In 1921, in response to a severe depression in the coal trade, colliery owners, supported by the government, slashed labour costs. Refusing to accept this cut in wages, a million British miners, including many war veterans, were locked out of their pits. The consequences for the 6,000 Forest of Dean miners, their families and the whole community, was brutal. However, the miners fought a determined battle for an alternative which included public ownership of the mines with decent pay and […]
‘Degrees of Conscience’ (Catharina Clement) The story of three tribunals, Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham in North Kent, and how they treated their conscientious objectors. Rochester, despite its Conservative and ex-military mayor, was very tolerant of the conscientious objectors and granted most of them exemption. Chatham and Gillingham on the other hand had Liberal mayors, but were much harsher towards their conscientious objectors. This talk will discuss why there was this huge difference […]
'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity' Joe Mooney of East Wall History Group, Dublin explains how Irish Nationalists responded to the Great War. His talk will outline the difficulties of the 'Irish question', the movement towards Home Rule and the rise of armed bodies in 1913/1914. How did these conflicting groups react to the outbreak of war and the possibility of conscription - and why did some Nationalist support the war effort while others opposed it? Some saw the Irish rebellion of […]
As part of her collection of historically-based narratives which provoke questions about society today, Heather Jane will present a story set in her homeland of Gloucestershire. 'The Dispossessed' is a tale weaving poaching, 18th century criminality, and dispossession of people from the land in Berkeley and the Forest of Dean; followed by historical facts and discussion pondering the modern-day fall out of enclosures.
In August 1917 a meeting of Forest of Dean Miners passed motions against the conscription of miners and in favour of an immediate negotiated peace to end the war. This talk will discuss the role agitators and conscientious objectors played in this process and what happened next. Ian Wright recently authored Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old: The Forest of Dean World War One Conscientious Objectors.
During World War One, 28 men from the Forest of Dean sought recognition as conscientious objectors rather than be called up to fight. This is the story of these men, the options available to them, the way they responded and what they did after the war. Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old explores the role that religion, class, culture and place had on these individual decisions. It argues that the actions of the conscientious objectors were an expression of a much wider anti-war sentiment, […]
The Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire - royal larder or people's larder? The Charter of the Forests, a lesser-known but wider-ranging companion to the Magna Carta, confirmed any "freemen" or commoners could help themselves to many of the resources of forests across England. Within 500 years, those subsisting in the woods were declared illegal squatters as aristocrats and the Crown tried to fence them out and grab all the iron ore, coal, timber and land. Successive waves of tenacious, described […]
Hopewell Colliery, Speech House Rd, Coleford, Forest of Dean GL16 7EL An afternoon celebrating 800 years (and counting) of the 1217 Forest Charter, and how Foresters have defended those rights ever since. Stalls, Berry Hill Silver Band, theatre, live music, Vorrest poetry, Warren James, HOOF, and much, much more! Book a car ticket here
When Thomas Davis and his wife Annis and their family from Pillowell in the Forest of Dean decided to emigrate to Canada in 1890 they could not have known that their choice would have tragic consequences or that their personal tragedy would be remembered in Canada to this day. One of their boys, Thomas, would be killed in one of the worst mining disasters in Canadian mining history and another, William, would be shot dead by the police in one of the most violent strikes in Canadian labour […]
Some of you might remember Rich Daniels and Robin Morgan, the Free Miners who led the tour of Hopewell Colliery on our Warren James day in the Forest of Dean several years ago. Robin started work at the age of fourteen and remembers being lowered down a pit shaft in a bucket on his first day of work. Now nearly eighty years old he has decided to retire! Rich has now taken over the lease of Hopewell Colliery. Rich is planning to develop the mine as a museum and heritage centre and is keen to […]