Strikes and riots

British servicemen in 1919

“We want out” - Bristol and the British armed forces strikes of January 1919 Roger Ball The massive wave of discontent which swept through the British armed forces at the end of World War One remains a hidden history, hardly mentioned by establishment historians or regimental records. Beginning first in France and Belgium in December 1918 and then crossing to mainland Britain the following month, strikes and protests spread rapidly through the Army, Navy and even into the Flying Corps. The […]

Ireland in 1919

'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity'

'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity': How Irish Nationalism responded to the Great War Joe Mooney (East Wall History Group, Dublin) This talk will outline the difficulties of the 'Irish question', the movement towards Home Rule and the rise of armed bodies in 1913/1914. How did these conflicting groups react to the outbreak of war - and why did some Nationalist support the war effort while others opposed it? The Irish rebellion of 1916 saw revolutionary nationalists, radical Trade […]

Bridport 1919

Conflict and tensions in a small industrial town in West Dorset

At the start of World War One Bridport was essentially a one industry town: rope and net making. The war brought opportunities to the town but also challenged paternalist employers with a revival of trade unionism and state pressure to improve low wages. With the Armistice, the sense of a collective national interest on the home front began to ebb away revealing long-standing as well as new tensions in the town. This talk explores the origins of these tensions in the war years and the range of […]

“With all the resources at the disposal of the State”

The ‘Industrial Unrest Committee’ and Industrial Legality during the 1919 Railway Strike

This talk will explore the various tensions that existed within the Cabinet’s Industrial Unrest Committee, and its various sub-committees, as government officials sought to confront the different challenges thrown up by the national Railway strike of late September 1919. Reading the files and documents from the National Archives reveals the extent to which Government departments and quasi governmental agencies struggled to contain the strike within its original industrial bounds. In an age when […]

Performance: War in Mind

This new powerful dramatic performance looks at the real lives of people affected by shell shock in the First World War. Driver William Charles Phillips, a Tetbury man who though he never actively fought at the front, died in Gloucester Asylum from paralysis in 1917. Doctor Harold Hills, later to be a Stroud doctor, who worked with sufferers at the Front and prevented many men being shot for desertion through his testimonies. Violet Hall, a wife and mother from a Gloucestershire village who lost […]

Rosie Sleightholme

WW1 songs about conscription, politics and war resistance

Folk singer Rosie Sleightholme (‘Utterly wonderful’ BBC Radio Wales) will sing a selection of World War One songs about conscription, politics and war resistance. The songs Rosie will perform have been used in Otherstory Puppetry’s history walk 'Steps Against War’.

A colour chart for killing

The legacy of World War 1 - 'the war to end all wars'

During the centenary commemorations the fallacy of the First World War as ‘The War To End All Wars’ provides an invaluable platform for its legacy to Britain as a military nation to be explored. The exhibition aims to provoke reflection on the little acknowledged fact that the UK has engaged in almost continuous warfare ever since. A Colour Chart for Killing is a series which explores the relationship between ‘first world’ domestic culture, epitomised by the aspirations of DIY home improvement, […]

The Art and Nature of Conscience

'The Art & Nature of Conscience' explores World War 1 conscientious objectors' thinking about conscience alongside their words and artwork. It also show-cases contemporary artists' reflections on these men, including a new piece by Stephen Raw, 'The Absolutist’s Position' (pictured).

A history walk with puppets: Steps Against War  

Discovering untold stories of Bedminster people in the First World War

Otherstory puppetry will be leading a history walk using the medium of puppetry to tell the untold stories of Bedminster people who resisted the First World War, and who refused to kill. Otherstory have devised and organised the walk with local people and in collaboration with Remembering the Real World War 1. The walk will start from the foyer of M Shed, cross the river, wind its way through Southville, along North Street and part of East Street, ending up at the Steam Crane pub. At points […]

Harbottle and Jonas

Songs from the WW1 Conscientious Objectors Songbook

For this project, David Harbottle (vocals, acoustic guitar and stomp box) and Freya Jonas (vocals, harmonium and concertina) have reimagined several songs from the WW1 Conscientious Objectors (COs) Songbook. Whilst the words of the songs remain untouched, the duo have composed new vocal melodies and musical arrangements for each piece, breathing new life into the songs but allowing the words to speak as they once did. David and Freya have recorded and pressed onto CD the three songs from the COs […]