‘It is past the art of man to find us out’: anti-Catholicism and the ‘Bristol Firemen’ in 1730

‘Shortly after midnight on 3rd October 1730, a series of brilliant 'fire balls' or hand-made grenades were seen arching through the air on St Augustine's Back, Bristol, and over the back wall of George Packer's large and opulent mansion house. There was 'a noise like the report of several guns', followed by quickly spreading flames. Within minutes, the merchant's home was ablaze, his household in full flight, and it was only a favourable wind that prevented the flames spreading to nearby warehouses and the dense flotilla of wooden ships crowding the adjacent quay.’ In this article, Steve Poole uncovers a story of organised extortion by arson at Bristol, and the ethnic and religious prejudices which it exposed.

‘Race War’: Black American GIs in Bristol and Gloucestershire During World War II

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.

Documents in Focus: The Stogursey Rising of 1801

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.

Suffragette Photographs

As a small provincial city Bath is not the sort of place that historians would expect to find militant suffrage activity. And yet the city had a thriving branch of the militant group, the Women’s Social and Political Union. June Hannam looks at photographs of some of its integral members, and provides context relating to their activities and contribution to the cause.

The Local Hero

As we entered the new Millennium, historians reflected on the main events which shaped our lives. One of these achievements has been that women in Britain obtained the vote. Many books have been written and various debates undertaken regarding Emmeline Pankhurst's suffrage movement, the W omen's Social and Political Union (WSPU). However, there were many women who fought for this cause who have had little or no acknowledgement over the years. Pearl Jebb writes a short piece as a tribute to a Suffragette who seems to have been forgotten.