On Brandon Hill

Popular Culture in Bristol since World War Two

By Nick Gilbert
This is an absolutely epic overview of Bristol culture – literary connections, film, music, gossip and much more since WW2. That’s around seven decades’ worth. You need to read it on a computer for two reasons: first, it’s an e-book; second, you will find yourself checking search engines, wikis, and music sites on every other page. In the words of the author, Nick Gilbert: "On Brandon Hill is the first ever comprehensive history of post-war Bristolian culture, and covers all the major art forms […]

Memories of 1960s Bristol

I came to Bristol from Newport in South Wales in August 1962 when I was 12 years old. I had been brought up there and my family came from the Pontypool area. I had once been to Bristol Zoo on a school trip and spent a family holiday in a small caravan at Portishead, both times coming by trail under the Severn. I had also been on a school day trip by steamer from Cardiff Docks to Weston-super-mare when I was about 10. My family moved to Bristol because he had become a Methodist minister, getting […]

Set the people free – opposition to ID cards [postponed til further notice]

David King will outline how during the Second World War the government introduced compulsory ID cards as part of their emergency measures. It was not until seven years after the War that ID cards were finally withdrawn. Clarence Willcock was instrumental in this process; his refusal to show his ID card when stopped by the police in North London in 1950 raised questions about their use in peacetime Britain and contributed to the withdrawal of the cards in 1952. David King's talk will be followed […]

The Battle for China’s Past: Mao and The Cultural Revolution

By Mobo Gao
This 2008 book is a significant contribution to an ongoing process whereby Chinese radicals are reappraising dominant narratives on revolutionary China and in particular on the ‘Cultural Revolution’ (CR) period of 1966-76, thereby challenging the official Chinese Communist Party (CCP) dismissive verdict over Mao’s later policies and the so-called ‘Gang of Four’. While most of us on ‘The Left’ in the West know a fair bit about the 1917 Russian Revolution for example, our knowledge of China’s […]

Stolen Paradise [postponed until further notice]

The post-war squatting movement in Bristol

During the summer of 1946, thousands of British families took the law into their own hands to temporarily solve their housing problems by "requisitioning" empty military camps. This mass-squatting movement was rapid, spontaneous and entirely working-class in character. While it was often driven at ground level by women, the movement soon developed a formal leadership structure dominated by ex-servicemen who had served as NCOs and warrant officers. Bristol, with particularly acute housing […]

The ‘Emergency’ in Malaya (1948- 60) and the Batang Kali Massacre [Postponed until further notice]

At the end of World War II, an almost bankrupt Britain was determined to reinstate the old areas of European power in the ‘Far East’ and held Vietnam and Indonesia until France and Holland could regain control. Shortly after, as Labour was building the ‘Welfare State’ at home, in Malaya, which had extensive tin mines and was producing over a third of the world’s natural rubber, our soldiers were fighting a counter-insurgency campaign to secure the country for British interests. In this […]

‘Secret and delicate sources’: UK Black Power and undercover policing [Postponed until further notice]

Black Power in Britain started in 1967, reached its apogee in 1971 and was in terminal decline by the mid-1970s. It was an expression of frustration, anger and – most importantly – resistance to the individual, institutional and state racism experienced by the postwar generation of black immigrants to Britain. The British state took the threat of Black Power very seriously, both at home and across the Commonwealth. When an international conference on Black Power took place in British […]

The Postwar Financial and Political Settlement (1944-1953) [Postponed until further notice]

From Breton Woods to UK debt, austerity and nationalization

Bristol Radical History Group's Alan Brown will discuss the end of the British Empire to Pax Americana and the cold war, hidden histories 1944-1953.

Angela Carter and the Bristol counterculture [Postponed until further notice]

A radical history walk in Clifton and Hotwells

  Steve Hunt of Bristol Radical History Group will lead a stroll around some old haunts associated with Angela Carter and the 1960s and 1970s counterculture. Join Steve to reimagine the area around Hotwells and Clifton when it was a hotbed of what Angela Carter called ‘Provincial Bohemia. Angela Carter is widely appreciated as one of the most creative and engaging English writers of the late Twentieth Century, being author of such bestsellers as The Bloody Chamber, Nights at the Circus and […]

1949 Dockers’ Strike (Avonmouth): Labour Government use troops [Postponed until further notice]

The 1949 Docks Strike was notable as an international solidarity action in support of strike action by Canadian seamen of the Canadian Seamen’s Union. Canadian employers had used scab crews (in the Seafarers’ International Union) to load ships. One of these, the SS Gulfside, had remained strike bound in Avonmouth from 1st April. A second ship, the SS Montreal City arrived with a cargo of tomatoes and bananas. As tugmen and dockers refused to work the blacked ships, the Labour Government brought […]