Walter Virgo and the Blakeney Gang

The struggle against enclosure in the Forest of Dean in the latter part of the nineteenth century

Walter Virgo and the Blakeney Gang Front
These are some of the headlines which started appearing in the Gloucester Citizen and Western Daily Press in the 1890s. This pamphlet will try and get behind the headlines and reveal what was really going on in the Blakeney area of the Forest of Dean at the time. THE BLAKENEY OUTRAGES “WORSE THAN IRELAND” - THE VICAR ASKS FOR EXCEPTIONAL LAW A REIGN OF TERROR - SPEECH BY MINERS AGENT ASSAULT ON THE POLICE IN BLAKENEY - THE RECENT OUTRAGES MORE LAWLESSNESS AT BLAKENEY - RESIDENTS ARMED ALLEGED […]

The Origins and an Account of Black Friday – 23rd December 1892

Black Friday Front Cover
Autumn 1892 in Bristol saw a violent class war between employers, strike-breaking labour and police on one side and strikers and their mass of working-class supporters on the other; picketing, mass marches and public meetings of thousands of ‘new’ industrial unionists were common. The strike-wave culminated in the use of military and police by the local state to break up a pre-Christmas parade which had been organised to collect money for strikers and their families. This event, which popularly […]

Pirates to Proletarians

The Experience of the Pilots and Watermen of Crockerne Pill in the Nineteenth Century

Pirates To Proletarians Front Cover
From the earliest days of recorded history river pilots have navigated ships through the dangerous waters of the Bristol Channel and up the river Avon, with its twisting bends, shifting sand banks and strong currents. In the early nineteenth century, Bristol was granted rights to compulsory pilotage over the whole of the Channel. The Society of Merchant Venturers managed and regulated licenced pilots on behalf of Bristol Corporation. However, pilots were self-employed and operated in competition […]

The Bristol Strike Wave of 1889-1890

Socialists, New Unionists and New Women - Part 2: Days of Doubt

Bristol Strike Wave Pt 1 Front Cover
Following on from part one, this pamphlet traces the period of industrial unrest in Bristol between January and August 1890. The lockout of boot and shoe workers that began in December 1889, and continued for the first few weeks of January 1890, provided the opportunity for combining the forces of skilled organised workers with the unskilled and unorganised, in the drive to improve working conditions. It also encouraged forms of social unionism, with links to the wider community. Employers […]

The Bristol Strike Wave of 1889-1890

Socialists, New Unionists and New Women - Part 1: Days of Hope

Bristol Strike Wave Pt 1 Front Cover
During 1889-1890, a strike wave swept across Britain hitting many major towns and cities. Bristol was not immune. The scale and intensity of industrial unrest in the city reached a level never experienced before. The city’s labour historian Samuel Bryher depicted Bristol at this time as ‘a seething centre of revolt’. This experience set in train a qualitative change in the organisation of workers; and salutary lessons emerged for consideration for those politically active in the newly formed […]

Ben Tillett

Ben Tillet Front Cover
This booklet concerns the life of a working-class Bristolian who, though tireless and outspoken in his early days in addressing the inequalities of society, nevertheless moved more and more towards a position of contempt for both the members of his own trade unions and the working people who voted for him as an MP. A study of Ben Tillett’s life contains, I think, lessons that will enable readers to deepen their understanding of the historical roots of ‘New Labour’ with its duplicity and […]

Bread Or Batons?

Unemployed Workers' Struggles in 1930s Bristol

Bread Or Batons? Font Cover
The banking crisis of 2008 and the following deep recession experienced by the world economy have led to mass unemployment and poverty in the U.K. Massive public sector cuts along with huge financial bonuses for the wealthy have exacerbated the systemic divisions between ‘rich and poor’ which lie at the heart of the neo-liberal economy. For many commentators the spectre of economic depression has raised its ugly head once again. It thus seems apt to look back at Bristol in the period of the last […]

The Life & Family of William Penn

260 Years of Bloody Colonial History

William Penn Front Cover
This booklet is a short analysis of the role of the Penn family and other early Quakers in the Transatlantic Slave Trade and European expansionism in the North Americas. As far as I am aware this story, the links between the different generations of the Penn family, has never before been told. It is pertinent to ask, “Why is this so?” The Penn family was at the heart of the English Revolution in the 17th Century and of every important event of British colonial expansionism from the colonisation […]

The Peculiar History Of The Sect Known As The Quakers

The Quakers Front Cover
Who were the Quakers? Why were they persecuted? Why did they stop being radical? How did some of Bristol’s Quakers become so rich? From James Naylor’s blasphemous ride down Corn Street to William Penn being given Pennsylvania and Abraham Darby laying the foundations of the Industrial Revolution. This is the first of two pamphlets by Jim McNeill exploring the history of the Quakers in Bristol.

Anglo-Saxon Democracy

Anglo-Saxon Democracy Front Cover
Contrary to popular belief, the end of Roman rule in Britain did not see ethnic cleansing and the genocide of the native "Celtic" population by invading Anglo- Saxons. Instead it saw the end of a period of imperialistic colonial rule and a return to a native tradition where justice and common land rights were maintained by the community for the community. As a result one of the most creative and prosperous societies in Europe was established. This native tradition was, however, to be fatally […]

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