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 say, bit strong. I think they're a rubgy team, but I don't really understand sportsball.
24 Sep 2021
A quick lunchtime jaunt to Clifton Village. Along the way I admired the new sign on Hope Chapel and added to my tsundoku collection.
Apologies for the poor picture quality; it was a quick snap from the iPhone. There's a better picture on t'blog. It's notable that this book was written by "J L", Joseph Leech, former Bristol newspaper magnate and the man who had Burwalls Mansion built, just the other side of the Suspension Bridge.
The scaffolding is down and there's a nice new sign (reminiscent of a historical one, I think,but I can't find the photo at the moment because Know Your Place Bristol is down) and you can just see the newly-installed solar panels on the roof behind it.
There's a mason at work on the carved pilaster tops on the frontage of the old Coventry (and before then, Stroud and Swindon) Building Society. They've moved everything to a central branch in town in the interests of efficiency, so now I have to go to bloody Broadmead to do anything.
(Yes, I actually went into town to get a cheque out of the building society just the other day, in 2021. I know I should chuck this old-fashioned malarkey in for a shiny electronic account, but it's for the management committee of the house I live in, so there's complexity and inertia involved...)
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 find the adverts fascinating. My first optician in Bristol was Dunscombe's on St Augustine's Parade, so they were there a long time. They've closed now (or at least moved) but were still there as recently as 2008, I think. Interesting to see gas lighting systems being advertised, too!
I took this photo to remind myself to see if the Archives were open at all in this time of Covid. I've never been in, but all this recentl historical research has made it tempting.
The Loxton Collection, part of Bristol Library's Reference collection, has over 2000 pen and ink drawings that were created by Samuel Loxton in the first decades of the twentieth century for the Bristol Evening Post and Bristol Observer.
Helpfully, many of them have been scanned and posted to Flickr; you can browse more Loxton drawings including this one in the album "Loxton Illustrations: Part 3" (this picture is item #Q1071), and browse more albums of the drawings from the Library's albums page
I was fairly sure the Terrett Memorial Hall would have faced Entrance Lock—after all, they'd be wanting to drum up trade from sailors!—and I eventually came across an aerial photo from 1934 on the ever-helpful Bristol City Docks website's Cumberland Basin page that confirmed my hunch.
I haven't had the time to find out when it was demolished, but the whole Cumberland Basin Flyover System (which you can see being built on that web page) had replaced this area by the mid-1960s.
This is photo PBA487 on that page, I think courtesy Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives.
If the Terrett Memorial Hall were still there, its frontage would be roughly where those boulders are between the curve of railing in the middle of the picture and the flyover up to the Plimsoll Bridge a little further back, facing towards the lock gate you can just see on the other side of the road.
Here we'd be facing Terrett Hall square on. Crouching at work in the middle of the picture is one of the tireless people who are constantly found sprucing up Cumberland Piazza (or at least trying their best to make it look a little less awful.)
Complete with a fisherman. Quite at the moment, but as a sport it does at least already have a reputation for social distancing.
06 Jul 2021
I really only took the GPS and camera on a "just in case" basis, as I knew I was only going for a coffee in Greville Smyth Park along a well-trodden path this lunchtime. Still, I saw a few new things along the way, so I figured it was worth uploading the handful of photos I took...
This shop's on the Hotwell Road (no. 257) has been closed for so long I've completely forgotten what it used to be. Hopefully someone's being brave enough to open something new...
When I passed the (then-empty) fencing back in March I wondered what this would turn out to be. I had no idea it would be a miniature nature reserve...
According to the Friends Of Greville Smyth (FROGS!) Facebook page it's a hedgehog oasis, which is rather sweet.
I see from the Facebook group that it was Rich from Hopper Coffee—the little coffee van I was visiting today—who first started the building of the pond, after finding dehydrated hedgehogs suffering in the park. It looks like it then became a group effort with several volunteers and donations of materials. Nice.
