09 Nov 2020
I like The Paragon as a terrace, especially the bowed porches. On the other side of the road, a house attic has a stone lion surrounded by rocaille leaves, according to its listing.
I also love the detail of the arrows in the wrought iron of The Mall's balconies. Today I discovered Westfield place, a road I'd never encountered that runs up to the rear of the Coronation Tap. (It's a famous local cider pub, but I've only been in a couple of times. I'm more of a beer man.)
...but I always forget they're closed on Monday and Tuesday.
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.
04 Dec 2020
I tried to find the Strangers' Burial Ground the last time was up in Clifton, but I'd not realised that Lower Clifton Hill continues further on after the turning with Constitution Hill. Sadly it was chained shut, but it still looks beautifully-maintained, perhaps by the same man referenced by this story from John Hodgson, which helped me find it. Apparently Thomas Beddoes is buried here.
I bought a vintage post card from eBay this week. It's a well-known photo of the Hotwells landing stage, showing what's likely to be a P&A Campbell paddle steamer moored there. (Just yesterday I snapped a photo of their buoy on display at Underfall Yard with its information sign.) It was posted from here to Canada in 1936, and has now returned via a presumably quite circuitous route.
For tens of thousands of people, the pier at Hotwells was the starting point of their day trip as they boarded steamers with names like Glen Avon, Glen Usk and Britannia. The salty tang of the sea was never far away as the steamers headed for Ilfracombe, Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead on the Devon and Somerset coast and Barry, Porthcawl and Tenby in South Wales.
The landing stage is long-abandoned. A variety of economic issues, including fuel prices, the increasing prevalence of the motor car, the construction of the Severn Crossing giving easier access to Wales, and the collapse of Clevedon Pier during safety testing in 1970, which prevented larger pleasure boats from stopping at the resort, all led to dwindling trade.
I went to have a poke about there today, not staying for long as it's a cold day and the wind was biting. I couldn't reproduce the postcard's view—you'd need to risk life, limb and presumably a trespass prosecution—but I did try to judge the rough viewpoint and angle of the photo by lining up with Rock House, the Colonnade and the Suspension Bridge and snapped a photo looking back to where the original photographer would have stood on the pontoon.
This Bristol City Docks history page has many good photos of the landing stage and the nearby Port and Pier Railway line (whose tunnel I was in the other day) and the Hotwells Halt railway station, which was just the other side of the suspension bridge from here.
Well, I think that's what it says.
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
18 Mar 2021
Reproducing historical photos seems to be a developing interest for me. On today's wander I just went for my normal coffee at Imagine That, but along the way I stopped at Baltic Wharf (the modern housing estate; historically-speaking, I was probably in between Canada Wharf and Gefle Wharf—about here, in fact) to reproduce a 1930s photo of the Mardyke area from the Tarring collection.
Mardyke, from what I can work out, means "a ditch along the margins". Before my researches, I only really knew the name from the Mardyke pub, a big place on the Hotwell Road. Everyone knows the Mardyke, partly because of its size and signage, but I've only been in once or twice, too long ago to remember much of what it was like. However, the wharf there used to be known as Mardyke Wharf, and the area in general as Mardyke. (I just found an 1826 painting by Thomas Leeson Rowbotham of "Mardyke seen from near Hilhouse's Dock, showing the 'Clifton Ark' floating chapel" that shows the area before much development had happened, incidentally, and now I feel like I need to find out a bit more about the floating chapel...)
I enjoyed snapping the "after" photo; the process involved moving a group of swans out of the place I needed to stand to get the photo; luckily I've started carrying waterfowl food along with my on my harbourside jaunts, so I could use bribery rather than a more confrontational approach. Not sure I'd fancy my chances against a swan, though I did once team up with another passerby to shoo a recalcitrant one off the Redcliffe bascule bridge so a busful of commuters could continue their journey to work...
20 Mar 2021
My friend Lisa was meeting another friend for a walk near the suspension bridge, so we fitted in a quick harbourside loop from my place first. We discussed gardening (we're both envious of the gardening skills of the Pooles Wharf residents; we can just about keep herbs alive, whereas they're growing heartily-fruiting lemon trees outdoors in England along with everything from bonsai to magnolias), cafes, work and architecture, among other things.
I got interested in Bristol's medieval water supplies after poking around near Jacobs Wells Road and Brandon Hill. It was during that research I found out about a pipe that's still there today, and, as far as I know, still actually functioning, that was originally commissioned by Carmelite monks in the 13th century. They wanted a supply of spring water from Brandon Hill to their priory on the site of what's now the Bristol Beacon—Colston Hall, as-was. It was created around 1267, and later, in 1376, extended generously with an extra "feather" pipe to St John's On The Wall, giving the pipework its modern name of "St John's Conduit".
St John's on the Wall is still there, guarding the remaining city gate at the end of Broad Street, and the outlet tap area was recently refurbished. It doesn't run continuously now, like it did when I first moved to Bristol and worked at the end of Broad Street, in the Everard Building, but I believe the pipe still functions. One day I'd like to see that tap running...
There are a few links on the web about the pipe, but by far the best thing to do is to watch this short and fascinating 1970s TV documentary called The Hidden Source, which has some footage of the actual pipe and also lots of fantastic general footage of Bristol in the seventies.
On my walk today I was actually just going to the building society in town, but I decided to trace some of the route of the Carmelite pipe, including visiting streets it runs under, like Park Street, Christmas Street, and, of course, Pipe Lane. I also went a bit out of my way to check out St James' Priory, the oldest building in Bristol, seeing as it was just around the corner from the building society.
There are far too many pictures from this walk, and my feet are now quite sore, because it was a long one. But I enjoyed it.
20th Century Flicks were an established video rental shop up in Clifton, conveniently next to the University of Bristol Student Union, when I moved to Hotwells in 1999. They moved to Christmas Steps a few years back, and are still, amazingly, in business.
I'd guess they survive by having an immense stock of films (20,000 available for hire), great expertise, and a high-density local student population.
10 Apr 2021
There's a bit of Southville that I've been meaning to get to for some time, where the streets seem to take some strong inspiration from London. There's a Camden Road that crosses with an Islington Road, and a Dalston Road, even an Edgeware Road. For me these names are more evocative than the rather more exotic names I passed by to get there—Sydney Row or Hanover Place, say, because I've actually been to the places in London. The last time I was in Islington I saw Monkey Swallows the Universe play at The Angel, and I can't think of Camden without remembering a gondola trip with my friend Tara where a cheery youth played Beatles music for us on a saz...
I really liked this little area, with its mostly well-kept pretty houses and hints here and there of the creative side of the residents. It's arty and down-to-earth at the same time, and I wouldn't mind living there, I think.
On the way there I got the chance to walk through Underfall Yard for the first time in a while, and on the way back I had my first take-away hot food for many months, grabbing some crispy fried squid from the excellent Woky Ko at Wapping Wharf.
Er... I'll try.
14 Apr 2021
Apart from a lovely coffee and a slice of Victoria sponge from Twelve, there weren't any new sights on this little lunchtime jaunt except for a slightly better look at the long raised extension at the back of the St Vincent's Rocks Hotel, where I at least got to see the arches it's raised up on. I also got a fair bit of exercise by walking up the Zig Zag to get there, and saw far more people out than I have in months, what with the lockdown having just been significantly lifted. As I walked past The Mall pub they were turning people away from their already-full garden, and the (outdoor) cafe tables were pretty full up.
The 12th of April sign at Twelve, 12 Kings Road.