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 […]

If you are Glad Colston’s Gone – support the Colston Topplers Defence Fund!

One year on from the fall of the Edward Colston statue from it's pedestal during the Black Lives Matter protest on 7 June 2020, there's been another media feeding frenzy focused on Bristol. The iconic statue toppling event continues to buzz around the world's newswires. But let's not forget that some participants in that event remain severely under pressure from the British state and its lackeys with a Crown Court trial due to start on 13 December 2021. We support the call to #DropTheCharges. We […]

Statement of Support for the Toppling of the Colston Statue & for the Four Colston Defendants

Early this morning, on the first anniversary of the toppling of the slave-trader and former Tory MP Edward Colston from his plinth, the campaign coalition @GladColstonsGone issued the following statement and a press release. Amidst the chatter from policiticans, celebrities and media, it will likely be ignored, not least because it calls for the charges to be dropped against the four Colston Statue Defendants. But we reprint it here in full and unedited, because it's a collective work of […]

The M Shed Colston ‘Consultative Display’ – What’s in and what’s out?

Introduction After months of secrecy instigated by the Mayor’s Office finally M Shed are launching their ‘Consultative Display” entitled The Colston Statue: What Next? For many of us the Colston statue should have been left to ‘sleep with the fishes’, where many thousands of his Company’s victims ended up during the middle-passage. But a mixture of paranoia in the Mayor’s Office about a public backlash which might have affected his chances for re-election or perhaps seeing an opportunity to up […]

Edward Colston: A century of dissent and protest

Introduction During the furore about the renaming of the Colston Hall in 2017 a number of angry letter-writers to the Bristol Post claimed that the recent protests over Edward Colston were merely a ‘flash in the pan’ and a product of ‘woke’, faddist politics propagated by people from outside Bristol. This attempt to reduce the actions of groups and movements like Countering Colston and Black Lives Matter to a particular historical moment whilst the great weight of a supposed ‘tradition’, such as […]