17 Mar 2021
The other day I realised (hello, Maggie!) that my next walk would be my hundredth, and that I'd done 393.4km so far. I figured it would be nice to get to 100 walks and 400km on the same walk, so I went for a nice long harbourside wander after work, rather than dashing out at lunchtime. As it turned out, we're just coming up to the time of year where I can leave the house at 5:30 in the evening and there's still just enough light to take photos by the time I've made it around the harbourside. Though only just, and mostly because I've got a full-frame camera that's not bad in low light...
Still, the evening light made a lovely change, and some of the photos turned out to be pretty good photos per se, rather than just record shots of my walk. I'm looking forward to more evening walks like this as summer approaches.
On the way around this evening I wandered through one of the oldest bits of the city to extend my walk and snapped some interesting bits of architecture, including an NCP car park(!) and a nighttime shot of one of my favourite subjects, the clock tower at the Albion dockyard.
William Friese-Greene (born William Edward Green, 7 September 1855 – 5 May 1921) was a prolific English inventor and professional photographer. He is principally known as a pioneer in the field of motion pictures, having devised a series of cameras in 1888–1891, with which he shot moving pictures in London. He went on to patent an early two-colour filming process in 1905. His inventions in the field of printing – including photo-typesetting and a method of printing without ink – brought him wealth, as did his chain of photographic studios. However, he spent everything he earned on inventing, went bankrupt three times and was jailed once, before dying in poverty.
This year there's apparently a year-long celebration of his life and work.
06 Jan 2021
The International Grotto Directory website says:
Prince’s Lane might have been one of the original ancient tracks from Hotwells to Clifton, in the Avon Gorge. The site later formed part of Rownham Woods which comprised some thirteen acres. By the end of the 18th century and the early 19th century, the Society of Merchant Venturers granted to Samuel Powell a building lease, for The Colonnade (1786), St. Vincent’s Parade (1790), Prince’s Buildings (1796), and Rock House. Rock House is generally considered to be the oldest surviving building associated with the Hotwell (see Chapter 20). John Power conveyed part of the woods to William Watts for the construction of Windsor Terrace (1790-1808).
The above development of the Avon Gorge cleared Rownham Woods, and created a triangle of land on the north side of the gorge, that became enclosed as a result, by Mansion Houses, whose garden walls all entered on to Prince’s Lane. The Lane started at the bottom of the gorge, at the base rock of Windsor Terrace, and came out half way up Sion Hill. It is clearly shown as a public footpath, dotted with trees, in Ashmead’s map of 1828. Some of the gardens were quite steep in parts and therefore, had to be terraced, because of the gradient of the gorge.
I've passed Prince's Lane literally thousands of times in my life, every time I've walked past the Avon Gorge Hotel, which itself started (in 1898) as the Grand Clifton Spa and Hydropathic Institution and pumped water up from the Hot Well for its hydropathic treatments. I've never actually ventured down it until today, or at least nothing like as far down it as I did this afternoon—I may have poked my head around the back of the hotel to see the original pump rooms at some point in the past.
This was a great wander, though it does very much feel like a private road, and frankly I may have been pushing my luck a bit by winding my way between the astoundingly big back gardens of the houses of some presumably very wealthy Cliftonites, but I felt vaguely justified in exploring the history of one of the oldest footpaths in my part of Bristol...
27 Oct 2020
One of the homes in Windsor Terrace went on the market for £2,000,000 a few years back. This is the closest I've been to it, right at the end of the private road. Presumably they're okay with people wandering down the road if there's a blue plaque to be seen at the far end?
Both the plaque to Edward St John Daniel and the other photo I took (in these early walks I was mostly walking, rather than mostly taking photographs) have interesting stories of a rise and fall associated with them in the first Google hits I found. Daniel was indeed the youngest recipient of the VC, but was stripped of the medal by Queen Victoria herself in 1861, following conviction for desertion and evading court martial. Lubetkin is probably most famous for designing the penguin pool at London Zoo, which was closed 17 years ago, after the micro-abrasions in the penguins' feet caused by the concrete led to them developing an infection with the charming name "bumblefoot".
