21 Dec 2021
The recent lack of posts here is mostly due to my feeling very run down following having a couple of wisdom teeth extracted. Having had an emergency appointment yesterday1, hopefully I'll be on the mend now, though it does mean I'm on the kind of antibiotics where you can't touch alcohol for the whole of the Christmas period. I have tried to keep myself a little distracted from the pain by working on the nuts and bolts of this website—you should notice that the front page loads rather faster now than it used to, and that there's a shiny new statistics page that I'll probably be continuing to work on. Oh, and you should find that the tags below the photos are now clickable and will take you to a page of all other wanders that have photos with the same tag.
Today I felt like I needed to drag myself out of the house, but I didn't want to go too far, and I needed to get to the Post Office up in Clifton Village to post a Christmas card (spoiler for my parents: it's going to be late. Sorry.) As luck would have it, idly looking at the map I spotted that I'd missed off a section of Burwalls Road in the past, and that's basically one of the long-ways-round to Clifton Village, crossing the river to Rownham and walking up the hill on the Somerset side before coming back across the Suspension Bridge.
As I was heading for Burwalls Road I decided to make Burwalls itself the focal point of the walk, but unfortunately the mansion grounds are private and the place is hard to snap. Still, at least it gave me a destination. Burwalls was the mansion built by Bristol press magnate Joseph Leech, who I've mentioned before after buying a vintage book he wrote on a previous wander. There's a good article about the house on House and Heritage which has some photos from angles I couldn't ever get to. (Well, maybe with a drone, but it seems like the kind of area where they may be kitted out for clay pigeon shooting, so I probably wouldn't risk it.)
1 My dentist admitted that she probably needed to keep her internal monologue a bit more internal after we started the appointment with her staring into my mouth and immediately saying, "oh, that's weird." These are words one doesn't want to hear from a medical professional.
It's lovely backing paper, but a bit bare. Not so much to advertise in the current climate, I suppose.
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.
A long ramble, starting with trying to find the Hot Well of Hotwells and leading up the side of the Avon Gorge to the Downs and then through Clifton for coffee.
10 Jan 2021
Went for a wander with my friend Lisa—the current lockdown rules seem to be that one local walk for exercise per day with a maximum of one person not in one's "bubble" is fine—up to the University of Bristol area right at the edge of my one-mile perimeter to see the Jeppe Hein Mirror Maze, among other things. On the way we mused about Merchant Venturers, the slave and tobacco trades, and dating in the time of Covid.
24 Jan 2021
I started this wander with my "support bubble" Sarah and Vik, after Sarah texted me to say "SNOW!" We parted ways on the towpath and I headed up into the bit of Leigh Woods that's not actually the woods—the village-like part in between Leigh Woods and Ashton Court, where I'd noticed on a map a church I'd not seen before. I found St Mary the Virgin and quite a few other things I'd never experienced, despite having walked nearby them many, many times over many years, including a castellated Victorian water tower that's been turned into a house...
01 May 2021
I didn't get to all the little leftover streets around the northeastern part of my area in today's wander, but I definitely knocked a few off the list, plus Lisa and I enjoyed the walk, and didn't get rained on too badly. We spotted the hotting-up of Wisteria season, checked out Birdcage Walk (both old and new), ventured onto the wrong side of the tracks1 and generally enjoyed the architecture.
1 Well, technically we probably shouldn't have been on the grounds of those retirement flats, but nobody started chasing us around the garden with a Zimmer frame
Formerly The Church of St Mary the Virgin, this is now a rather more modern evangelical place.
08 Aug 2021
This was a wide-ranging wander. I started off crossing the river to Bedminster, to walk a single little cul-de-sac, Hardy Avenue, that I'd managed to miss on at least one previous walk. Then, pausing only to explore a few back alleyways, I headed for a few destinations related mostly by the Hughes family, who I've been researching a little as part of background for a possible novel, as several of them were involved in the Stella Matutina.
However, mostly it's the artistic side of the family I wanted to explore today, as that's where most of their public history lies (as you might expect, there's often not much in the public record about the workings of an occult organisation.) First I visited College Green, where the façade of the Catch 22 Fish & Chip shop still bears the work of Catherine Edith Hughes. Then I wandered up to the top of Park Street to pop into the Clifton Arts Club's annual exhibition, as Catherine, her half-brother Donald, his wife Hope and at least two other Hugheses were members. Donald was chairman for 40 solid years; Hope was Secretary for eight, and Ellard and Margaret Hughes, two more Hughes siblings, were members along with Catherine.
Finally I walked home with a small diversion to Berkeley Square, to confirm the location of Donald Hughes's house by checking for a particular plaque by the front door.
I must admit I'm not entirely sure where all this research is really leading me, but I'm finding it quite interesting to bump across the faint lines of history that link the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888, to modern, quotidian Bristol.