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 an electronic device 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Refusing to Kill

Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors research

Refusing to Kill front cover
      Usage license   Introduction Based upon recent research by academic researchers and local historians, this page contains materials made available under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0) for primary and secondary schools and colleges. They are intended to be relevant to a range of subjects (in particular, history, religious education, citizenship, the humanities more generally and may provide the basis of project work). The material will be added to as the […]

Steps Against War

Resistance to World War 1 in Bedminster

Front cover showing two puppets from the history walk
In World War 1 there were at least 40 conscientious objectors in Bedminster, as well as others who resisted the war and conscription. Fred Berriman took an uncompromising stand and faced repeated prison sentences. Annie Chappell co-ordinated a network of support for objectors. William Livingston went on the run in Scotland with London anarchists. George Barker and Walter Told excavated a secret chamber beneath a bike shop to hide objectors and deserters. These individuals were part of a network […]

From Wulfstan to Colston

Severing the sinews of slavery in Bristol

Front cover showing a stained glass window with St Wulfstan and Colston as depicted on his tomb
Tracing a thousand-year history, Mark Steeds and Roger Ball examine the involvement in slavery of Bristol’s merchants, from Anglo-Saxon times through the era of exploration and colonisation, to the transatlantic slave trade and the plantation system of the Americas. During this period, Bristol’s merchant elite seized economic and political power, making slave-trader Edward Colston an icon and shaping the city’s present-day historical memory of slavery. Throughout the millennium, determined […]

Age of Adversity

Life in the Times of the Black Death in the City of Bristol, England. 1348-1349, and Beyond

‘Alas when our relatives and neighbours came to welcome us, whole we were embracing them and in the midst of our kisses, we, who carried the arrows of death were constrained to give them the poison, so that when they returned home, soon whole families were infected and in less than three days succumbed to the attacks’. Although there appears to be very few primary sources recounting the consequences and changes inflicted upon the population of Bristol during the era of the Black Death a few rare […]

Angela Carter’s ‘Provincial Bohemia’

The counterculture in 1960s and 1970s Bristol and Bath

Front cover with a portrait of Angela Carter
Socialist and feminist novelist Angela Carter is one of the most acclaimed late-twentieth-century English writers, famous for short-story collections such as The Bloody Chamber and novels including Nights at the Circus and Wise Children. Angela Carter’s ‘Provincial Bohemia’ takes Carter’s life and work in Bristol (1961-1969) and Bath (1973-1976) as a starting point to explore the artistic, radical and experimental communities that flourished at that time. Newly recorded interviews and other […]

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 […]

State Surveillance after the French Revolution [Postponed until further notice]

Government Surveillance in Peacetime: Home Office Spies, c.1800 (David Worrall) Government surveillance, using networks of spies and informers, were active both before and after the Napoleonic War (1793-1815). In the case of the Anabaptist, William Winterbotham, although in 1792 the country was still at peace, a spy was in place to intercept him on a West Country highway and lure him into seditious conversation. In the late 1810s and 1820s, when Britain was engaged in no major conflict, spies […]