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.
Well played, Forbidden Planet, well played.
03 Jul 2021
I was headed into town to return RA Gilbert's biography of AE Waite to the library and along the way I noticed that Dreadnought had finished their refurbishment, but wouldn't be open until midday. That left me some time to kill, so I bimbled around the old St Augustine's/Gaunt's area for a while, then headed up Park Street for a coffee and a snack to eat on Brandon Hill before heading home the way I'd came so I could pop in and buy a pamphlet on the Hot Well I'd been interested in for a while.
Circa 1905. See the previous photo for the modern-day version. Several of the houses on display were destroyed during the blitz of 24 November, 1940.
I'd never heard of this being called Love Street before. It does seem that it was, though: I just searched through all the various digital research materials I've gathered during this project and found this tidbit in A Bristol Miscellany:
It is proposed to drain the whole of this district by means of a low level sewer commencing at the bottom of Woodwelllane or Jacobs Wells road nearly opposite Woodwell crescent passing along the whole length of the Hotwell road and Love street to Dowry square continuing along in front of Dowry Parade and the Gloster Hotel passing the bottom of Granby Hill in front of Ashton place to Saint Vincent's Parade at which point it will receive the sewage from the Royal York Crescent, the West Mall and Caledonia Place, from which point it will continue along in front of Hotwell House underneath the rocks to the towing path in front of Point House at the Round Point to the present outlet of the High Level Sewer District being about 1,100 yards below the Hotwell House.
...but no other mentions than that one. Looking around the web, I can see a few more references, including this delightful business card for Hotwells gardener John Waldron.
I did idly wonder if "Love Street" might've been a euphemism for something, at some point? There were an awful lot of sailors coming off boats nearby! But perhaps it was simply a nice name for a nice stretch of road...
Photo from Hotwells and the City Docks, ISBN 9781899388288
10 Jul 2021
Lisa had a couple of hours to spare before going up in a hot air balloon (exciting!) so we went for a quick local walk, revisiting a bit of Cliftonwood we've seen before, exploring the secret garden I'd visited before that I thought she'd enjoy (I didn't take any new photos there) and then pushing on to another garden, Cherry Garden. Last time we passed this way, I'd noticed the gate, but we hadn't gone in as I'd assumed it was private. I'd since found it on CHIS's list of communal gardens in Clifton, so I wanted to have a look inside this time, and try to figure out whether it was private-communal or public, and possibly Council-owned, like several of the other gardens in Clifton.
Photo taken from the book Bygone Bristol: Hotwells and the City Docks, by Janet and Derek Fisher.
You can see the gate from the previous photo at the start of Narrow Quay. Plenty of other changes in the area, too: the statue of Neptune stands at the head of the water; there are no Cascade Steps yet; cranes still stand on Broad Quay, and you can just about tell that there's still a main road running right across the middle of Queen Square in the distance.
The gate stands half-closed; presumably before the E and W sheds were converted into the cinemas, bars and restaurants of the Watershed and other publically-accessible attractions there was still some need to keep the (working) dockside a little more secure, and I'm guessing it might have been locked at night.
The gates are listed and have apparently been there since 1894.
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.
People know this as the "goat gully" these days, but the official name is Walcombe Slade. (So valleyish they named it twice, perhaps, as both "combe" and "slade" mean "valley".)