History walk – ‘Canting Humbugs’: Resistance and reaction in Bristol during World War One

This 1.5 hour history walk led by members of the Remembering the Real World War One history group explores resistance to the conflict in Bristol. From mass meetings of trade unionists opposing intervention in the war, to the struggles against conscription and the role of Conscientious Objectors this walk uncovers hidden histories and dispels some myths along the way. It also considers the divisions that arose amongst comrades in the labour movement, Socialists, Christians and those fighting for […]

Otherstory puppet show: Taking a Holiday

Taking a Holiday tells the amazing story of the secret beneath a Bedminster bike shop. It is a story of struggle in wartime – full of intrigue, escapes, comradeship…and bikes. What does it mean to be a refugee and on the run in your own country? Who will give you a bed for the night, a job… or a means of escape? A table top and shadow puppet show based on the true stories of ordinary people in 1916/17, and the hidden history of the resistance to the war machine. Otherstory will be performing […]

Men of Fire

Work, Resistance and Organisation of Bristol Gasworkers in the Nineteenth Century

Men of Fire Front Cover
The emergence of ‘New Unionism’ in 1889, and the accompanying outburst of strikes across the country, was one of the most extraordinary and significant events in trade union history. Tens of thousands of ‘unskilled’ labourers, men and women, struck work, demanding an immediate improvement in their working conditions. In Bristol, gasworkers were at the helm of this revolt. Exasperated by the directors of the Bristol United Gas Light Company’s habitual disregard for their employees, early in […]

‘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 […]

Otherstory puppet show: ‘Taking a holiday’ and research workshop

This will be the last chance to see the Refusing to Kill exhibition at the Bristol Archives and an opportunity to see the excellent Otherstory puppet show 'Taking a Holiday' and take part in a research workshop. From 1.00 pm – the opportunity for a guided viewing of the exhibition 2.00 pm – ‘Taking a Holiday‘ puppet show by Otherstory Puppetry In 1916, a man of conscription age who “took a holiday” was probably on the run from the military autorities. The show tells the amazing story of how a […]

Refusing To Kill: Walter Ayles and Harry Patch

The 'Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors' exhibition has been at Bristol Archives since June 5th. Just as when it was shown elsewhere in the city, it has attracted lots of interest. It runs until July 14th. While including much of the material displayed previously there is plenty that is new – both from local archives and CO relatives. See Bristol Archives website here for opening hours and how to get there. Alongside the exhibition there are a number of events […]

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 […]

Exhibition: Refusing to Kill

Bristol's World War I Conscientious Objectors

The exhibition ‘Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors‘ which was in Bristol Cathedral and the Central Library from September 2017 until February 2018 is in Bristol Archives from June 5th until July 14th. The exhibition tells the story of the almost 400 men from Bristol and the surrounding area who, for moral, religious or political reasons, refused to fight in World War 1. Alongside most of the material displayed previously, there will be new exhibits. These include […]

Film Showing: Make More Noise

The suffragettes in struggle

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This fascinating British Film Institute compilation of original footage highlights the passion and media savvy of the suffragettes in struggle, offering a fascinating portrait of British women during this time. “You have to make more noise than anybody else” said Emmeline Pankhurst. A special Bristol Radical History screening to mark the centenary of some women in Britain getting the vote, it will be introduced by Dawn Dyer, librarian at Bristol Central Library, who will provide a Bristol […]

Petition to give Bristol a slave trade memorial & Abolition Shed on Welsh Back NOT another bar!

Sign the petition. Throughout time Bristol has played a key role in events, ideas and literature that have shaped people’s freedom and parliamentary reform. Previously these topics have been neglected because they don’t quite fit the national narrative. The narrative has to change for the 21st Century. By recognising this there’s a great chance Bristol can lead the way. For a fleeting moment there’s a golden opportunity to make it happen; a vital retelling of the role Bristol has played on the […]

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