Everybody with an interest in the vernacular speech of the Bristol area is familiar with the so-called 'Bristol L'. It is the most widely-known and widely recognised feature of the city accent, and the one which distinguishes the city from rural Gloucestershire and Somerset. Richad Coates explores the history of the Bristol ‘L’, seeking to uncover just how long this conspicuous marker of a native Bristolian has been part of the local vernacular.
With the continuing redevelopment of large areas of central Bristol, many of our former industrial buildings vanished almost daily. In this article, Julian Lea-Jones gives an account of one such local industry, the Temple Back Alum works that closed in the 1980s. Alum (the common name for Aluminium Sulphate) is an essential but unnoticeable product widely used by many industries.
In this article, Geoff Mead illustrates the interesting overlap between old and new worlds that characterised the early nineteenth century through the story of Captain Christopher Claxton. His story exemplifies the dynamic tensions, changes and continuities of the period. His activities sometimes literally bridged old and new worlds. Yet this 'Age of Reform' also increasingly challenged his political and social perceptions. This interpretation of Claxton's long life and work in early steam navigation and in iron-bridge building illustrates well how at the cusp of technological advance changes in culture follow.
The Royal Bath & West Society, as it is now known, has its origin in a society founded in the City of Bath in 1777 'for the encouragement and improvement of agriculture, arts, manufactures and commerce'. The founder, Edmund Rack, was soon appointed Secretary and the 1inch pin of the group. He vigorously conducted a wide range of correspondence and guided a programme of field experiments and prizes and rewards for improvements in agriculture and related practices. In this essay, Owen Ward uncovers the story of one of the Society's more 'spirited' and ambitious plans.
The Reformation of English towns has provided an attractive field of research for scholars in recent decades, yet Bath’s Tudor experience has been persistently overlooked. In the late sixteenth century two events disturbed the religious and social equilibrium of the city: the attempted amalgamation of the inner-city parishes, and an inquisition into alleged concealed lands. These events had profound immediate and long-term social, political and religious repercussions. In this article, Emma Corker highlights the significance of these events, which have often been overlooked by those interested in Reformation history.
An epitaph may be defined as something written about the dead. Often epitaphs found on gravestones and memorials are wholly or in part some fitting quotation or poem which, from the perspective of the bereaved, seems to befit the departed. In this article, Michael Weller explores the provenance of those epitaphs found on gravestones of south west England, and the very different form of writing found on memorial plaques and the like
The ecclesiastical legislation of the early 1640s is justly famous. In the space of a few short years the ancient apparatus of the episcopal Church was replaced with a Presbyterian equivalent. Bishops were removed from the Lords, whilst the Book of Common Prayer was replaced with the Directory for Public Worship. Having abolished the episcopal hierarchy, the parliamentarian state was left in possession of land, tithes and impropriate rectories across the country. Following the execution of the king in 1649, the new Republic appointed trustees to carry out a survey of the state of the church. In this article, Alex Craven provides an insight into the local parish and the relationship between the Church and State through the evidence of the Church survey.
George Donisthorpe was the resident magistrate of the town of Somerton in Somerset. In 1796 he was tried for 'wilful neglect of his duty as a magistrate' in refusing to assist in quelling a riot and 'with having rather encouraged it.' The public prosecution of a Justice of the Peace was a rare occurrence. Traditionally, the local magistrate was represented as a paternal figure 'guiding the conduct' and ensuring the wellbeing of the deferential poor. Their wealth and status placed them beyond reproach. In this article, Rose Wallis illustrates the increasingly precarious position of magistrates in the period, as their discretionary powers and paternal authority were eroded by the centralisation of government control.
In 2007, local author John Payne published his own account of 'the rise and fall of a Bath company', a personal history of the city's engineering firm, Stothert and Pitt. We reviewed the book in RH18 and invited John to reflect upon the process of writing 'industrial history' or 'business history' as 'community history'. For, as he suggests here, there would seem a world of difference between most academic accounts of commercial change, and the sort of approaches taken to the subject by people for whom working for the firm had been formative. What is the relative value, he wonders, of personal histories of the workplace?