Bristol Festival of Literature: Colston, Fact And Fiction

This event is part of Bristol Festival of Literature and you can can register for the meeting here. In this two-part event authors Roger Ball and Mark Steeds of Bristol Radical History Group and Countering Colston discuss how facts, fictions and silences about the history of Edward Colston became part of the collective memory in the Victorian period and were subsequently challenged by historians, writers and artists. Ros Martin is a literary-based artist and activist of many years standing. She […]

Black History Month 2020

Brecon slave trader plaque was removed, and a poem was penned!

During 2010, and during Black History Month no less, a plaque was quietly erected in the rural town of Brecon, Wales to commemorate the life of a slave trader and commander of the slave ship Hannibal without public consultation. African people were purchased by agents of The Royal African Company to undertake forced labour and childbearing as slaves for the accumulation of profit. In 1693 700 enslaved African women, men and children were forced below the decks of the Hannibal under the command […]

Bristol History Commission – questions still not answered….

On 4th August Bristol Radical History Group sent a letter supported by the Remembering the Real World War One history group and Countering-Colston to the Mayor’s office concerning the Bristol History Commission (HC) which was set up by the elected Mayor Marvin Rees in response to the statue of Edward Colston being pulled down on 7th June. In the interests of transparency in the public domain and in the light of other recently failed projects the letter asked the Mayor for systematic answers to […]

On Brandon Hill

Popular Culture in Bristol since World War Two

By Nick Gilbert
This is an absolutely epic overview of Bristol culture – literary connections, film, music, gossip and much more since WW2. That’s around seven decades’ worth. You need to read it on an electronic device for two reasons: first, it’s an e-book; second, you will find yourself checking search engines, wikis, and music sites on every other page. In the words of the author, Nick Gilbert: "On Brandon Hill is the first ever comprehensive history of post-war Bristolian culture, and covers all the major […]

As Sylvie Was Walking

This story starts in the Forest of Dean with a riot and song and ends with an account of the struggle for the human rights of the visually impaired in Australia. The folk song As Sylvie Was Walking, made famous by Pentangle in 1969, has been traced to Ann Howell who was born in October 1832 at Broadwell Lane End, Forest of Dean, where she learnt it from her uncle. The Pentangle version, which can be viewed on YouTube, is called Once I had a Sweetheart and leaves out the first three verses. The […]

Memories of 1960s Bristol

I came to Bristol from Newport in South Wales in August 1962 when I was 12 years old. I had been brought up there and my family came from the Pontypool area. I had once been to Bristol Zoo on a school trip and spent a family holiday in a small caravan at Portishead, both times coming by trail under the Severn. I had also been on a school day trip by steamer from Cardiff Docks to Weston-super-mare when I was about 10. My family moved to Bristol because he had become a Methodist minister, getting […]

Pity the Poor Buttyman

The Butty System in the Forest of Dean 1921-1938

Recent years have seen the growth of sub-contracting, piece work, self-employment, daywork, zero-hour contracts, minimum wages and the use of agencies in the never-ending attempt by capital to reduce the cost of labour. This is an account of the use of sub-contracting in the mining industry in the Forest of Dean 1922 – 1938. It examines the impacts of the system on workforce cohesion and solidarity as well as the extent to which it succeeded in increasing the rate of exploitation of the […]

The Fatal Shore

The Epic of Australia's Founding

By Robert Hughes
Anyone interested in the history of Australia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries would do well to read Robert Hughes’s book. He describes in detail the development of the convict system and the colonisation of Australia from the first convict ship arriving at Sydney Cove in 1787 to the last convict voyage to Fremantle in 1868. With intensive research he has given the convicts a voice describing their own experiences of suffering, survival and resistance during that period. Robert […]

Thug

In the cabinet in M-Shed dedicated to the Reform Act uprising of 1831 are displayed two objects roughly tubular and of similar length that represent the extent of the uprising and the brutality with which it was put down. One is an arm bone that belonged to one of those who died when the Customs House in Queens Square was liberated and then torched. Peter MacDonald in his book ‘Hotheads and Heroes’ described the scene thus: just as the roof fell in a man toppled out of the end window and crashed […]