Bristol Radical History Group

Since 2006 BRHG have organised over 250 events; staging walks, talks, gigs, recreations, films, exhibitions, trips through the archives and fireside story telling. We have several active research projects, publish a range of books and pamphlets and host an archive on this website.

BRHG projects and events are organised by local people from Bristol and are NOT funded by universities, political parties, business or local government. To break even we rely on members giving their labour for free, donations from the audiences and the sale of publications.

BRHG are associated with several other history groups in Bristol including Remembering the Real World War One, Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group and the Countering-Colston Group. BRHG have also recently become a member of the International History From Below Network.

Bristol slave trade memorial and Abolition Shed on Welsh Back

Sign the petition to give Bristol a proper memorial to the victims of the slave trade and an exhibition space, 'Abolition Shed', on Welsh Back to mark the struggle against slavery. Find out more...

Have you a Conchie in the family?

Whiteford brothersDozens of men from Bristol were imprisoned as conscientious objectors during World War 1. Are you related to any of them? Read more...

100 Fishponds Road

Front Cover100 Fishponds Rd. Life and Death in a Victorian Workhouse. The research that discovered more than 4000 people buried in unmarked graves at the Eastville Workhouse burial ground. The second edition is now available. Order yours now.

Recent Books

The Sons of Belial

This is a very good book, extremely informative. Even though the bulk of the book is set in the North West of England, there is a wider historical scope. Which would be very useful […] More

The Gallows Pole

Cover of novel featuring silhouette of figure with noose for hanging in background.

The Gallows Pole is a wonderful novel set in 18th Century Yorkshire. It is based on a true story about the Craggs Vale Coiners. Coiners clipped coins. If you look at your £1 coin, […] More

Socialist History (51)

Journal Review: “Left Intellectuals after 1956” may not sound like the most exciting of titles but the latest edition of Socialist History (no 51) contains a lot of fascinating […] More

Bristol from Below

Within the Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG), we are constantly pressing for more history from below. Researching, writing and celebrating our history. The history of those who […] More

No Is Not Enough

When a new Naomi Klein book comes along it is certain to be a part of the zeitgeist. So the recent publication of No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics is no […] More

Army of Shadows

Front cover of Army of Shadows

  My partner brought me this book for Xmas. It was priced at 2/6, about 12p in today’s prices. I hoped she paid more than that, but this classic is priceless. This copy was […] More

54

WuMing 54 Cover

What does the Italian/ American mafia, the Italian Communist Party, Cary Grant, Field Marshal Tito, the KGB, and a McGriffin TV have in common? Well read this book and you will […] More

Eric Hobsbawn: Socialist Historian

This publication by The Socialist History Society is a record of a special event in 2013 to celebrate and assess the work of the late Marxist and historian, Professor Eric […] More

Angela Remembered

Rosie MacGregor remembers Angela, that is Angela Gradwell Tuckett (1906-1994); a stalwart Communist, an all-round radical and something of a Renaissance woman. I’ll call her simply […] More

A Girl Among the Anarchists

From its advent as a modern worldview anarchism was always too pure a faith to be properly judged by the conduct of its adherents and practitioners. Or so it would seem from A Girl […] More

City Under Fire

City under fire cover

From Dreadnought Books The riots of 1831 gripped the city of Bristol for three days at the end of October. Most general histories of the city include some reference to this […] More

Central Labour College

Written by William Craik a railway guard who got kicked out of Ruskin College, Oxford and was then the principal of the CLC in the early 1920s The Central Labour College schooled a […] More

Recent Articles

Myths within myths…

In the light of recent moves to place a ‘corrective’ plaque on the statue of Edward Colston in the centre of Bristol and calls for it to be removed to a museum[1] it seems the time […] More

Should society memorialise a Slave Trader?

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 […] More

Frederick Douglass in Bristol

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 […] More

A Brief Political And Economic Introduction To Bristol […]

There were a number of economic and political changes during the 16th and 17th centuries which prepared the ground for the establishment of the glass industry in Bristol. In 1522 […] More

Two rebel women

I interviewed Florence Exten-Hann in March 1973 and this article appeared in the socialist feminist magazine Red Rag (no.3 1973). It draws also on notes she wrote about her life […] More

Joshua Fitch and Colston’s Girls’ School

Introduction On 11th November 2017 Colston's Girls’ School (CGS) announced that they would not be changing the name of the school, despite its associations with Edward Colston, the […] More

Edward Colston Research Paper #2

Introduction This research article is an examination of the Royal African Company (RAC) and the role of Edward Colston (b. 1636 d. 1721) within the organisation as both an investor […] More

Davis Day

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 […] More

Edward Colston Research Paper #1

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 […] More

The Eastville Workhouse Memorials

100 Fishponds Road

Where am I? You are on the site of Eastville Workhouse, which opened its doors in 1847. In the 1930s it became an old people's home and was finally demolished in 1972. This page is […] More

