07 Jan 2021
Which included a literal "local", the Pump House, to try out their shop/deli/cafe. A flat white, some apples and a New York Deli toastie. Eleven quid, mind, but the Pump House was never a cheap pub...
I enjoyed the fog, and wandering down a few more out-of-the-way back alleys and what-have-you on the Hotwell Road.
I'm thinking of getting up early and going for a morning walk tomorrow, weather-depending, but at the moment my motivation to do things like this seems to be much strong in the evenings when I'm just thinking about it rather than in the morning when I actually have to do it. But it's going to be cold, and low tide is quite early, so there's always a chance of getting some footage of the hot well actually being visibly hot; you never know...
Shame, I've never been on that side of the little inlet.
17 Jul 2021
Okay, not much in the way of actual pasture to be had in Bedminster these days, like most of Bristol, but I did take advantage of the current rather toasty weather in Bristol to go and sit under a tree in Greville Smyth Park to read a book for a while before firing up the GPS and taking a little detour around some back streets of Ashton and Bedminster rather than going straight to Coffee #1 for an espresso frappé. This is the first walk in a while where I've actually crossed off an entire new street (the frankly unexciting Carrington Road) as well as exploring a couple of back alleys, just because they were there, really. Along the way I spotted a few examples of graffiti of various qualities, including a live work-in-progress by SNUB23 on Ashton Road and the finished Six Sisters project on North Street.
With bonus transom. I thought I might have snapped the transom before, but I think I was thinking of this one.
According to Google Street View, a few years ago this was just a modest corner house. I imagine someone's made a tidy profit.
The little balcony there seems to have had increasing numbers of home comforts added over the last year or two. It's astroturfed, too... I suppose lockdowns make you try to use as much available space as possible, even if you are right next to the A4, and all the noise and traffic fumes that entails.
29 Apr 2021
Another quick excursion to Canon's Marsh, tempted back by Rod & Ruby's cannoli and flat white. This time I poked around some bits of the modern flats I'd not really experienced before, mused on the old gasworks, and headed back down the Hotwell Road, spotting a re-opening gallery and finishing off at the Adam & Eve, for which some locals are currently rushing to launch a bid to turn it into a community business rather than have a developer turn it into yet-more flats.
I was in a bouncy, positive mood, helped out by Life Without Buildings' Live at the Annandale Hotel album1. Note to self, though: the album is nearly an hour long, so if you hear the encore starting and you're still halfway down the Hotwell Road, you'll probably be late back from lunch...
1 That review's well worth a read. Music journalists tend to go extra-dreamy when trying to describe Sue Tompkins. See what I mean:
She circles her limber tongue-twisters, feints, and attacks from unexpected angles, dicing and rearranging them with the superhuman brio of an anime ninja and a telegraphic sense of lexical rhythm.
I'm sure when they were getting the idea of this place past the planning committee there was probably a higher ratio of public art to wheelie bins.
...don't like them.
So new it doesn't seem to be on Google or Bing Maps yet, at least on the actual map bit, this is the one new build that stands alongside the two historic-building-conversion jobs (Purifier House and Engine House) at Brandon Yard, basically the site of the old gasworks.
They were one of the last sites to be regenerated, after some failed attempts to turn them into offices, including by the Soil Association. I don't know much about what they do in a gasworks, but I heard that the ground was highly polluted and needed a lot of remedial work before anything new could be put there.
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...
This building is 1894, but commemorates the original Hot Well House down in actual Hotwells, built in 1694.
The house is apparently The Cottage, 2 Princes Lane, Bristol, and you could live in the area for years without any idea at all that it exists. It's small, it's ramshackle and it's weird and I, sadly, would never have a hope of affording it...
17 Feb 2021
The long road between Clifton Road and Park Place—the little triangle of grass in front of the Pro-Cathedral, which also houses Quinton House pub, the Park Launderette and Mr Swantons Barbers—is one I've travelled a lot, as it's a nice route between my place and the top of Park Street, especially Ocado. It has many names along the way, even though it feels like just one continuous road. It's York Place, Tottenham Place, Meridian Place and Bruton Place before it finally spits you out onto Park Place.
It was Meridian Place I was interested in today, as I wanted to explore the set of steps that lead down from it in the direction of Jacobs Wells Road. Turns out they lead to Meridian Vale and Meridian Mews, and come out between the Strangers Burial Ground and the Eldon House, opposite the entrance to Bellevue Terrace. I liked the little terrace on Meridian Vale, though they probably don't get a lot of light in the front windows, what with Meridian Place and Tottenham Place towering above them.
On the way back home I popped into the little lane behind Regent Street that houses the Chesterfield Hospital, as I realised I'd neglected that up until now. It was... unexciting.
Interesting! This seems to be a modern block of student flats around the back of the old Pro-Cathedral. I knew the Pro-Cathedral was student accommodation now, but I didn't know there was a gert big block of modern block behind it, too. It's well-hidden. Or I'm not very good at noticing things. One of the two.
