Bristol Radical History Group

Since 2006 BRHG have organised over 250 events; staging walks, talks, gigs, historical 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our friends include Breviary Stuff Publications, an independent publisher of radical history, working class history and history from below. For almost 10 years they have reproduced out-of-print classics along with new titles for affordable prices, unlike the majority of academic publishers. Check out their interesting range of books here.

 

Mike Baker – an Easton legend

It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Mike Baker on 12th March 2020 at the BRI. Mike was the creator of a truly original collection of history plaques which can be seen around Bristol. Read more...    

Bristol Radical History Festival – postponed

Regrettably, but predictably, we are postponing the fourth Bristol Radical History Festival, scheduled for 16th May 2020, due to the coronavirus crisis. In with line with the M Shed and Cube Cinema closure, and for the safely of attendees we have put the event on hold. We are not cancelling this event, and fully intend to reschedule when circumstances permit us to do this safely. [18 March, 2020]. More details here...

New BRHG booklet: Refusing to Kill – buy it here

Refusing to Kill front cover

Over 580 men from the Bristol area refused to fight in World War 1. They claimed the status of conscientious objector (CO) for moral, religious or political reasons. Some agreed to take non-military roles while others spent much of the war in prison, often under harsh conditions. This A4 booklet tells the story of these COs and the men and women who supported them and can now be purchased online here...

 

 

Recent Books

This is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook

  Book review and discussion of Extinction Rebellion: This is Not a Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook, ed. by Clare Farrell et al. (London: Penguin, 2019). Question: Who […] More

Radical Culture

Worral's book concentrates on the period of the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars. The narrative is based mainly in London, and looks at those who wanted to replicate the […] More

Wales

Clevedon-born author and historian Jan Morris describes herself as ‘by loyalty Welsh’, and writes about her subject with warmth and eloquence. As a book that captures the spirit of […] More

Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone

Just finished Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone, courtesy of Tangent Books and Richard Jones. It's a detailed history of the band from the early eighties through to 2018 by […] More

Make Rojava Green Again

The ‘Make Rojava Green Again’ campaign of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava began in early 2018. I am pleased and impressed that they have now published this inspirational […] More

Hitler’s British Traitors

Regardless of the 2015 publishing date given, this book is currently (last checked December 2018) just available in hardback, and must have been withheld due to the ongoing release […] More

Wiltshire’s Radical History

Wiltshire's Radical History - Covers

Contributors: Steve Poole – Hanged at the scene of their crime. Rosie MacGregor – Angela Tuckett. Nigel Costley – West Country Rebels. Melissa Barnett – Dame Florence May Hancock. […] More

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

Recent Articles

Update – Brecon plaque commemorates slave trader

In the Welsh town of Brecon, upon an old wall, along Captains Walk (a name based on a fiction), is a slate plaque commemorating the life of a slave trader who resided in the town. […] More

An Alternative History of Westbury-on-Trym Workhouse

In November, 2019 Louise Ryland-Epton gave an engaging talk entitled ‘By Pity and by Terror? A Contrary View of Workhouses’ at the M Shed, Bristol as part of the UWE Regional […] More

Bedminster War Resisters

A map of resistance to World War 1 in Bedminster, a district of South Bristol. It shows the homes of over 40 Conscientious Objectors and others who took part in resistance to World […] More

Steps Against War

This is a film of Steps Against War, a history walk with puppets and song, telling the stories of Bedminster people who resisted the First World War. Bedminster, a district of […] More

The South West Tribunal

Foreword During the Second World War, over 60,000 men and 1,000 women applied to register as conscientious objectors (COs) in England, Wales and Scotland. Although this was at […] More

The last piece of the jigsaw

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them Introduction One evening in 2010 some members of Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG) were poring over some old maps of […] More

The National Museum of Antigua and Barbuda

  If you walk down Market Street in St. John’s, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda, you will come across a grand stone building that was once the court house and now known as […] More

The Edward Colston ‘corrective’ plaque

Introduction Just over a year ago a project was launched to research, design and install a ‘corrective’ plaque on the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol City Centre. It was […] More

Lest we forget – A Life of Pleasure?

