The Captain Swing Riots

United Reform Church Hall, Boulevard, Waterloo St, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1LF The ‘Swing riots’ were a massive wave of protests, machine breaking, arson and extortion carried out by impoverished farm labourers and village artisans between the summers of 1830-31. Beginning in Kent the movement spread rapidly to engulf numerous counties in southern England. The uprising became known as the 'Swing riots' as the collective destruction was usually preceded by threatening letters to landowners signed […]

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 […]

City Under Fire

The Bristol Riots and Aftermath

By Geoffrey Amey
City under fire cover
From Dreadnought Books The riots of 1831 gripped the city of Bristol for three days at the end of October. Most general histories of the city include some reference to this infamous event. ‘This lively row gave Bristol the biggest advertisement in its history’ (Columbus p. 16, 1893), yet it has rarely received more considerable attention. There appear to be only four book-length histories: ‘A Citizen’ (John Eagles) produced his assessment in the following year, The Bristol Riots, Their Causes, […]

Bread Or Batons?

Bread or Batons? The Old Market 'Riots' of February 1932 Since the 'Wall Street Crash' of 1929 joblessness in Bristol had risen to unprecedented levels; by February 1932 the situation was critical with whole districts blighted by the effects of mass unemployment. Jobless Bristolians rallied round the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement (NUWM), the main organisation opposing mass unemployment and Government 'means test'. The NUWM responded to the proposed austerity measures by organising a […]

Alsatia

The idea is simple enough: to investigate the area of London known as Alsatia, and other similar ‘outlaw’ areas, their history, context and meanings. There are many tantalising references, but nothing substantial on the subject, so it offers challenges and rewards. Of course, I could just do some searching, some reading, and perhaps write an article or suchlike. But keeping track of all the fragments, questions and resonances requires some organization, and that in turn requires some tools. ... […]

Protests in Brazil

What's behind the protests that mobilized hundreds of thousands of Brazilians and shocked the country in the middle of the Confederations Cup? Who are the protesters and what are their flags and demands? What are the direction and the consequences of the mobilization? Two eye-witnesses will give a visual report on what happened in Sao Paolo and try to answer these questions.

The Tewkesbury Bread Riot Of 1795

The [Bread] Riot Or half a loaf is better than no bread. In a dialogue between Jack Anvil and Tom Hod. To the tune of "Cobbler there was"
This article was originally published in the Tewkesbury Historical Society Bulletin 22 (2013) Who forgets the frost of ninety-five? Then was all dismal, scarce, and dear, And no poor man could thrive The winter of 1794-95 was severe throughout the land; the rivers Severn and Thames froze over and a temperature of minus 21c. was recorded in London. In Tewkesbury, the freeze began on 20 December 1794 and continued until 7 February 1795. The subsequent thaw caused major flooding of the rivers […]

The Origins and an Account of Black Friday – 23rd December 1892

Black Friday Front Cover
Autumn 1892 in Bristol saw a violent class war between employers, strike-breaking labour and police on one side and strikers and their mass of working class supporters on the other; picketing, mass marches and public meetings of thousands of ‘new’ industrial unionists were common. The strike-wave culminated in the use of military and police by the local state to break up a pre-Christmas parade which had been organised to collect money for strikers and their families. This event, which popularly […]

From Bristol with Love

Two good interviews. First one is an interview with Noel in 2011 just after the August Riots. He talks about his involvement in the Hartcliffe Riots, 1981 Riots and football hooliganism. The second is an interview with Dean Forest from the Forest of Dean. He talks about local history, 'Who killed the Bears?', Hands Off Our Forest, Squatting, the Wilderness Centre and much more.

Bold Defiance

Downlaod this article as a PDF file. The Spitalfields Silk Weavers: London’s Luddites? Pretty much everyone has heard of the Luddites, although many people still have a misconception about the reasons why they destroyed machinery. The weavers of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and Leicestershire smashed machine looms not because they were blindly opposed to progress, or afraid of new technology, but because the introduction of machinery was undermining the livelihoods of themselves and […]

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