Bristol Bus Boycott 1963

The Mayor’s Race film centres on the significance of  ‘race’ in the city of Bristol and its history.


One of the events featured in the documentary is a bus boycott that took place in the city in 1963. At the time, the Bristol Omnibus Company was refusing to employ black drivers and conductors on its services. This was evident to anyone who knew that other cities had been actively recruiting from the Commonwealth and overseas, at a time when there were more jobs than people to do them.


The dispute was centred on race and the ‘colour bar’ as it was called then. However the situation was complex and saw working class people trying, fearfully, to protect their pay and overtime. Some did not see it as a race issue at all. However when drawn, what we call racism today was open and evident.


This site by Firstborn Studios, designed by Theo Mackie, features a range of wonderful contributors telling us more about the story and its historical significance.  This body of work was made possible by funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund and support from Bristol City Council.