Bristol Branch Programme

Bristol Branch Programme 2023-24

Branch Contact All enquiries to Mary Feerick Tel 0117 9442896

Venue: Most talks start at 7.30pm on a Wednesday once a month in term time and take place in the Humanities Building at 7 Woodland Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1TB usually in lecture room BH05.LT.  There is free parking on Woodland Road after 7pm

Associate Membership £15 per year. Talks free to National HA members, Bristol University staff and all students. Visitors £3

Branch website:    Twitter @Bristol HA 



Wednesday 4th October 2023

The Impact of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike on mining communities and their families

Emeritus Professor Robert Gildea of Worcester College Oxford University  

Professor Gildea’s recently published book “Backbone of the Nation: Mining Communities and the Great Strike of 1984-85” is based on interviews with miners and their families who fought to defend themselves. Exploring mining communities from South Wales to the Midlands, Yorkshire, County Durham, and Fife, Gildea shows how the miners and their families organized to protect themselves, and how a network of activists mobilized to support them.


Wednesday 8th November 2023

The Only Good of an Execution’: The Condemned Sermon at Newgate, 1799-1865

Professor Hilary Carey Bristol University History Department

Professor Carey examines the condemned sermon preached in the prison chapel on the Sunday prior to an execution throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, but which only ended with the abolition of public execution in 1869.


Wednesday 15th November 2023

The Bristol heat of the Great Debate for school and college students at 6pm on the topic Which historical place or person from your local area deserves greater recognition?

This event is only open to the contestants, their teachers, parents, and supporters it is not an event for the public or other members of the branch.


** DATE CHANGE ** Wednesday 13th December 2023 **DATE CHANGE **

The scramble for China in the nineteenth century

Professor Robert Bickers Bristol University History Department

Professor Bickers has written widely on Chinese History and will examine the roots of China's complex relationship with the West in a dramatic, colourful, and sometimes shocking period of the country's history.


Wednesday 17th January 2024

The Abuse of History: The Case of Palestine

Professor Ilan Pappe Exeter University

Professor Pappe is the Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at Exeter University. His research focuses on the modern Middle East and in particular the history of Israel and Palestine.

We expect a large turnout for this lecture. Please can members book a place by emailing


Wednesday 31st January 2024

Bristol Branch Pub Quiz 7pm

A return of our popular quiz in a nearby pub – details to follow


Wednesday 21st February 2024

Bristol Yarns (tall tales, urban legends, conspiracy theories and other things that aren't true)

Eugene Byrne

The return of Eugene Byrne freelance journalist and author of several books on Bristol's history. He is currently editor of the Bristol Post's Bristol Times weekly local history supplement and a contributor to The Cable and a Visiting Research Fellow at UWE.


Wednesday 13th March 2024

Artistic Invention in Fourteenth Century Siena

Professor Beth Williamson Professor of Medieval Culture and Chair in the History of Art, Department of History of Art (Historical Studies) Bristol University

The National Gallery in London, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York are mounting the first ever full-scale exhibition of early Sienese art outside Italy. This is an opportunity to see some of Europe’s earliest and most exquisite paintings ever produced. It is according to the National Gallery’s website the beginning of art history. Professor Williamson has contributed to the exhibition’s catalogue and will also talk about the exhibition.


Wednesday 27th March 2024

Russian History Schools Conference 1.30pm -5.30pm, Bristol University

We are putting on an afternoon of lectures and a seminar for teachers on 27th March 2024 at Bristol University.  This extended afternoon is intended to support A level students doing Russian History topics as part of their A level history and their teachers.  There will be three 45 minutes lectures on aspects of modern Russian History from 1855-1964.  The academics will be Dr Daria Mattingley, Professor Geoffrey Swain and Dr Ben Phillips. There will also be a seminar by Dr Alistair Dickens for teachers on recent sources and approaches he has developed for teaching A level Russian History.  The event will start at 1.30pm and finish at 5pm.  If you would like to take part with your students please contact the branch secretary  as soon as possible.  This student conference is free for students and their teachers and is being supported by the School Education at Bristol University.


Wednesday 17th April 2024

Migration in an Age of Plague and Warfare: England in the Late Middle Ages

Professor Brendan Smith Bristol University

Professor Smith’s latest book deals with scale and character of population movement within and beyond the British Isles from the fifth to the fifteenth century.  Migration is recognised as a historical constant but its importance as an agent for change, particularly in the Middle Ages has often been overlooked.


Wednesday 1st May 2024

The Kingship of Henry VIII

Professor Ronald Hutton



Sunday 12th May 2024 10.30am – 12.30pm

Bristol Local History Walk – Bristol Harbour Robert Pritchard

A morning local historic walk around Bristol’s historic harbour.


Wednesday 19th June 2024

Fanny and George: two teenagers at Waterloo

Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson university lecturer and author of Quatre Bras will be sharing his research on two teenagers, Ensign George Ainslie, who joined the 69th Regiment of Foot as its most junior officer, fresh from Eton in February 1815, and Frances Watson, daughter of Major Lewis Watson of the same regiment, a 16-year-old army brat. Unusually, she was in Belgium during the Waterloo campaign along with both her parents.