AGM. 16th October 2019.

1. Apologies for Absence – Sally Thorne & Professor Ronald Hutton 2.Election of officers  and committee for 2019-20

2. Mary Feerick (Secretary) proposed  Richard Kennett (Education Officer) seconded Dr Evan Jones as Digitalisation Officer of our Committee He was unanimously elected

3.   Secretary’s & Treasurer’s Report – Mary Feerick (see slides below) 4.Any other business? Paul Davis raised the question of  Black History Month Speakers for 2020-21. Mary said that while the branch was looking hard for speakers and Dr Patrick Vernon had already agreed to speak for us in 2020-21 we should avoid only targeting Black History month when Black academics specialists were in highest demand nationally.

How did we do last year?

•Eight Lectures •Average attendance at talks -58 •Highest audience 215 and lowest 22 •3  walks •All well attended with waiting lists Acton Court to be repeated •Staged Heat of Great Debate •10 contestants 8 schools •Two Social Events – Pub Quizzes also raised funds •Involved Local Schools •16-19s at all lectures •  Regular 8-9 who attend every one. •Highest number at Tracey Borman lecture – 150 •10 of our sixth formers received Presidential Award Students f •10 local sixth forms have attended our lectures 2018-19 •Great Debate Heat 2nd Year running •Two of our committee working teachers Richard Kennett & Sally Thorne. A number  of our branch members & our national members are local teachers

We now have over 100 Bristol and National HA members.

Challenges in 2018-19.

•More difficult to book rooms for lectures & not able to use the Wills Building •Did more diverse range of topics and more representative range of speakers but did not always bring such large audiences as first year •Lots of non-Bristol based speakers increased our costs for travel expenses •One speaker had to cancel in April for an April talk

Successes in 2018-19.

•Funding raising – 2 quizzes – Richard & Sally raised c.£200 – fun →annual event •Tours – all had waiting list – Rob made waiting list  work – no spare places •Relationship with UoB worked to find accommodation & speakers •Lively audiences – Colston Discussion •Massive audience for Tracy Borman •Fanny Fust Combination of drama and working with Special Needs community

Finding a new speaker at 48 hours notice •Redesign of website & addition of digitalised pamphlets from original Bristol HA – Work of Evan Jones •Links to schools (see previous slides) •Very diverse lectures – more women speakers •Membership increases

Branch finances

•Another healthy year •Total income £1,233 •Total expenditure £901.20 •£331.18 Profit •Added to 2017-18 Profits of £309.84 •= Reserves of £641.02


•Take a poster from Mary for our next lecture to display if you work somewhere with a noticeboard •Paul Davis – 12 communities one cities oral histories project contact Paul at bcfm93.2 for further details e: training available

167 people attended Dr James Ryan’s lecture on Wednesday 16th October 2019.

Reckoning with the Past: Stalin and Stalinism in Putin’s Russia.

Dr Ryan’s research has included opinion polls in Russia and interviews with Russians. Over the last decade Stalin has been reinstated as a great Russian leader. Putin’s regime has focused in particular on Stalin’s role in the defeat of Nazi Germany. Unlike Lenin whose revolution unsettled Russia, Stalin stood for unity and stability.


Ten Bristol HA Sixth Formers gain National HA Presidential Award

Bristol HA is shown its excellent relationships with local sixth form students by gaining 10 Presidential Awards (worth a free year’s membership of the National Historical Association) for ten of our local sixth formers from eight different schools.  The students were described by the HA’s membership secretary Emily Randall as “a fantastic group of students!  It’s such a pleasure to read through their nominations”.  Each received a personal letter from Tony Badger the HA President and many have gone off to university already to study History.

The Badges each of the students from Gordano, Clifton College, Hardenhuish, St Brendan’s College, Red Maids and Redland Green School received for their exceptional involvement in Bristol’s HA branch and contributions to History in their sixth form

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.   

Dominic Sandbrook wows the Bristol HA.

Nearly ninety people came to hear Dominic Sandbrook talk about Mrs Thatcher and the Falklands War.

Author and broadcaster Dominic Sandbrook gave a brilliant lecture on the early Thatcher years to the Bristol Branch of the HA last night.  While it poured with rain outside, a packed lecture hall heard a really lively examination of the period from 1979-82 through which some of the audience had lived and others were studying.  The lecture painted a vivid portrait of Britain in the late ‘70’s beginning with how the world viewed Britain (starting with Fawlty Towers). We were taken on a journey through the impact of computers and microwaves to the Falklands War of 1982. Dominic reminded us just how much Mrs Thatcher regarded herself as an outsider in the male, privileged Conservative party of which she was leader. She was a grammar school girl who had studied science and came from a Methodist background.  Younger audience members were clearly shocked at the emphasis on appearance female politicians faced in that era.  We were shown images of men and women from television and the tabloid newspapers. This was the background to 1982. The Falklands War was obviously a turning point. Dominic Sandbrook challenged many of the assumptions about Thatcherism and faced many very informed questions from our audience who as usual had more questions than we had time for!!!

Our season began with a packed room for Dr Ryan Hanley’s talk on the links between working class radicalism and the Slave trade debate.

•’We shall not be slaves’ was the refrain at Peterloo but what was the attitude of the British ‘working class’ to the slave trade and (after 1807) slavery? Dr Hanley showed how the abolition movement tried to distance itself from ‘French’ inspired radicalism and how the pro Slavery movement tried to shift attention from the slaves in the West Indies to the plight of the poor in Britain.

The Making of Women’s History

In our final lecture of 2018-19 Professor Kate Dossett of Leeds University presented a fascinating insight into the way archivists are preserving the materials of the Feminist past.  Drawing on her research with FAFF (Feminist Archives Feminist Futures) Kate Dossett challenged the image of Feminist History as a series of waves pushed back over the last century and a half.  This metaphor of waves tended to put each generation of Feminists at with odds with the earlier generations. She showed how archives as diverse as the Fawcett Society (now the Women’s Library) and the Glasgow Women’s Library were preserving through books, news clippings, artefacts, pamphlets, posters, film and oral history the history of the Feminist Movement.  This included ant-Feminist materials to give the topic context.  This lecture not only enlightened us about Feminism’s History and also examined the wider issue of how historians and generations revisit and take ownership of the past.  It was lively and inspirational end to our second successful year.IMG_1691IMG_1688

Acton Court tour. Hidden gem.

Acton Court tour. Sunday 19th May.

Rob Bell took us on a two hour journey around this Tudor gem. The site is like a giant jigsaw with many pieces missing. The Poyntze family (Robert and Nicholas in particular) were constantly rebuilding the house and moving things around. The archaeologists Rob Bell and Kirsty Rodwell spent many years sorting out what went where. A great deal was found in the moat which was used as a rubbish tip. Archaeologists love rubbish!

The high point in the house’s history was the 1535 visit of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The East Wing was specially built for their visit. Given the speed and method of construction (nine months) it is amazing it did not collapse whilst his majesty was staying there. Unfortunately for the Poyntze family a combination of overspending on the house and backing the wrong side in 1550s led to their decline. By 1680 the family were bankrupt. Acton Court was partially dismantled and when Rob and Kirsty arrived in the 1980s the house was in a very poor state. Acton Court is not normally open to the public and so we were very lucky to be shown around. A big thank you to Rob Bell for such an exciting tour.IMG_1635

IMG_1660  Acton Court East Wing   IMG_1662 Henry VIII    acton-court-c1535 Anne Boleyn