Smoke, Gas, Strikes, Metal and Slums

An historical walk

WWI Autumn 2016 Poster
Meet at Bristol Temple Meads station forecourt. Well over 50 people turned up when we put on this walk in July. It was so popular we’re doing it again. So if you enjoyed it so much last time you want to do it again, or you’ve been kicking yourself because you missed it, come along on 2nd October. The walk takes about two hours. It’s mainly on the flat with one short incline. It will finish at Hydra Bookshop in Old Market where tea & coffee will be available as well as several books/pamphlets […]

Smoke: Gas: Strikes: Metal: Slums

A historical walk to honour Alfred Jefferies who was shot for desertion in France On 1st November 1916

A 2 hour walk around St Philips and the Dings. Alfred Jefferies lived in St Philips before 1914, he was shot for desertion in France On 1st November 1916. We will walk around the area, highlighting forgotten industry, back streets, schools, and social history. The years leading up to 1914 saw a wave of strike action across Britain; at the same time there were fears of war with Germany whipped up by the press and in popular culture. Some like Bristol’s Trade Union Leader Ernest Bevin argued that […]

Battle Of The Somme

At the Watershed, 1 Canons Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX. 1 July 1916 was the first day of the battle of the Somme. That day saw the highest British casualties of any day in World War 1. The battle continued for four months. Over a million men on both sides were killed or wounded. The British and French armies gained six miles of German territory. In August 1916 the government released the film 'Battle Of The Somme'. Sequences in the film were faked and the government specified what music […]

Slaughter No Remedy

“I cannot and will not kill”

A re-enactment of Walter Ayles' Militry Tribunal Bristol Register Office, Corn Street, BS1 1JG. Walter Ayles was Bristol’s most prominent opponent of World War 1. He was a member of the Independent Labour Party and city councillor for Easton from 1912. When war was declared in 1914 he was the only councillor to vote against a motion offering “whole hearted support” for the war. He became a national executive member of the No-Conscription Fellowship. In April 1916, when conscription was […]

Discovering British 1914-1918 War Resisters

Hoped-for outcomes and challenging surprises

Cyril Pearce is Britain's foremost researcher into World War 1 conscientious objectors (COs) and war resisters. His book 'Comrades in Conscience' looked at the anti-war movement in Huddersfield. Since then, Cyril has extended his work to look for other ‘Huddersfields’ and has created a database of British COs - the Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors The database currently contains details of almost 20000 men who refused to fight in the war and is an invaluable tool for any local […]

Captain Jack White DSO

from Imperialism to Anarchism

Captain Jack White DSO attracted adjectives like jam does wasps - flamboyant, gallant, romantic, handsome, idiosyncratic, incorrigible - and every one of them was appropriate. He was a Presbyterian from the northern part of Ireland who fought in the Boer War, became the first commander of the Irish Citizen Army in the 1913 Dublin Lockout, was arrested for sedition during WW1, fell foul of all the police/paramilitary/governmental authorities in Ireland between 1913 and 1936, and participated in […]

Slaughter No Remedy

The life and times of Walter Ayles, Bristol Conscientious Objector

Walter Ayles Front Cover
Walter Ayles was a fighter – but a fighter who didn’t believe in killing. He fought against unemployment and ruthless employers but also against the pro-war fever that led to the First World War. A Bristol councillor before the War, he was sent to prison for his opposition to it. Soon after his release, he was elected the MP for Bristol North. This pamphlet outlines the life and times of a man who fought for socialism and peace.

Unveiling of a Blue Plaque to Walter Ayles

Venue: 12 Station Road, Ashley Down, Bristol, BS7 9LA A blue plaque for Walter Ayles will be unveiled on Sunday April 17th – the centenary of the date that Ayles was first arrested. Please put this date in your diary. The unveiling will take place from 3.30pm at the house where lived with his wife Bertha in Station Road, Ashley Down. Generous donations have enabled us to raise over £600 to pay for the plaque. Full details will be circulated nearer the date. Come along and help us honour all […]

Justice For Alice Wheeldon!

In 1917, socialist, feminist and anti-war activist, Alice Wheeldon, her daughter Winnie and husband Alf Mason were given long prison sentences for supposedly plotting to kill the Prime Minister Lloyd George and Arthur Henderson, the leader of the Labour Party. The evidence was flimsy, their accuser an MI5 agent provocateur so dubious the prosecution kept him away from the trial. It was a time when Britons were increasingly vocal in their opposition to the continuing and pointless carnage of the […]