Cotswold Tobacco Growing

Not Exactly A Digger Thing? Notes from Jim McNeill's lecture during the Smugglers 1 events at Bristol Radical History Week 2007. 1598: In the House of Lords by Lord Harris, asked that English and Irish farmers might be permitted to test whether tobacco could be produced in this country at a profit. 1619: A London merchant, John Stratford, purchased spare land in and around Winchcombe and planted tobacco. See next section of these notes. 1619: Act banning Tobacco growing in England passed — just […]

Some Thoughts And Observations On Bristol Radical History Group’s Summer Party

Reclaim the Hill!: A celebration of the radical history of Brandon Hill and Stop the College Green Dispersal Order Despite the vagaries of the English summer of 2007, a small but feisty mob of radical historians, skate boarders and cider drinkers gathered on Brandon Hill in Clifton on August 19th. We were both celebrating the 175th anniversary of the invasion of the Great Reform Dinner and protesting against the dispersal order served on Bristol citizens this summer. What is the connection? […]

The Seven Stars Pub & Thomas Clarkson

Thomas Clarkson.
A Transcript taken from a document found behind the bar at The Seven Stars Pub. It was an inn in the latter half of the Seventeenth Century, for in the Reign of Charles the Second, Richard Pope, Linen Draper, one of the sons of William Pope, merchant, granted to the feoffoes of Saint Thomas a yearly rent of 30/-d. out of the tenement called “The Starrs then in the possession of Michael Jaine, victualler, in accordance with his father’s will.” IT is interesting from its connection with the slave […]

A Brief Political And Economic Introduction To Bristol Glass

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 the ‘Society of Merchant Venturers of the City of Bristol’ was incorporated. It grew in power and influence through the 17th century during which the Society revitalised and effectively reorganised itself to allow Bristol’s maritime merchants to take the fullest advantage of the Britain’s developing colonial […]

Slaves Who Abolished Slavery

BWHW 2006 Colour Poster - Maroon
Origins of the Caribbean Demand for Slaves One of the consequences of the establishment in the 17th century of the sugar industry in the British colonies in the Caribbean region was the importation of Africans to work as slaves. The result of this was that black people very soon comprised the great majority of the populations. During the colonial era British propagandists successfully misled their colonial subjects about their own history. What was taught in schools and portrayed in the press […]

The Sealed Knot Q&A

Who are you and what on Earth are you doing? We are members of the Blew Regiment which in turn is part of the Parliament Army of the Sealed Knot, a society of several thousand members which re-enacts battles of the English Civil War. Where are you from? We have members from the north of England, Devon, Bristol, Essex, Kent and even the Channel Islands as well as all points in-between. When and where does it happen? As a rough guide battles and events are held on a number of weekends from Easter […]

The Southmead Riots

April of 2005 saw the 25th anniversary of the St Paul's riots, a day and night in 1980 that not only was the precursor for further riots in London and Liverpool but the catalyst also that sparked changes that are still reverberating to this day. As Paul Stephenson, the former regional executive officer for the Commission for Racial Equality has commented: 'The riots were a wake up call for the country'. To mark the occasion, a two-page article appeared in The Bristol Evening Post featuring the […]

James Nayler’s Ride into Bristol : October 1656

James Nayler From Bristol Past and Present Vol III by J. F. Nicholls and John Taylor 1882.
350 years ago this month a small group of men and women approached the gates of Bristol, singing hosannas before a man on a horse. They appeared to be imitating Christ's entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The man was James Nayler (1617-1660), a leader of the upstart Quaker movement and onetime member of Cromwell's New Model Army. The Puritan authorities were outraged. Nayler was seized and charged with blasphemy. Sent to London where he was the subject of a full Parliamentary debate for ten […]

Cry Freedom, Cry Seven Stars!

Seven Stars Concert Poster
This article was written for Pints West. During Bristol's Radical History Week (28th October to 5th November) at the appropriately named Spyglass restaurant, the Long John Silver Trust was twice invited to join in with the debates. On the Wednesday evening, as a representative of the Trust, I spoke about the history of the Seven Stars, St Thomas Lane under the heading of the 'Anti-Slavery Movement in Bristol', and again on the Saturday afternoon for "Bristol and the Revolutionary Atlantic". It […]

1831 And All That …

This article was written for Mute Magazine. One of the objectives of Bristol Radical History week was to re-examine some of the momentous events of Bristol’s history that have been often dismissed by historians as ‘chaos’ or ‘inexplicable’. The process of this examination by academics, local historians and interested punters during the week exposed some of the key problems of historical analysis. Precision Strikes The three days of rioting that occurred in October 1831 in Bristol were certainly […]

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