Room 3: WW1’s Hidden Voices

The Role of India, East Africa, Nigeria and the West Indies

Two critical presentations about the role of India, East Africa, Nigeria and the West Indies in WWI, including colonialism and recruitment, the impacts of war and our ongoing culture of war followed by discussion. Cultural Representations of World War One and other wars: how colonies are kept invisible. Presented by Kooj Chuhan Colonial realities of WWI: uncovering the involvement and experience of peoples from British colonies Presented by Dipali Das and Ruth Tait The Great War of 1914 -1918 is […]

Room 1: Internment and internee stories from England and Germany

Three talks on internment in Yorkshire, North East England and Berlin

Time Stood Still: The Internment of Civilians at Lofthouse Park Camp near Wakefield, 1914-18 Claudia Sternberg talks about Lofthouse Park Camp which held nearly 3,000 German and Austrian-Hungarian civilian and military prisoners during the First World War and was in use until the last officers left Yorkshire in December 1919. This talk focuses on the experience of the civilian internees and shares some of the official and personal stories that were brought to light in the collaborative British […]

Studio 2: Mutiny

Film with Q&A

Tony T presents his documentary 'Mutiny' which looks at the British Caribbean experience of the First World War and its legacies, as revealed by the last surviving veterans of the British West Indies Regiment. The film is formed of archival materials, drama reconstructions and eye-witness and expert interviews shot in Jamaica, Cuba, Guyana, Barbados, St. Lucia, Italy and the UK. (50 minutes) Tony T of Sweet Patootee (who conceived, researched, wrote and produced the film) and Julian Putkowski […]

The Edward Colston ‘corrective’ plaque

Sanitising an uncomfortable history

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 claimed by the originator of the idea, Bristol City Council’s Principal Historic Environment Officer, that the new version was needed to stop the statue being damaged by unauthorised ‘protest plaques’. Several of these have been fixed to the statue over the last couple of years and removed by Bristol City Council. It […]

Lest we forget – A Life of Pleasure?

The machine gun, colonial massacres and the Victorian theatre

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 Bristolian, was an enthusiastic 'army spotter', that is, he loved to record and illustrate public displays of the British military in the late Victorian period. Amongst the notes and beautiful line drawings recording parades, army camps and the use of cavalry against Bristolian trade unionists and their supporters on 'Black […]

Myths within myths…

Edward Colston and that statue

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 right to investigate the origins of this monument and the claim emblazoned on it that it was: Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city Looking into the history of the statue demonstrates the same myth making that has characterised the popular memory of […]

Should society memorialise a Slave Trader?

The curious story of Brecon Town Council and the Plaque in honour of Captain Thomas Phillips, Slave Trader (circa 1664-1713).

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 plaque memorialising his life. The Phillips’ family house is now St Ursula’s Convent, a former catholic school. The plaque was paid for by the people of Brecon, and was erected (though not without controversy), in 2010. It reads innocently enough: CAPTAIN THOMAS PHILLIPS Havard House, Brecon First made this Captain’s Walk […]

‘The Lion of the Occasion’: Frederick Douglass in Bristol

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 denunciations of slavery. He was feted by the mayor and received great support from the people of the city, maintaining friendships with many of those he met for the rest of his life. Douglass biographer Laurence Fenton will discuss the background to and details of the great abolitionist's visit to Bristol in a talk at […]

Frederick Douglass in Bristol

Time for the African-American Abolitionist’s Visit to the City to be Commemorated with a Heritage Plaque?

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 article by Laurence Fenton. Laurence has just written a new book on the African American abolitionist's visits to Victorian Britain and is calling for a more permanent memorial to this important moment in the history of the city and the struggle against slavery. BRHG fully support this initiative. While actions from the […]

Studio 2: From Festival to Carnival: 50 Years of St Paul’s

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light
St Pauls Carnival is held, usually on the first Saturday of July in Bristol. The celebration began life in 1968 as the St Pauls Festival, when the idea was "to create an event to help improve relationships between the European, African, Caribbean and Asian inhabitants of the area." Called the St Pauls Carnival since 1991, it is run by a non-profit organisation, St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival Limited. In 1968 the St Paul's Festival, had the aim of bringing together the European, […]

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