Subject Index: Women

The content on this site is put into subject categories. These pages list content filed under each subject. You can also use the Tag Index to see a full list of keywords used on the site.

Doris Hatt : Art, Principles and Politics

Bristol Radical History Festival 2023 poster, featuring a Walter Crane print
Twentieth century artist Doris Hatt (1890-1969) was a woman ahead of her time. She was a feminist and socialist, and a pioneer of modernism in Britain, but her life and work have been under-appreciated until the last few years. Doris Hatt was born in Bath, but after World War I she moved to Clevedon with her mother, where they established their home, Littlemead. When her mother died in 1929 Doris’s partner Margery Mack Smith, a school teacher and weaver, came to live with Doris, beginning a 40 […]

The Slave Decks

A retrospective account of life onboard the Hannibal slave ship

Warning – Due to the nature of the topic this article is not suitable for children The stench of the hold…was so intolerably loathsome that it was dangerous to remain there for any time…but now that the whole ship’s cargo were confined together, it became absolutely pestilential.[1] Let me begin by saying that there was nothing unique about the utterly appalling conditions that existed on the Hannibal slave ship: All merchant slave ships were floating prisons of cruelty and depravity. For the […]

Unveiling of a blue plaque to Hilda Cashmore

Quaker, feminist, educator and social worker

The unveiling of a blue plaque to Hilda Cashmore quaker, feminist, educator and social worker and the first warden of Bristol's Barton Hill Settlement will take place at 12.00 noon on International Women's Day, Wednesday, 8th March 2023 at Wellspring Settlement, 43 Ducie Road, Barton Hill BS5 OAX. Quaker, feminist, social reformer and educator, whose work led to her election as the first woman president of the British Association of Residential Settlements, Cashmore was one of a number of […]

Nautical Woman – Women sailors and the women of sailortowns

A forgotten diaspora c.1693-1902

transparent fiddle Not A BRHG Event
Bristol Central Library - Lunchtime talks - Foyer - Book Here The book explores the stories of women whose lives were inextricably linked to the sea. These include the women of sailortowns, like Bristol, who were struggling to keep out of the dreaded workhouse and resisting the prowling press gangs. Also, the courageous and skilful cross-dressing women sailors, some from Bristol, who went to extraordinary lengths to hide their gender. The stories of these women challenge our stereotypes of women […]

Nautical women – women sailors and the women of sailortowns

A forgotten diaspora c 1693-1902

transparent fiddle Not A BRHG Event
Portishead Library, 24 Harbour Road, Portishead, BS20 7AL For more details and booking, see here. North Somerset Libraries are excited to host a series of talks by Bristol Radical History pamphleteers. Visit to find out more about their publications and events. The talks are informal and accessible and would appeal to adults and older teens. The library will be open and there will time to borrow books from our local history display, so bring your library card with you. If you […]

The Gas Girls – a hidden history of World War One

In a tribute to the community theatre group acta based in Gladstone Street, Bedminster and their 2014 play Gas Girls, Christine Townsend examines the exposure of a piece of lost Bristolian history that has international repercussions to this day. Acta's research helped to publicise the top secret production of mustard gas in Avonmouth factories during World War 1, and the lives of the women who carried out this dangerous work. Come and hear about the brilliant research conducted by Acta and the […]

Stolen Paradise: the post-war squatting movement in Bristol

During the summer of 1946, thousands of British families took the law into their own hands to temporarily solve their housing problems by “requisitioning” empty military camps. This mass-squatting movement was rapid, spontaneous and entirely working-class in character. While it was often driven at ground level by women, the movement soon developed a formal leadership structure dominated by ex-servicemen who had served as NCOs and warrant officers. Bristol, with particularly acute housing […]

Bedminster’s Tobacco Women

  This talk is based on a community oral history project, that in 2014, explored the lived history of local people who worked in the tobacco factories in Bedminster and Ashton. It offers an understanding of the social fabric of the Bedminster area, and the economic forces which have shaped our community. Helen will provide an overview of the manufacturing processes and how they changed over time; and an insight into what it was like for the workers: recruitment, working conditions, […]

‘Girls, Wives, Factory Lives’ – looking back to Churchmans after fifty years

I entered the shop floor of the small Bristol tobacco factory, Churchmans, in 1972. I wanted see, hear and smell the work and to talk to women manual workers about their work, their lives and their views. They were called ‘semi-skilled’ workers. What they did, weighing and cutting and rolling tobacco awed me with its speed and skill. Yet they could talk above the overwhelming rattle of machinery. Amazingly, I could interview them too. I had approached several larger factories in Bristol to do […]

Feminist, Socialist, Pacifist – Mabel Tothill Place

Mabel Tothill Front Cover
Hurray! Bristol has a new road named Mabel Tothill Place in the Barton Hill area. This is great news as it is well deserved and highlights a local activist who did so much for the area. There are remarkably few roads named after women anywhere in the country. Mabel Tothill who lived from 1869 to 1964 was a peace campaigner, a Quaker, a socialist and Bristol's first woman councillor (for Easton ward). She was a committed social activist who was part of campaigns and organizations that worked to […]

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