Strikers, Hobblers, Conchies & Reds: A Radical History of Bristol, 1880-1939

Coming soon from Breviary Stuff Publications: In the 1970s and 80s a revival of interest emerged in researching Bristol’s vigorous radical past, reflected in the publications of the Bristol branch of the Historical Association and Bristol Broadsides. This revival has continued, echoed in the more recent historical studies that have advanced the work of filling in Bristol’s remarkable past — especially the involvement of the Bristol women’s movement in the nineteenth century in anti-slavery […]

Coal On One Hand, Men On The Other

The Forest of Dean Miners’ Association and the First World War 1910 - 1922

Coal on One Hand Men on the Other Front Cover
Coal on the one hand, Men on the other examines the impact of World War One on the development of the Forest of Dean Miners’ Association (FDMA), covering the period from 1910 to 1922. In order to understand the response of the leaders of the FDMA to the outbreak of war, this account identifies debates and conflicts within the union in the pre-war years. It also considers the influence that political philosophies and events in South Wales had in the Forest of Dean as a result of migration between […]

Trade Unions and Resistance to the Great War

Class cohesion and spurious patriotism: trade union internationalism in the First World War In this talk Kevin Morgan considers the trade union radicals who from the earliest months of the war took up an internationalist and anti-war stance, and who gathered increasing support as the war went on. Their contribution to the anti-war movement has often been overlooked because of the unions’ majority pro-war stance. Nevertheless, this minority tradition was to receive a further stimulus with the […]

Dreaming A City

From Wales To Ukraine

By Colin Thomas
This book describes the making of the 1991 TV documentary ‘Hughesovka and the New Russia, Dreaming a City’ created by the author and the Welsh historian Gwyn Alf Williams. Focusing on the town of Donetsk in the Ukraine from its origin in eighteen-seventy, when it was a small village occupied by one hundred and seventy people, it documents the historical events from that time through the Russian revolutions, Bolshevism, Stalinism, Nazi occupation, the collapse of Communism and rising Ukraine […]

Remembering Eastville Workhouse Public Meeting Report

Eastville Workhouse c. 1905.
The public meeting on Eastville Workhouse and the Rosemary Green burial ground on Thursday 28th August was very successful. A lively crowd of 35 residents turned up to St Annes' Church Hall in Greenbank. BRHG laid out maps and other historical sources around the room. Steve and Roger gave a presentation (attached) on the Poor laws and the Eastville Workhouse, Rosemary Green burial ground and other similar projects, which stimulated lots of discussion. See the slides from the presentation. A […]

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 […]