The other 'house through time'

Peter Cullimore has been in touch with us about a forthcoming book entitled ‘Saints, Crooks and Slavers: History of a Bristol House and its People’

Here is his story……..

As you probably know, the history programme ‘A House Through Time’ returns to BBC2 this year for a new series, this time in Bristol. Imagine your Georgian home in Montpelier is shortlisted, but eventually pipped at the post, in the selection process. As compensation for narrowly missing out as the chosen one, the producer gives you all the findings of their research into your own house. You then do further detailed research and discover a lot more amazing stories about its past residents.

What next? You write a book about the experience, of course! All this has happened to my wife Sue and me. Our book, entitled ‘Saints, Crooks and Slavers: History of a Bristol House and its People’, is being self published with the help of a not-for-profit local publisher, Bristol Books. We think it’s the first to combine guidance for the reader on how to research their own house history with great case studies from a real example.

We hope you’ll spread the word among your members, in advance of publication this May or June (date not yet fixed). We would love to share with other history enthusiasts the stories of fascinating, but unknown, characters who’ve occupied our house in the past. (So far we’ve lived here, at 60 Fairfield Road, for 33 years.)

These people include: a French aristocrat whose parents were guillotined in the 1789 Revolution; a Quaker businessman and philanthropist, with slavery links, who was ruined by the outbreak of war while trying to build our house; the Misses Phippen, contemporaries of Mary Carpenter, who ran their own schools for girls from poor families.

Male egos at the court of Elizabeth I

Professor Susan Doran’s incisive and lively talk on the male rivalries surrounding Elizabeth I

Professor Doran of Oxford University spoke to a large audience in the new Humanities Lecture Theatre at 7 Woodland Road about the males at Elizabeth’s court across the decades of her reign.  She presented a series of case studies of the rivalries which Queen Elizabeth had to deal with.  In a lecture illustrated by Tudor portraits she introduced the characters of Leicester, Sussex, Nottingham, Norfolk, Burghley and his son Robert Cecil and less powerful but equally intriguing figures like Philip Sidney, Southampton, Oxford and Walter Ralegh.  Male status and ego were very much emphasized and the idea that this was a reign riven by faction was challenged by Professor Doran.  The audience was a mixture of Bristol Sixth Formers and adults and after our Q & A session many sixth formers stayed behind to ask their own questions to Professor Doran.

Film about Norwegian teachers imprisoned by Nazis in 1942

Thursday, 6 February 2020 from 19:00-21:00

At the BAGGATOR, 13 All Hallows Road Easton BS5 OHH

The Bristol and South Glos Young Educators network is pleased to announce our first film screening.

Official and exciting sounding blurb: “1942. Occupied Norway. Teachers must join the Nazi Teachers’ League and teach Nazi ideas in their classrooms. 8,000 of them write protest letters. They are threatened with salary withdrawal and the sack. Still they refuse. In a desperate attempt to break them, the Nazi government arrests 1000 male teachers and sends them to prison camps, 300 miles above the Arctic Circle. The education system is in chaos and now the battle begins.” Trailer

We are also pleased to be joined by the film maker himself, Jon Seal, who’ll be available for questions afterwards.

As usual, the event is open free to ALL NEU members (NUT + ATL) whether they be teachers, TAs, LSAs or support staff of any age or sector. We also welcome as any other interested parties, especially anyone who has a particular interest in education or trade unions and wants to come and get involved with the Young Educator network.

In terms of refreshment, the Baggator has a bar with cans and teas etc. Your NEU subs will cover a free drink for NEU members and we’ll provide some general film snacks too.

Patrick Bishop puts the Battle of Britain in perspective

Patrick Bishop began his talk with a story about two pilots. The second of these was Ian Hutchinson. Having been shot down and hospitalised he was making his way home on public transport carrying his parachute under his arm and with only one shoe. Members of the public kept coming up to him just to touch him and show their gratitude for what the RAF were doing. The member of ‘the few’ described the it has highly embarrassing. One of Patrick Bishop’s great achievements is that he interviewed so many of the pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain and then using his experience as a journalist and historian presented a truly human story of this epic struggle. His lecture showed how the young men and women of 1940 did not appreciate the historical significance of the events they were participating in. They came from a wide range of backgrounds and did not see themselves as heroes. They were often very young and their life expectancy was very short. The longer they flew the better their chances of surviving the high speed and high altitude conflict. Meanwhile on the ground below them (particularly in Kent and London) the British people watched the specks shooting around the summer and early autumn skies leaving vapour trails behind them. Particularly striking was how he developed the argument that the Battle of Britain became the Battle for Britain; a post war more egalitarian society. There were many well informed questions from our audience including what the Luftwaffe thought of the Battle of Britain.

Membership soars.

As of January 17th 2020 membership of the Bristol Historical Association has reached 54. We also have 72 national Historical Association members in the Bristol area. This means we effectively have 126 local members. Not bad considering we only started in September 2017.

The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State

Professor Pat Thane came down from London to deliver an excellent lecture on the rise and fall of the Welfare State which highlighted the poverty investigated by Booth and Rowntree at the beginning of the twentieth century and concluded with some startling figures on the rise of poverty from the secure period of 1945- 1970’s to its present very high point.  Mastering an array of statistics Professor Thane showed us how child poverty had returned in most of the audience’s life times and many of our preconceptions about life in the 1970’s were challenged.  Inevitably it led to some lively questions at the end of her talk and some real debate. It was a thought-provoking contrast to last month equally impressive lecture on Mrs Thatcher by Dominic Sandbrook as this lecture showed how the Thatcher years began the dismantling of the Welfare State.  It also showed how relevant History can be to understanding the society we now live in, including the rise in homelessness and foodbanks. To quote one of our members Ann Carpenter “I have thoroughly enjoyed the program thus far (particular as I have been able to share social politics and history with my daughter Nat) I’ve been inspired to do further reading after the last two fascinating talks. Very much enjoyed listening to Pat Thane tonight.”

Should we judge historical figures by the morals of today? The Great Debate. Wednesday 27th November 2019.

The Great Debate – Bristol Heat 2019 27th November 2019

Last night twelve South West History Students from ten different schools and colleges took the stand to present their arguments on whether or not we should judge historical figures by the morals of today.  Our contestants each spoke for five minutes and then faced five minutes of questions from our distinguished panel of judges Adam Vaitlingham QC, Professor Madge Dresser and Dr Evan Jones.  The audience made of their parents and supporters listened as students from the Bristol area;  Bristol Grammar School, Redland Green School, Redmaids High School, Badminton School, Clifton College and from further away Norton Hill School Radstock, New College Swindon, The Cotswold School in Bourton-on-the-Water, from Bath  Hayesfield School and Bath RHS all made their arguments.  Naturally the name of Colston came up more than once but the students impressed us with range of their knowledge including arguments about Aristotle, Alan Turing, Churchill, Queen Elizabeth, Boudicca, and Neville Chamberlain.  It was a difficult decision for our judges but there could be only one winner.  In joint third place were Scarlett Carter (Badminton) and Darcey Gresham (Bath RHS); in second place our youngest contestant Callum Wooley (The Cotswold School) and in first place and going through to the national final at Windsor Castle Tobey Ahamed-Barke (RGS).  But all our contestants Katie Stubbs, Grace Hillier, Jess Davis, Josh Anthony, Zac Fairbrother, Joshua Turner, Elise Preedy and Jack Goldsack deserve our congratulations with some fascinating arguments.