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 […]

The Forest of Dean Miners’ Riot of 1831

Forest Of Dean Miners' Strike 1831 Front Cover
In June 1831, the free miners and commoners of the Forest of Dean rioted. This book considers the background to the uprising and the motives of the participants. Chris Fisher contends that the uprising was a clear expression of considerable and justifiable resentment towards the state and capitalists as they encroached on the customary rights of free miners. The Forest of Dean Miners’ Riot of 1831 places the events in the context of a social and economic transformation which favoured private […]

Pity the Poor Buttyman

The Butty System in the Forest of Dean 1921-1938

Recent years have seen the growth of sub-contracting, piece work, self-employment, daywork, zero-hour contracts, minimum wages and the use of agencies in the never-ending attempt by capital to reduce the cost of labour. This is an account of the use of sub-contracting in the mining industry in the Forest of Dean 1922 – 1938. It examines the impacts of the system on workforce cohesion and solidarity as well as the extent to which it succeeded in increasing the rate of exploitation of the […]

Hero: Samuel Plimsoll

In 1871 alone, 856 British merchant ships were lost within ten miles of the British coast in conditions that were no worse than a strong breeze. Between 1870 and 1872, 1628 sailors were sent to prison in Britain for refusing to go to sea in ships that the sailors would refer to as ‘coffin ships.’ On the dockside opposite the SS Great Britain stands the bust of Samuel Plimsoll MP and on it’s plinth is engraved the ‘Plimsoll Line’. This was a simple idea that showed if a ship was overloaded. […]

God’s Beautiful Sunshine

The 1921 Miners’ Lockout in the Forest of Dean

Front cover with a photo of striking miners and their families enjoying a picnic
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, 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 […]

Blacklisting and corporate surveillance [Postponed until further notice]

"As old as the pyramids" - is blacklisting still with us? Phil Chamberlain A former member of the Economic League told MPs that blacklisting was as "old as the pyramids". That organisation was shut down in the mid 1990s and its successor, The Consulting Association, in 2009. Where might we see their handiwork today? Journalist and co-author of Blacklisted: The Secret War Between Big Business and Union Activists Phil Chamberlain will use a contemporary case study to explore how corporate […]

‘Malevolence Imposes Vigilance’: State and Corporate Surveillance (1911-1921) [Postponed until further notice]

The modern relationship between the British state and corporate surveillance dates back to a time of rapid industrial change between 1911 and 1921, when socialism and syndicalism formed a key part of public debate. To industrial workers these philosophies offered new ways of understanding industrial work, of organising protest, and of reorganising democracy. But to employers they threatened the smooth operation of industrial production and the free use of capital, while for the government they […]

John ‘O’ Reiley – ‘Man of Fire’.

Men of Fire Front Cover
For Christmas 2019 I bought my father a copy of BRHG’s pamphlet ‘Men of Fire -Work, Resistance and Organisation of Bristol Gasworkers in the Nineteenth Century'. Since his retirement he has been researching family history and I remembered that there was an ancestor who worked as a gas stoker in Bristol. We assumed Eastville as, in his youth, my father supported Bristol Rovers and we didn’t know there were two other coal gas production sites in Bristol. After both reading ‘Men of Fire’ we agreed […]

1949 Dockers’ Strike (Avonmouth): Labour Government use troops [Postponed until further notice]

The 1949 Docks Strike was notable as an international solidarity action in support of strike action by Canadian seamen of the Canadian Seamen’s Union. Canadian employers had used scab crews (in the Seafarers’ International Union) 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 blacked ships, the Labour Government brought […]

The REAL Black Friday

23rd December 1892

Glenside Museum, The Chapel, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD Bristol Radical History group author, researcher and co-founder Roger Ball talks us through the REAL ‘Black Friday’ i.e. not the end of November shopping spree but the strikes and protests of autumn 1892 in Bristol, starting with the ‘Sweet Girls’ dispute at the Redcliff Confectionery works. Come and listen to a tale of ‘thousands of working class Bristolians’ marching to the Horsefair with lanterns & […]