Dead centre of this picture is a herd of cows, though I imagine you'd be hard pressed to find them once this picture is shrunk down a bit for the web. They were more obvious to my naked eye, wandering around on the hill. You don't often see cows from town.
I thought that was part of Ashton Court's Red Deer Park, but perhaps they're diversifying...
Of course, in the old days you'd have seen plenty of cattle near here in the city. Just behind the Pump House were the cattle sheds and an abattoir that used to stand where the Rownham Mead housing development is now. You can see them in one of the pictures on the City Docks website, here.
Well, clear for the New Cut, anyway.
21 Jan 2021
A quick jaunt to Clifton Village to grab a birthday coffee and cake (courgette, lime & pistachio, thanks for asking) from Twelve, and rubberneck at the demolition of the block that used to house the WH Smith, among other things. I remember the Havana Cafe, Mail Boxes Etc (for those who wanted a Clifton postcode without living there?) and others.
I wonder if the bit about it being closed for one day a year is a non-sequitur, or whether there's actually some legal requirement to close the garden every now and again to maintain its private status.
Tearing down the old eyesore that used to be a collection of random offices, a cafe, and WH Smith.
Another day, another coffee. I think I may have knocked a tiny footpath in Baltic Wharf from my list of leftover paths in the area, but mostly this walk was about getting out into the crisp February cold and enjoying the walk. On the way I posted a letter at 13 Dowry Parade (home of a surgeon called Willam Falls back 1830, according to Pigot's Directory of Gloucestershire...) and pondered the strange duality of Dowry Parade and Hotwell Road, then wandered through the Dowry Parade end of Cumberland Piazza, enjoying the clean lines of the glyph graff, before taking the causeway route past a Cumberland Basin empty of water but full of seagulls, to make my way south of the harbour.
Indeed it does.
I went down to Dowry Parade to deliver a letter that had unaccountably been delievered here, a few streets away. It was only because the address as 13 Dowry Parade that I noticed this strange duality I'd not spotted before. The start of "Dowry Parade" has numbers in the three-digit range, because it's actually Hotwell Road, really. But a handful of them have both Hotwell Road numbers and their presumably-older Dowry Parade numbers. So, here's a snap of either/both of 315 Hotwell Road, or 17 Dowry Parade.
I'm enjoying these strange glyphs over slices of colour on the piazza columns.
16 Apr 2021
Another day, another quick dash out for a coffee. I did at least try to take a different route from normal, especially on the way back, where I yet again got a bit lost in the strange paths, flyovers and underpasses that make up the odd maze of pedestrian "infrastructure" among the concrete jungle between the west of Greville Smyth and my neck of the woods in Hotwells. I swear one day I'll take a turn I've not tried before and end up being gored by a Bristolian minotaur.
I'd heard there was going to be something of a wild party in Greville Smyth to mark the end of lockdown. It seems it may be the start of a regular thing, with a dance festival bringing 8,000 people to the park. I imagine I'll be able to hear it from my place, and therefore safely avoid it.
From up here it's easier to see the curving path that the end of Brunel's swing bridge would make along its little steel track, until it hit the wooden buffer on the left-hand side, with the other end pivoting out over Howard's Lock. You can see the turtable it balances on just underneath the temporary roof there.
I decided to make my way across the water to Greville Smyth Park via a more cicuitous route than normal.
Some of the Cumberland Basin Flyover System's pedestrian pathways really do feel like you're making your way through a post-apocalyptic computer game.
Sure I've snapped him before, but he caught my eye today.
Even on a quieter day, the roar of the traffic is pretty amazing. I was listening to a podcast about electric cars on noise-cancelling headphones, while wishing there were already a few more on the roads...
I think I should have gone back down into the park to come back up my normal path, that leads to a place where you can walk under the flyover and get back on the bridge to Hotwells. As it is I just tried heading north and ended up having to cross four lanes of busy traffic.
That seems to be the failure of the pedestrian paths around here: if you know where you're going really well, the best you can hope for is not to make a wrong turn, and then you can end up going all the way around the houses, including quite often back the way you came, and might manage to use some of the provided underpasses and crossings and avoid the most dangerous traffic. But if you don't know them like the back of your hand and just try heading for the place you want to get to, that you can actually see, you'll be led entirely astray and end up in a variety of dead-ends.
