Should Britain Go to War With Germany?

Anti-war politician Kier Hardie addresses a protest in Trafalgar Square (Sunday August 2nd 1914)
Opposition to WW1 in Bristol in August 1914 War enthusiasm? There is a perception in Britain that popular patriotic pressure drove politicians to declare war on Germany on August 4th 1914 and that the population somehow desired war. This so-called ‘war enthusiasm’ has been characterised in the popular memory as: "cheering crowds outside Buckingham Palace, long lines outside recruiting offices and of soldiers marching away singing 'Tipperary'" . These images have been recently promoted by TV […]

Tolpuddle, Hutt and the Meerut ‘Conspiracy’

Tolpuddle & Today
A few years ago Bristol Radical History Group published a pamphlet entitled Tolpuddle and Swing: The Flea and the Elephant which critiqued the centrality of the Tolpuddle Martyrs incident (1833-34) to Trade Union history whilst the massive uprising of rural wage-labourers which occurred a few years previously, known as the ‘Captain Swing riots’ (1830-31), had been pretty much ignored. The pamphlet essentially came about because of admirable efforts by Trade Unionists in Wiltshire and Hampshire […]

Bread Or Batons?

Bread or Batons? The Old Market 'Riots' of February 1932 Since the 'Wall Street Crash' of 1929 joblessness in Bristol had risen to unprecedented levels; by February 1932 the situation was critical with whole districts blighted by the effects of mass unemployment. Jobless Bristolians rallied round the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement (NUWM), the main organisation opposing mass unemployment and Government 'means test'. The NUWM responded to the proposed austerity measures by organising a […]

WWI Resistance

Radical History Zone 2014 poster
Shirkers, Skulkers, Deserters and the 'Live and Let Live' Principle: Everyday Resistance to Combat on the Western Front in World War 1 With Roger Ball Fraternisation between opposing armed forces on the Western front on Christmas Day 1914 is part of the British collective memory; sold to us a momentary 'miracle' involving a few hundred troops. Of far more interest is the massive scale and crucially the context for these events. The everyday 'hidden' resistance of troops on both sides to the […]

Bristol and the Labour Unrest 1910-14

Speaker: Mike Richardson, UWE. This seminar will focus on Bristol’s experience of labour unrest between 1910 and the outbreak of the First World War. Rather than focus solely on Bristol’s famous union leaders, Ben Tillett and Earnest Bevin, this seminar will examine the events from the union rank-and-file perspective. 1910 witnessed a renewed outbreak of industrial strife in Britain, as significant sections of the trade union rank-and-file began to express their frustration at the lack of […]

Bliss Mill Strike 1913-1914

This blog is an attempt to document the Bliss Mill strike of 1913-14 in real time. Discussion is welcomed via the comment feature. I would be particularly interested to hear of any family memories of the strike, or new information that can be added. I will aim for historical accuracy as far as possible. Where what I have to say is speculation and cannot be backed up by recorded facts I will do my best to indicate that.

Introducing Chipping Norton’s Real Heroes

The events in December to mark the 100th anniversary of the Bliss Mill stike in Chipping Norton have made this weekend's addition of The Morning Star. Chipping Norton, a small picturesque Cotswold market town in deepest Oxfordshire, will be associated in the minds of those who don't know it with a few notorious names. Those would be its local MP, one David Cameron, Rebekah Brooks, the disgraced former CEO of News International and the pompous television petrolhead Jeremy Clarkson. Needless to […]

Bliss Mill Strikers

Bliss Mill Front Cover
Bliss Tweed Mill: Prosecuted Strikers/Supporters, 1914 CN = Chipping Norton Name Address Age Started Work at Bliss Mill Occupation Sentence Re-engaged Walter Bowen 1 Finsbury Place, CN 25 Baker (his father, John, was a striker) Bound over 12 months John Bowen re-engaged 06/11/1916 Annie Cooper 16 Spring Street, CN 50 About 1888 Machine Feeder 14 days No Charles A Dixon 4 London Road, CN 21 About 1905 Yarn Store Hand Bound over 12 months No John (Jack) Gee 3 Kimberly Place, West Street, CN 29 […]

Society for the Study of Labour History

"Founded in 1960, the Society for the Study of Labour History (SSLH) is the UK’s principal organisation dedicated to the study of labour history. Membership is open to everyone who would like to learn more about labour history and heritage whether on a professional or amateur basis. The SSLH publishes the journal the Labour History Review, organises regular conferences and actively promotes the preservation of historical resources connected to the labour movement."

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