Bread Or Batons?

Unemployed Workers' Struggles in 1930s Bristol

Bread Or Batons? Font Cover
The banking crisis of 2008 and the following deep recession experienced by the world economy have led to mass unemployment and poverty in the U.K. Massive public sector cuts along with huge financial bonuses for the wealthy have exacerbated the systemic divisions between ‘rich and poor’ which lie at the heart of the neo-liberal economy. For many commentators the spectre of economic depression has raised its ugly head once again. It thus seems apt to look back at Bristol in the period of the last […]

The Southmead Riots

April of 2005 saw the 25th anniversary of the St Paul's riots, a day and night in 1980 that not only was the precursor for further riots in London and Liverpool but the catalyst also that sparked changes that are still reverberating to this day. As Paul Stephenson, the former regional executive officer for the Commission for Racial Equality has commented: 'The riots were a wake up call for the country'. To mark the occasion, a two-page article appeared in The Bristol Evening Post featuring the […]

1831 And All That …

This article was written for Mute Magazine. One of the objectives of Bristol Radical History week was to re-examine some of the momentous events of Bristol’s history that have been often dismissed by historians as ‘chaos’ or ‘inexplicable’. The process of this examination by academics, local historians and interested punters during the week exposed some of the key problems of historical analysis. Precision Strikes The three days of rioting that occurred in October 1831 in Bristol were certainly […]

The 1831 Uprising – Part 3: The Aftermath

BWHW 2006 Colour Poster - 1831
Taken from Bristol Past and Present by J. F. Nicholls and John Taylor, published in 1882 Major Beckwith, in his evidence, stated that the mayor and magistrates seemed stupefied with terror, and that he asked for one of them to accompany his troops on horseback; all but Alderman Camplin said they could not ride, and he said he had not been on horseback for eighteen years. The major then demanded and received a written authority from them to act. The following is a list of the leading members of […]

The 1831 Uprising – Part 2: The Uprising

The 1831 Uprising - Part 2: The Uprising Taken from Bristol Past and Present by J. F. Nicholls and John Taylor, published in 1882 On Saturday, October 29th, the civic force appointed as a guard for the recorder, marched out, about ten o'clock in the morning, by way of Bristol bridge and Temple street, as far as the city boundary at the “Blue Bowl” tavern, Totterdown, to await his coming. They mustered about 300, and included the sheriff's officers, regular constables, and special constables; the […]

The 1831 Uprising – Part1 : The Reform Bill

Sir Charles Wetherell
Taken from Bristol Past and Present by J. F. Nicholls and John Taylor, published in 1882 We now enter upon one of the most important eras in the modern history of our city. In 1831 the Bristol riots occurred in connection with the agitation for reform; Sir Charles Wetherell, the attorney-general under the Duke of Wellington's administration, was a vigorous opponent of the emancipation of the Roman Catholics; on the second reading of the Relief Bill he opposed it in a trenchant, vigorous speech, […]

The Bristol Bridge Riot

Taken from Bristol Past and Present by J. F. Nicholls and John Taylor, published in 1882 The Bristol bridge riots of 1793 form another blot on the escutcheon of the city. Some persons in authority appear to have blundered in their calculations, and sought to stretch an Act of Parliament so as to make it cover the error, and then, with a wrong-headedness which it is lamentable to contemplate, resorted to force in order to accomplish their end. The Act authorised the Bridge commissioners to […]

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