The Forest of Dean Miners’ Riot of 1831

Forest Of Dean Miners' Strike 1831 Front Cover
  The Forest of Dean uprising of 1831 received scant attention from historians before 1975 when Chris Fisher started researching the subject as part of his MA in history studies at the University of Warwick. His MA dissertation was the first thorough study of the riot and is up to now unpublished. BRHG decided to publish it in its original form as we believe that it provides an alternative and critical insight into the events surrounding 1831. Fisher argues that the Forest of Dean Riot of […]

Bristol – Hot spot of resistance to World War One

An excellent new book Communities of Resistance has just been published which takes a systematic look at the networks of war resisters connected to conscientious objectors in World War One. Based upon a nationwide survey of COs it appears Bristol was a hot spot of war resistance as the author, Cyril Pearce, explains: The work which has resulted in this new book, Communities of Resistance, began almost twenty years ago in a study of the 1914-1918 anti-war movement in Cyril Pearce's home town of […]

Book Bloc

In November 2010 Italian students demonstrating against Berlusconi’s education reforms introduced the concept of the Book Bloc for the first time. There was no irony intended, rather a statement of intent made concrete. It was saying to Berlusconi that if you make cuts that take away our books we will make our own books and turn them into weapons against your police enforcers who will be faced on the streets of Rome with Plato’s Republic, A Thousand Plateaus, Moby Dick, Don Quixote, Petronius’ […]

Benign Force? – The Society of Merchant Venturers

Shielded by their Royal Charter of 1552, the Society of Merchant Venturers (SMV) helped shape Bristol’s past and present, but will they shape the city’s future? Regarded today as the doyen of Bristol’s charities, this undemocratic, unelected club for wealthy business(men), is guardian to a goodly proportion of Bristol’s schools and university, presenting itself as an innocuous force for good. Others are convinced that the SMV are outdated and outmoded. The Charter was granted at the time of a […]

Bristol History Commission – questions still not answered….

On 4th August Bristol Radical History Group sent a letter supported by the Remembering the Real World War One history group and Countering-Colston to the Mayor’s office concerning the Bristol History Commission (HC) which was set up by the elected Mayor Marvin Rees in response to the statue of Edward Colston being pulled down on 7th June. In the interests of transparency in the public domain and in the light of other recently failed projects the letter asked the Mayor for systematic answers to […]

Thug

In the cabinet in M-Shed dedicated to the Reform Act uprising of 1831 are displayed two objects roughly tubular and of similar length that represent the extent of the uprising and the brutality with which it was put down. One is an arm bone that belonged to one of those who died when the Customs House in Queens Square was liberated and then torched. Peter MacDonald in his book ‘Hotheads and Heroes’ described the scene thus: just as the roof fell in a man toppled out of the end window and crashed […]

Bristol History Commission – some questions….

In the aftermath of the pulling down of the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston on 7th June, elected Mayor Marvin Rees announced the formation of a 'History Commission' to "help us tell our full city history" and to "shape the future of Bristol". Since the announcement we have waited for some clarity about the Commission, its members, processes, timescales and remit but none have appeared. Several people have asked questions of the Mayor's Office but received no answers (as yet). As Bristol […]

SWINE

Not far from Queen’s Square stands the statue of Edmund Burke. Had he lived to witness the 1831 Reform Act uprising and a protestor astride the statue of one of his beloved royals all his anti-democratic bile that led him to write his Reflections on the Revolution in France would have been reinforced. It was in that book that he wrote: Along with the natural protectors and guardians, learning will be cast into the mire and trodden down under the hoofs of a swinish multitude Now as the Saint-Just […]

Hero: Samuel Plimsoll

In 1871 alone, 856 British merchant ships were lost within ten miles of the British coast in conditions that were no worse than a strong breeze. Between 1870 and 1872, 1628 sailors were sent to prison in Britain for refusing to go to sea in ships that the sailors would refer to as ‘coffin ships.’ On the dockside opposite the SS Great Britain stands the bust of Samuel Plimsoll MP and on it’s plinth is engraved the ‘Plimsoll Line’. This was a simple idea that showed if a ship was overloaded. […]

Colston slept with the fishes

In April 2019 The Saint-Just Mob subverted the statue of Edward Colston with the word DROWN. The following article first appeared on the BRHG Facebook page in the same month. Republishing it here seems apposite as he slept with the fishes for a few days at the bottom of the very docks where slave ships bound for Africa would have moored and now skulks in the basement of M Shed. The statues of Samuel Plimsoll and Edward Colston stand within half a mile of each other and share one thing in common […]