SWINE

Not far from Queen’s Square stands the statue of Edmund Burke. Had he lived to witness the 1831 Reform Act uprising and a protestor astride the statue of one of his beloved royals all his anti-democratic bile that led him to write his Reflections on the Revolution in France would have been reinforced. It was in that book that he wrote: Along with the natural protectors and guardians, learning will be cast into the mire and trodden down under the hoofs of a swinish multitude Now as the Saint-Just […]

‘To persecute a man for opinion is become so fashionable’: surveillance and the suppression of radical politics in Bristol, 1792-1820

How did Bristolians respond to the democratic ideas unleashed by the French Revolution? This talk rejects the conventional view that the city’s labouring classes were uninterested in progressive politics and argues on the contrary that the relatively low profile of radical organisations reflects not indifference but the determination of the local authorities to keep them under surveillance and obstruct them. From the founding of the Constitutional Society in 1792 to the mass outdoor meetings […]

The guillotine, knitting and terror…

So you think you know about the French Revolution?

A demonstration of the ‘humane’ guillotine
Introduction The last few years I have been playing word association games; asking people at work and at the pub to say the first thing that comes into their head about a particular historical event or figure. So typically the English Civil War carries mental images of 'laughing cavaliers', 'miserable roundheads' and blood-thirsty executions of kings, World War I produces 'mud, blood and barbed wire' and recently, PC Blakelock elicits 'brutal mob violence'. Of course some people and events […]