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.
01 Feb 2021
I just wanted to get some exercise, really, so I set out to knock off the lower bit of Jacobs Wells Road that I'd not managed to walk up yet. I set the new signboard that the community association had had erected as my destination, after reading about it on their blog.
As it turned out, I couldn't even read it, as the building that houses the actual Jacob's Well had water flooding out onto the pavement. I wonder if it was actual Jacob's Well water? Have the soles of my walking shoes been mystically blessed now?
You can't see much of the flood in the photos I snapped, but I did shoot a little video, too. Ed on Twitter said:
I spoke to the seller at the time with a view to buying it - I mentioned an old friend who grew up nearby remembers it flooding regularly. He swore blind my friend was wrong.
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!
16 Mar 2021
I wanted a nice simple lunch-hour walk that took me past a cafe today, and I managed to find the perfect road to knock off my list of targets to do it. Situated just off Jacobs Wells Road, right next to Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, John Carr's Terrace, and Rosebery terrace above it, which I'd completely forgotten existed, are a little cul-de-sac that many Bristolians will have wandered past a thousand times without ever seeing.
There's a reason it's next to QEH:
Known traditionally as "The City School", Queen Elizabeth's Hospital was founded by the will of affluent merchant John Carr in 1586, gaining its first royal charter in 1590.
John Carr's terrace itself isn't much to write home about, architecturally, but I like the secluded feel of it, and I really liked Rosebery Terrace with its little houses, commanding position and friendly, slightly tumbledown feel.
On the way home I popped into Foliage Cafe for a coffee and a very pleasant nutella and banana pastry, then walked home past the refurbishment of the old Thali Cafe into a new and interesting clinic...
07 Apr 2021
Unusually for my recent lunchtime coffee trips, I managed to find a new road to walk down: Caledonia Mews, which has a little entrance off Princess Victoria Street and runs between it and Caledonia Place. I've noticed it before a couple of times—if you look up from Princess Victoria Street you can see some of it, standing tall above the low buildings on the street itself—but until last night I'd not set foot in it, I think.
As well as focusing on this charming little mews, I looked in on the demolished site of the old WH Smith, and spotted what I think is part of the now-private-houses St Vincent Rocks Hotel that I'd not really noticed before, tucked away between Sion Lane and Sion Hill.
Or have I just not noticed it before, or forgotten about it? I like it, anyway.
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.
17 Nov 2020
A fruitless wander, as Spoke and Stringer (who I thought might do a decent flat white) were closed, and the only other harbourside inlet offering were a bit too busy to wait at, especially as I'd spent some time wandering some of the convolutions of Rownham Mead. This last congeries of dull alleyways and brown-painted garages was at least somewhere I've never been before, in parts.
William John Lanham, d. 4 May 1927
06 Jun 2021
The track on the map doesn't tell the whole story of this walk with Lisa around and about Clifton, Berkeley Square, Brandon Hill and the harbourside, because the batteries on my GPS ran out while we were on the roof of Trenchard Street car park, it seems. Oh well. I think I did most of the area I was interested in finishing off around the University; there were only a few new bits around Brandon Hill that won't be on the track, and I can easily do them again.
Still, technology woes aside it was a nice walk, albeit a bit warm for climbing all those hills, and sat on the harbourside watching the world go by for a while, too. It was good to see the Bristol Ferry Boats carrying people around again, especially.
...and on the same lamppost, some Kill The Bill literature. That's me: bringing you the social history that Google Street View can't.