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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Bristol Radical History Festival on Sunday 17th September at the MSHED (day after the anarchist bookfair)

Bristol Radical History and the Remembering the Real World War One groups are teaming up to bring you the Bristol Radical History Festival on Sunday 17th September (10.30am – 4.30pm) at M Shed.

Bristol Radical History Festival brings together historians, history groups, publishers and the public for a day of talks, walks, puppet shows and readings, films, bookstalls and displays uncovering radical histories in Bristol, the South West and beyond.

From mutinous Bristolian soldiers to rebellious anarchist women, from Bristol’s underground networks of war resistors to its rioters of 1831 we promise a ‘history-from-below’ approach, with speakers and performers eager to share authentic glimpses of a hitherto undocumented past.

Two important anniversaries are also being celebrated at the Radical History Festival. It is 800 years since the Charter of the Forest was signed granting rights, privileges and protections for the commoner, something which has been central to recent and past struggles to protect the nearby Forest of Dean. It is also 50 years since the ground-breaking History Workshop project was founded, aimed at breaking down barriers between universities and local historians and researching working class ‘history from below’.

A series of history talks are taking place in Studio 1 and 2 on Level 1 from 10.30am – 4.30pm.

Puppet shows, films and readings are taking place in the Gallery on Level 1 from 10.30am – 4.30pm.

History walks will be starting and ending at M Shed at 11.00am and 4.30pm.

Twenty five bookstalls and displays are situated on Levels 1 and 2.

Radical History Festival Programme

Note: events will be added to this list and there may be changes of times.