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Cry of the poor

Cry of the poor

Being a Letter from Sixteen Working Men of Bristol to the Sixteen Aldermen of the City, By Trish Mensah, Ian Wright, Barbara Segal, BRHG 2021

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“Being a Letter from Sixteen Working Men of various trades,
to the Sixteen Aldermen of Bristol.”

This impassioned and lucidly argued letter, written in 1871, set out demands for improvements to the quality of life for Bristol’s working people: clean air, parks, bathing places, libraries, a fish market and an end to bridge tolls. Over the subsequent 20 years most of these demands were met. However, 150 years on from that letter we find ourselves fighting to retain some of those historic gains, in opposition to Tory austerity and with a city council unable or unwilling to oppose it. This makes the re-publication of the letter particularly relevant today.