To accompany his recent book, Shirehampton Sketches, Richard Coates has developed a detailed online bibliography of resources covering almost every aspect of the Shirehampton area - hosted by the Regional History Centre.
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.
The ‘Edwardians Family Life and Work Experience Before 1918’, Bristol People’s Oral History Project and the Somerset Oral History Archive, contain hundreds of interviews covering a wealth of memories and perspectives on everyday life in the early twentieth century. Harrison’s article uses these oral histories to investigate the perspectives of young people on growing up in rural South- West England, and perceived problems in rural communities. Additionally, the article evaluates the use of oral history as historical evidence for a study of rural life.
Welsh steam coal was in high demand among steamship companies in England. Well-connected train transport was essential to meet this demand, which consequently led to the construction of the Severn Tunnel. Thomas Andrew Walker oversaw the project and expanded the site at Sudbrook (1880-1886, Wales) into a village with basic provisions for the navvies. However, navvy villages in New Passage in Gloucestershire were tainted by disease and unsanitary living conditions. Mead’s article investigates the problems the navvy settlements faced and their impact on New Passage and Bristol.
"Elmington Manor Farm is the best-documented farm in the Lower Severn Vale Levels, which is why James Powell chose as his topic 'The Estate Management of Elmington Manor Farm and environs 1066-1950'". From sources in "public archives, planning departments, libraries and museums" Powell looks at the earliest records of the farm, and how it survived to be surveyed by the "Second World War Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries".
"A Forgotten Landscape is an exciting project designed to reconnect local people with their heritage in the Lower Severn Vale Levels. One strand of this Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Project is a community history project called Tales of the Vale". Bainbridge introduces the project, and how it interprets the landscape of the South West.
"The South West of England was prominent in the campaign to ban blood sports in the second half of the twentieth century. Both the Hunt Saboteurs Association and Save Our Stags, an organisation established to oppose deer hunting in Devon and Somerset, were both born in the region". Tichelar looks at the people behind the movement, and how it has shaped the areas approaches to wildlife and conservation.
"John Lyes considers the career of an overlooked Bristol lawyer and finds him to have been a feisty and prolific criminal justice campaigner... Walker was also a regular writer of letters to the local press". Walker protested injustices wherever he could, whether they happened to him or others he saw it as his duty to try and make changes to the system.
"The Powder House, sometimes referred to as The (Gun-)Powder Magazine, is a well-known landmark on the bank of the Avon in Shirehampton. A number of misunderstandings about its nature and history are in common circulation. In this article, using evidence which is in the public domain but not widely known,Richard Coates attempts to set the record straight".
"In the summer of 1826, the local and national press was thrilled by the story of the Wickwar Gang... Only days before, ‘in consequence of some suspicious circumstances’, an ‘old man by the name of Mills, his wife, and their 4 sons’ were taken into custody and ‘immediately after their apprehension... disclosed the history of the lawless community with which they had been connected'". Rose Wallis provides in an insight into crime and disorder in Gloucestershire in the early 19th Century.