Walter Ayles

Walter Ayles 1945

If I believed in the efficacy of slaughter to remedy evils, I would long ago have advocated the killing of those who, year after year, have been responsible for the sweated, the […] More

100 Fishponds Road

Eastvillle Workhouse

In 2015, the Eastville Workhouse Memorial Group unveiled a memorial for the 4,084 paupers buried in a mass grave at Rosemary Green. We follow them and the Bristol Radical History […] More

Recent Pamphlets

Men of Fire

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 […] More

Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old

Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old - Front Covers

During World War One, 28 men from the Forest of Dean sought recognition as conscientious objectors rather than be called up to fight. This is the story of these men, the options […] More

Turbulence

Turbulence Front Cover

Turbulence describes how the expanding armaments industry of the First World war drew thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled workers – women as well as men- into Bristol’s […] More

The War after the War

“Every intelligent person now admits that the antagonism among the nations of Europe that led to competition of armaments and the present world war was fundamentally due to a […] More

Lady Blackshirts

Lady Blackshirts Front Cover

During the 1930s a small group of ultra-nationalistic women, who considered themselves feminists, joined Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. Surprisingly some of these women […] More

The Smoke-Dragon and How to Destroy it

Smoke Dragon front cover

Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was one of the most progressive thinkers, writers and activists of the late19th and early 20th century. He was an early supporter of the Bristol […] More

The Enigma of Hugh Holmes Gore

Hugh Holmes Gore Front Cover

The Anglo – Catholic convert to the left, Hugh Holmes Gore, was a key figure in Bristol’s labour movement during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Gore linked Clifton […] More

The Maltreated and the Malcontents

The Maltreated and the Malcontents front cover

The history of Bristol’s Great Western Cotton Works in Barton Hill, which opened in 1838, is little known. The story of its workforce — mainly low-paid women and children — has […] More

Slaughter No Remedy

Walter Ayles Front Cover

Walter Ayles was a fighter – but a fighter who didn’t believe in killing. He fought against unemployment and ruthless employers but also against the pro-war fever that led to the […] More

The Life and Death of Hannah Wiltshire

HAnnah Wiltshire Front Cover

During the year of 1855 rumours of murder and cover up were circulating in the small north Somerset village of Walton-in-Gordano. An epileptic destitute country girl had died in […] More

100 Fishponds Rd.

2nd Edition. Revised and substantially expanded. In 2012 some radical historians poring over old maps of East Bristol came across a disused burial ground at Rosemary Green close to […] More

The Bristol Deserter

#32 The Bristol Deserter Front Cover

The years leading up to 1914 saw a wave of strike action across Britain; at the same time there were fears of war with Germany whipped up by the press and in popular culture. Some […] More

Recent Events

Dorset Radical Bookfair

Dorset’s second Radical Bookfair will take place on Saturday 4th August 2018 at Beaufort Community Centre, Beaufort Rd, Bournemouth BH6 5LB (Nearest railway station is Pokesdown). […] More

‘The Lion of the Occasion’: Frederick […]

miscellaneous 2018 poster

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 […] More

Otherstory puppet show: ‘Taking a holiday’ […]

miscellaneous 2018 poster

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 […] More

Refusing To Kill: Walter Ayles and Harry Patch

miscellaneous 2018 poster

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 […] More

Exhibition: Refusing to Kill

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 […] More

Film Showing: Make More Noise

miscellaneous 2018 poster

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 […] More

Swords Into Ploughshares, Arms To Renewables

miscellaneous 2018 poster

“To inflame the imagination of others” – that is the way shop steward convenor Mike Cooley saw the Lucas Aerospace Alternative Plan. The Plan had arisen out of the threat of […] More

History Walk 3: Degrees of Dissent: Bristol’s […]

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light

Join collective bread, print & roses on a tour through Bristol’s radical past, present and future. Together we will bring to life the city’s dissenting history, its rich […] More

Studio 1 & 2: Pressure Drop? What did the protests […]

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light

Professor Bush offers a critical reassessment of the events of 1968 and their aftermath. He will look at May '68 in Paris in a broader context of global protest and changing […] More

Studio 1: On the run – Remembering the men who […]

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light

From the introduction of conscription in 1916 to the end of the war each year at least 80,000 men were reported missing as deserters or absentees from the British home forces. […] More

Studio 2: Strikes, equal pay and workers’ […]

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light

The events of 1968 are often represented by university occupations, protests against the war in Vietnam and the rise of the counter-culture. This however is a partial picture which […] More

Studio 2: What I remember…memories of 1968

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light

Di Parkin, Secretary of Bristol Radical History Group shares her memories of 1968 from the Vietnam anti-war demonstrations and the women’s equal pay strike at Ford's Dagenham to […] More

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