Strikes and riots: British servicemen in 1919 (Level 1, Studio 1)

“We want out” - Bristol and the British armed forces strikes of January 1919 Roger Ball The massive wave of discontent which swept through the British armed forces at the end of World War One remains a hidden history, hardly mentioned by establishment historians or regimental records. Beginning first in France and Belgium in December 1918 and then crossing to mainland Britain the following month, strikes and protests spread rapidly through the Army, Navy and even into the Flying Corps. The […]

Burning Bristol: the 1831 ‘reform riot’

This talk is part of the above event at Cardiff Museum, The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1BH In 2006, The Guardian newspaper ran a series of articles in a search “for the most overlooked moment in British radical history”. The 1831 ‘Bristol riot’ featured in the top ten because of its historical obscurity, somewhat surprising considering the scale of the destruction and the human cost. The reason for this obscurity is related to the pathologized characterisation of the event as the […]

Wild scenes at Cardiff (Level 1, Studio 1)

‘Wild Scenes at Cardiff’ reads the South Wales Echo headline; ‘Blacks Hunted By a Furious Mob’ in the South Wales News. In June 1919, Cardiff was the scene of four days and nights of violent unrest that left three dead, many in hospital, and buildings ransacked and burned by mobs that included soldiers and sailors in uniform, ex-servicemen and women, united in the pursuit of black seamen. Who were these rioters and why they were ‘furious’? Who were their victims? Who did what, when and where? […]

Ecology from below (Level 1, Studio 2)

Resisting Enclosure in Rural Somerset and Dorset, 1780-1850

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed widespread attempts to ‘privatise’ rural England. By enclosing common land and extinguishing customary rights, rural elites sought to physically reshape and culturally redefine the countryside. In counties such as Somerset and Dorset, labourers increasingly found themselves barred from entering the fields and woodland that had supported their families for generations. Meanwhile, those who attempted to voice their concerns regarding these changes […]

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 […]

Wales

Epic Views of a Small Country

By Jan Morris
Clevedon-born author and historian Jan Morris describes herself as ‘by loyalty Welsh’, and writes about her subject with warmth and eloquence. As a book that captures the spirit of place, Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country, cannot be bettered. Morris gives a brusque sense of intimacy so that you feel you’ve been grabbed by the arm and are being led across the bridges and down the valleys of Wales in your wellies, while she confides everything that she is passionate about. Far from being a dry […]

Bristol from Below

Law, Authority and Protest in a Georgian City

By Steve Poole and Nicholas Rogers
Within the Bristol Radical History Group (BRHG), we are constantly pressing for more history from below. Researching, writing and celebrating our history. The history of those who have built, fed, and run Bristol through the ages, and those who have just lived by their wits. Therefore, we were quite excited to see this book. However, the book is priced at £70. Yes, that’s right, this is not a typo. Seventy pounds sterling. Whilst most of the present day working classes are struggling, with […]

Battling for Bristol

"Battling for Bristol" is an evening of films, put on by the Bristol Radical History Group as part of the Journey to Justice month. The series of short films cover Bristol struggles for equal rights. It will include the risings of 1831,1980 and 1986, the demands for decent housing and for equality for women workers, as well as a documentary of the boycott that ended job discrimination on Bristol buses.

Studio 2: 800 Years and Counting

The 1217 Charter of the Forests in the Forest of Dean and its Enduring Legacy

The Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire - royal larder or people's larder? The Charter of the Forests, a lesser-known but wider-ranging companion to the Magna Carta, confirmed any "freemen" or commoners could help themselves to many of the resources of forests across England. Within 500 years, those subsisting in the woods were declared illegal squatters as aristocrats and the Crown tried to fence them out and grab all the iron ore, coal, timber and land. Successive waves of tenacious, described […]

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 […]

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