06 Dec 2020
I wasn't really feeling it when I set out today, on my first car-assisted wander. By the time I'd parked on Alma Vale Road in Clifton it was just starting to rain and I picked my way about in quite a desultory way. It felt strange, as I was very familiar with the area because I'd walked through it hundreds of times when I worked at the top of Whiteladies Road, and used to walk up the hill from Hotwells and through Clifton to get there, and back again, every day.
Then a complete coincidence seemed to make the change I'd been hoping for. I was standing taking a photo of Christ in the front garden of All Saints church when a couple of people walked out of the front door. I got talking with a lady I took to be part of the ministerial team, who invited me to come in and look around—something I'd always wanted to do on the morning commute. (I think we connected a bit when I recognised the name John Piper, who did the amazing windows—I learned about him while I was at Warwick, through his connections to Coventry Cathedral.
I left with much more of a spring in my step, wandered around the area a bit more, finally working out that the tennis courts I used to pass every morning are those of Clifton Lawn Tennis Club, and finally grabbing an excellent Hungarian sausage hot dog from the Budapest Cafe. I feel a lot better now than I did before I went out.
More John Piper work
The modern church is constructed on the remains of the 1868 original, bombed in WW2.
13 Dec 2020
A long walk around Cliftonwood and Clifton with my friend Lisa, taking in some of the 12 Days of Christmas display at Queens Parade, picking up a take-away coffee from Pinkmans of Park Street, and poking our heads up against the glass of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Cathedral.
Considering I was shooting thorugh a smoked-glass window I don't think I did too badly. One day, with a bit less pandemic around, I'll take the tour.
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.
The side-door to the Arcade pops out almost next door to Twelve, one of my favourite cafes in Clifton Village. You can also access their (and other café's) back gardens through the door just out of sight, opposite the bottom of the stairs there. Those stairs lead up to the pub next door, from what I remember.
21 Aug 2021
Lisa and I mostly went out to have a look at Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon as its tour hit Bristol Cathedral—I missed it when it was previously in town, at Wills Hall, I think—but we also took a trek up to Redland. Lisa's kind enough to indulge my strange current fascination with the Edwardian eccentrics that made up the Stella Matutina, so we swung by a couple of places with a vague connection to the Bristol branch of the organisation. Well, it was good walking, anyway...
As a stunning bonus, one of the picture's descriptions has more information than you'd probably want on the Bristol Port Railway and Pier's Clifton Extension Railway line, but I did happen to coincidentally write up this wander after reading about the extension line during my lunch hour at work today. It's a thrilling life, I tell you...
25 Sep 2021
I needed to pop to the library, as they'd kindly dug a book out of the reserve store at the B Bond warehouse for me and emailed me to let me know it was ready. So, I took a little trip to town, straight down the Hotwell Road, and spent a few hours reading before stretching my legs with a walk to a new cafe in the actual castle (or remnants thereof, anyway) of Castle Park, before heading back home down the other side of the harbour. As well as books and coffee, I bumped into a remote-controlled pirate ship, which isn't something you see every day, even in Bristol.
Bristol boasts one of the quietest rooms in the world. That one's in the Ultra-Low Noise Labs at the University of Bristol, where "Losing all auditory references does funny things to your balance, and I lurch slightly as the double doors open to let me out. It's a relief to hear the faint underlying buzz that indicates life as we know it."
Sadly, although it looks the part, the reading room in the Reference section of Bristol Central Library is usually a caophony of irritations. I'm not sure what took the prize today: the burglar alarm going off outside for ages, the stertorous snoring, the queues of people trying to get 10p pieces for the photocopier like it was still 1985, the angry researcher trying to get a porter along to rouse and tick off the stertorous snorer...
In between all this I read through the letters of the Reverend W A Ayton, alchemist of the Golden Dawn, once described by W B Yeats as "the most panic-stricken person" he had ever known. I think he'd have had to read in Bristol Central Library it might have tipped him over the edge...
(I should temper this critique by at least oberving that the librarians are themselves uniformly friendly and helpful.)
30 Nov 2020
I had to return a faulty AirPod Pro to Apple (there's a first-world problem!) so I just took a quick trip up the hill to the nearest UPS drop-off point, The Ten O'Clock Shop, which is famously open until 11pm. Unfortunately it's a fairly cramped little place and neither of the staff were wearing masks, so I made it a very quick drop indeed and got out of there as quickly as I could.
I grabbed a quick coffee from Can't Dance, a stall that's—as of yesterday—in a tiny converted cargo container on the edge of Victoria Square; up until this week they were running from a little trike parked in the same place. Hopefully the new premises will let them see out the winter without worrying quite so much about the weather.
I tried to fit in a few extra streets from the surrounding area on my there and back, but that was basically my wander today: a quick little shopping trip.
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!
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
19 Apr 2021
Just a quick errand to the Post Office to send off Mollog's Mob, but afterwards I bought a flat white and a new plant from Foliage Cafe and headed for The Mall Gardens to enjoy sitting in the sun and reading a book on the first day this year that's been properly warm enough for it. Nice.
The Mall Gardens does actually have some signs up letting people know it's a public garden, but I think it was only my researches for this project that brought the number of public gardens there are in Clifton to my attention, and reminded me that I could make use of this space in Clifton Village, a little closer to the coffee shops and a little more sheltered than Clifton Down.
I've been reading Adam Hall's books for many, many years. It's mostly his Quiller books, but I do have Bury Him Among Kings, about a World War I soldier, on my "incoming" shelf at the moment...