The Shirehampton Powder House: exploding some myths

"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".

‘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.