Public Talk: The Burning of Bristol’s New Gaol in 1831

This talk was delivered online in collaboration with Bristol Museums, M Shed and the Regional History Centre, UWE on Thursday 17th November 2022 by Steve Poole. Steve looks at the storming, burning and liberation of Bristol’s supposedly ‘impregnable’ New Gaol during the reform riots of 1831. The attack on Bristol Gaol, it will be argued,… Continue reading Public Talk: The Burning of Bristol’s New Gaol in 1831

‘I fear there will be blood spilt this evening’: The Blandford ‘reform riots’ of October 1831

In early October 1831, the defeat of the Second Reform Bill in the House of Lords led to a wave of pro-reform public protests and disturbances across Britain and Ireland. Meanwhile in Dorset, a microcosm of the national struggle over electoral reform was being fought out in a county by-election which posed Lord Ashley –… Continue reading ‘I fear there will be blood spilt this evening’: The Blandford ‘reform riots’ of October 1831

1831 Dorset and Somerset Reform riots – Travelling display launched

This seven-panel display places the reform riots of 1831 in Dorset and Somerset within the wider context of the national struggle for reform. From the foundation of popular Political Unions in 1830 campaigning for expansion of the franchise to the collapse of Wellington’s government later that year, this was a period of significant political change… Continue reading 1831 Dorset and Somerset Reform riots – Travelling display launched

‘Fife, Drum and Flag’: The Sherborne ‘reform riots’ of October 1831

In early October 1831, the defeat of the Second Reform Bill in the House of Lords led to a wave of pro-reform public protests and disturbances across Britain and Ireland. Concurrently in Dorset, a microcosm of the national struggle over electoral reform was being fought out in a county by-election which posed Lord Ashley an… Continue reading ‘Fife, Drum and Flag’: The Sherborne ‘reform riots’ of October 1831

What do you know about crowds and riots? The 1831 survey

British Museum Asset No 73162001 "Staunch reformers in London"

Intergroup dynamics within the 1831 reform riots: towards a new social psycho-history This Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project examines the nature and spread of reform related riots across Britain following the House of Lords rejection of the reform bill in October 1831.  The project uses historical analysis of the 1831 disturbances and… Continue reading What do you know about crowds and riots? The 1831 survey

Why we need a (new) social psycho-history

Why did they riot? Answering a question like this means drawing upon both historiography and psychology. Scholars have long recognized this, but their attempts to combine the two disciplines have not always been successful. The first ‘psycho-history’ was Hippolyte Taine’s monumental history of France (1876). He traced what he saw as the decline of civilization… Continue reading Why we need a (new) social psycho-history

Report: Research Workshops in Dorset and Somerset

An important part of the research into the lesser known reform related riots and disturbances of October-November 1831 involves engaging with local historians, family historians, museum curators and archivists in the areas where the incidents occurred. Local historical knowledge of people, places, events and even artefacts in the period of study is of great value… Continue reading Report: Research Workshops in Dorset and Somerset

Beyond Contagion: Understanding The Spread of Riots

The ESRC funded Beyond Contagion project involved a three-year study (2016-2019) of the August 2011 riots in England. Its aim was to critically assess the concept of ‘contagion’, that is the supposed involuntary spread of behaviours between humans. The core idea is that, particularly in crowds, mere exposure to the behaviour of others leads observers… Continue reading Beyond Contagion: Understanding The Spread of Riots