News From The Puppets

Otherstory – will be performing their puppet show – Taking a Holiday on:

January 17th at 7.30 pm at Bedminster Library, 4 Bedminster Parade, Bristol BS3 4AQ
January 25th at 7.30 pm at Junction 3 Library, 138b Lower Ashley Rd, Bristol BS5 0FJ

Tickets £5/£3 available at any Bristol Library, or online @

Show is suitable for adults and children over 10 years of age

Taking a Holiday tells the amazing story of the secret beneath a Bedminster bike shop. It is a story of struggle in wartime – full of intrigue, escapes, comradeship…and bikes. What does it mean to be a refugee and on the run in your own country? Who will give you a bed for the night, a job… or a means of escape? A tabletop and shadow puppet show based on the true stories of ordinary people in 1916/17, and the hidden history of the resistance to the war machine. 


For more information email


Do you want to help create a Puppet History Walk?

Otherstory will be developing a Bedminster-based history walk with puppets, in Jan – March 2019.

The walk will uncover the hidden histories of local people who resisted the First World War. It will take people round the actual locations where the war resisters lived, worked, met together and in some cases hid from the authorities. We’ll be using a mixture of puppetry, readings from historic texts, and songs from the period to bring their stories to life.

Otherstory are
looking for people to help make it happen! There are a series of workshops, where you can get involved in

Researching local conscientious objectors and war resisters
Making or dressing puppets
Making props and scenery
Finding photos from the time to use in the walk
Choosing and editing text from the time

And if you’d like to be part of the walk itself:

Practising some puppetry
Learning songs from the period
Helping to plan or steward the walk

The project is aimed at adults, and young people 14 and over. You can be involved in the whole project; or just come to one or two workshops, to do something you enjoy.

Research workshops will on Sat Jan 12th 2-4pm at the Bristol Archives and Sat 26th Jan 2-4pm at Bedminster Library

Puppetry workshops will be at Windmill Hill City Farm on:

Sun 10th Feb; Sun 24th Feb; Sun 10th March; Sun 24th Mar – 2-4pm

If you’re interested in taking part go to: and fill in a form

This project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

For more information contact

French Village Remembers Bristol Deserter

Alfred Jefferies

Alfred Jefferies was the only man from Bristol shot by the British Army for desertion in World War 1.

In November 2016, on the centenary of his execution, Bristol’s Remembering the Real World War 1 group laid a wreath in his memory in The Dings Park. The event was attended by local people as well as members of Alfred Jefferies’ family. It was widely covered by local media. See the story from the time on our website here.

The story of Alfred (and his brother Arthur who died on the Somme in 1916) has now crossed to France. Alfred was shot in the village of Penin in the Pas de Calais region. Having heard of our event and the ‘Bristol Deserter’ pamphlet, on 1st November 2018 people of the village met to remember Alfred Jefferies themselves. David Jefferies, Alfred’s great-great nephew, and other family members were present.

They laid a wreath to mark the site of his execution

Wreath To Mark Alfred Jefferies’ Execution

They stood to remember Alfred

People of Penin Honour Alfred Jefferies

They then visited his grave in Arras cemetery.

David Jefferies and other family members at Alfred Jefferies’ graveside 

The commemoration was reported on local television in the Pas de Calais.

(Scroll down the page to the display of ‘19/20 Nord Pas-de-Calais‘ broadcasts by date. Scroll sideways to the broadcast for 01/11/2018. About four minutes into the programme is the report of the commemoration.)

It was also reported in the local newspaper and can be seen on their website here

The next day they visited the area where Arthur Jefferies was killed to remember his life as well

For more information email

Bristol’s Local Libraries Feature Conscientious Objectors

In November 2018, Bristol’s local libraries are mounting displays to mark the end of World War 1 featuring local stories about the war. All but three of the libraries are including information about Bristol’s conscientious objectors.These displays will make sure that the story of Bristol’s COs will be seen by even more people across the city.

Those without CO displays are Lockleaze, Henleaze & Whitchurch.

Don’t forget to visit your local library in November and see their display. You can find details of Bristol’s local libraries including opening times on the City Council website here.

For more information email

Another Anti-War Film Goebbels Hated!

Bristol’s Remembering The Real World War 1 group presents another classic German anti-war film at the Cube Cinema.

Niemandsland (English title ‘Hell On Earth‘) was released in 1931. One of the first German ‘talkies’, the film was directed by Victor Trivas with a musical score by Hans Eisler, friend and collaborator of Bertholt Brecht.

Where: Cube Cinema, Dove Street South, Bristol, BS2 8JD

Time: 8pm

Date: Monday November 5th

Admission: £5, £4 concessions

To book tickets::,9961/

To find the Cube:

During World War One, five soldiers from different nations end up together amongst ruins in no man’s land and decide to stick together.

One of the main characters was played by Lewis Douglas, a black American actor, and this made the film especially hateful to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels who ordered every copy of the film to be destroyed.

But one survived so we can screen it! The film will be introduced by film historian Humberto Perez-Blanco

For more information email

Time Travelling Tales


Lois Bibbings, part of the Remembering The Real World War 1 group and co-curator of our ‘Refusing To Kill‘ exhibition about Bristol’s WW1 Conscientious objectors, is giving her inaugural lecture as Professor of Law, Gender and History at University of Bristol on October 31st (Halloween!)

She will look at legal cases over different historical periods, including WW1. We understand the ‘Taking A Holiday’ puppets will make an appearance!

This lecture is open to the public and entirely free. Please book in advance..

