Lest we forget – A Life of Pleasure?

The machine gun, colonial massacres and the Victorian theatre

A Life of Pleasure After a tip off last year by a member of BRHG I took a trip to Bristol Archives to take a look at some diaries written by Harry Bow in the 1890s. Bow, a Bristolian, was an enthusiastic 'army spotter', that is, he loved to record and illustrate public displays of the British military in the late Victorian period. Amongst the notes and beautiful line drawings recording parades, army camps and the use of cavalry against Bristolian trade unionists and their supporters on 'Black […]

Slaughter No Remedy, Harry Patch, Walter Ayles and the First World War

At the Assembly Rooms, Christchurch St West, Frome

For Harry Patch and Walter Ayles, the outbreak of the First World War was a testing time. From sharply different backgrounds, they initially responded very differently, Harry becoming a member of a machine gun team on the Western Front, Walter going to prison as a conscientious objector. But they ended up with the same perspective on ‘the war to end wars’. The talk will be illustrated with excerpts from television programmes made by the speaker. Non-Members £3 extra for outings or talks

Radical History: Smuggling and Poaching in Dorset

At Bridport Museum, 25 South Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3NR

As part of BridLit Fringe Kev Davis and Steve Mills from the Bristol Radical History Group explore the history of smuggling and poaching in Dorset. Should Smugglers be considered folk heroes and to what extent smuggling was a community enterprise? Did you know poachers in some quarters are seen as the second oldest professionals? Who are they? Did they take game for the pot or to sell? Were they in direct competition with the landowners? Both sides used violence, guile and confederates with […]

How did World War One end?

And how is this remembered?

The centenary of the end of WW1 in 1918 will be widely commemorated across the country on Remembrance Sunday this year. However, the military style parades and ceremonies send a mixed message. On the one hand they are a moving display of mourning for the dead. On the other they tend towards a celebration of British military virtues, the heroic defeat of Germany and recent claims that WW1 was a 'just' or 'necessary' war. The popular memory in the UK of an allied 'victory' in 1918 leaves many […]

History walk – ‘Canting Humbugs’: Resistance and reaction in Bristol during World War One

This 1.5 hour history walk led by members of the Remembering the Real World War One history group explores resistance to the conflict in Bristol. From mass meetings of trade unionists opposing intervention in the war, to the struggles against conscription and the role of Conscientious Objectors this walk uncovers hidden histories and dispels some myths along the way. It also considers the divisions that arose amongst comrades in the labour movement, Socialists, Christians and those fighting for […]

Otherstory puppet show: Taking a Holiday

Taking a Holiday tells the amazing story of the secret beneath a Bedminster bike shop. It is a story of struggle in wartime – full of intrigue, escapes, comradeship…and bikes. What does it mean to be a refugee and on the run in your own country? Who will give you a bed for the night, a job… or a means of escape? A table top and shadow puppet show based on the true stories of ordinary people in 1916/17, and the hidden history of the resistance to the war machine. Otherstory will be performing […]

Men of Fire

Work, Resistance and Organisation of Bristol Gasworkers in the Nineteenth Century

Men of Fire Front Cover
The emergence of ‘New Unionism’ in 1889, and the accompanying outburst of strikes across the country, was one of the most extraordinary and significant events in trade union history. Tens of thousands of ‘unskilled’ labourers, men and women, struck work, demanding an immediate improvement in their working conditions. In Bristol, gasworkers were at the helm of this revolt. Exasperated by the directors of the Bristol United Gas Light Company’s habitual disregard for their employees, early in […]

Graham Caine (1945-2018)

Sad news that Graham Caine of Street Farm and the Bristol Gnomes died on 19th September. As well as being the Street Farmer who designed and lived in the first ecological house, Graham was responsible for distinctive Bristolian 'Gnomework' such as St Werburghs City Farm Café and the 'Gnome House’ in Boiling Wells. Graham was a great representative of the 1968 generation and spoke passionately of how the events in Paris 1968 inspired him in England. Meeting fellow Street Farmers Peter Crump and […]

Myths within myths…

Edward Colston and that statue

In the light of recent moves to place a ‘corrective’ plaque on the statue of Edward Colston in the centre of Bristol and calls for it to be removed to a museum it seems the time is right to investigate the origins of this monument and the claim emblazoned on it that it was: Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city Looking into the history of the statue demonstrates the same myth making that has characterised the popular memory of […]

Film Screening – Greece: The Hidden War

Part One – The Battle for Athens

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A rare chance to see the 1986 Channel 4 documentary that explored the clash between British forces and the left-wing Greek Resistance against the Nazi occupation in 1944, which led to the 'Battle for Athens' and into a bitter three year Civil War. The defeated Greeks fled into exile and waited more than 30 years for the PASOK Amnesty in 1982 that allowed them to return home. In the documentary they tell their story for the first time, alongside the British protagonists. The British Establishment […]

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