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

Event: Worcester Research Workshop

Date: Saturday 30 April, 2022

Event Registration link: https://bit.ly/1831Workshop This free research workshop, hosted by Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service @ The Hive and in collaboration with the University of the West of England will be examining the disturbances in Worcester.  Enquiries or further information:

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

‘Episcopal treason and plot’: effigy burning in the autumn 1831 reform protests

Fifth of November Celebration at Exeter – the bonfire in the Cathedral Close (1882)

In our Overall Survey of Protest events in Britain and Ireland in response to the defeat of the Second Reform Bill from October to December 1831, one prevalent activity that was difficult to categorise was the practice of parading and burning of effigies in public locations, sometimes outside the residence of the ‘victim’. This article presents some examples we found.

The defeat of the Second Reform Bill in October 1831 – An overview of public responses (part 2 – In the metropolis)

Satire with the civilian troops of the Reform Bill attacking the Duke of Wellington and Archbishop of Canterbury.

In the metropolis… considers initial public reactions to news of the defeat of the reform bill in London by studying public meetings, protests and disturbances over the five days after the announcement.