Davis Day

From the Forest of Dean to Canadian labour history

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 have tragic consequences or that their personal tragedy would be remembered in Canada to this day. One of their boys, Thomas, would be killed in one of the worst mining disasters in Canadian mining history and another, William, would be shot dead by the police in one of the most violent strikes in Canadian labour […]

Hopewell Colliery

Hopewell Coliery
Some of you might remember Rich Daniels and Robin Morgan, the Free Miners who led the tour of Hopewell Colliery on our Warren James day in the Forest of Dean several years ago. Robin started work at the age of fourteen and remembers being lowered down a pit shaft in a bucket on his first day of work. Now nearly eighty years old he has decided to retire! Rich has now taken over the lease of Hopewell Colliery. Rich is planning to develop the mine as a museum and heritage centre and is keen to […]

Hoof Hustings

This film is to be premièred on a big screen at Our Forest My Vote (The Hoof Husting) at Forest Theatre, Five Acres college, at 6.30pm on Wed April 22. It will be followed by a Question Time-style debate with the audience, HOOF and parliamentary candidates, asking what will they do to protect our Forest of Dean? Entry: voluntary donation (suggested £1). hoofelection2015.wordpress.com/. Film set to music from Dick Brice, Max, Forest of Dean Brass, Asha Faria-Vare, Billy Bragg & Heathens All, […]

FoD Torchlit Procession

Light up the forest with luminous clothes, armbands, banners and homemade lanterns… Mallards Pike, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire Wednesday November 5th 2014 5.30pm - 7.00pm Well behaved dogs welcome Wheelchair and pushchair-friendly No fireworks, bonfires or Chinese/Sky lanterns - we want to protect our forest! Wednesday November 5 - Clause 21 of the Infrastructure Bill (and HOOF’s amendment will be debated - and voted on) in the House of Lords. More at

Coal On One Hand, Men On The Other

The Forest of Dean Miners’ Association and the First World War 1910 - 1920

The following resolutions were passed at a meeting of Forest of Dean Miners at Speech House in August 1917. “That we, the Forest of Dean Miners, enter our most emphatic protest against the agent for committing us to the comb-out scheme before first of all ascertaining the view of the miners of the Forest of Dean”. “That we, the Forest of Dean miners, enter our most emphatic protest against the comb-out scheme which we entirely repudiate, having regard to the fact that we were never consulted.” […]

Trade Unions and Resistance to the Great War

Class cohesion and spurious patriotism: trade union internationalism in the First World War In this talk Kevin Morgan considers the trade union radicals who from the earliest months of the war took up an internationalist and anti-war stance, and who gathered increasing support as the war went on. Their contribution to the anti-war movement has often been overlooked because of the unions’ majority pro-war stance. Nevertheless, this minority tradition was to receive a further stimulus with the […]

The Nightmare Trail

By Davis Adams
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 in the Forest of Dean and was always taught that Harvey was our very own war poet and First World War hero who won a medal for “conspicuous gallantry” which included killing a number of German soldiers at close quarters. However this book is about Harvey the man, who was both human and flawed. The book challenges some […]

HOOF New Year’s Message

New Year 2014 message from Rich Daniels, Hands Off Our Forest (HOOF) chairman. THREE years ago, on January 3, 2011, more than 3,000 of us gathered during a blizzard the field at Speech House to send a message to the Government: the Forest of Dean belongs to us, all of us, and we will not allow it to be sold off, disposed or transferred to private hands. Never! Six weeks later, we were told they’d got the message and the Government performed a ‘mea culpa’. “We’re sorry. We got it wrong.” But we […]

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 […]

Walter Virgo and the Blakeney Gang

The struggle against enclosure in the Forest of Dean in the latter part of the nineteenth century

Walter Virgo and the Blakeney Gang Front
These are some of the headlines which started appearing in the Gloucester Citizen and Western Daily Press in the 1890s. This pamphlet will try and get behind the headlines and reveal what was really going on in the Blakeney area of the Forest of Dean at the time. THE BLAKENEY OUTRAGES “WORSE THAN IRELAND” - THE VICAR ASKS FOR EXCEPTIONAL LAW A REIGN OF TERROR - SPEECH BY MINERS AGENT ASSAULT ON THE POLICE IN BLAKENEY - THE RECENT OUTRAGES MORE LAWLESSNESS AT BLAKENEY - RESIDENTS ARMED ALLEGED […]

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