A tale of two closures: testing the limits of open access, 1879-2020

The coronavirus pandemic exposed many underlying fault-lines in society. One was that between different generations, surfacing most prominently in disputes about mass gatherings and the right to use public spaces. But what happened at Abbots Pool in rural North Somerset was part of a deeper history of contested access.

Remembering Philip Ollerenshaw (1953-2020)

Phil Ollerenshaw

By Kent Fedorowich Phil joined the History staff at what was then Bristol Polytechnic from Ulster Polytechnic in January 1986.  On arrival in Bristol, Phil and his wife, Hilary, settled in Downend and began to raise a family blessed by two daughters, Jennifer and Linda. Educated at Leeds University, the London School of Economics and… Continue reading Remembering Philip Ollerenshaw (1953-2020)

Raingard Esser remembers Phil Ollerenshaw

I remember Phil as a great colleague with a great sense of humour, as an academic teacher, for whom the care and nurturing of students stood at the heart of his work, and as a dedicated researcher, who took his profound scholarship lightly. I remember very well two scenes capturing these characteristics. The first centres… Continue reading Raingard Esser remembers Phil Ollerenshaw

Nick Conway pays tribute to Phil Ollerenshaw

Phil was one of my PhD supervisors from 2012-2018. The first time I met Phil was in 2012 at my initial interview during the application process for my PhD. His enthusiasm and friendly nature were immediately evident and helped to make what had been a terrifying prospect into a thoroughly pleasant and productive experience. Needless… Continue reading Nick Conway pays tribute to Phil Ollerenshaw

‘A long career of brutality to the poor’: Popular resistance to the Vaccination Acts in the nineteenth century South West

satirical scene poor patients receive the cowpox vaccine and develop bovine features
James Gillray 'The Cow-Pock or the Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation 1802 (c) Trustees of the British Museum

At Stroud in 1897, protesting crowds congregated outside the market hall for three days in an attempt to prevent a public auction of household effects, seized by the authorities in a ‘distraint sale’. These were the belongings of a local family who had refused to let their children be vaccinated against Smallpox as the law required. Distraint sales like this had increasingly become an arena for protest and carnivalesque displays of public outrage and the Stroud riot was no exception. The crowd set fire to heather bushes, acted out pantomimic scenes in fancy dress, and pelted eggs at police constables and auctioneers. They overwhelmed the local police force, as well as the police who had been sent in from neighbouring towns and cities. But why would anybody riot against a vaccination programme set up to combat Smallpox? In this article, Holly John investigates a nineteenth century medical controversy and discovers that despite being the home of Dr Edward Jenner, the ‘Father of immunisation’, the south-west of England was also once home to a fervent anti-vaccination movement.

William Jewell: the Free Tank hero

In May 1907, a reporter from the Bristol Evening News ventured into the industrial streets of St Phillips, made his way along Cheese Lane, past the Phoenix Glass Bottle Works, and knocked at the door of a small terraced house in Avon Lane at the back of Avon Street. This was home to Elizabeth Jewell, whose husband had died in 1889, leaving her to care for their seven children as best she could. The city’s newspapers didn’t often go looking for uplifting stories in working class districts like this, but the house was quickly becoming famous as the home of a local hero, and the Evening News was keen to be first with an interview.

The Canadians in Devon

In the autumn of 2018, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter will host several exhibitions to commemorate the Armistice which was signed on 11 November 1918. Working in partnership with Southwest Heritage Trust, Exeter City Council, the Regional History Centre (UWE), the First World War Engagement Centre at the University of Hertfordshire, and RAMM, Dr Kent Fedorowich (UWE) has, since 2016, been part of the steering committee that has been focussing its efforts on one of the exhibitions entitled, ‘The Canadians in Devon, 1914-1919’.

Re-interrogating the Idyll: Slavery and Country Houses in Gloucestershire

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.