History Walk 2: Riots, Massacres and Reform 1700s-1832

This 1.5 hour walk in the centre of Bristol takes us through a century of working class history, charting the path of the 'crowd' from the 'moral economy' of the 1700s, through the effects of the French Revolution to the 'Reform Riots' of 1831/2. So come and find out: Why Bristol merchants trembled if the Kingswood Colliers were in town How best to do 'collective bargaining by riot' What happened during the infamous Bristol Bridge massacre What a silver coin, some stolen hammers and a tricolour […]

Studio 1: Women against World War One

Bristol women campaigning for peace in World War One [June Hannam] June Hannam will focus on women in Bristol who opposed militarism and sought a negotiated peace. The most high profile activists were Mabel Tothill, Annie Townley and Mrs Higgins, all socialists from the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Others, such as the Quaker Helen Sturge, had been involved in the pre-war suffrage movement. The talk will explore what women did to push forward their cause and the ideas that underpinned their […]

The Bristol Riots 1831 and the ‘Picketing of the Bristol Packet’ at Newport

This article was recently published in the excellent Chartism online magazine and is the result of a collaboration between BRHG and David Osmond, Ray Stroud, Peter Strong, Les James, historians from Newport and Cardiff. Our thanks to Les James for authoring the piece and allowing us to reproduce it. ​ Members from the Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG) brought their bookstall to the 2016 Newport Chartist Convention held at the John Frost School. Di Parkin, Roger Ball, Maureen Ball, Steve Mills […]

Edward Colston

A close up of Colston's face from his statue in Bristol's centre
This project page collects together all the research and other materials on the leading slave trader Edward Colston (1636-1721). For more on the campaign to challenge the celebration and memorialisation of Colston see the Countering Colston website.

A ‘night of infamy’: Black Friday, 1892

History Walk

Bristol was rocked by two major strike waves in the late 19th Century, the first (1889-90) marked the emergence of ‘new unionism’ representing male and (significantly) female unskilled and semi-skilled labourers. Victory in these strikes improved pay and conditions for workers but led to an organised counter-offensive by employers in the autumn of 1892. The response of workers was a second strike wave which united miners, dockers and female confectionary workers, culminating in 'Black Friday' on […]

Women and Conscientious Objection to Military Service

Quaker Meeting House, 126 Hampton Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6JE A free event on women and conscientious objection to military service. Note: Registration is required for this event, details here. Speakers will include:- Professor Lois Bibbings, University of Bristol, author of Telling Tales About Men: Conceptions of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service During the First World War (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009) will look at how World War 1 Conscientious Objectors were […]

The 1831 Bristol rising

Solidarity in South Wales

  After the defeat of the first reform bill in early October 1831 violent protests exploded in many British cities. The rising in Bristol was the most spectacular and suffered the harshest repression by the military. This talk considers this revolt and, using new research, solidarity actions in South Wales to aid the Bristol ‘rioters’. A workshop at Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair, Room 1, Cathays Community Centre, 36-38 Cathays Terrace, Cardiff CF24 4HX

Commemoration of the 1831 Bristol ‘Riots’ at Queen Square

Queen Square 1831
29 October 2016 A small group of us gathered at the statue of William III in Queen Square to remember the three day ‘riot’ of October 1831 which shocked the country at the time and put the government in fear of revolution. This event eventually led to the 1832 Reform Act which lessened the rampant corruption in the form of ‘rotten boroughs’, created new seats in a number of industrial cities and increased the franchise to include some of the male middle class (but not women or the working […]