You are invited: to the 4th Bristol Radical History Festival on 14th May

We are delighted to welcome people back to M Shed this Saturday, 14th May, for our 4th Bristol Radical History Festival. It's been a frustrating two years of delays and postponements due to covid since this was first planned, but now all systems are go! All are welcome - this is a free event, you do not need to buy a ticket. Here's the Directions to M Shed. We have organised a full programme of events for our 2022 Radical History Festival, in collaboration with our hosts at M Shed. The Festival […]

Hughesovka and the New Russia

From Wales To Ukraine

  Here is the history of one Ukraine town, a microcosm of Russia, before its independence in 1991. Hughesovka, (later Stalino and Donestk) was a mining and steel town founded in the 1870s by Welsh entrepreneur John Hughes and seventy Welsh workers. This three part TV documentary directed by Colin Thomas and presented by Gwyn Williams and first broadcast in 1991 as a series of 30 minute programmes on BBC2. This documentary won the Best Documentary BAFTA Cymru, 1991 award. Watch a trailer for […]

Blacklisting and corporate surveillance

Corporations and police working hand in hand

Blacklisted - the whole story (2016, 45minutes, Tom Wood/Reel News) This film is an account of the system of blacklisting operated by the UK construction industry. It includes interviews with blacklisted workers and members of the Blacklist Support Group, along with footage from protests & pickets, as the blacklisted workers fight for truth and justice. It describes how the industry operated a secret blacklist - via The Consulting Association - to prevent workers, who would make an issue of […]

‘How Labour Governed’ – 1945-1951

1945: The war in Europe has just ended and the Labour Party wins a resounding general election victory. What follows is celebrated on much of the left as a period of progressive government which should inspire us to build a fairer society. However, at the time, critics pointed out that every socialist principle had been betrayed by politicians. In fact this was really a period much like any other, marked by continued militarism, colonialist suppression, racism, austerity and reactionary […]

Chasing Daydreams

Putting workers on film

Since the early days of documentary filmmaking, directors have been trying to put workers on film. Award winning filmmaker Colin Thomas will examine some of these and consider his own attempts in the light of the comment by one of his subjects, car worker Bill Pritchard, who told him that he was “chasing daydreams". Book tickets here.

Tremors of Discontent

My Life in Print 1970-1988

Tremors of Discontent Front cover showing Mike Richardson speaking into a microphone
While there are many academic studies of workers’ resistance and consciousness during the 1970s and 1980s, few accounts relate the personal-political experiences of the activists involved. Tremors of Discontent, however, explores how Mike Richardson’s individual consciousness came to change during that period. It shows how gradually his participation in trade union and left politics broke through his boyhood reserve, intensified by the external political, economic and social circumstances. By […]

Class war in 1892: Bristol dockers and Black Friday

M Shed 10th anniversary series

Miscellaneous 2021
The success of strikes in 1889 by Bristol dock workers over pay and conditions led to a massive rise in membership of the newly formed dockers unions. In the autumn of 1892 timber merchants based on the Floating Harbour, along with their ‘bosses union’ the strike-breaking Shipping Federation, launched a counter-offensive. Its aim was to smash the dockers unions and re-introduce the hated ‘piecework’. The outcome would be a dramatic confrontation between strikers and the military on the streets […]

Bristol dockers strike of 1949 in support of Canadian Seaman

M Shed 10th anniversary series

The 1949 Docks Strike involving Bristol dockers was notable as an international solidarity action in support of strike action by the Canadian Seamen’s Union. Canadian employers had used ‘scab crews’ to load ships. One of these, the SS Gulfside, had remained strike bound in Avonmouth from 1st April. A second ship, the SS Montreal City arrived with a cargo of tomatoes and bananas. As tugmen and dockers refused to work the so called ‘blacked’ ships, the Labour Government brought in troops to unload […]

The Great Post Office Strike of 1971

“Here lies the body of Postman Sid: he could not exist on fourteen quid!”

The 15th February 1971 was United Kingdom Decimalisation Day: no longer were there 12 pennies to a shilling, half-crowns, or 240 pennies to the pound. That day, 50 years ago, was also just over half-way through the greatest strike this country had seen since the General Strike of 1926: the 44-day national strike of 200,000 Post Office workers. Telegraphists, telephonists, Post Office counter clerks, cleaners, postmen (170,000 of them!) and PHGs (Postmen Higher Grade), members of the Union of […]

Christmas Webinar 3: God’s Beautiful Sunshine – The 1921 Miners’ Lockout in the Forest of Dean

Miscellaneous Events 2020
In 1921, in response to a severe depression in the coal trade, colliery owners, supported by the government, slashed labour costs. Refusing to accept this cut in wages, a million British miners, including many war veterans, a were locked out of their pits. The consequences for the 6,000 Forest of Dean miners, their families and the whole community, was brutal. However, the miners fought a determined battle for an alternative which included public ownership of the mines with decent pay and […]