During World War One a significant minority of women and men throughout the country took part in a peace movement. They demanded the democratic control of foreign policy, a negotiated peace and a just, non-punitive settlement at the end of the conflict. They also joined with the wider labour movement to oppose conscription. The nature of the anti-war movement, its leadership and the alliances made varied from city to city. In Bristol it was socialists of the Independent Labour Party who provided […]
Bread or Batons? The Old Market 'Riots' of February 1932 Since the 'Wall Street Crash' of 1929 joblessness in Bristol had risen to unprecedented levels; by February 1932 the situation was critical with whole districts blighted by the effects of mass unemployment. Jobless Bristolians rallied round the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement (NUWM), the main organisation opposing mass unemployment and Government 'means test'. The NUWM responded to the proposed austerity measures by organising a […]
Meet at Gardiner Haskins Car Park (near Old Market), New Thomas Street, BS2 0JP As a belated launch for three new pamphlets released by BRHG in 2012-13 (The Bristol Strike Wave of 1889-1890 Socialists, New Unionists and New Women - Part 1: Days of Hope, Part 2: Days of Doubt and The Origins and an Account of Black Friday - 23rd December 1892) authors Mike Richardson and Roger Ball will navigate us through one of the most intense periods of class struggle in Bristol in the late 19th Century. In […]
On Tuesday 23rd February an estimated 3,000 to 15,000 protesters from the National Unemployed Workers' Movement (NUWM) march to protest about a cut in unemployment benefits. The police had banned the march but the NUWM were not deterred. The peaceful procession followed a winding route but ended up on Old Market Street where they were faced by a double row of police with batons drawn and backed up by mounted officers at the junction with Castle Street. The marchers were unaware that the Chief […]
Meet at 2pm at Hydra Books for a History Walk through the streets of Old Market and Central Bristol, where Bristol Radical History Group members will recount the stories associated with the various scenes on route.
February 23rd 1932 was the scene of a confrontation between the National Unemployed Workers’ Movement and the police. To mark the 80th anniversary, historians Roger Ball and Dave Backwith will consider the impact of the events of that day and the wider context of the struggles of the unemployed during the great depression. Dave backwith is a researcher of Bristol’s working class history in the inter war years particularly 1919 and the unemployed workers movement in the 1930's. He is a family and […]
Revolt of the Unemployed : Bread or Batons in Bristol c. 1932. As unemployment topped 3 million and the Labour government collapsed, benefit cuts and the means test sparked unrest across the country. In 1932 Bristol was briefly at the forefront of the protests which rocked the country. The mass demonstrations met brutal repression including police ambushes and the arrest of key activists. This will discuss the character of the movement, tracing its roots back to the ex-servicemen's protests of […]
The banking crisis of 2008 and the following deep recession experienced by the world economy have led to mass unemployment and poverty in the U.K. Massive public sector cuts along with huge financial bonuses for the wealthy have exacerbated the systemic divisions between ‘rich and poor’ which lie at the heart of the neo-liberal economy. For many commentators the spectre of economic depression has raised its ugly head once again. It thus seems apt to look back at Bristol in the period of the last […]