Extracts from ‘The Bristol Gazette' Source Three G

Extracts from ‘The Bristol Gazette’ on a riot in Bristol, 3 November 1831 Catalogue ref: HO 40/28.

According this newspaper, there were 8 inquests into why people died during the riot ‘of which two died by excessive drinking, four were burnt in the Square, and two were shot. A very great number must have lost their lives, of which we can obtain no account’.


… The total damage is estimated by various individuals to amount from 4 [£400,000] to £800,000. The special constables patrolled the streets during the last evening and night. This morning the shops are opened as usual and something like tranquillity is restored. The following bill has been put out by the Magistrates.


Wednesday, Nov. 2 1831

“The Magistrates most earnestly desire that all Persons will avoid assembling in Crowds in different Parts of the City, as such assemblages [gatherings] are likely to promote disturbances, and interfere with arrangements now making for the recovery of property and detection of Offenders. “C. PINNEY, Mayor.”

No further disturbance is apprehended [expected], though the town remains in a state of great excitement, and different parties are earnestly discussing the conduct of the Magistrates and the soldiers. We hold it at this moment best to avoid saying anything that can tend to promote irritation, knowing that a calm and solemn investigation will soon take place into all the facts connected with this melancholy [sad] affair.

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Read these extracts from ‘The Bristol Gazette’ newspaper.

  • What happened during the riot at Bristol according to the headlines? (Extracts a, b)
  • Who are the rioters and how are they described? (Extract a, b, c, e, f)
  • What was the role of the ‘Special Constables’ during the disturbances? How were they viewed? (Extracts c, d)
  • What is the attitude of this source towards Sir Charles Wetherell? (Extracts a, b, c)
  • Do the extracts suggest that the riot could have been prevented in any way?
  • Why do you think that the prisons, custom house and toll houses and toll gates were attacked or burnt?
  • How do the authorities hope to prevent future disturbances? (Extract g)
  • Does this source infer why the government passed the Great Reform Act in 1832?