Lady Blackshirts

The Perils of Perception – suffragettes who became fascists

Lady Blackshirts Front Cover
During the 1930s a small group of ultra-nationalistic women, who considered themselves feminists, joined Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. Surprisingly some of these women were former high ranking members of the suffragette movement. Over 50 regional branches of the British Union of Fascists, with Women’s Sections, opened across the United Kingdom. The branches were established to promote and normalise the ultra-right and to position fascism as an acceptable political choice within […]

The Smoke-Dragon and How to Destroy it

Published with an introduction by Stephen E. Hunt

Smoke Dragon front cover
Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was one of the most progressive thinkers, writers and activists of the late19th and early 20th century. He was an early supporter of the Bristol Socialist Society and paid regular visits to the city. Now remembered and celebrated mostly for his support for libertarian socialism and gay politics, he also took up ‘green’ causes. Carpenter’s campaigns for smoke abatement have rarely been revisited. His serialised essay on the subject, The Smoke-Dragon and How to Destroy […]

The Maltreated and the Malcontents

Working in the Great Western Cotton Factory 1838-1914

The Maltreated and the Malcontents front cover
The history of Bristol’s Great Western Cotton Works in Barton Hill, which opened in 1838, is little known. The story of its workforce — mainly low-paid women and children — has never been told. From the 1830s to the early twentieth century, Barton Hill workers endured long working hours, high rates of industrial accidents and ill-health from the cotton dust and humidity. Moreover, they were subjected to wage cuts and fines by a series of unrelenting managers. Divided along age and gender lines […]

Slaughter No Remedy

The life and times of Walter Ayles, Bristol Conscientious Objector

Walter Ayles Front Cover
Walter Ayles was a fighter – but a fighter who didn’t believe in killing. He fought against unemployment and ruthless employers but also against the pro-war fever that led to the First World War. A Bristol councillor before the War, he was sent to prison for his opposition to it. Soon after his release, he was elected the MP for Bristol North. This pamphlet outlines the life and times of a man who fought for socialism and peace.

The Life and Death of Hannah Wiltshire

A Case Study of Bedminster Union Workhouse and Victorian Social Attitudes on Epilepsy

HAnnah Wiltshire Front Cover
During the year of 1855 rumours of murder and cover up were circulating in the small north Somerset village of Walton-in-Gordano. An epileptic destitute country girl had died in the local institution known as the Bedminster Union Workhouse. Her death caused public outrage after letters were written to the local newspapers. The Board of Guardians were suspected of concealing the true magnitude of neglect at the workhouse, leading to accusations of medical negligence. In this pamphlet, Victorian […]

100 Fishponds Rd.

Life and Death in a Victorian Workhouse

100 Fishponds Road Front Cover of 3rd Edition
In 2012, radical historians poring over old maps of east Bristol discovered a disused burial ground at Rosemary Green, close to the site of Eastville Workhouse. Over the following years, a team of local researchers revealed that in the nineteenth century more than 4,000 men, women and children from the workhouse had been interred in unmarked graves. Built in 1847 as a result of the New Poor Law, Eastville Workhouse was the largest in the Bristol area housing over a thousand inmates. 100 […]

The Bristol Deserter

Alfred Jefferies And The Great War

#32 The Bristol Deserter Front Cover
The years leading up to 1914 saw a wave of strike action across Britain; at the same time there were fears of war with Germany whipped up by the press and in popular culture. Some like Bristol’s Trade Union Leader Ernest Bevin argued that workers’ interests were the same worldwide and that war would be disastrous. Nevertheless, when war broke out, patriotism won out over international brotherhood. Thousands of workers were persuaded to sign up to Kitchener’s army, including hundreds who worked […]

Bristol Independent Labour Party

Men, Women and the Opposition to War

#31 Bristol ILP Front Cover
During World War One a significant minority of women and men throughout the country took part in a peace movement. They demanded the democratic control of foreign policy, a negotiated peace and a just, non-punitive settlement at the end of the conflict. They also joined with the wider labour movement to oppose conscription. The nature of the anti-war movement, its leadership and the alliances made varied from city to city. In Bristol it was socialists of the Independent Labour Party who provided […]

Poaching in the South West

The Berkeley Case

Poaching in the South West
Poaching is known in some quarters as the 2nd oldest profession. It's defined as the taking of wild animals without the landowner's consent but therein lies a significant problem: how can a landowner own an animal which happens to be present on his land? The Bible states that God provided a commonwealth for all, but landowners feel they have inherited rights, passed down through generations, giving them alone the privilege to hunt game. This was the central argument during the 17th, 18th and […]

Coal On One Hand, Men On The Other

The Forest of Dean Miners’ Association and the First World War 1910 - 1922

Coal on One Hand Men on the Other Front Cover
Coal on the one hand, Men on the other examines the impact of World War One on the development of the Forest of Dean Miners’ Association (FDMA), covering the period from 1910 to 1922. In order to understand the response of the leaders of the FDMA to the outbreak of war, this account identifies debates and conflicts within the union in the pre-war years. It also considers the influence that political philosophies and events in South Wales had in the Forest of Dean as a result of migration between […]