Newport Chartist Convention – 2021

Court drama, pioneering photography and toppling statues...Newport Chartist Convention 2021 The annual Newport Chartist Convention will take place at St Woolos Cathedral 105 Stow Hill, Newport NP20 4ED, UK. There is a full programme of lectures, with guest speakers including Professor Joan Allen on Legality and Injustice in the Age of the Chartists, with reference to Regina v Frost in 1840; Roger Ball and Mark Steeds will discuss the Rise and Fall of Edward Colston; and Dave Steele will look at […]

Bristol Radical Film Festival

RARE SCREENING OF PETER WATKINS’ LA COMMUNE AND ULTRAVIOLENCE, NEW EXPOSÉ OF UK BLACK DEATHS IN POLICE CUSTODY. Download the full festival programme here The Bristol Radical Film Festival returns this October 23rd - 24th for its 9th event, celebrating political, activist, and experimental filmmaking. This year’s programme combines urgent contemporary political subjects with an eclectic mix of archive gems, including a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune with the rarely […]

Bristol Radical Bookfair

This free event at 12.00 - 4.00pm at the The Exchange, 72-73 Old Market Street (BS2 0EJ) is a gathering of radical publishers, zine makers, activists, artists and local campaign groups organised by the now Bristol based Active Distribution. BRHG will have a bookstall at the event with all our publications and more. More details here.

The Dragon has two tongues rises again…

After more than 35 years in obscurity the hugely influential TV series The Dragon Has Two Tongues, a history of Wales, has risen again. This week the Welsh Underground Network made the following statement: Subject of copyright strikes, legal threats, and much discussion, we are extremely proud to host every episode of ‘The Dragon has Two Tongues’, the classic series featuring Gwyn Alf Williams and Wynford Vaughan-Thomas debating Welsh history. First broadcast over forty years ago, each attempt […]

Posh Boys

How English Public Schools Ruin Britain

By Roger Verkaik
If the reader has had a public school education then this book is probably ‘a huge enjoyable read’ as recommended by one reviewer, on the other hand if the reader is a member of the majority of the British population who have not had the same educational advantage of the public school, then they are more likely to agree with the reviewer who labelled this book as ‘an enraged polemic’, and to empathise totally with the author. The history of public schools is described from the fourteenth century […]

Tremors of Discontent

My Life in Print 1970-1988

Tremors of Discontent Front cover showing Mike Richardson speaking into a microphone
While there are many academic studies of workers’ resistance and consciousness during the 1970s and 1980s, few accounts relate the personal-political experiences of the activists involved. Tremors of Discontent, however, explores how Mike Richardson’s individual consciousness came to change during that period. It shows how gradually his participation in trade union and left politics broke through his boyhood reserve, intensified by the external political, economic and social circumstances. By […]

De-Convicted

The convicts who got a second chance

De-Convicted cover - man's hands holding prison cell bars and a pencil
This pamphlet analyses British penology by focussing on three case studies, spread across two centuries, all with Bristol connections. Francis Greenway, originally sentenced to death for forgery in Bristol, was transported to Australia where he became the colony’s leading architect; Douglas Curtis, who moved on from Cotham Grammar School to specialising in the theft of luxury yachts, eventually graduated from Cambridge University but didn’t forget the interests of those who were once his fellow […]

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 […]