Plaque to Edward St John Daniel, end of Windsor Terrace.
Designer of, among other things, the London Zoo penguin pool, and Highpoint, described by Corbusier as "This beautiful building .... at Highgate is an achievement of the first rank", and I like Corbusier's ideas, having read about them in How to Make a Home, I think, so that was what caught my eye on the Wikipedia page.
06 Nov 2020
It's surprisingly easy to overlook the giant Wesleyan Grenville Chapel—now converted into flats—if you've lived here a while. Other sights that seem to slip from my memory include the modest Ashton Avenue, a tidy terrace of little houses on a road that presumably gave its name to the Ashton Avenue bridge.
"Johnson is the first recorded serious collector of Lyme Regis fossils, active there from the early 1790s, and particularly deserves to be remembered" -- https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/Geoscientist/Archive/December-2008/A-saw-for-a-jaw
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.)
I'm not entirely clear how a Bristolian called Marjorie Watson-Williams ends up moving to Paris, changing her name to Paule Vézelay, and becoming a famous painter of the abstract school, but it must have been quite a fun ride, surely...
She returned to Bristol when war broke out and apparently spent the first few years in Rodney Place.
I was particularly intrigued by "MARIA EDGEWORTH his aunt visited here". It's this Maria Edgeworth, a prolific writer, apparently. "She was the second child of Richard Lovell Edgeworth (who eventually fathered 22 children by four wives)", so I imagine Thomas Beddoes had quite a few aunts...
12 Nov 2020
My goal is walk down every public road within a mile of me; sometimes it's not easy to tell what's public. I've passed the turning for Cornwallis Grove a thousand times, but never had a reason to venture down it, and although the street signs at the end seem to be council-deployed and I didn't spot any "private" signs, it's a gated road and definitely feels private.
Gathering all the white middle-class privilege I could muster, I wandered down and was rewarded with the sight of a Victorian pump, a statue of Jesus, and from the end of the road, a view of a private garden that once belonged to a private girls' school.
The Cornwallis House history page says:
In the early 20th century the house, together with Grove House, became a Catholic school, St Joseph’s High School for Girls. The Congregation of La Retraite took over the school in 1924, with the nuns living in Grove House while the schoolrooms were in Cornwallis House. The headmistress was Mother St Paul de la Croix (Sister Paula Yerby). By the 1970s La Retraite High School had around 700 pupils.
It closed in 1982 and the building was bought by Pearce Homes Ltd (now part of Crest Nicholson) who developed it into 21 flats. Grove House next door was bought by the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, and was later converted into flats in 2007.
Inspired by this plaque, I'm now (a couple of months later) about a third of the way through EH Young's Chatterton Square, set in a fictionalised Clifton called Upper Radstowe, whose eponymous square is based on Canynge Square.
14 Nov 2020
Awarded the prize, apparently, "for his development of the photographic method of studying nuclear processes and for the resulting discovery of the pion." So a fellow photographer, I suppose. I tend to favour larger targets, though.
21 Nov 2020
A trip up the hill to get my winter flu jab. I'm not sure I really needed it this year, what with avoiding Covid—I haven't had so much as a sniffle in more than a year—but seeing as they offered... Instead of the doctor's surgery on Pembroke Road, they'd taken over Christ Church, presumably to give more room and ventilation for the necessary social distancing at the moment. As usual, it was their typically efficient operation, and I was in and out in about three minutes.
On the way there and back I snapped as much as I could, but I wanted to be home in time for the first online Times Crossword Championship. As it turned out, I needn't have bothered, as the technology at the Times couldn't keep up with the demand from competitors, and their system just collapsed under the weight of page-views. They tried again the day after, and it collapsed just as badly. Maybe next year...
This wander is split into two parts, as I turned my tech off to go into Christ Church for my jab. The walk home can be found over here.
26 Nov 2020
I took the day off my day job to do my accounts—or at least do enough bookkeeping to send them to my accountant. I hate doing the books. I woke up late, tired and with a headache and decided to bunk off for a walk around Cliftonwood, Clifton Village and Clifton instead, taking in a couple of good coffees along the way. Thanks, Foliage Café, and Twelve for the flat whites.