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.
'If the maintenance of order on the streets of early nineteenth century Bristol was never a simple matter, the constantly shifting presence of large visiting communities of seafaring Europeans cannot have made it any easier. With inns, lodging houses, streets and quays frequently awash with colourfully vibrant but uncustomary sights and sounds, social tensions and conflicts between host and 'outlandish' communities were rarely far beneath the surface. Often the detail of these cultural tensions went unrecorded but, as Steve Poole shows here, papers from a coroners inquest kept at the Bristol Record Office, bring them vividly back to life'.