09 Nov 2020
I like The Paragon as a terrace, especially the bowed porches. On the other side of the road, a house attic has a stone lion surrounded by rocaille leaves, according to its listing.
I also love the detail of the arrows in the wrought iron of The Mall's balconies. Today I discovered Westfield place, a road I'd never encountered that runs up to the rear of the Coronation Tap. (It's a famous local cider pub, but I've only been in a couple of times. I'm more of a beer man.)
I wanted to get a coffee here...
I went to have a peep at the giant sinkhole that's opened up in Canynge Square—ironically, having recently discovered the gardens were public I'd had the (triangular!) square on my list to re-visit for a few days, but now there's no entrance to the gardens due to the danger. The area was well fenced-off for safety, but I tried to get a couple of photos from behind the barriers.
I also explored the area around Camp Road, an real melange of architectures, one of the most mixed-up areas I've seen in Clifton, in fact, and confirmed my friend Claire's suspicion that an earlier snap of a sign from Manilla Road was in fact for a fire hydrant. Nice.
My historical research took a wander underground recently, partly inspired by the Canynge Square sinkhole, partly by St Vincent's (Ghyston's) cave and its tunnel to the Observatory, and I was surprised to find that there might be an intact tunnel from the Bristol Port Railway and Pier still just sitting there under Bridge Valley Road. A quick search turned up this recent video by an intrepid explorer, so it's definitely still there.
I went looking for the entrances today, and definitely found the south entrance, at the start of the Bridge Valley Path, the footpath that starts with steps at the bottom of Bridge Valley Road. It's easy to miss if you're not looking for it. I think I've figured out where the north entrance is, too, but it was getting dark at that stage and the Portway was still busy enough that crossing the road was still the normal nuisance, so I thought I'd leave further explorations for another day.
07 Jan 2021
Which included a literal "local", the Pump House, to try out their shop/deli/cafe. A flat white, some apples and a New York Deli toastie. Eleven quid, mind, but the Pump House was never a cheap pub...
I enjoyed the fog, and wandering down a few more out-of-the-way back alleys and what-have-you on the Hotwell Road.
I'm thinking of getting up early and going for a morning walk tomorrow, weather-depending, but at the moment my motivation to do things like this seems to be much strong in the evenings when I'm just thinking about it rather than in the morning when I actually have to do it. But it's going to be cold, and low tide is quite early, so there's always a chance of getting some footage of the hot well actually being visibly hot; you never know...
I understand that the man who first wanted to open this as a fish & chip shop suffered a heart attack not long before the planned opening. That was a couple of years back. Hopefully he recovered and is now running the place, but either way, it's nice to have a fish shop in the area again. The owner of the combined Chinese/Fish & Chip shop closer to me up the road retired a few years ago, and I've been missing it.
10 Jan 2021
Went for a wander with my friend Lisa—the current lockdown rules seem to be that one local walk for exercise per day with a maximum of one person not in one's "bubble" is fine—up to the University of Bristol area right at the edge of my one-mile perimeter to see the Jeppe Hein Mirror Maze, among other things. On the way we mused about Merchant Venturers, the slave and tobacco trades, and dating in the time of Covid.
Must've been a bit of a relief to do some simple bricklaying after the war.
I got interested in Bristol's medieval water supplies after poking around near Jacobs Wells Road and Brandon Hill. It was during that research I found out about a pipe that's still there today, and, as far as I know, still actually functioning, that was originally commissioned by Carmelite monks in the 13th century. They wanted a supply of spring water from Brandon Hill to their priory on the site of what's now the Bristol Beacon—Colston Hall, as-was. It was created around 1267, and later, in 1376, extended generously with an extra "feather" pipe to St John's On The Wall, giving the pipework its modern name of "St John's Conduit".
St John's on the Wall is still there, guarding the remaining city gate at the end of Broad Street, and the outlet tap area was recently refurbished. It doesn't run continuously now, like it did when I first moved to Bristol and worked at the end of Broad Street, in the Everard Building, but I believe the pipe still functions. One day I'd like to see that tap running...
