01 Dec 2020
Unfortunately by the time I got to Greville Smyth Park I was already about halfway through my lunch-hour, and the queue was too long to wait to actually get a coffee. Is that a fruitless excursion? Presumably a coffee bean is technically a fruit...
This kind of vague musing was sadly overshadowed by my delay at Ashton Avenue Bridge on the way back, where someone—hopefully still a someone, rather than a body—was being stretchered up the bank of the river, presumably having just been rescued from the water. As I made my way home the long way around, avoiding the cordoned-off area at the back of the CREATE centre and its car park, I saw an ambulance haring across the Plimsoll Bridge, siren running, presumably on its way to the BRI. I'd like to think that was a good sign.
05 Dec 2020
Back to Cliftonwood for a wander that included some of the belle views of Bellevue Crescent and other bits of the easternmost part. Highlights included watching someone bump-starting an elderly Nissan Micra in the narrow confines of Bellevue Crescent.
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.
Not as old as the sign on the building that first caught my eye, but this modern hydrant sign must still be fairly old, as it's pre-metric: the hydrant is a 3" hydrant, 6 feet in front of the sign.
Okay, I took too many photos of a fire hydrant. Sue me.
So the 3" hydrant is 24 feet in front of the sign.
16 Jan 2021
A raggedy wander with my friend Lisa, picking up a few stray streets and venturing only briefly onto Whiteladies Road, where it was too damn busy, given the current pandemic. We retreated fairly quickly. Found a couple of interesting back alleys, and got a very pointed "can I help you?" from a man who was working in his garage in one of the rather run-down garage areas behind some posh houses, and clearly didn't want us just wandering around there.
I headed to Bedminster to do a crossword with my support bubble today. On the way I delved into a couple of bits of Hotwells history, first of all snapping a "now" shot to go with a historical photo of Holy Trinity I happened across recently, and second of all to snap the Britannia Buildings.
The Britannia Buildings are a little strip of offices on a corner of the Hotwell Road. They've mostly been the headquarters of a cleaning company for years, but I've often wondered what this distinctive curve of offices, its ground floor standing proudly out from the upper floors, used to be. Well, after my last wander, where I poked about the landing stage just down the road, I found out! Researching the paddleboat company P&A Campbell I came across this nugget in The A-Z of Curious Bristol, by Maurice Fells (£):
The firm of P & A Campbell was the main steamer operator in the Bristol Channel, with its local headquarters in offices close to the Hotwells pier and overlooking the harbour at the Cumberland Basin. Campbell's named their offices Britannia Buildings, after one of the ships in their White Funnel Fleet.
So! Turns out the Britannia Buildings were named after a paddle steamer—you can see some pictures of Britannia here.
In related news, I've now bought three of Maurice Fells' local history books, and they were hand-delivered by the author on Sunday, a half-hour after I ordered them online (through a message exchange on Nextdoor!) Not even Amazon Prime has managed to deliver me anything that quickly...
"I'd like to buy an owl, please." "We don't sell owls." "Someone told me you did." "Who?" "See! I just heard one!"
Since setting up a search for Hotwells on eBay I've mostly managed to restrain myself from buying much (or in one case, was outbid, luckily for my finances.) However, I couldn't resist a 1902 flyer for a singalong at the Terrett Memorial Hall, which would have stood five minutes' walk from my flat, overlooking Howard's Lock.
I've found out a fair bit about this non-denominational seaman's mission, including tracking down both a Loxton drawing and an aerial photo of it. The main thing that's eluded me, ironically enough, is finding out who Terrett was, so as a Memorial Hall it didn't do a very good job 😀.
EDIT: Ah! Did a little more digging and found that the Bristol Archives has a Bristol Dock Company document on file called "William Terrett, Esq.; corresp. etc. re proposed erection of a Mission Hall at Cumberland Basin, 1892", so that might be worth a look once the Archives are properly open again. Given that:
Sarah Terrett died suddenly on 25 November 1889, aged 53, after speaking at a meeting of the White Ribbon Army, the temperance organization she had founded in 1878. Following her death many people sent letters of sympathy to her bereaved husband, William. One of these, from the Rev. W. F. James, a minister of the Bible Christians, makes for especially interesting reading. The Bible Christian denomination, to which Sarah and William belonged, was one of the smaller Methodist connexions, and had its heartland in rural Devon, the area where she had grown up. James recalled the hospitality he enjoyed when visiting the Terretts’ home, Church House, in Bedminster, south Bristol...
...I wonder if William Terrett built the hall in memory of his late wife. They were clearly just the kind of temperance movement people who would've founded a seaman's mission to get people together to have a nice non-alcoholic singsong rather than a night out on the tiles.
Anyway. This walk to grab a coffee from Hopper Coffee in Greville Smyth Park was mostly an excuse to post the leaflet, a few other things I found related to it, and some pictures of how the site looks now. I would suggest that the present day is not an improvement.
This was my random eBay purchase. I had no idea that the Terrett Memorial Hall had ever existed until I saw this leaflet up for sale.
There's some information on the hall on the Places of Worship database; as you can guess from the title of the leaflet it was basically a seaman's mission, with the aim "to promote the social, moral and religious welfare of sailors and provide sleeping accomodation for seamen, also free beds for destitute seafarers"
My favourite random thing on this leaflet is probably that the Surgeon Dentist is called Mr Heal.
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.
20th Century Flicks were an established video rental shop up in Clifton, conveniently next to the University of Bristol Student Union, when I moved to Hotwells in 1999. They moved to Christmas Steps a few years back, and are still, amazingly, in business.
I'd guess they survive by having an immense stock of films (20,000 available for hire), great expertise, and a high-density local student population.
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.
A particularly tidy little house. I really like this style; Lisa found it a bit fussy and overly-ornate, but I think I've had my ornateness-meter recalibrated by all the gothic revival stuff in Clifton...
14 Jul 2021
As it turned out, I didn't manage to get a coffee on my lunchtime coffee trip, as Imagine That were briefly shut down by a Covid-19 exposure notification (false alarm, it seems.) On the plus side, my trip was made worthwhile by spotting a couple of people from the University of Bath Mechanical Engineering Department testing an autonomous body-finding catamaran, which isn't a phrase I was ever expecting to write...
All the way to the marina, but my destination had disappeared! Lucy and Dan were fine and I saw the Imagine That horsebox back here and working the following morning.