03 Nov 2020
A very local exploration today, but there are still bits of the near field that I never need to walk down, so it didn't take me long to find somewhere I haven't been in a decade or more, the little enclave of smaller Victorian houses around Oldfield Road and Sandford Road. I'd really like to live in one of those houses, but I doubt I could afford it.
06 Feb 2021
A lovely walk in the early spring sunshine with my friend Lisa. We headed directly for Jacobs Wells Road, to start off around the scene of one of our earlier walks, but this time took in Jacobs Wells from QEH upward, stopping to snap some photos of a Bear With Me, some interesting areas between Park Street and Brandon Hill including a peculiarly quiet enclave with a ruined old build I'd never found before, then crossed the Centre to grab take-away pies from Pieminister (I had the Heidi Pie) and head back to my place down the harbourside.
15 Feb 2021
I've noticed Oxford Place as a tiny little side/back road I've overlooked on my wanders a few times. Today I decided to pop down and have a look, as well as taking a few general snaps of Princess Victoria Street, which I thought deserved more pictures, as it's basically my closest decent shops, and in the Beforetimes I'd visit the Co-Op up there all the time, as well as the cafes (you'll be missed, Clifton Village branch of Boston Tea Party, recently closed in favour of Eat a Pitta.)
I'm definitely becoming more familiar with the area through the One Mile Matt jaunts and associated reading. Today I didn't just think, "oh, I'll head home down that weird alleyway with the electrical substation in it"—no, I thought, "I'll head home down Hanover Lane", because I actually knew its name. And on the way back from there I nodded sagely to myself as I passed St Vincent's Road, knowing now which St Vincent it's likely to be (St Vincent of Saragossa) and also eyed up the modern flats on Clifton Vale and wondered if they might have been built on the site of the former Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens... I don't know all the answers, but at least I have some idea of the historical questions I'm interested in.
Tempting to put a tiny sign up in between to claim a name for the 20cm of road in between the signs.
14 Mar 2021
An enormous walk today, or at least it felt enormous. My feet are sore, anyway. I started off recreating a couple of local historical photos in Hotwells, but then headed for my traditional walk along the towpath in the Avon Gorge to the far extreme of Leigh Woods, up and through the woods to the height of the Suspension Bridge, finally crossing into Clifton Village for a well-deserved vanilla latte.
I say "traditional" because this used to be a very regular route for me, first walking, years and years ago, and later jogging—this route combined with a circuit of the Downs on the other side used to be my way of making sure I was fit to do a half-marathon (I did six of them in total, between 2010 and 2014).
I miss the routine of this walk, even though it's a long way and it used to pretty much wipe me out when I did it—I'd come back home and collapse and do very little for the rest of the day. But perhaps that's what Sundays are for, and I should try to remember that.
Doing this walk regularly was quite a meditative experience. Not so much of that today, but once I got to the further extreme of the towpath, where the roar of the Portway traffic on the other side of the river dwindles and I turned into Leigh Woods to climb ever closer to birdsong and further from rushing cars, I did seem to recapture a little of the feeling of previous walks. (I would say my mind cleared, but I was mentally singing along to Life Without Buildings' The Leanover for most of the wander. There are worse songs to have stuck in one's head, though; it's a great track...)
Anyway. Apparently the walk made me more likely to ramble in words, too. I'll stop now :)
Sadly closed for lockdown at the moment, of course. Hopefully they'll weather the storm, because it's a great little pub and it's been there since at least 1847.
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
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.
I don't spend a lot of time in pubs, but if I had to choose a "local", this is the one I would choose. Welcoming, interesting, and often to be found with a nice fire burning in the winter. After the last time some fool drove their car through the front wall (this bend on the Hotwell Road appears to be a magnet for bad drivers), the boarding up was decorated with the bonnet badge of the offending vehicle, a Toyota, if I remember correctly.