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.
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.
"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".
"The Severn Vale salt marshes attracted our Prehistoric ancestors because of the wealth of food - especially fish and wildfowl. Regular flooding prevented permanent settlement but left silt behind which enriched the soil... Sue explores a wide range of records kept by church and state to piece together the lives of Redwick's medieval inhabitants".
"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.
"While popular memory associates the summer of 1940 with debonair young men in Spitfires duelling the Luftwaffe in the sky, there was frantic building activity going on below in preparation for the expected German invasion. Eugene Byrne looks at some of the defence works made in anticipation of the ground war in the west of England".
'In this paper Weller demonstrates that, chiefly with "examples from the parishes in and around Bristol and Somerset, that the older church buildings we see today, whilst for the most part still possessing a Medieval structural core, have undergone varying degrees of transformation, sometimes including partial or occasionally total demolition, during the Victorian Age"'.
"During the Second World War a handful of local fascists or former fascists were detained in the Bristol area as potential security threats. Others were prosecuted for apparently expressing pro-German sympathies and even trying to sabotage the war effort. Eugene Byrne looks at some of these cases".
"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".