The battle of Melvin Square – Knowle West and anti-fascism in the 1930s

Event Details
Date: , 2022
Time: to
Location: Filwood Library
Price: Free
With: Paul Kingdon, Lee Groves
Series: South Bristol History Festival

7.00pm, Tuesday 29th November, Filwood Library, Filwood Broadway, Bristol BS4 1JN

During the 1930’s militant antifascism against Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts was ingrained and established amongst the Bristolian working-class. Discontented by their many defeats in the inner-city, industrial working-class districts of Bristol the British Union of Fascists (BUF) turned their attention to the new garden suburbs springing up on the outskirts of the city.

Unfortunately for the BUF, working-class militant antifascism had migrated there also culminating in yet another humiliating defeat at Melvin Square. Not too many years later the Nazis were dropping bombs there and other areas of Knowle West.

This talk attempts to trace and celebrate this migration of pre WWII physical resistance to fascism in Bristol from the smoky and overcrowded slums to the spacious and leafy suburbs. It also examines the supporters of the BUF. Who were these defenders of privilege, discrimination, and prejudice? And why did the majority of the Bristolian working class naturally find the policies of the BUF so repugnant?

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