Mike Baker – an Easton legend. By Roger

Bristol Radical History Group

Mike with the Eastville Workhouse plaque

It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Mike Baker on 12th March 2020 at the BRI.

I first met Mike Baker around twenty years ago when he was leading a local history walk around Easton with fellow historian Jim McNeil. Mike and Jim were leading members of the excellent local history group Living Easton and they had been asked to host a group of young German trade unionists who were visiting the Easton Cowboys and Girls Sports Club. Afterwards in The Plough, the Cowboys HQ, Mike explained that one of Living Easton‘s projects was the Time Signs Trail, a series of colourful, contoured aluminium plaques that highlighted ‘famous’ people from Easton. Though, as Mike said, this was ‘history from below’, a history of local people “who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths”. The Time Signs Trail plaques dotted around Easton, included John Wall the founder of the cooperative movement in Bristol, the Trade Union leader Ben Tillett and the opera singer Ruby Helder. Mike Baker was the researcher, designer and creator of all of these amazing plaques and many more, which in my and many other people’s opinions were far more eye-catching and interesting than the somewhat bland and limited ‘official’ blue plaques.

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