Bristol Doors Open Days
The Merchants’ Hall
indocilis pauperiem pati
‘One who cannot learn to bear poverty’
What did I learn about our ‘Island Story’
On a squally September rain-swept day,
At the Merchants’ Hall, and Redcliffe Caves?
Well, we formed an orderly queue at the Hall,
Bantering with the pinstriped beadle,
Before our guide escorted us to the hall,
Where our talk began.
It was informative, in a manner of speaking:
The chandeliers are cleaned every two years!
Sixty-eight people can sit at this table!
When a speaker addresses an audience here,
The chairs are moved to face the front!
Princess Anne likes the Merchant Venturers!
Here are pictures of the docks in the 18th century!
(No mention yet…)
Royal Charters galore!
One day there will be a woman on the wall!
And a female ‘Master’ of the Society,
And she shalt have the title of ‘Master’!
The voice went on about the Society’s charitable enterprises,
I glanced at a couple of their annual reports:
‘New Schools’ Trust Offers Diversity’
(Conventional trope of girl in a science lab.),
More stuff on academies, residential care for the elderly,
‘Social business’ (sic), almshouses,
The ownership of Clifton Downs,
‘Although some 460 years old, the Society
is fresh and full of vigour and purpose’;
‘ … The Society and Bristol prospered. Trading patterns changed
over the centuries, with the later years marked
by the appalling period of slave trading in the 18th century.’
It all felt a bit Kafkaesque,
An arcane, shadowy world of ruling class disinformation …
Where philanthropy and charity
Obscures the hierarchy of ruling class control…
Announcing “Edgelands and Industry: a look at Hidden Stroud in Space and Time” – A fringe-time walke: We are a collaborative group unearthing the radical history of Stroud through walking and mapping the landscape, interpreting and re-imagining our...read more
Announcing a Literary, Self-Referential, Post-Modernist Pub Crawl on Thursday – starting at The Fountain at 4.
The Fountain – The Vic – The Greyhound – The Imperial – The Lord John – The Little George.read more
Thirty Local Historic Reasons to Vote for David Drew and Keep the Tories Out
1. The Diggers and their Slimbridge Civil War community and those who supported them in Stroud and the Five Valleys
2. The Parliamentarians imprisoned in Painswick Church
3. The growers of Nicotiana Rustica who defied both King and Cromwell
4. Those who took direct action for a ‘moral economy’ against high food prices in Stroud and the Five Valleys
5. Those cloth-workers who took direct action against low wages and long hours in Stroud and the Five Valleys
6. Those who opposed slavery
7. Those who took direct action against the game laws
8. Those who opposed enclosure
9. Those who took direct action against turnpike tolls
10. Those who were transported
I often walk the cycle track at the bottom of Rodborough Hill,
The old Midland Railway spur from Dudbridge into Stroud,
And I often cycle the track on to Nailsworth through Woodchester,
Musing on the springs and watercourses, the ancient holloways,
The Roman villa, medieval ridge and furrow, the woollen mills,
The occasional mill chimney, still rising high into the Stroudwater sky,
And I have often walked the surrounds of Avening, Minch and Amberley,
Recreating the 1916 tragedy of Dorothy Beard and Archibald Knee,
A young woman and a young new recruit,
Drowning together in a millpond.
In short, my head is usually lost in the clouds of the past,
Where I am entranced rather than perturbed by novelty –
Unlike Scrooge, I see few phantoms that repel –
Until last night, when just before our show
Trenchcoats for Goalposts,
At the Comrades’ Club,
Jon Seagrave mentioned a local radio history programme
About that local branch line and the First World War,
Did I know that? …
The team at Stroud Brewery were thrilled to have another excuse to brew something special, this time to commemorate the great efforts of the chartists. We have produced a small batch of smoked porter aged in oak barrels. Come along and see if this beer gets your vote…
Saturday November 26th 1pm Stroud Brewery: A Chartist Walk with a Porterread more
A performative walk starting at Stroud Brewery to christen the new Chartist porter. The walk will commence at the Brewery, with explanation, contextualisation and performance; then wend its way along the canal to Wallbridge and then along the old railway line to Dudbridge. We will then climb up to the Bell for more porter and thence to the top of Selsley Hill. The walk will be interspersed with performance, bringing the local and national Chartists to life in the landscape. Walkers make their own way back to wherever they wish to go: that’s the Chartists’ seventh point. We should be finished on Selsley by 4pm.read more