Arrowsmith and the ‘Bristol Revolution’ of 1831

Queen Square on the Night of 30th October 1831, 1831, W. J. Müller
I was fortunate enough to acquire, among a collection of books, both the 1884 and the considerably expanded 1906 edition of Arrowsmith’s Dictionary of Bristol, edited by Henry J. Spear and J. W. Arrowsmith. Concurrent with other research I have been conducting into the Bristol riots of 1831 I perused the entry in each edition and was struck by the volume of revisions. It should initially be noted that the account given in the 1906 edition is substantially longer. As such it is perhaps the detail […]

The 1831 Hammer Film

The night before the 1831 riots, hundreds of Sledge Hammers were 'borrowed' from the Acraman's Iron Foundry in Bathurst Basin (now Bristol General Hospital). These hammers were used during the riots to break down the doors of the four prisons in Bristol. The day after the riots, all but two of these hammers were returned. This fact, at the time, was used as evidence of prior planning by the "mob". The hammers were recreated for the Bristol Radical History Week 2006 exhibition by Jasper Johns at […]

The BRH Summer Party On Brandon Hill

Miscellaneous 2007
Reclaim the Hill!: A celebration of the radical history of Brandon Hill and Stop the College Green Dispersal Order. Despite the vagaries of the English summer of 2007, a small but feisty mob of radical historians, skate boarders and cider drinkers gathered on Brandon Hill in Clifton on August 19th. We were both celebrating the 175th anniversary of the invasion of the Great Reform Dinner and protesting against the dispersal order served on Bristol citizens this summer. What is the connection? […]

1831 Uprising Commermoration

Celebrate the popular revolt that shocked the British ruling classes into democratic reform. Join the 'mob' waving flaming brands and listen to fiery speeches as we remember the hundreds of Bristol rebels who changed the course of history. Dress : Bawdy Attitude : Raucous

Insurrectionary Bristol: 1831

Britain in 1831… a tinder box? The Reform Act and suffrage The events of October in Bristol The trials and punishments Was it chaos, protest or class war? The wider political implications Why we should commemorate 1831 Listent to this talk: Downlaod to this talk (1.5 Mb mp3 file)

1831 And All That …

This article was written for Mute Magazine. One of the objectives of Bristol Radical History week was to re-examine some of the momentous events of Bristol’s history that have been often dismissed by historians as ‘chaos’ or ‘inexplicable’. The process of this examination by academics, local historians and interested punters during the week exposed some of the key problems of historical analysis. Precision Strikes The three days of rioting that occurred in October 1831 in Bristol were certainly […]

The 1831 Uprising – Part 3: The Aftermath

BWHW 2006 Colour Poster - 1831
Taken from Bristol Past and Present by J. F. Nicholls and John Taylor, published in 1882 Major Beckwith, in his evidence, stated that the mayor and magistrates seemed stupefied with terror, and that he asked for one of them to accompany his troops on horseback; all but Alderman Camplin said they could not ride, and he said he had not been on horseback for eighteen years. The major then demanded and received a written authority from them to act. The following is a list of the leading members of […]

The 1831 Uprising – Part 2: The Uprising

The 1831 Uprising - Part 2: The Uprising Taken from Bristol Past and Present by J. F. Nicholls and John Taylor, published in 1882 On Saturday, October 29th, the civic force appointed as a guard for the recorder, marched out, about ten o'clock in the morning, by way of Bristol bridge and Temple street, as far as the city boundary at the “Blue Bowl” tavern, Totterdown, to await his coming. They mustered about 300, and included the sheriff's officers, regular constables, and special constables; the […]

The 1831 Uprising – Part1 : The Reform Bill

Sir Charles Wetherell
Taken from Bristol Past and Present by J. F. Nicholls and John Taylor, published in 1882 We now enter upon one of the most important eras in the modern history of our city. In 1831 the Bristol riots occurred in connection with the agitation for reform; Sir Charles Wetherell, the attorney-general under the Duke of Wellington's administration, was a vigorous opponent of the emancipation of the Roman Catholics; on the second reading of the Relief Bill he opposed it in a trenchant, vigorous speech, […]