People’s History

People's History

From dubious mermaids to harsh prison conditions: how Fred Little documented Bristol a century ago

The Easton-born photographer’s work provides a unique, and sometimes vividly reimagined, perspective on how our city looked during the early years of the 20th century.

How St Paul’s residents fought to make the Malcolm X Centre a space for the community

How a media backlash led to a St Paul’s woman’s dramatic release from prison

A young man in a Scouts hat and scarf, shown in an archive photo

People's History

The ‘Red Scout’: how a boy from Brislington became caught up in anti-communist hysteria

Seventy years ago this month, Paul Garland was kicked out of the Scout movement over his links to the British Communist Party, with his case making the pages of Time magazine and sparking debate in the House of Lords.

People's History

A home for the ‘Hypochondriac, Mad and Distracted’: remembering the ‘madhouses’ of Fishponds

People's History

‘An intolerable anachronism’: it’s 60 years since the last hanging took place in Bristol

The Bristol police chief embroiled in corruption who died with a razor in his hand

John Henderson Watson had a long and distinguished police career and was Bristol’s chief constable for 14 years – before his career ended in scandal and his disappearance.

Listen: Sabrina, goddess of the River Severn

Nicola Haasz discusses the origin myths of Sabrina, goddess of the River Severn, and the cultural responses the river has elicited through history.

The last time England’s men played football at Ashton Gate – a mere 110 years ago

In 1913, 8,000 fans came to Bedminster to watch the England men’s team play Wales, where foul weather had turned the pitch into a quagmire.

Spend a penny: A potted history of Bristol’s public toilets before they were closed to save cash

Need a wee? Good luck with that if you’re out and about, as Bristol has only a fraction of the public toilets it once had. Eugene Byrne, trying to hold it in until he gets home, looks at the history of Bristol’s public loos.

A history of Bristol’s healthcare for the working classes

It's a myth that there was little or no access to free medical care before the establishment of the NHS in 1948 – but progress was slow, unequal and sometimes grisly.

‘Staking a claim’: how the postwar housing crisis led to a mass squatting movement in Bristol

After the Second World War, Britain faced an acute shortage of homes. The remarkable outbreak of civil disobedience that followed is being remembered as part of a two-month festival of working-class history in South Bristol.