Bristol – Hot spot of resistance to World War One

An excellent new book Communities of Resistance has just been published which takes a systematic look at the networks of war resisters connected to conscientious objectors in World War One. Based upon a nationwide survey of COs it appears Bristol was a hot spot of war resistance as the author, Cyril Pearce, explains: The work which has resulted in this new book, Communities of Resistance, began almost twenty years ago in a study of the 1914-1918 anti-war movement in Cyril Pearce's home town of […]

Age of Adversity

Life in the Times of the Black Death in the City of Bristol, England. 1348-1349, and Beyond

‘Alas when our relatives and neighbours came to welcome us, whole we were embracing them and in the midst of our kisses, we, who carried the arrows of death were constrained to give them the poison, so that when they returned home, soon whole families were infected and in less than three days succumbed to the attacks’. Although there appears to be very few primary sources recounting the consequences and changes inflicted upon the population of Bristol during the era of the Black Death a few rare […]

An Alternative History of Westbury-on-Trym Workhouse

Gilbert’s Act of 1782. ‘An act for the better relief and employment of the poor’

In November, 2019 Louise Ryland-Epton gave an engaging talk entitled ‘By Pity and by Terror? A Contrary View of Workhouses’ at the M Shed, Bristol as part of the UWE Regional History Centre series of talks. As I had read and examined reports on shocking victimisation, neglect, exploitation and dehumanising treatment of later workhouse inmates I was intrigued to hear about an alternative, pre 1834 Poor Law Act, workhouse erected in Westbury-on-Trym. We are all familiar with the many indignant […]

Antifa Benefit and BRHG Pamphlet Launch: Facing up to the Fascists

miscellaneous events 2019
This Saturday there’ll be post-election fun and games with a serious edge at this event – a fundraiser for Bristol Antifascists and the launch of a new BRHG pamphlet plus a seasonal knees-up – all in one night. It’s on Saturday 14th December, from 7.30pm, £3 suggested donation on the door, at The Plough, 223 Easton Road, Bristol, BS5 0EG – see Bristol Antifascists website and the FB event. The Bristol Radical History Group are asking their followers/supporters to come along at 7.30pm for the […]

The REAL Black Friday

23rd December 1892

Glenside Museum, The Chapel, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD Bristol Radical History group author, researcher and co-founder Roger Ball talks us through the REAL ‘Black Friday’ i.e. not the end of November shopping spree but the strikes and protests of autumn 1892 in Bristol, starting with the ‘Sweet Girls’ dispute at the Redcliff Confectionery works. Come and listen to a tale of ‘thousands of working class Bristolians’ marching to the Horsefair with lanterns & […]

Strikes and riots

British servicemen in 1919

“We want out” - Bristol and the British armed forces strikes of January 1919 Roger Ball The massive wave of discontent which swept through the British armed forces at the end of World War One remains a hidden history, hardly mentioned by establishment historians or regimental records. Beginning first in France and Belgium in December 1918 and then crossing to mainland Britain the following month, strikes and protests spread rapidly through the Army, Navy and even into the Flying Corps. The […]

Burning Bristol: the 1831 ‘reform riot’

This talk is part of the above event at Cardiff Museum, The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1BH In 2006, The Guardian newspaper ran a series of articles in a search “for the most overlooked moment in British radical history”. The 1831 ‘Bristol riot’ featured in the top ten because of its historical obscurity, somewhat surprising considering the scale of the destruction and the human cost. The reason for this obscurity is related to the pathologized characterisation of the event as the […]

Bristol’s Nautical Women

Glenside Museum, The Chapel, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1DD An evening of nautical intrigue! ​Author Rosemary Caldicott will be telling us about her new book in which she investigated the intriguing, often tragic, histories of Bristol's nautical women (some who dressed as men to get to sea). Living in Bristol, we're all quite familiar with images of sailing ships - but the focus is usually on the men who built or worked on them. Rosemary wants to bring to life […]

Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone

By Melissa Chemam
Just finished Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone, courtesy of Tangent Books and Richard Jones. It's a detailed history of the band from the early eighties through to 2018 by French journalist, Melissa Chemam. The first half of the book, especially, really flies. The formation of the band in the eighties as the hard partying Wild Bunch sound system, cooking-up hip-hop, dub and soul in the punk-noir atmosphere of an eerily dark and violent inner city Bristol, the subsequent drift and collapse […]

History walk – ‘Canting Humbugs’: Resistance and reaction in Bristol during World War One

This 1.5 hour history walk led by members of the Remembering the Real World War One history group explores resistance to the conflict in Bristol. From mass meetings of trade unionists opposing intervention in the war, to the struggles against conscription and the role of Conscientious Objectors this walk uncovers hidden histories and dispels some myths along the way. It also considers the divisions that arose amongst comrades in the labour movement, Socialists, Christians and those fighting for […]