2019 Somerset Socialist History Conference in Bridgwater 14th September

Dave Chapple Secretary of Bridgwater Trades Union Council and event organiser.

The 2019 Somerset Socialist History Conference is taking place in Bridgwater on Saturday September 14th. Hosted by Bridgwater Trades Union Council, the event is seeking to attract a wide variety of local, regional and national enthusiasts who have a left-wing view of our past, present and future. Sessions will be held on Bridgwater Women shirt makers on strike in 1912; the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, an event which for many historians began the beginning of the end of the British Empire; Riot and rebellion in Somerset Guy Fawkes and Carnival celebrations; Coal mining and communism in the Rhondda Valley; “Britain’s Brown Babies”-the story of Somerset children born to fathers who were WW2 black USA soldiers; and finally a film with commentary on the Portuguese uprising of 1974-“The Carnation Revolution”-when the Portuguese people overthrew the last of their fascist dictators.

Dave Chapple, Bridgwater TUC Secretary and Conference Organiser, said: “There are many different ways to study, write and learn from history. One that retains special interest for trades unionists and socialists is a history that focuses on the endless but occasionally successful struggles of workers and the poor, to redress sufferings and injustices. Of course such injustices continue today, but to hear how our predecessors found new ways to lift up their heads and proclaim their rights cannot fail to inspire us.”

Saturday 14th September

Bridgwater workers hold high the trades Council banner at the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival

The Somerset Socialist History Conference will be held at the GWRSA Club, Wellington Rd, Bridgwater, TA6 5HA, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 14th September.

The GWRSA Club is 100 yards from Bridgwater Rail Station. Best car parking is off Redgate St. over the railway line.  There will be the maximum time allowed for questions and discussion after each speaker.  The Conference is free and thee is also a buffet lunch, but please let the organiser know you are coming! For further information please contact Dave Chapple on 07707869 144   <davechapple@btinternet.com>

Full Programme

9.30am: Registration, tea and coffee

10am: Welcome from Sister Glen Burrows, Bridgwater TUC

10.10am: Dave Chapple, Bridgwater TUC:  “Slaves to the shirt:

The Bridgwater women garment workers’ strike of 1912”

10.40 am:  Ivor England, NUM, Porth, Rhondda Valley:

“Memories of a Coal-miner and Communist”

11.40am: John Fletcher, Unite, Pilton: “Carnivals, Guy Fawkes Processions and popular protest in Georgian and Victorian Somerset”

12.20pm: ‘Amarjit Singh, CWU, Cardiff:  “A not-so glorious Empire:

The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919”


1pm: Buffet Lunch (Free of charge)


2pm: Professor Lucy Bland, UCU, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge:

 “Britain’s ‘Brown Babies’: The Holnicote House Story”

3pm: A FILM FROM THE REVOLUTION: “Bom Povo Portugues”

Director Rui Simoes, 1981, with commentary from Carlos Guarita, Unite, Bridport, who was living in Portugal during 1974/5

4pm: Conference closes