, amateur and labour historians, which was founded at Ruskin College in the late 1960s under […] More

Studio 1: Black Lives in A White Man’s War

Few historians mention that both the first and last campaigns of World War One took place, not in Europe but in Africa. In 1914, all of sub-Saharan Africa, except Ethiopia and […] More

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