Apparently the site is called Cathedral Park, houses 263 students, and comprises the converted cathedral, "a modern new-build and the Upper School building."
With steps down to Meridian Vale
I went to the end and back, but it felt a bit private for photos back there.
30 Nov 2020
I had to return a faulty AirPod Pro to Apple (there's a first-world problem!) so I just took a quick trip up the hill to the nearest UPS drop-off point, The Ten O'Clock Shop, which is famously open until 11pm. Unfortunately it's a fairly cramped little place and neither of the staff were wearing masks, so I made it a very quick drop indeed and got out of there as quickly as I could.
I grabbed a quick coffee from Can't Dance, a stall that's—as of yesterday—in a tiny converted cargo container on the edge of Victoria Square; up until this week they were running from a little trike parked in the same place. Hopefully the new premises will let them see out the winter without worrying quite so much about the weather.
I tried to fit in a few extra streets from the surrounding area on my there and back, but that was basically my wander today: a quick little shopping trip.
I used to wander through here as a shortcut, but it got fenced off a few years back
I'm not a great fan of their coffee, but that was based on a single try, so I should probably give them another go at some point. But there's so much coffee nearby that's pretty much guaranteed to be excellent—Twelve, Foliage, Spicer+Cole, to name but three—it's hard to take a chance.
20 Nov 2020
Just a quick wander up the hill to get a flat white from Twelve. I really enjoyed the spooky mannequin (?) in the window.
At the back of the defunct WH Smith
The one nearest is an AirB&B-style rental and looks lovely inside. This is the kind of quirkiness I might aspire to.
A more traditional spiderweb fanlight just along the road
From what I can work out, this terrace that starts in the road called Richmond Terrace itself continues around the corners to Clifton Road and here, Queens Road, while still being called Richmond Terrace.
This frontage on Queens Road, just down from where Twentiety Century Flicks used to be housed, has always looked run-down, and it's only getting worse.
01 Feb 2021
I just wanted to get some exercise, really, so I set out to knock off the lower bit of Jacobs Wells Road that I'd not managed to walk up yet. I set the new signboard that the community association had had erected as my destination, after reading about it on their blog.
As it turned out, I couldn't even read it, as the building that houses the actual Jacob's Well had water flooding out onto the pavement. I wonder if it was actual Jacob's Well water? Have the soles of my walking shoes been mystically blessed now?
You can't see much of the flood in the photos I snapped, but I did shoot a little video, too. Ed on Twitter said:
I spoke to the seller at the time with a view to buying it - I mentioned an old friend who grew up nearby remembers it flooding regularly. He swore blind my friend was wrong.
Laundry room? I took a guess at that and googled it and apparently there is "a useful communal laundry room", so it seems likely.
Sandwiched between residences, the Brandon Free Methodist Church is now also, of course, residential. In its time it's been "a Buddhist Centre, a martial arts school, and Bristol Society of Magic."
I knew I'd taken a photo here before, but I couldn't remember for the life of me if I'd actually walked up it. Didn't have time to explore today.
Main entrance to Queen Elizabeth's Hospital. One of those buildings that's easier to take photos of from significantly further away.
17 Oct 2021
For the first time in a while, I had the time and energy to go further afield and knock off some new roads from my "to do" list. I headed through the first Hotwells Festival to Ashton and Bedminster to cross off a few of the suburban roads south of North Street.
First, though, I decided to try to reproduce an old photo of the now-demolished Rownham Hotel just around the corner from where I live...
It's hard to pass these without taking a snap, especially while they're so fresh and new.
Named after Gerald Durrell, who used to live at no. 23, of course.
I'm joking, sorry.
I presume a foxcote is like a dovecote, only for foxes. Nice to imagine them all there in their array of little foxholes.
Well, ARE YOU!?
An oddity on Raleigh Road.
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.
There are yet more plans to turn this pub into yet more flats. I heard from a few different people that the owner has a habit of renting it to people but making them responsible for repairs, which normally turns out to be a bad deal for them as the place is falling apart. Of course, I've only heard that side of the story from the renters. I've experienced it in a few different forms, and in some of them it was a truly excellent local pub.
I've walked along the Hotwell Road on the other side of this wall a thousand times—possibly ten thousand. Never seen this side of it before.
A lot of folks aren't fans of the architecture at Poole's Wharf, but I'd love to live in one of these houses.
I hope Romany and Chaz are doing okay. I had cakes here as part of my 40th birthday celebrations, followed by a cruise in the Bristol Packet boat Bagheera.
It never look that reputable, even when it was a going concern. Converted to flats in 2001, according to the excellent resource Bristol's Lost Pubs.
I have no idea what this is, but for some reason I feel like I should
I think it was a quite well-used commercial garage and MOT centre, but as usual I may be being an unreliable narrator.