New Unionism, New Women and Black Friday

The Bristol Strike Waves of 1889-1893

Meet at Gardiner Haskins Car Park (near Old Market), New Thomas Street, BS2 0JP As a belated launch for three new pamphlets released by BRHG in 2012-13 (The Bristol Strike Wave of 1889-1890 Socialists, New Unionists and New Women - Part 1: Days of Hope, Part 2: Days of Doubt and The Origins and an Account of Black Friday - 23rd December 1892) authors Mike Richardson and Roger Ball will navigate us through one of the most intense periods of class struggle in Bristol in the late 19th Century. In […]

British armed forces’ strikes and mutinies in 1918-19

British armed forces’ strikes and mutinies in 1918-19: a radical history project for the anniversary of World War I BRHG’s very own Roger Ball will kick off the afternoon with the conveniently forgotten history of British armed forces’ post WWI strikes and mutinies. Roger reveals how the mass refusal of troops across Europe included expressions of militant dissent in Britain. Such widespread revolt led to the collapse of the Allied invasion of Soviet Russia. The second part of the meeting will […]

The Fight against Blacklisting

Di Parkin has been a left activist since the 1960s. She is a historian and published “60 years of struggle” history of Betteshanger, a militant Kent pit. She will be speaking about the actions on the Economic League in the 1970s, providing blacklisting information to employers and the impact on militants in places such as Cowley car works and Kent coal field. An electrician who has worked in the construction industry for 40 years will talk about his experiences of victimisation and the campaign […]

The Origins and an Account of Black Friday – 23rd December 1892

Black Friday Front Cover
Autumn 1892 in Bristol saw a violent class war between employers, strike-breaking labour and police on one side and strikers and their mass of working-class supporters on the other; picketing, mass marches and public meetings of thousands of ‘new’ industrial unionists were common. The strike-wave culminated in the use of military and police by the local state to break up a pre-Christmas parade which had been organised to collect money for strikers and their families. This event, which popularly […]

Pirates to Proletarians

The Experience of the Pilots and Watermen of Crockerne Pill in the Nineteenth Century

Pirates To Proletarians Front Cover
From the earliest days of recorded history river pilots have navigated ships through the dangerous waters of the Bristol Channel and up the river Avon, with its twisting bends, shifting sand banks and strong currents. In the early nineteenth century, Bristol was granted rights to compulsory pilotage over the whole of the Channel. The Society of Merchant Venturers managed and regulated licenced pilots on behalf of Bristol Corporation. However, pilots were self-employed and operated in competition […]

Kings Cross Tube Fire 25 years on

Health and Safety, Fight Club and neo-liberal logic

Today (18th Nov 2012) is the 25th anniversary of the fire at Kings Cross tube station which killed 31 people and injured over 100 (see ) . The fire was 'blamed' at the time on a lit match which fell below the escalator and began the deadly inferno. The fire and subsequent inquiry led to the banning of smoking in stations, the phasing out of wooden escalators and forced London Underground to invest in heat and smoke detection systems, automatic sprinkler systems, CCTV and improved public address […]

State Intervention and the Abolition of the National Dock Labour Scheme

The Bristol Experience

Pill from the Avon bank.
Now and again certain key industrial disputes serve as a reminder that the state not only plays a central role in struggles between capital and labour, but that its interventions tend to be heavily biased towards employers. One such dispute concerned the abolition of the National Dock Labour Scheme (NDLS) in 1989, and the return of casual employment. In this case, state intervention was not only decisive in curtailing the ability of trade unions to take strike action but also delivered to the […]

The Bristol Strike Wave of 1889-1890

Socialists, New Unionists and New Women - Part 2: Days of Doubt

Bristol Strike Wave Pt 1 Front Cover
Following on from part one, this pamphlet traces the period of industrial unrest in Bristol between January and August 1890. The lockout of boot and shoe workers that began in December 1889, and continued for the first few weeks of January 1890, provided the opportunity for combining the forces of skilled organised workers with the unskilled and unorganised, in the drive to improve working conditions. It also encouraged forms of social unionism, with links to the wider community. Employers […]

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