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.
Spotted this little robot wandering among the usual yachts...
Turned out it was these two researchers running the show...
...developing a robot boat that hunts for bodies!
It was that kind of day.
It certainly has the look of an engineering prototype, right down to the Bosch Rexroth-style chassis.
23 Nov 2020
I've just got to the bit in Fanny Burney's Evelina where our eponymous heroine visit a grand house on Clifton Hill during her stay in Hotwells. It was interesting to wonder if it could be any of the places I passed in my lunchtime jaunt, which took in both Clifton Hill and Lower Clifton Hill.
From Evelina (1778):
"Yes, Ma'am; his Lordship is coming with her. I have had certain information. They are to be at the Honourable Mrs. Beaumont's. She is a relation of my Lord's, and has a very fine house upon Clifton Hill."
Or Ainger and Smith. The latter sounds more like a detective agency, I feel.
First glimpse of the Clifton Vale Close flats from the end of Polygon Road
The back of Hillsborough Flats
This man may have watched too much Breaking Bad
18 Apr 2022
I didn't really set out with a theme of flowers and gardens in mind for this walk. I just fancied heading up to Clifton Village to get lunch. As it turned out, though, Spring was springing, so a minor theme emerged as I started off with the graveyard flowers of Hope Chapel and wandered up to see the beginnings of the new wildflower garden at Clifton Hill Meadow.
There's been some commotion on Nextdoor about the recent appearance of this sign. Lots of people who have been letting their dogs off their leads in the churchyard for decades have been rather up in arms. I'm not sure there's actually much danger of the rozzers issuing ASBOs or fines to the locals for that kind of infraction, though.
From the window of the community bookshop. A book I'm vaguely thinking of writing involves the Tarot, and I'm a little tempted to go on this.
With a special Platinum Jubilee celebration on offer, too. I imagine The Mall Gardens will do that rather well.
The "Brigstowe Village Band" is a whimsical name. Brigstow—the bridge at the meeting point—is the origin of the modern "Bristol". Apparently they're "modelled on the village bands of Thomas Hardy’s day when local musicians played for all the local gatherings and celebrations."
There will be a minor theme of flowers and gardens for this little trip. We'll start at Hope Chapel, though this is more a graveyard than a garden.
I first heard of Clerihews in the Times crossword: The Clerihew is:
a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley.
The reason it's relevant to this plaque on a house just around the corner from mine is that the very first Clerihew was written about Sir Humphry Davy:
Sir Humphry Davy
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
(Sir Humphry is indeed credited with having been the first to isolate sodium, six years after moving out of this house...)
A wider view of Humphry Davy's former residence.
A lovely garden. Sadly a little lacking in facilities at the moment, after some scrote (or presumably a team thereof) had it away with their cast iron table and chair set at the end of March. This is why we can't have nice things, etc. etc.
Where fly tipping happens, more like. This scrap of land (with a public bench hidden on the far end, against the back fence behind the red bins) has been a bit of an eyesore for years. I've never been a fan of public billboards.
Recently, though, a property developer has applied for planning permission for a block of flats here, and apparently fenced off the bit where the main entrance will be, even though it's fenced in this little corner of land that everyone assumed was public, council bench and all. And now it's attracted fly tippers, it seems.
I've tweeted at the councillor for the area, Alex Hartley, and he's said he's alerted the council and will try to investigate it/get it cleaned up, so here's hoping...
In the long run, maybe there will be some new flats instead of an ugly billboard and some dull fencing, and I'm all for that.
I've taken plenty of snaps looking at Holy Trinity from the road, but I think this may be my first looking at the road from Holy Trinity.
There was a somewhat precarious path in the road protected by those yellow plastic barriers to get around some holes being dug in the pavement. I chose the safer route through the church garden and thought I might as well take a pic from the main entrance.