A short History of Bristol

Here is our short History of Bristol

Uncover the hidden stories of World War One and a hidden History of Bristol

You may be surprised to read some of this. Or maybe you will not.

There is a great History of Bristol hidden in the news archives of the past century and much of it we are not aware of.

We know of the great maritime History of Bristol. There is plenty of evidence of the big part that Bristol has played in the naval History of Bristol today with the ships in the port of Bristol.

The Bristol area had one of the greatest numbers and greatest density of conscientious objectors in the country with nearly 580

Unknown History of Bristol

Conflict & Conscience’ is a free public event, being held on 27 and 28 April at M Shed and the SouthBank Club, featuring exhibitions, talks, performances, films, craft activities including print-making, a puppet show and walk, tours, workshops, music and song.

The festival is being organised by Professor Lois Bibbings from the University of Bristol, working with colleagues at the University of Hertfordshire and Bristol history group Remembering the Real WW1.

Around 20,000 men in Britain conscientiously objected to military service and they did so for political, moral and religious reasons. Some went into the military as non-combatants, some undertook civilian work of national importance or laboured at Home Office work camps, some went on the run and were chased by police and secret agents.

Some History of Bristol that you may never have read before

Bristol’s conscientious objectors, like others around the country, were supported by a network of people and organisations who, for various reasons, opposed the war. It’s a part of the History of Bristol that some historians may not even be aware of.

In Bristol, important stories include the work of organiser Mabel Tothill and of the ‘watchers’ who collected and relayed information about the movements and treatment of conscientious objectors in the military, in work camps and in prison.

The festival lead, Professor Lois Bibbings, from the University of Bristol Law School, is an expert on World War One conscientious objection to military service. She is currently writing a history of the Shot at Dawn campaign, which saw the Government pardon over 300 soldiers who were shot at dawn for cowardice or desertion by the British Army during World War One.

Just a little distraction from the History of Bristol for a moment if we may.

The University of Bristol will temporarily be reducing the capacity of the Arts and Social Sciences Library to allow for health and safety improvements.

The timing of this couldn’t be worse for students, with dissertation deadlines nearly upon us, not to mention the upcoming exam season.

A recent report conducted externally has described the “urgent” need to improve the fire safety of the ASS.

A sad day for the BBC in the History of Bristol

BBC defends felling four trees at Bristol headquarters after David Attenborough’s climate change warning

A BBC staff member based in Bristol has accused management of ‘hypocrisy’ over plans to cut down four mature trees in the grounds of the corporation’s base in Clifton.

The trees line one side of a terraced outdoor seating area behind the Whiteladies Road building.

But Bristol Live has been told the site management at the BBC in Bristol recently began what they said was a consultation exercise about cutting down the four trees to improve disabled access to the terrace.

One staff member, who declined to be named, contacted Bristol Live and pointed out that last week, the BBC’s own Bristol-based Natural History Unit produced

Back to the real History of Bristol

Bristol’s population quintupled in the 19th century. Its a massive population boom  in the History of Bristol

From around 70,000 in 1800 it had grown to 330,000 by 1900. This immense increase (thank the industrial revolution, technology improving food supplies, proper sewers and clean drinking water) spurred the growth of vast new areas of housing. The living conditions endured by the poorest

Bristol has a monument to the start of its housebuilding programme

With the aid of government subsidies, Bristol launched an ambitious building programme of 5,000 homes in ‘garden suburbs’. Dr Christopher Addison ceremonially cut the first turf on work at Sea Mills on 4 June 1919, and the Lady Mayoress planted an oak. Addison would soon be the minister of health – because housing was seen as a public health issue. The tree is still there

Home building and social housing history in Bristol

Bristol’s first council houses were quite posh at the time. Not what we consider social housing to be today.

The first houses to be completed, at Hillfields (Fishponds) and Sea Mills, were being occupied by 1920, with work under way at Knowle and Shirehampton. The earliest homes were built to high standards: three bedrooms, front and back gardens and, in most cases, parlours. Many tenants had an inside toilet for the first time.

Bristol embarked on a huge construction programme from the mid-1940s, with new builds on existing estates, as well as new estates such as Lockleaze, Lawrence Weston, Henbury, Hartcliffe and Withywood. To accommodate the new estates to the south, Bristol’s boundaries were extended in 1951 at Somerset’s expense.Especially after WW2 Bristolians allocated new council homes enjoyed much better housing, but many missed their old close-knit communities. Decades after almost all residents of St Philips Marsh – “the Island” – were rehoused in the 1950s, the St Silas British Legion Club continued to thrive. The club even built an extension in the 1970s because so many former residents visited at evenings and weekends to catch up with old friends.


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