Bridport 1919: conflict and tensions in a small industrial town in West Dorset

Event from: Bristol Radical History Festival 2019 (Level 1, Studio 1)

At the start of World War One Bridport was essentially a one industry town: rope and net making. The war brought opportunities to the town but also challenged paternalist employers with a revival of trade unionism and state pressure to improve low wages. With the Armistice, the sense of a collective national interest on the home front began to ebb away revealing long-standing as well as new tensions in the town. This talk explores the origins of these tensions in the war years and the range of ways in which they were expressed in the town in 1919, including soldiers’ protests and industrial strikes as well as a range of new political organisations in the town. Bridport was hardly a ‘red’ town and even with the new electorate of 1918 continued to return a Tory to Parliament as it still does. Yet the winding down of the WW1 home front revealed fracture lines which would mark the community as it struggled to build the Peace in unpredictable and challenging times.

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RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2019

Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally 2019 Friday, 19th to Sunday, 21st July 2019. View map No stall this year, apparently they were “oversubscribed”. Nah we don’t either, more time to get drunk then.

On the plus side the IWW are back, with a new improved stall run by Dorset branch.

Wob kitchen will run from Friday evening to Sunday lunch, next to the Big Tent; you’ll hardly notice the difference. Wessex Solidarity will make some of our literature catalogue available on the day. We’ve lots of new stuff that isn’t in the reference library as we’re running out of storage space – it hasn’t been updated for years. Why not get in touch now if there’s a subject you’re particularly interested in.

Catering Cadre: Comrade Les, our Wob kitchen chef is offering free training on outside and event catering for Radical Workers and groups who want to feed their members, homeless or unemployed workers in a safe and cost-effective way. Topics including:

  • Basic Health safety and hygiene.
  • Basic budget and Menu planning.
  • Basic dietary requirements.
  • Basic safe use of LPG and Butane gas cookers.

Let us know if you’re interested or come and see us about it at the festival.

Safe Space Policy: “don’t be a dick”.

This year we ask Radical Workers to be especially kind to members of the Prison Officers Association, as they are ever so sensitive, and easily upset by loud noises and rude words.

Bloody hell it was hot! Tolpuddle R.W.B. 2018

Support Dorset Eye – Independent Citizen Media

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Dorset Eye is a vital resource for communities and activists, providing local, regional and international voices on a wide range of topics determined by the public. Since 2012 thousands of people have contributed news and analysis to a website that is unique in the UK, supporting local democracy, defending public services and keeping a close “Eye” on those with authority and influence.We aim provide an empowering democratic experience, so the website is run entirely by volunteers operating on a not-for-profit basis. The site is clean of corporate advertising: content is at the centre of the media experience. With growing costs and ambitious plans to become a model that can compete with the corporate media we need a significant increase in resources, especially through financial support.

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The Dorset Eye team

SYLVIA PANKHURST – Autonomy Film Show in Bridport Sunday 4th March

For several years Autonomy showed alternative films in Bridport on a monthly basis. We have come back together now because one of our group has been seriously ill triggering loss of earnings and expensive adaptations to his home for a wheelchair. This event is to raise funds to help with these costs.

Sacred trees in Bridport 13th February 2018

Kingfisher Victory!

Congratulations are due to the Kingfisher Mums and their supporters today, the CCG have finally capitulated.

Confounding  the many faces set against this campaign, including both of Oliver Letwin’s, with his ugly henchman Richard Grosvenor-Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax M.P., full consultant-led maternity and Paediatric services will be retained at Dorset County Hospital.

Full respect to the Mums who for three years now have maintained a relentless struggle in the teeth of abject treachery and deceit from local politicians and NHS officials, whilst bringing up their families and caring for some profoundly unwell and disabled children. We especially salute the tireless Naomi Patterson.

As history shall recall, Working Class women are a force to be reckoned with.

We didn’t even need to smash anything up, this time.

The NHS was built by the Working Class for the Working Class. Drugs and medical equipment are made by workers not capitalists. Cleaners, doctors, nurses, midwives, porters and technicians are workers. It belongs to us, it’s not a source of revenue for the socially useless. Keep your filthy grasping bourgeois hands off it!

To celebrate, here’s a song about vampires:

SOS NHS public meeting in Bridport Wednesday 8th February 2017.

nhs-flyer-poster-2017-3

Wednesday 8th February, 7pm for 7.30pm Bridport Town Hall.

FREE open public meeting about what is happening to the NHS in West Dorset

Speakers include:
WENDY SAVAGE  President of the national organization Keep Our NHS Public
JON ORRELL  GP and ex-member of the Clinical Commissioning Group
CLAUDIA SORIN  local NHS campaigner
NAOMI PATTERSON  founder member of the campaign to save the Kingfisher Ward
and Special Care Baby Unit at Dorchester Hospital

There will be Q & A when local residents will have the chance to share their experience and concerns. There will be copies of the Questionnaire issued by the Clinical Commissioning Group, to be completed within their ‘consultation’ period by the end of February.