Ripples From The French Revolution In Tewksbury

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” John F. Kennedy (White House speech, 1962) First published in the Tewkesbury Historical Society "Bulletin 23", Mar 2014 and in "The Local Historian", Jan 2014 (journal of the British Association for Local History) The advent of the French Revolution in 1789 polarised opinion in England. Some saw it as positive: Charles Fox described the storming of the Bastille as “How much the greatest event it is that ever […]

Some Hidden Histories of the British State Revealed in 2013

Republican mural drawing attention to the complex web of organisations involved in the counter-insurgency campaign in Northern Ireland
In ten years we'll leak the truth By then it's only so much paper According to the U.S. punk band the Dead Kennedys it takes about 10 years before our 'democracies' decide to "leak the truth" about activities of secret arms of the state. In the current world of social media and the information highway there seems to be a perception that no secret is safe and that "it will get out somehow". This suggests the cosy idea that somehow the internet is leading us to a more open society with rapid […]

Bliss Mill Strikers

Bliss Mill Front Cover
Bliss Tweed Mill: Prosecuted Strikers/Supporters, 1914 CN = Chipping Norton Name Address Age Started Work at Bliss Mill Occupation Sentence Re-engaged Walter Bowen 1 Finsbury Place, CN 25 Baker (his father, John, was a striker) Bound over 12 months John Bowen re-engaged 06/11/1916 Annie Cooper 16 Spring Street, CN 50 About 1888 Machine Feeder 14 days No Charles A Dixon 4 London Road, CN 21 About 1905 Yarn Store Hand Bound over 12 months No John (Jack) Gee 3 Kimberly Place, West Street, CN 29 […]

The Crimes of Walter Virgo and the “Blakeney Gang”

In the Forest of Dean towards the end of the nineteenth century the ‘Blakeney Outrages’ of the 1890s led to Walter Virgo and the “Blakeney Gang” being accused of acts of poisoning, maiming, stealing, poaching, midnight raids, dynamiting, arson and murder. However, their story cannot be understood without placing their actions in the historical context of the struggle for the customary right to common which in the past involved the use of direct action and political violence. A consideration of […]

How the Sex Pistols warned us about the Jimmy Savile generation…

Over the last year or so we have been bombarded with allegations and cases of sexual abuse involving Radio DJ's, TV producers, Comedians, TV personalities and pop stars who were all at their height of fame in the 1970s. Amongst the alleged perpetrators were Dave Lee Travis, Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Stewart Hall, Garry Glitter, Freddie Starr, Jim Davidson, Max Clifford and Jimmy Tarbuck. Nearly 600 victims of sexual abuse have come forward as part of the Operation Yew Tree investigation, which […]

The Great Anti-Slavery Convention

Slaves being flogged in Brasil
This artilce is taken from: Pictorial Times, "A Weekly Journal of News, Litrature, Fine Art and the Drama", Vol. 1 March 18 - August 19 1843, p211-213, Saturday June 17 1843. "Engravings by Henry Vizetelly and Others". This article was found in Bristol Central Reference Library. If you wich to use any of the pictures please contact them: refandinfo@bristol.gov.uk. THE GREAT ANTI-SLAVERY CONVENTION. This great Convention, composed of delegates from almost every land, assembled on Tuesday last at […]

Friendly Societies Against The Big Society

The National Health Service founded in 1948 was inspired by a self-help system which Aneurin Bevan had participated in as a young man. After working as a coal miner in South Wales, he served on the hospital committee of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society which ran hospitals and convalescent homes for miners as well as employing family doctors and even providing benefits for the dependants of the members. Later as a Labour MP for Ebbw Vale he took up the idea which was familiar to him and, as […]

Kenya, at last?

So (finally) the UK government has been legally forced to pay £19.9 million compensation to 5,228 victims of torture, rape, sexual abuse and maiming by British colonial forces during the ‘Mau Mau’ rebellion in Keyna in the 1950s. The compensation works out be a pitiful ‘£3,000 per victim and applies only to the living survivors of the abuses that took place’. The pure number of victims suggests that the argument normally trotted out by the British state in these situations, that is, ‘a bad […]

Werqin’ 9 to 5

Article: Werqin’ 9 to 5: cursory notes on antiwork politics from Dolly Parton to Shangela Laquifa Commet: Coincidentally, I have been reading Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the last days of the working class (J. Cowie 2010) which looks at the changes in labour relations that occurred between the 1960s and 1980s (i.e. the assault on the 'Keynesian' social contract by the US working class, the rightward shift of sections of the white working class in the late 70s, and the struggles over ethnicity […]

The Tewkesbury Bread Riot Of 1795

The [Bread] Riot Or half a loaf is better than no bread. In a dialogue between Jack Anvil and Tom Hod. To the tune of "Cobbler there was"
This article was originally published in the Tewkesbury Historical Society Bulletin 22 (2013) Who forgets the frost of ninety-five? Then was all dismal, scarce, and dear, And no poor man could thrive The winter of 1794-95 was severe throughout the land; the rivers Severn and Thames froze over and a temperature of minus 21c. was recorded in London. In Tewkesbury, the freeze began on 20 December 1794 and continued until 7 February 1795. The subsequent thaw caused major flooding of the rivers […]

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