A Life of Pleasure After a tip off last year by a member of BRHG I took a trip to Bristol Archives to take a look at some diaries written by Harry Bow in the 1890s. Bow, a […] More

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 it seems the time is […] 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

Recent Pamphlets

Facing up to the Fascists

Facing up to Fascists front cover

As the ultra-right tries to spread its message of hate, Colin Thomas reminds us that we have been here before. This is how the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism resisted the […] More

Censured

Censured Front Cover

Mike Richardson’s intriguing account of his aunt, Beatrice Richardson and her biracial daughter Gillian, brings into stark relief the racism and sexism that existed in Britain […] More

Refusing to Kill

Refusing to Kill front cover

Over 580 men from the Bristol area refused to fight in World War 1. They claimed the status of conscientious objector (CO) for moral, religious or political reasons. Some agreed to […] More

Mabel Tothill

Mabel Tothill Front Cover

June Hannam’s pamphlet examines the life and work of Mabel Tothill (1869 – 1964), Quaker peace campaigner, socialist and Bristol’s first woman councillor. It reveals how this […] More

Nautical Women

Nautical Women Front Cover

In Nautical Women, Rosemary Caldicott explores the stories of women whose lives were inextricably linked to the sea. She tells of the women of sailortowns struggling to keep out of […] More

Zionism And History

How can we explain the persecution of Jews throughout European history, culminating in the horror of the Nazi holocaust? The founders of the Zionist movement argued that the cause […] More

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

Recent Events

Bedminster Union Workhouse

HAnnah Wiltshire Front Cover

Clevedon Library, 37, Old Church Rd, Clevedon BS21 6NN Author Rosemary Caldicott focuses on the draconian workhouse system that housed the vulnerable poor, and in particular women […] More

Bristol International Women’s Day

Members of Bristol Radical History Group will be running our stall at this event. Come and say 'hello!'     More

Book Launch: Regicide or Revolution?

Miscellaneous Events 2020

The trial and execution of Charles I in 1649 has in the past been portrayed as the outcome of a crazed 'bloodlust' for revenge by supporters of parliament. This simplistic and […] More

Nautical Women – Women Sailors in History

Miscellaneous Events 2020

By invitation of Pill Library and Children's Centre Crockerne House, Underbanks, Pill, BS20 0AT Wednesday, 19 February 2020 @ 2pm Author Rosemary Caldicott will be telling us about […] More

Greece: The Hidden War Part 2

Miscellaneous Events 2020

Directed by Anthony Howard, 1989, 60min A rare chance to watch part 2 of the Channel 4 documentary series on the Greek Civil War of 1946-49 made in 1986; we screened part 1 in […] More

Antifa Benefit and BRHG Pamphlet Launch: Facing up to […]

miscellaneous events 2019

This Saturday there’ll be post-election fun and games with a serious edge at this event – a fundraiser for Bristol Antifascists and the launch of a new BRHG pamphlet plus a […] More

Unquiet Graves

miscellaneous events 2019

Between 1972 and 1978 more than 120 innocent civilians in Northern Ireland were murdered. Documentary director Sean Murray set out to investigate and found disturbing evidence of […] More

The REAL Black Friday

miscellaneous events 2019

Glenside Museum, The Chapel, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD Bristol Radical History group author, researcher and co-founder Roger Ball talks us […] More

Nautical Women

miscellaneous events 2019

By invitation of The Friends committee of Bishopston Library, Bishopston Library, Gloucester Road, Bristol BS7 8BN ​ Author Rosemary Caldicott will be telling us about her new book […] More

Screening of Steps Against War film

miscellaneous events 2019

Earlier this year, a group of local people worked with Otherstory and Remembering the Real WW1 to discover untold stories of Bedminster people in the First World War. Together we […] More

3 Acres and a Cow: A history of land rights and protest […]

Connecting the Norman Conquest and Peasants’ Revolt with fracking, our housing crisis and Brexit via the Enclosures and Industrial Revolution, the show draws a compelling narrative […] More

Reflections on Radical Technology in the 1970s

Peter Harper coined the term ‘Alternative Technology’ in 1972 and became Head of Innovation at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). During the mid-1970s, he co-edited […] More

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