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

2nd Edition. Revised and substantially expanded. In 2012 some radical historians poring over old maps of East Bristol came across a disused burial ground at Rosemary Green close to the site of Eastville Workhouse at 100 Fishponds Rd. Over the following years a team of local researchers revealed that more than 4,000 men, women and children, inmates of the workhouse, were interred in unmarked graves in Rosemary Green from 1851-1895. This book is a summary of their research and a history of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Cock Road Gang

Cock Road was, in the 18th Century, a tiny hamlet on the outskirts of Bristol, within the lawless Kingswood Forest. Though a small area, the exploits of the inhabitants brought it to the attention of the authorities of Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset. It was claimed that a criminal gang, unmatched in notoriety, came from Cock Road. In reality, anyone committing a criminal act who lived in the forest was tarnished as a member of the gang. They were engaged in horse stealing, burglary, […]

Bristol and the Labour Unrest of 1910-14

Bristol and the Labour Unrest Front Cover
1910 saw a renewed outbreak of industrial strife as significant sections of the trade union rank-and-file began to express their frustration at the lack of progress made in their struggle for better working conditions and a new social order. Strikes reached levels not seen since the ‘new unionism’ upsurge of 1889-92. Worker unrest combined with clashes over Home Rule for Ireland and the militant tactics of suffrage campaigners added to the problems of the ruling class who, confronted by these […]

Bliss Tweed Mill Strike, 1913–14

Causes, Conduct and Consequences

Bliss Mill Front Cover
Eighteenth of December 2013 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the commencement of the Bliss Tweed Mill strike in Chipping Norton. The years 1910 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 witnessed an upsurge in strike activity in Great Britain and Ireland involving many thousands of workers. By the summer of 1914, strikes, in the coal, cotton, transport, metal, engineering, shipbuilding and building industries, were viewed by the government as a crisis of severe proportions. This […]

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