Where: Priory Road Complex Lecture Theatre, 12 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TU

When: Wednesday, 31 October 2018, 6.30 PM – 8.00 PM

To book:

For more information email

Conscientious Objector Events At Bristol Archives

The ‘Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors‘ exhibition has been at Bristol Archives since June 5th. Just as when it was shown elsewhere in the city, it has attracted lots of interest. It runs until July 14th. While including much of the material displayed previously there is plenty that is new – both from local archives and CO relatives. See Bristol Archives website here for opening hours and how to get there.

Two events are being held at the Archives alongside the exhibition

Saturday July 7th – 2pm – ‘Refusing To Kill‘, a talk linking the responses to World War 1 of Walter Ayles and Harry Patch. Walter Ayles, Bristol’s most prominent opponent of WW1, told his court-martial that ‘Slaughter Was No Remedy‘ before he was imprisoned as a conscientious objector; Harry Patch, the last surviving soldier to have fought in the WW1 trenches, said that ‘war was organised murder‘. This talk, illustrated with video, photographs and re-enactment will tell their stories. Speakers will be Lois Bibbings, Professor of Law, Gender & History at University of Bristol and local write and film-maker Colin Thomas.

There will be a chance to see the exhibtion both before (come early!) and after the talk.

Saturday July 14th

From 1 pm – the opportunity for a guided viewing of the exhibition

2 pm – ‘Taking a Holiday‘ puppet show by Otherstory Puppetry

In 1916, a man of conscription age who “took a holiday” was probably on the run from the military autorities. The show tells the amazing story of how a bike shop owner in Bedminster aided runaways who refused to kill. If you’ve seen an earlier version of this show you will know how good it is. Come again, the show has developed over recent weeks with plenty of new additions.

3-4 pm – A workshop: Who Refused to Kill? Led by Professor Lois Bibbings, University of Bristol and Remembering the Real WW1 exploring how you might do your own research into conscientious objection and histories of resistance

The event is free, but please book on EventBrite here or by telephone on 07501 614256

The venue is accessible to wheelchair users.

For more information on these events email

‘Refusing To Kill’ Comes To Bristol Archives

‘Refusing To Kill’ At Bristol Archives

The exhibition ‘Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors‘ which was in Bristol Cathedral and the Central Library from September 2017 until February 2018 is in Bristol Archives from June 5th until July 14th.

The exhibition tells the story of the almost 400 men from Bristol and the surrounding area who, for moral, religious or political reasons, refused to fight in World War 1. Alongside most of the material displayed previously, there will be new exhibits. These include documents and photographs from the Bristol Archives. We have met relatives of more conscientious objectors over recent months and we are also pleased to be able to display artefacts relating to several of them.

If you have seen the exhibition previously, then there will be more to see. If you, or anyone you know, hasn’t seen it yet then this is your chance.

Bristol Archives opening hours are on their website here.

For more information email

National Festival Comes To Bristol

Commemoration, Conflict & Conscience 2019

Next spring, Bristol will host a national festival which is the culmination of the year-long ‘COMMEMORATION, CONFLICT and CONSCIENCE‘ project. Focusing on the First World War then and now, the project will look at conscientious objectors to military service, strikes, mutinies, desertion and absenteeism, the men executed by the British military and the Shot at Dawn campaign which fought for them to be pardoned, the global reach of the war, colonial and commonwealth experiences, women’s peace activism, along with legacy, peace-building & alienation from commemoration.

There will be free events across the city , with films, performances, exhibitions and talks. Groups and individuals will come from across the country to showcase the work they have been doing during the centenary of World War 1.

The project and festival is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. The festival is timed to coincide with the centenary of the release of many absolutist conscientious objectors from prison in April 1919.

Details will be unveiled over the coming months but you can see more information on the project’s website here, including how you can get involved, especially if you have your own project you would like to make part of the festival.

You can keep up to date with the project on Facebook here and on Twitter here

For more information email

Bristol’s Second Radical History Festival

Bristol Radical History Festival – May 6th 2018

Bristol has its second Radical History Festival at M Shed on Sunday May 6th. Thiis year’s festival marks the centenary of the end of World War 1 and the fiftieth anniversary of the momentous events in Paris in May 1968.

You can see the full programme of talks, films, performances & walks on the Bristol Radical History Group’s website here

The World War 1 strand has talks (and a film) as well as another chance to see the ‘On The Run’ puppet show about conscientious objectors.

Talks are:

Lois Bibbings on ‘Shot At Dawn’ – men shot for desertion and the campaign to pardon them. Full details here

Andy Comyn – The Art of Remembrance. Andy is the sculptor who made the Shot At Dawn memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum. Full details here

Ian Wright on conscientious objectors in the Forest of Dean. Full details here

Tony T & Julian Putkowski on the mutiny at Taranto. A showing of Tony’s film about this mutiny among the British West Indian Regiment in 1918 followed by a discussion. Full details here

Cyril Pearce on the ‘Men Who |Went Away’ – men whi went on the run to avoid conscription. Full details here

Full programme for the day here

For more information email

Central Library Talk On Conscientious Objectors

The (free) lunchtime talk at the Central Library on Thursday April 19th is by Lois Bibbings, Professsor of Law, Gender and History at the University of Bristol and member of Remembering the Real World War 1.

Refusing to Kill – Bristol’s WW1 Conscientious Objectors

Over 350 men from the Bristol area refused to fight in World War 1. They claimed the status of conscientious objector for moral, religious or political reasons. Some agreed to take non-military roles. Others spent much of the war in prison, often under harsh conditions. This illustrated talk tells the stories of these men and the people in the city who supported them.

Date: Thursday 19th April

Venue: Bristol Central Library,  College Green, Bristol BS1 5TL

Time: 12.30pm to 1.20pm

You can book for the talk on the Library’s Eventbritepage at

For more information email