Deliberately Maintaining the Silence on Slavery History

Calls for ‘an international memorial to the victims of enslavement’[1] sound reasonable, but my own experience this year uncovered a strong tendency to keep slavery history hidden. I was ambivalent last year when Colston was toppled. Of course, black lives matter, but so does history. I was apprehensive about other groups damaging historical objects. The protest, however, set me thinking, recognising my limited understanding, and eventually investigating slavery issues. Last year, I began to […]

Christmas Webinar 3: God’s Beautiful Sunshine – The 1921 Miners’ Lockout in the Forest of Dean

Miscellaneous Events 2020
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, a 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 […]

The Forest of Dean Miners’ Riot of 1831

Forest Of Dean Miners' Strike 1831 Front Cover
  The Forest of Dean uprising of 1831 received scant attention from historians before 1975 when Chris Fisher started researching the subject as part of his MA in history studies at the University of Warwick. His MA dissertation was the first thorough study of the riot and is up to now unpublished. BRHG decided to publish it in its original form as we believe that it provides an alternative and critical insight into the events surrounding 1831. Fisher argues that the Forest of Dean Riot of […]

The Forest of Dean Miners’ Riot of 1831

Forest Of Dean Miners' Strike 1831 Front Cover
In June 1831, the free miners and commoners of the Forest of Dean rioted. This book considers the background to the uprising and the motives of the participants. Chris Fisher contends that the uprising was a clear expression of considerable and justifiable resentment towards the state and capitalists as they encroached on the customary rights of free miners. The Forest of Dean Miners’ Riot of 1831 places the events in the context of a social and economic transformation which favoured private […]

As Sylvie Was Walking

This story starts in the Forest of Dean with a riot and song and ends with an account of the struggle for the human rights of the visually impaired in Australia. The folk song As Sylvie Was Walking, made famous by Pentangle in 1969, has been traced to Ann Howell who was born in October 1832 at Broadwell Lane End, Forest of Dean, where she learnt it from her uncle. The Pentangle version, which can be viewed on YouTube, is called Once I had a Sweetheart and leaves out the first three verses. The […]

Pity the Poor Buttyman

The Butty System in the Forest of Dean 1921-1938

Recent years have seen the growth of sub-contracting, piece work, self-employment, daywork, zero-hour contracts, minimum wages and the use of agencies in the never-ending attempt by capital to reduce the cost of labour. This is an account of the use of sub-contracting in the mining industry in the Forest of Dean 1922 – 1938. It examines the impacts of the system on workforce cohesion and solidarity as well as the extent to which it succeeded in increasing the rate of exploitation of the […]

God’s Beautiful Sunshine

The 1921 Miners’ Lockout in the Forest of Dean

Front cover with a photo of striking miners and their families enjoying a picnic
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 […]

Conscientious Objector Stories From Around England 2

Kent, Mid-Staffs, Forest of Dean

‘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 […]

Opposition to Conscription in Wales and Ireland

'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 […]

Performance Space: Story Telling: ‘The Dispossessed’

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light
  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.