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.
Part of the wall has collapsed. It seems like the Council don't want to do anything about it until they can figure out the exact ownership, though local residents are urging them to fix it and worry about recovering money from anyone who might be responsible for some of the repair costs later.
12 Mar 2021
I was browsing some historical photos the other day, and came across "Rear of Unspecified House" in the Bristol Archives' John Trelawny Ross collection, and immediately recognised it as being the back of 1 Albermarle Row, just around the corner from me. I've not had much time to research the history of this odd little addition to Albermarle Row, or what happened to 1-4 Cumberland Place, number 4 of which used to be attached to the side of 1 Albermarle Row, but it was interesting to look at old maps for a few minutes and work out what used to be where.
That all connects with the little local bit of land at Granby Green, too, as it used to be numbers 1-3 Cumberland Place. There was something of a planning battle over Granby Green, and I've included an old edition of Hotwells & Cliftonwood News that I found online, a copy of which would have been popped through my letterbox at the time.
I was also inspired by some old pictures of Hotwell Road to try to put a few more people in my pictures, though I set my pre-focus a couple of extra metres out from normal to make sure I didn't get too close to anyone!
The more I research it, the more I find that Hotwells had far better transport links back in Victorian and Edwardian times than it has today. Along with buses that went to more useful places than the City Centre, there were trams, the funicular up to Clifton, the landing stage for paddle steamer services and two railway stations all within easy walking distance of me.
Today I took a day off work as preparation for doing the bookkeeping for my tax return1, and took a wander along to the site of what would have been my nearest station, Hotwells (or Clifton, as it started out in life), nestled in the shadow of the suspension bridge, the Bristol terminus of the Bristol Port Railway and Pier.
From there I wandered down the Portway, following the original line, until I got to the area around Sneyd Park Junction, where the tunnel from the slightly later Clifton Extension Railway joined up with this originally-isolated BPR line. Then I headed up to Clifton through the "goat gully" at Walcombe Slade, seeing the few above-ground bits of evidence of the tunnel (which is still in regular use) along the way.
It was a lovely day, and a good walk, and it was interesting to daydream of the times when I could have walked a few minutes from my flat down to Dowry Parade, caught a short tram ride to Hotwells Stations, and then headed from there to Avonmouth, perhaps even to board a transatlantic passenger service. The completion of the Clifton Extension Railway that linked the Avonmouth station with Temple Meads made relatively direct transatlantic travel from London via Bristol possible, with passengers travelling up from Paddington to Temple Meads, on to Avonmouth on the Clifton Extension Railway and Port Railway and Pier line, then perhaps catching a Cambpell's paddle steamer—which sometimes acted as tenders for large steamers—to a larger ship that was headed out for Canada, say.
1 I've learned that the best approach is to take two days off and deliberately do something that's not my bookkeeping on the first day, as otherwise I just inevitably end up procrastinating and feeling guilty on the first day no matter what. I have an odd brain, but at least I'm learning strategies for dealing with its strange ways as I get older...
2 Information mostly gleaned from Colin Maggs' The Bristol Port Railway & Pier and the Clifton Extension Railway, The Oakwood Press, 1975.
Now I've found the end of the tunnel that leads up towards Clifton Down station, it's time to find some middle bits. Here I've walked back to the Gully entrance just south of the quarry.
05 Jan 2022
I took advantage of a rare recent day where it wasn't tipping down with rain to get away from my desk on a lunchtime workday and head up to Clifton Village. I'd hoped to snap a reproduction of historical photo which I'd worked out had been taken from the Suspension Bridge, but the gods were not smiling on me. Still, taking only a nice long lens with me worked out very well as the lovely haze of the day made more distant views quite dramatic...
Damn it. That's the bit I wanted to take my photo from. Still, at least on the way here I got some nice pics that I probably wouldn't have tried if I hadn't taken long lens out specially.
01 Jan 2021
I wandered along the gorge today and found the entrance to the disused Portnalls Number 1 railway tunnel of the Bristol Port Railway and Pier. The door was unlocked, but as soon as I opened it I felt a sense of current habitation and decided discretion was the best option. There's a lot of people homeless in Bristol at the moment, and they don't need disturbing. For the same reason, I've omitted posting some pictures of a little encampment somewhat off the beaten track of the new Zig Zag, where I reversed direction as soon as I realised I'd come across a current habitation of some sort.
Up in Clifton it took me a little while to work out that the picture of the Promenade I was trying to reproduce was taken from the viewpoint I'd thought, it was just that the Alderman's fountain was moved from the top of Bridge Valley Road to the other side of the promenade in 1987, so trying to use it as my initial landmark wasn't very helpful!
Finally I swung past the Society of Merchant Venturers, who presumably still own most of Clifton, having bought the entire manor, including Clifton Down, in 1676, and I imagine aren't in much danger of running out of money. That's true to their motto: indocilis pauperiem pati is apparently from the Odes of Horace, and translates as "will not learn to endure poverty"...
The New Zig Zag runs up the gorge between Bridge Valley Road and the area known as "Fairy Glen".
I examined the rocks that had been disturbed, hoping for a geode, but no joy. It's one of my dreams to randomly encounter a geode replete with Bristol diamonds, and this would actually be a not unreasonable area to find one.
Not sure what this was, but certainly large chunks of it looked like masonry.
21 Nov 2020
A rather more wide-ranging weekend wander with Sarah and Vik, taking in some mock Tudor bits of Bedmo (I should note that I've subsequently been corrected to "Bemmie", but I'm an outsider and have been calling it "Bedmo" for short for decades...), a chunk of Ashton, a path up Rownham Hill called Dead Badger's Bottom(!), The Ashton Court estate, a bit of the UWE campus at Bower Ashton, and some of the Festival Way path.
It looked like there used to also be a sign from the side we came in, but at least finding this a the other end was a reassurance that we weren't trespassing.
Bedminster Cricket Club, beside the Festival Way path between Ashton Court and Hotwells
Gosh. I had no idea why it's called the White City Allotments, but apparently:
Bristol International Exhibition opened in May 1914 promising to be 'a place of pleasure and delight', celebrating 'the resourcefulness and progress of Great Britain and her Dominions'. 32 acres in Ashton Gate were transformed by palaces and pavilions. It quickly became known as the ‘White City’ because of the plaster used on the temporary buildings.
Not, I admit, looking particularly festive.
Clearly the razor-topped security fencing is great at keeping people out.
This little area has gradually been graced by more and more fun bits for skaters.