Facing up to the Fascists: Confronting the National Front in Bristol in the 1970s

Event Details
Date: , 2023
Time: to
Location: Foyer Level 2
Venue: M Shed, BS1 4RN
Price: Free
With: Rosemary L Caldicott
Series: Bristol Radical History Festival 2023
Page Details
Section: Events
Projects: Bristol vs. Blackshirts
Subjects: Fascism & Anti-Fascism
Tags: , , , , ,
Posted: Modified:


Bristol Radical History Group presents an innovative exhibition of resistance to fascism in the city in the 1970s, through a collection of rare contemporary posters, badges, pamphlets, photographs and film. This visually powerful exhibition considers the role that Bristolians played in standing up to and confronting the rise of the far-right and racist National Front during the 1970s.

The first warning came fifty years ago – the National Front decided to put up candidates in Bristol. The party was led by John Tyndall who had advocated Hitler’s book ‘Mein Kampf’ as a model for Britain and, writing about Jews, argued for “the elimination of this cancerous microbe in our midst.”

By 1973 Tyndall and the National Front had shifted the focus of its race hatred, seeing the expulsion of Asians from Uganda as an opportunity. Although its four Bristol candidates weren’t elected, one secured 17.7% of the local vote. With National Front membership doubling, opponents of homegrown fascism began to organise. NF meetings at Bristol primary schools were picketed and one at Sefton Park school in 1977 sparked a riot which led to six arrests, all of them anti NF protestors.

This led to the creation of the Anti-Nazi League in Bristol, formed at a crowded meeting in St Pauls on February 28th 1978, and was followed by a series of Rock Against Racism events in the city. A year later the National Front had collapsed.

Colin Thomas – see Colin’s pamphlet Facing up to the Fascists

At 12.00 midday Rosie Caldicott will give a short guided introduction to the display.

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