The centenary of the end of WW1 in 1918 will be widely commemorated across the country on Remembrance Sunday this year. However, the military style parades and ceremonies send a mixed message. On the one hand they are a moving display of mourning for the dead. On the other they tend towards a celebration of British military virtues, the heroic defeat of Germany and recent claims that WW1 was a 'just' or 'necessary' war. The popular memory in the UK of an allied 'victory' in 1918 leaves many […]
This 1.5 hour history walk led by members of the Remembering the Real World War One history group explores resistance to the conflict in Bristol. From mass meetings of trade unionists opposing intervention in the war, to the struggles against conscription and the role of Conscientious Objectors this walk uncovers hidden histories and dispels some myths along the way. It also considers the divisions that arose amongst comrades in the labour movement, Socialists, Christians and those fighting for […]
The emergence of ‘New Unionism’ in 1889, and the accompanying outburst of strikes across the country, was one of the most extraordinary and significant events in trade union history. Tens of thousands of ‘unskilled’ labourers, men and women, struck work, demanding an immediate improvement in their working conditions. In Bristol, gasworkers were at the helm of this revolt. Exasperated by the directors of the Bristol United Gas Light Company’s habitual disregard for their employees, early in […]
The events of 1968 are often represented by university occupations, protests against the war in Vietnam and the rise of the counter-culture. This however is a partial picture which excludes the aspirations of workers and their organisations in the period. Although action by Trade Unions was improving wages and conditions particularly in large industrial enterprises, the strength of these sections of the working class in Britain was being reflected in new, more radical demands. Equal pay and […]
Join collective bread, print & roses on a tour through Bristol’s radical past, present and future. Together we will bring to life the city’s dissenting history, its rich tradition of self-help and mutual aid, from the intellectual and political ferment of radical taverns, to pamphleteering, popular education collectives, the neo-liberal assault on education today and the radicalising impact of the UCU strike and ask what kind of education we need for all our futures.
In August 1917 a meeting of Forest of Dean Miners passed motions against the conscription of miners and in favour of an immediate negotiated peace to end the war. This talk will discuss the role agitators and conscientious objectors played in this process and what happened next. Ian Wright recently authored Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old: The Forest of Dean World War One Conscientious Objectors.
“To inflame the imagination of others” – that is the way shop steward convenor Mike Cooley saw the Lucas Aerospace Alternative Plan. The Plan had arisen out of the threat of massive redundancies at Lucas Aerospace in 1976 where half of its output depended on military contracts. Why, asked its workers, can’t we use our skills in creating socially useful products instead of making killing machines? And wouldn’t it make more sense spending money on things that society needed rather than on […]
As part of the Journey to Justice events this walk is about the struggles of Bristol’s men and women workers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It starts on Valentine Bridge (behind Temple Meads Railway Station) with an introductory talk, crosses over to Avon Street, continues through the old industrial working class areas of St Philip’s and Barton Hill via the Great Western Cotton Factory, and ends at the Old Council House in Corn Street. Starting at Valentine Bridge on the Floating […]
"Battling for Bristol" is an evening of films, put on by the Bristol Radical History Group as part of the Journey to Justice month. The series of short films cover Bristol struggles for equal rights. It will include the risings of 1831,1980 and 1986, the demands for decent housing and for equality for women workers, as well as a documentary of the boycott that ended job discrimination on Bristol buses.
Turbulence describes how the expanding armaments industry of the First World war drew thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled workers – women as well as men- into Bristol’s aircraft factories. Skilled men in the workforce resented their arrival. They also defended their own exemption from military conscription. Opposition to the dilution of skills through changes in the production process sometimes combined with traditional male hostility towards women at the work place. Nevertheless the […]