There are a few links on the web about the pipe, but by far the best thing to do is to watch this short and fascinating 1970s TV documentary called The Hidden Source, which has some footage of the actual pipe and also lots of fantastic general footage of Bristol in the seventies.
On my walk today I was actually just going to the building society in town, but I decided to trace some of the route of the Carmelite pipe, including visiting streets it runs under, like Park Street, Christmas Street, and, of course, Pipe Lane. I also went a bit out of my way to check out St James' Priory, the oldest building in Bristol, seeing as it was just around the corner from the building society.
There are far too many pictures from this walk, and my feet are now quite sore, because it was a long one. But I enjoyed it.
So good they numbered it twice
11 Apr 2021
My friend Lisa joined me again, this time for a long wander through "Bemmie". In fact, I tweeted recently using "Bedmo" as my abbreviation for Bedminster, and apparently there's something of a culture war going on. From what I can glean, the longer-term residents call it "Bemmie" and consider "Bedmo" a name made up by hipster gentrifiers.
I had no idea, but then I didn't grow up around here, and I don't live in Bedminster, and I'm not a hipster. I'm not sure I've ever gentrified anywhere, either; Hotwells was already quite gentrified by the time I arrived. I probably just lowered the tone a bit.
Anyway. Lisa and I entered Bemmie by the traditional toll gate (though actually you'd only have paid if you were coming from the Long Ashton direction, not merely nipping across from Hotwells) and then almost literally combed the streets to knock several new roads off my list of targets. Along the way we saw lots of street art, as you'd expect, and admired the area's panoply of gorgeous knockers.
I'll get right on that.
06 May 2021
I'm meant to be taking a little break from this project, but in my Victoria Square researches after my last walk I noticed a curiosity I wanted to investigate. The community layer on Know Your Place has a single photograph captioned, "The remains of an 'underpass' in Victoria Square".
Looking back through the maps, I could see that there really did used to be an underpass across what used to be Birdcage Walk. I can only guess that it was there to join the two halves of the square's private garden that used to be separated by tall railings that were taken away during WWII. Maybe it was a landscaping curiosity, maybe it was just to save them having to un-lock and re-lock two gates and risk mixing with the hoi polloi on the public path in the middle...
Anyway. Intrigued, I popped up to Clifton Village this lunchtime for a post-voting coffee, and on the way examined the remains of the underpass—still there, but only if you know what you're looking for, I'd say—and also visited a tiny little road with a cottage and a townhouse I'd never seen before, just off Clifton Hill, and got distracted by wandering the little garden with the war memorial in St Andrew's churchyard just because the gate happened to be open.
EDIT: Aha! Found this snippet when I was researching something completely different, of course. From the ever-helpful CHIS website:
When there were railings all round the garden and down the central path, in order that the children could play together in either garden there was a tunnel for them to go through. This was filled in during the 1970s but almost at the south east end of the path if one looks over the low wall the top of the arches can still be seen.
At some point, the local polling station stopped being at Holy Trinity and moved here.
Speaking of elections, one of the four elections happening today is the Bristol mayoral election; current enumbent Marvin Rees, an Evangelical of some variety, met church leaders here on the first day of his first term: “We prayed, and we invited the spirit of God into the city."
I managed to knock off a reasonable chunk of the roads I had left to walk around the University at the north-eastern extremity of my mile on this nice sunny walk. As well as being impressed by the number of big townhouses now occupied by various departments, I took some time on my way there to check out a war memorial, and some time on the way back to do a little extra wandering of Berkeley Square.
The Theosophical Society also lets its lodge be used by a variety of other organisations, including the Bristol Dowsers; a branch of Carlos Castaneda's Tensegrity folk (some of the videos of Tensegrity are quite something); a meditation group; and the local branch of the White Eagle Lodge, founded by a medium who received various teachings from the eponymous founder.
Given that those are the groups who openly practise there, I can only imagine the list of occult factions who use the rooms on other days...