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‘No Cure, no Pay, Boarding excepted’

‘Mason’s Madhouses’ in old Fishponds

Front cover shownig a head with a plan of the mad house projected onto it.
Long before the NHS, those who did not fit ‘the norm’ were consigned to workhouses or to private lunatic asylums. The latter provided a profitable business opportunity, as the wealthy were only too keen to offload family members whose behaviour was inconvenient. It was a system open to abuses that Daniel Defoe and others were keen to expose. In the Fishponds area of Bristol, one family lived off the proceeds for more than a century. The revealing tale of ‘Mason’s Madhouses’ explains what life […]

Talk – The Devastating Voyage of Captain Thomas Phillips, Welsh Slaver and his Enslaved Captives

Navigating the Legacy of Captain Thomas Phillips: Honouring the Enslaved, and rethinking the Memorial Plaque

transparent fiddle Not A BRHG Event
Rosemary Caldicott, a social history researcher and author will be our guest speaker on Friday 6th October at 2pm U.K. time, via zoom. She will be sharing insights from her upcoming book, shedding light on the often-overlooked aspects of history. Rosemary Caldicott is known for her dedication to uncovering hidden stories from the past. Her work brings a fresh perspective to the history of Captain Thomas Phillips and the Slave Ship Hannibal, exploring the complexities and challenges surrounding […]

150 Years of Struggle

A history of the Bristol Trades Union Council

History of Bristol Trades Council front cover showing trade union banner
1873-2023 In 1973, Bristol Trades Union Council marked its centenary year. Bob Whitfield and the late David Large wrote its history for the Bristol Historical Association and BBC Bristol screened 100 Years of Struggle, a film produced by the Council and directed by Colin Thomas. Now, in 2023, to celebrate the Trades Council’s 150th anniversary, Colin has brought the story up-to-date. This booklet incorporates the BHA pamphlet, extracts from the BBC film and an update on the last fifty years. […]

The 1831 Bristol reform riot – a view from the southbank

The three days of reform-related rioting in late October 1831 in Bristol were the most serious urban disturbance in the nineteenth century. Major institutions such as the Mansion and Custom Houses, the Bishop's Palace, three prisons, and numerous houses in Queen Square were destroyed by rioting crowds. This talk, based on a recent reassessement of the historical evidence, considers the view of events from south of the river; from the portentous skirmish at St Paul's church in Southville a week […]

Soup and Stories

Local people of all ages are invited to share their memories and stories of living in the BS3 area and beyond. A local artist will capture these memories “visually”. Have fun with crafts, some traditional games and enjoy homemade soup. Contact: Jackie Smith 07487 329854.

The Dean Lane Pit disaster of 1886 and its repercussions

  In September 1886, an explosion deep underground at the Dean Lane Colliery led to the deaths of 10 miners and life changing injuries to many others. Tony Dyer will explain the mistakes that led up to the disaster, how and why the explosion happened, the repercussions both for the miners and the local mining industry, and how it impacted safety regulations in the Bedminster mines immediately following the explosion. A descendent of Bedminster coalminers himself, Tony will look at how the […]

The rise and fall of Edward Colston – the real story

  In November 2014 the Bishop of Bristol, preaching to school students, claimed that ‘speculation’ about the ‘business roots’ of the city’s philanthropic icon, Edward Colston, was merely ‘speculation’. These incendiary words inspired complaints, protests and new historical research into Colston’s slave-trading activities and his role as a ‘City Father.’ They also led to the formation of the campaign group Countering Colston which challenged both the physical commemoration and […]

West Street Stories

Did you know that West Street was once the busiest high street in Bedminster? Or that there was a coalmine on the actual street, and the first ever Co-op shop in Bristol was started at number 88 by the miners? We'll be bringing the Facebook page 'West Street Stories' to life with a photo exhibition and printed memories, and inviting local people to pop in to add their stories to our collection. Organised by Way Out West, the West Street BS3 neighbourhood group: weststreetbs3@gmail.com

Trouble on the trams

In the summer of 1901 the Bristol Tramways Company sacked 90 employees who had recently joined the Gasworkers’ and General Labourers’ Union. Another 300 tramways employees went on strike in support of their dismissed fellow workers. This action by the Tramways Company was a direct challenge to the trade union movement in Bristol and beyond, and the wider labour movement rallied in support of the tramwaymen. The company threw all the resources they had into defeating the union and were ultimately […]

1873-2023: 150 years of struggle

transparent fiddle Not A BRHG Event
  Engine Shed, Station Approach, Temple Meads, Bristol, BS1 6QH Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Bristol Trades Union Council, Bristol Radical History Group will be launching 150 Years of Struggle, the history of the Council at the Engine Shed, Temple Meads. In 1973, Bristol Trades Union Council marked its centenary year. David Large and Bob Whitfield wrote its history for the Bristol Historical Association (BHA) and BBC Bristol screened 100 Years of Struggle, a film produced by the […]

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