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Bristol Radical History Week is a series of events aimed at opening up to public scrutiny some of the hidden and misrepresented history of Bristol. Rather then concentrating on royals, famous engineers or wealthy merchants, Bristol Radical History Week is going to concern itself with the proper people of Bristol. The mass of sometime rebellious and mutinous people who had their own agendas to fulfil.
The week will also be looking at the links to people who were drawn into the network of Atlantic trading that centered on Bristol as a port. These are the impressed sailors, West African slaves, transported vagrants, indentured labourers and pirates amongst others, who made up what has recently been called the 'Atlantic Proletariat'.
We will discover how the end of slavery, the rise of democracy, and the independence of colonial lands were the results of collective actions by extraordinary 'ordinary' people and NOT just middle class reformers, rich benefactors and generous governments as we are constantly told.
Why October 2006 ?
October 2006 marks two significant anniversaries in the radical history of Bristol.
The 175th anniversary of the 1831 uprising sparked by the demands for suffrage. This insurrection, which put the city of Bristol in the hands of a revolutionary mob for several days, had profound effects upon the rise of democracy in Britain.
The 350th anniversary of the 'blasphemous' ride of the radical preacher and ex-soldier of the New Model Army, James Nayler into Bristol. The arrest and savage torture of Nayler as a result of his actions marked the beginning of the general repression of the radical currents generated by the English Civil War.
These historic moments will be commemorated on the streets of the city during Bristol Radical History Week.
Bristol Radical History Week will be open to all, will be free or of minimal cost and include events for children. The participants will be both members of the public, local history groups and visiting expert speakers. As far as possible the commemorations, debates and lectures will be situated in locations that mark Bristol's radical history.
Bristol Radical History Week is being organised by local people from Bristol and is NOT funded by Universities, Political Parties, Business or Local Government.