Should society memorialise a Slave Trader?

The curious story of Brecon Town Council and the Plaque in honour of Captain Thomas Phillips, Slave Trader (circa 1664-1713).

If you were to walk around the rear side of the former house and home of Captain Thomas Phillips in Brecon, located along Captains Walk, you will notice a rather handsome slate plaque memorialising his life. The Phillips’ family house is now St Ursula’s Convent, a former catholic school. The plaque was paid for by the people of Brecon, and was erected (though not without controversy), in 2010. It reads innocently enough: CAPTAIN THOMAS PHILLIPS Havard House, Brecon First made this Captain’s Walk […]

‘The Lion of the Occasion’: Frederick Douglass in Bristol

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In the summer of 1846 the famous American abolitionist Frederick Douglass took to the stage of the Victoria Rooms in Bristol, enthralling his thousands-strong audience with vivid denunciations of slavery. He was feted by the mayor and received great support from the people of the city, maintaining friendships with many of those he met for the rest of his life. Douglass biographer Laurence Fenton will discuss the background to and details of the great abolitionist's visit to Bristol in a talk at […]

Frederick Douglass in Bristol

Time for the African-American Abolitionist’s Visit to the City to be Commemorated with a Heritage Plaque?

After the Frederick Douglass event in the city on Bank Holiday Monday (28 May, 2018) in which BRHG members took part and which drew several hundred people we are publishing this article by Laurence Fenton. Laurence has just written a new book on the African American abolitionist's visits to Victorian Britain and is calling for a more permanent memorial to this important moment in the history of the city and the struggle against slavery. BRHG fully support this initiative. While actions from the […]

Studio 2: From Festival to Carnival: 50 Years of St Paul’s

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St Pauls Carnival is held, usually on the first Saturday of July in Bristol. The celebration began life in 1968 as the St Pauls Festival, when the idea was "to create an event to help improve relationships between the European, African, Caribbean and Asian inhabitants of the area." Called the St Pauls Carnival since 1991, it is run by a non-profit organisation, St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival Limited. In 1968 the St Paul's Festival, had the aim of bringing together the European, […]

Hidden Voices: Black and Asian Women and the Suffrage Movements in Britain and America

Part of Bristol Women’s Voice, International Women’s Day Celebrations in Room 1P04, City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR. Note: A crèche with two hour slots is available at the venue. Black and Asian women's involvement in the British Suffrage Movement is largely unknown. Similarly, in America, the story of black women's struggles for the vote was omitted from the triumphalist histories written at the time of enfranchisement in 1920. The talk explores my efforts to uncover these stories so […]

Lady Blackshirts: Suffragettes who became fascists

Part of Bristol Women's Voice, International Women's Day Celebrations in Room 1P04, City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR. Note: A crèche with two hour slots is available at the venue. During the 1930’s a small group of ultra-nationalistic women, joined Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF). Surprisingly some of these women were former high ranking members of the suffragette movement. This short talk looks at the politics of the time, why women may have been attracted to the BUF […]

Battling for Bristol

"Battling for Bristol" is an evening of films, put on by the Bristol Radical History Group as part of the Journey to Justice month. The series of short films cover Bristol struggles for equal rights. It will include the risings of 1831,1980 and 1986, the demands for decent housing and for equality for women workers, as well as a documentary of the boycott that ended job discrimination on Bristol buses.

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

The impact of World War One on Africa

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 Liberia, was in the hands of European powers. Colonial subjects contributed people, money and resources to their imperial rulers to wage war not only in Africa but also in Europe. In both its costs and its consequences, WW1 had a major social, economic and political impact on Africa. Besides the huge human cost, the social […]

History Walk 1: Edward Colston

Why is our city dominated by this man’s legacy?

Starting with St Mary Redcliffe church, this walk takes in other historic Diocese of Bristol churches in the city centre where 'the life and work' of Edward Colston is still provided religious legitimacy on an annual basis. Along the way we will share the most recent historical research regarding this man's involvement with the transatlantic slave trade and discover how the Victorian elite created a 'cult of Colston' that is now said to form part of our city's 'identity'. At our final stop, […]

Edward Colston Research Paper #1

Calculating the number of enslaved Africans transported by the Royal African Company during Edward Colston’s involvement (1680-92)

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 transported tens of thousands of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic into a life of hard labour. This article aims to answer number of questions about the RAC’s involvement in the slave trade in particular during Edward Colston’s tenure. These questions are: How many enslaved Africans were purchased by the RAC between 1680 […]

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