Scholars' Forum on the Bristol Riots of 1831

This week’s Scholars’ Forum event took place on Wednesday 3rd May as Professor Alan Jocelyn gave an intriguing talk about the Bristol Riots of 1831.

Professor Alan Jocelyn explained to pupils how the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 had resulted in periods of famine and chronic unemployment, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the Corn Laws. The Bristol riot was the culmination of a long struggle for democratic rights as only 6,000 people in Bristol had the vote out of a population of 104,000.

Pupils learnt that the riots continued for three days throughout Bristol, including the Guildhall, the Bishop’s Palace and two sides of Queen’s Square. It is estimated that 500 were killed. Riots also took place in Bath, Worcester, Coventry and Warwick during this period but nothing on the scale of destruction and casualties in Bristol.