The spring and summer of 1981 saw one of the most widespread and intense periods of 'widespread urban disturbance' in England in the 20th century. During the week of 6-13th July 1981 patterns of the disturbance diffusion emerge suggesting that major 'riots' in inner city areas of mixed ethnicity created numerous further incidents in other ethnically homogeneous districts, sometimes considerably distant from the original 'flash-point'. Ball investigates two examples two examples of Bristol-based unrest which shook the South-West.
In the spring of 1801, the county of Somerset was convulsed by some of the most severe and sustained food rioting ever experienced in the southwest region. Against a background of wildly spiralling prices in every basic commodity, large crowds toured the county’s mills,markets, baker's shops and farms demanding cheaper bread and forcing fair-price agreements on both producers and local magistrates. Steve Poole introduces a 200 year old letter recording tumultuous events in a small West Somerset village.