Class war in 1892: Bristol dockers and Black Friday

M Shed 10th anniversary series

Miscellaneous 2021
The success of strikes in 1889 by Bristol dock workers over pay and conditions led to a massive rise in membership of the newly formed dockers unions. In the autumn of 1892 timber merchants based on the Floating Harbour, along with their ‘bosses union’ the strike-breaking Shipping Federation, launched a counter-offensive. Its aim was to smash the dockers unions and re-introduce the hated ‘piecework’. The outcome would be a dramatic confrontation between strikers and the military on the streets […]

Bristol dockers strike of 1949 in support of Canadian Seaman

M Shed 10th anniversary series

The 1949 Docks Strike involving Bristol dockers was notable as an international solidarity action in support of strike action by the Canadian Seamen’s Union. Canadian employers had used ‘scab crews’ to load ships. One of these, the SS Gulfside, had remained strike bound in Avonmouth from 1st April. A second ship, the SS Montreal City arrived with a cargo of tomatoes and bananas. As tugmen and dockers refused to work the so called ‘blacked’ ships, the Labour Government brought in troops to unload […]

Bristol docks and cholera

M Shed 10th anniversary series

Cholera reached Bristol on the 11 July 1832. The London Quarterly Review described the new disease sweeping the world in November 1831: ‘It has mastered every variety of climate, surmounted every natural barrier, conquered every people.’ This disease had been prevalent in the Indian sub-continent for centuries, thriving in crowded and impoverished conditions. The disease caused severe diarrhoea, dehydration, collapse and often death. However, on 12 July 1832, the newspapers reported that they […]

Black Power – a British Story of Resistance with director George Amponsah 

  Note: This online event is hosted by The Cube and requires booking. Details here. Join BAFTA-nominated documentary film-maker George Amponsah (The Hard Stop) in conversation with historian Rosie Wild about his latest work, Black Power: a British Story of Resistance. This will be followed by a Q&A session. The recent highly acclaimed history documentary Black Power: a British Story of Resistance (Rogan Productions, 2021) tells the story of Britain’s homegrown Black Power movement from […]

History Walk: Severing the sinews of slavery in Bristol

A thousand year history of abolition

Meet at 2.00pm outside M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN Walk ends at Bristol Cathedral at 4.00pm (approx.) This history walk in Bristol City centre uncovers a 1,000 year history of resistance to slavery. Starting with Bristol's first abolitionist Saint Wulfstan and the Bristol 'mob' in the eleventh century this walk charts the networks of religious and political activists who led popular campaigns against slavery. From the non-conformists and radical currents in the English […]

They don’t protect us: A history of the police and monitoring groups

Note: this an online event organised by Bristol Copwatch. Advance booking is required, please pre-register here in order to attend this meeting. Bristol Copwatch with Institute of Race Relations invite you to join them to hear stories from the work of Community Monitoring Groups who have been on the frontline challenging police abuses of power and racism for decades. Learn more about the police use of force in the UK, taser usage, and the controversial new Violence Suppression Units, and learn […]

Book Launch: From Wulfstan to Colston

Severing the sinews of slavery in Bristol

Note: this is an online event organised by M Shed. Registration and booking is required via their website. Published a few days before the fall of Edward Colston’s statue in June 2020, From Wulftsan to Colston traces a thousand-year history of the involvement in slavery of Bristol’s merchants, from Anglo-Saxon times through the era of exploration and colonisation to the transatlantic slave trade and the plantation system of the Americas. During this period, Bristol’s merchant elite seized […]

Who will inherit the legacy of the Bristol Bus Boycott?

Lilleith Morrison and Richard Jones, co-author and publisher of Dr Paul Stephenson’s autobiography Memoirs Of A Black Englishman (Tangent Books) ask, along with artists and activists, Ros Martin and Rob Mitchell ‘Who will inherit the legacy of the Bristol Bus Boycott?’. The successful Bus Boycott campaign of 1963 was one of the greatest victories of the UK Civil Rights movement as the Black community and progressive thinkers in Bristol united to overthrow the ‘colour bar’ operated by Bristol […]

The Hummingbird: the role of the the black bookshop in community self development

Never allow skin colour to get in the way. Our status in life was not ordained by God. It’s an incident of history. Cathy Lecointe's aunt In 1985 the Hummingbird Bookshop situated in Grosvenor Road, St Paul's, Bristol was set up by an inspirational and pioneering Bristol black woman, Cathy Lecointe. Cathy worked in community education and self development for many years and ran the bookshop alongside her former husband Frank Waite for nearly ten years. The Hummingbird acted as a community hub, […]

History Walk: Edward Colston – why was he toppled?

An amble through central Bristol uncovering the history of Edward Colston and a century of protest and dissent

Meet at 3.30pm outside M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN Walk ends at Bristol Cathedral at 5.30pm (approx.) With the imminent launch of a so-called 'consultative display' featuring Edward Colston's statue at M Shed it seems apt to expose his involvement with transatlantic slavery and reveal the myths that were created about him and his philanthropy. This two hour walk visits churches in the city centre where, until very recently, ‘the life and work’ of Edward Colston was […]