Bread Or Batons?

Bread or Batons? The Old Market 'Riots' of February 1932 Since the 'Wall Street Crash' of 1929 joblessness in Bristol had risen to unprecedented levels; by February 1932 the situation was critical with whole districts blighted by the effects of mass unemployment. Jobless Bristolians rallied round the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement (NUWM), the main organisation opposing mass unemployment and Government 'means test'. The NUWM responded to the proposed austerity measures by organising a […]

New Unionism, New Women and Black Friday

The Bristol Strike Waves of 1889-1893

Meet at Gardiner Haskins Car Park (near Old Market), New Thomas Street, BS2 0JP As a belated launch for three new pamphlets released by BRHG in 2012-13 (The Bristol Strike Wave of 1889-1890 Socialists, New Unionists and New Women - Part 1: Days of Hope, Part 2: Days of Doubt and The Origins and an Account of Black Friday - 23rd December 1892) authors Mike Richardson and Roger Ball will navigate us through one of the most intense periods of class struggle in Bristol in the late 19th Century. In […]

1932 Old Market Riot Map

On Tuesday 23rd February an estimated 3,000 to 15,000 protesters from the National Unemployed Workers' Movement (NUWM) march to protest about a cut in unemployment benefits. The police had banned the march but the NUWM were not deterred. The peaceful procession followed a winding route but ended up on Old Market Street where they were faced by a double row of police with batons drawn and backed up by mounted officers at the junction with Castle Street. The marchers were unaware that the Chief […]

Bread or Batons?: The Old Market ‘riots’

The pictures on this page were found in Bristol Central Reference Library, to reproduce please email refandinfo@bristol.gov.uk The April and August 'riots' of 2011 in Bristol, along with those of the 1980s, have been characterised as being exceptional events in the city's history. However, Bristol has a long history of violent disturbances from the food and price 'riots' of the 18th Century, through the reform uprisings of 1831 to 'Black Friday' in 1892. One period which has received less […]

History Walk – Old Market March and Riot – 80th Anniversary

Miscellaneous 2012
Meet at 2pm at Hydra Books for a History Walk through the streets of Old Market and Central Bristol, where Bristol Radical History Group members will recount the stories associated with the various scenes on route.

Insurrectionary Bristol: 1932

Revolt of the Unemployed : Bread or Batons in Bristol c. 1932. As unemployment topped 3 million and the Labour government collapsed, benefit cuts and the means test sparked unrest across the country. In 1932 Bristol was briefly at the forefront of the protests which rocked the country. The mass demonstrations met brutal repression including police ambushes and the arrest of key activists. This will discuss the character of the movement, tracing its roots back to the ex-servicemen's protests of […]

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