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.”

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Bridgwater Together Line Up for Friday at the Art Centre Announced

villains poster
This Friday at Bridgwater Arts Centre

This Friday 6th September, Bridgwater Together will be staging an evening of international music at Bridgwater Arts Centre from 8 to 11  for just £10. Headline act THE VILLAINS, a top blues band from the Czech Republic, have been on the cards for some time but today the 4 International support acts have been announced and the evening is shaping up to be a night to remember. Until Saturday morning when you can all get up and go to the Arts Centre again at 10am for the Seed the Day Festival, which also has an all day music line up….just about to be announced too.

Antonio and Celio from East Timor will be playing a selection of electronic folk music from the Pacific rim, while Mariusz from Poland will be presenting a selection of original  piano pieces. Reggae man Ras Bruno from Portugal will be up there blasting out dub tracks with a new live ‘melodica’ overlay and Brian and Yvette -an Anglo-Irish-Belgian 2 piece in 4 even quarters, will be holding the show together with spontaneous folk songs on guitar and vocals from around the world. But mainly from them.

The event will be held at Bridgwater Arts Centre on Friday 6th September. Doors will open from 7.30pm  and tickets are now on sale and will be available on the door for just £10.

Bridgwater Together was formed 3 years ago to bring together the various international communities in the town and work with the host community. Their annual event featuring music, talks, exhibitions and food will be held this year at the Engine Room on Saturday October 12th.

The Villains   story is here.

International Line Up

Bridgwater Signposts to the World (and to the Library)

twinning signs
Bridgwater points the way

As part of the new Fore Street enhancement project information signs went up today and the centre piece was a new ‘Twinning Sign’ which pointed to Bridgwater’s 7 twin towns showing that whether you love or hate Brexit, Bridgwater is still a place open to the world, outward looking and internationalist. Along with the twinning feature a series of signs replaced the out of date street furniture pointing visitors in the direction of key amenities ranging from the Blake Museum to West Quay, the Eastover shops, Bridgwater Station,  the Engine Room, the Arts Centre and the Town Hall.  The signposts are part of a wider £310,000 enhancement scheme known as the ‘Bridgwater Town Centre Support Project’ and the £130,000 Fore Street element  includes hanging baskets and flower tubs, replacement trees, new seating, cycle racks, lamp-posts, repaving and other landscaping bid for through EDF’s Community Mitigation Fund (£116,070) and assisted with some Bridgwater Town Council (£35,000) & Sedgemoor District Council (£148,000) money plus £10,000 from Bridgwater Town Team. The bid was submitted by Bridgwater Town Council and taken to two public meetings, both of which supported the proposals.

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West Street Walkabout August 2019

Cllr Smedley “Let’s hope things are looking up in West street after the new HiS Chief Execs appointment..”

This week Homes in Sedgemoor are interviewing for a new Chief Executive. One of the first questions any interview panel should ask is “How long is ‘too long’ to leave vulnerable people stranded in the upper floors of hi-rise buidings without a working lift??”.  In the case of West street’s West Bow House this has been since July 20th and the repairs are still not likely for another 3 weeks. Cllr Brian Smedley and Cllr Kathy Pearce, Westover ward councillors, attend regular walkabouts amongst the Homes in Sedgemoor properties along Bridgwater’s West Street alongside Housing Officers and residents and this was one of the main issues raised this month. But not the only one….

Cllr Smedley said “Residents have been frustrated over the years at what appears to be just lip service from HiS. They jot down notes and they say they’ll get things dealt with.  But residents seem to raise the same issues month in month out. When we raised the lift issue they said it would be dealt with next day, but instead its another 3 week wait, and this is for people who can’t get about easily, need medication delivered and rightly feel  ignored.” Continue reading “West Street Walkabout August 2019”

Town Council Thrashes Out Tree Replacement Fund Plan

tree summit
Tree Summit-Irena (Hamp Green Rise) Ben Coles (SCC) Chris Szewiel (SDC) Brian Smedley (BTC) Dave Agget (SDC) Kath Pearce (BTC)

Bridgwater Town Council Leaders sat around a table with residents and partners from Somerset and Sedgemoor Councils this week and thrashed out an agreement to make a tree replacement policy a reality. The current tree crisis came about when 5 cherry trees at Bridgwater’s Hamp Green Rise , owned by Somerset, were declared unsafe due to disease and were condemned. Residents opposed the decision and brought their concerns to Town Councils ‘Town Development Forum’. It came to light that cash-strapped Somerset had absolutely no policy to replace trees and no funds in place either. District contractors, Clean Surroundings, were tasked with the removal of the trees but with no funds the street would be bereft. The Town Council stepped in, took the lead and approved a Tree Replacement Policy which included setting up a fund to respond to trees under threat in the town.

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