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.
07 Dec 2020
I realised that if Hopper Coffee in Greville Smyth Park was in reach during my lunch hour, then perhaps Mark's Bread at the end of North Street would be do-able, too. And I was right. I also managed to cross Clift Road, with its pretty gable bargeboards, off my list, and encounter a dapper gent walking his dogs while playing loud jazz music from somewhere under his jacket. That's North Street for you.
01 Jan 2021
I wandered along the gorge today and found the entrance to the disused Portnalls Number 1 railway tunnel of the Bristol Port Railway and Pier. The door was unlocked, but as soon as I opened it I felt a sense of current habitation and decided discretion was the best option. There's a lot of people homeless in Bristol at the moment, and they don't need disturbing. For the same reason, I've omitted posting some pictures of a little encampment somewhat off the beaten track of the new Zig Zag, where I reversed direction as soon as I realised I'd come across a current habitation of some sort.
Up in Clifton it took me a little while to work out that the picture of the Promenade I was trying to reproduce was taken from the viewpoint I'd thought, it was just that the Alderman's fountain was moved from the top of Bridge Valley Road to the other side of the promenade in 1987, so trying to use it as my initial landmark wasn't very helpful!
Finally I swung past the Society of Merchant Venturers, who presumably still own most of Clifton, having bought the entire manor, including Clifton Down, in 1676, and I imagine aren't in much danger of running out of money. That's true to their motto: indocilis pauperiem pati is apparently from the Odes of Horace, and translates as "will not learn to endure poverty"...
This postcard is from somewhere between 1900 and 1920, courtesy of the Historic England archive.
This is the view I was trying to recreate -- note that the Alderman Proctor's Drinking Fountain is now on the other side of the promenade (see my photo, next), having been re-sited in 1988 after apparently causing problems for the traffic at the top of Bridge Valley Road.
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.
18 Feb 2021
Really just a quick loop of the Cumberland Basin. I was going to go further, and it was a nice early spring day, but I hadn't slept that well and I wasn't really in the mood. Ah well. Not every walk is great. At least I got out of the house for a bit.
C3PO's more hyperactive brother.
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.
I headed to Bedminster to do a crossword with my support bubble today. On the way I delved into a couple of bits of Hotwells history, first of all snapping a "now" shot to go with a historical photo of Holy Trinity I happened across recently, and second of all to snap the Britannia Buildings.
The Britannia Buildings are a little strip of offices on a corner of the Hotwell Road. They've mostly been the headquarters of a cleaning company for years, but I've often wondered what this distinctive curve of offices, its ground floor standing proudly out from the upper floors, used to be. Well, after my last wander, where I poked about the landing stage just down the road, I found out! Researching the paddleboat company P&A Campbell I came across this nugget in The A-Z of Curious Bristol, by Maurice Fells (£):
The firm of P & A Campbell was the main steamer operator in the Bristol Channel, with its local headquarters in offices close to the Hotwells pier and overlooking the harbour at the Cumberland Basin. Campbell's named their offices Britannia Buildings, after one of the ships in their White Funnel Fleet.
So! Turns out the Britannia Buildings were named after a paddle steamer—you can see some pictures of Britannia here.
In related news, I've now bought three of Maurice Fells' local history books, and they were hand-delivered by the author on Sunday, a half-hour after I ordered them online (through a message exchange on Nextdoor!) Not even Amazon Prime has managed to deliver me anything that quickly...
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