"Wealthy Bristolians have always escaped the pressures of city life for the peace of rural South Gloucestershire. Country estates frequently changed hands as fortunes were made and lost and fashionable mansions were built with the profits of trade, including the Slave Trade. Sarah Hands has traced the story of Over Court from its medieval origins".
"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".
"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".
This article is about how Bristol's involvement in each of the World Wars affected the atmosphere in the city, especially as a port city it played a key role in proceedings with supply transportation. Furthermore, Byrne emphasises the effect that the German U-Boats had, providing an invisible enemy to be wary of whilst the city played its part in bolstering the war effort.
"When discussing the Irish in twentieth century Britain, one could be forgiven for thinking first of the ‘Irish Navvy’, building workers who were as notorious for their alleged drunkenness as for their prevalence on construction sites in post-war Britain... This article will focus on the Irish nursing staff employed at Glenside Hospital, Bristol’s psychiatric hospital from the end of the First World War. This is predominantly based on staff records from the hospital, which were often very detailed and included next of kin, as well as nationality, length of employment, religious affiliation and general comments from the matron on the suitability of the individual for nursing".
"Three civil defence exercises covering Bristol – in 1939, the 1950s and 1960s – not only have an eerie fascination for their word-pictures of a city plunged into imaginary wars; the written scenarios also throw light on what concerned the scenario writers. As the likely damage in war became more than the authorities could handle, so the planners’ responses took a sinisterly authoritarian turn"
"In 1644 a visitor to Bath wrote ‘the public ways of the city were become like so many dunghills’. As both the popularity of Bath and the population itself increased, less land became available for the disposal of waste in communal middens or cesspits and households resorted to disposing of their sewage into the street. The City’s runnels and ditches were little more than open sewers, awash with household, and in particular, human waste. Whose job was it to clean up the mess? Kay Ross explores the world of the Nightsoil Collector".
"One of the things that every civic-minded Bristolian ‘knows’ is that at some point in the 1960s or 70s the City Council planned to cover over or fill in the Floating Harbour". Eugene Byrne sheds light on the effort to save such an important part of the historical landscape in Bristol.
"This article is intended as an exercise in‘reflective practice’ rather than a piece of academic writing. It describes an innovative and successful oral history project at Frome in Somerset, which resulted in the publication of a book called Working Memories, reviewed elsewhere in this edition of Regional Historian.The article covers the background to the project;the choice of sample of 90 people interviewed;the collection of photos and memorabilia; the editing of the interviews; how oral history relates to other forms of history; and some substantive and methodological conclusions that might be drawn from the project".
During the summer of 1946, thousands of British families took the law into their own hands to temporarily solve their housing problems by "requisitioning" empty military camps. Eugene Byrne takes a look at the mass-squatting movement that swept the city and surrounding area, which took up almost all of the country's vacant military sites in two weeks from its ignition.