In 1966, the collieries of the Somerset Coalfield were declared unprofitable and closed. The closure resulted in the loss of nearly four-hundred jobs and left a void in the community that had been built around the mining industry. The Radstock museum of the Somerset Coalfield created a Video Archive which took the form of a compilation of memories from the elderly Somerset mining community. Following its success, Tim Bateman makes a case for academic videos as a medium for presenting history. Bateman reimagines the potential for video history outside the parameters of television and film entertainment.
The end of Newgate saw the beginning of an arduous struggle between the Bristol Corporation and some of Bristol’s leading citizens. The episode draws attention to the inner workings of contemporary municipal government in Bristol and leaves us with more questions than answers about the nature of the Bristol Corporation. Treading the line between a public and a private organisation, the conduct of the Corporation paints a picture of out-dated paternalism, characterised by wealth, far-reaching influence and self-interest.
During World War II, American armed forces were stationed at Bristol and throughout the South-West. A considerable number of these soldiers were African American. During this period, the Jim Crow Laws were still being enforced in the southern states of America, and a strict policy of racial segregation was observed within the American military. The experience of African American soldiers was very different in the South-West of England to what it had been in the United States. This article offers a brief insight into contemporary race-relations and the differences between the policies of each nation regarding civil rights and military participation.
The Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office is home to a remarkably complete collection of invoices from two branches of the Pyke family of nineteenth century Wiltshire. This article highlights just how much information can be drawn from a simple source like a bill or a voucher. Through these sources, archivist Steven Hobbs provides a window not only into the household economy and estate expenditure of the two farms, but also into the local community. A full spectrum of local trades and skilled workers are revived in this short article, along with information about the kinds of products that were available in nineteenth century Wiltshire.
The country house, centrepiece of the heritage industry, is something which is sold to us as being quintessentially British. In the South-West and throughout England, these sites have welcomed visitors for decades to come and enjoy the elegance and grandeur of this heritage. In this article, Madge Dresser highlights the sanitisation of the histories that are presented by these stately homes. Drawing our attention to the complex web of links between aristocratic wealth and the Atlantic slave economy, Dresser seeks to persuade readers that unearthing these links is a worthwhile historical enterprise.
This article tells the extraordinary story of Robert Cadman and his renowned steeple-flying performances throughout the South-West of England. Remarkably, Cadman hadn’t been the only one. John Penny follows the stories of the original ‘daredevils’ who gathered huge crowds at their dangerous performances and even appeared in the work of William Hogarth. These shocking spectacles were studded with moments of both calamity and ingenious choreography.
'She was "the leading lady player of the world" and "known throughout the length and breadth of the land" in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The pinnacle of her career was winning the first international women's chess tournament in 1897, but she lived a life of genteel poverty and died almost forgotten. John Richards uncovers the extraordinary career of Mary Rudge and argues the case for a blue plaque to mark her achievements'.
'The burial fields around St Swithin's Church at the top of Walcot in Bath contain some pretty impressive mortal remains. There's Fanny Burney for instance, and Jane Austen's dad. And Sir Edward Berry, one of Nelson's captain's, a veteran of the Nile and Trafalgar. These three eminent visitors to Bath all have more in common than approximation in death however, for their monuments are also the subject of expensive recent face-lifts'.
'Admiral Keppel's trial for cowardice in 1779 made him one of the most talked-about naval figures of the age. The political ramifications of his recovery and reinstatement as a popular Whig hero are well-known; much less familiar however, is the enormous impact the affair had upon Georgian Bath. Trevor Fawcett probes the local angle'.