Insurrectionary Bristol: 1932

Revolt of the Unemployed : Bread or Batons in Bristol c. 1932. As unemployment topped 3 million and the Labour government collapsed, benefit cuts and the means test sparked unrest across the country. In 1932 Bristol was briefly at the forefront of the protests which rocked the country. The mass demonstrations met brutal repression including police ambushes and the arrest of key activists. This will discuss the character of the movement, tracing its roots back to the ex-servicemen's protests of […]

Insurrectionary Bristol: 1980

Riots In 1980 St. Pauls in 1980 Southmead in 1980 The events of April 1980: Riot or uprising? How the St. Pauls riot was viewed by the media 1981 : Like a summer with a thousand July's Why is the Southmead riot forgotten?

Author’s Choice: Mike Manson

'Riot!' The Bristol Bridge Massacre of 1793. Mike Manson author of 'Riot!' The Bristol Bridge Massacre of 1793 talks about the riot and massacre that were a result of toll gates on the Bristol Bridge. Listen to this talk: Download this talk (7 Mb mp3 file)

Radical Bristol: 1790s

The Watchman: Coleridge, Beddoes and the radical 1790s in Bristol - Mike Jay During 1795-6, Bristol's popular protests against Pitt's 'Reign of Terror' were led by two remarkable figures, both recent arrivals in the city: the radical doctor Thomas Beddoes and the young lecturer and poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Together they campaigned against the government's crackdown on free speech and public assembly, and collaborated on The Watchman, a journal which risked prosecutions for sedition by […]

At The Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery Viewing

Generously, Bristol Museum allowed a special viewing of a series of paintings, water colours and engravings depicting the 1831 Queens Square uprisings and their aftermath. Artists such as William James Müller (1812-1845) and J. B. Pyne were present at the events and recorded them for your viewing pleasure. Sheena Stoddard the Curator of Fine Art and an expert on Bristol painters also gave a talk about the paintings.

1831 Uprising Commermoration

Celebrate the popular revolt that shocked the British ruling classes into democratic reform. Join the 'mob' waving flaming brands and listen to fiery speeches as we remember the hundreds of Bristol rebels who changed the course of history. Dress : Bawdy Attitude : Raucous

Insurrectionary Bristol: 1831

Britain in 1831… a tinder box? The Reform Act and suffrage The events of October in Bristol The trials and punishments Was it chaos, protest or class war? The wider political implications Why we should commemorate 1831 Listent to this talk: Downlaod to this talk (1.5 Mb mp3 file)

The Last Rising of the Agricultural Labourers

Rural Life and Protest in Nineteenth-Century England

By Barry Reay
The Last Rising of the Agricultural Labourers
The Hernhill Rising of 1838 was the last battle fought on English soil, the last revolt against the New Poor Law, and England’s last millenarian rising. The bloody ‘Battle of Bosenden Wood’, fought in a corner of rural Kent, was the culmination of a revolt led by the self-styled ‘Sir William Courtenay’. It was also, despite the greater fame of the 1830 Swing Riots, the last rising of the agricultural labourers. Barry Reay provides us with the first comprehensive and scholarly analysis of the […]

‘By a Flash and a Scare’

Arson, Animal Maiming, and Poaching in East Anglia 1815-1870

By John E. Archer
By A Flash
‘By a Flash and a Scare’ illuminates the darker side of rural life in the nineteenth century. Flashpoints such as the Swing riots, Tolpuddle, and the New Poor Law riots have long attracted the attention of historians, but here John E. Archer focuses on the persistent war waged in the countryside during the 1800s, analysing the prevailing climate of unrest, discontent, and desperation. In this detailed and scholarly study, based on intensive research among the local records of Norfolk and […]

The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the 18th Century

By Edward Thompson
Available as a PDF file here. This paper is famous, so I thought I better read it and I was not disappointed. Thompson is at his cheeky best, starting the article by taking the piss out of anthropologists and their complex analyses of 'exotic' cultures whilst the English working class is reduced to disorganised, amoral, sub-humans by historians. Thompson analyses the corn and bread 'riots' of the 18th century and not only shows their popular character but also the organised and often successful […]

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