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 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...
16 Nov 2020
A quick lunchtime jaunt to Dowry Square, which is very close to me but, being effectively a cul-de-sac as well as a square, I've probably only circumnavigated a couple of times in the last couple of decades.
I daresay if you look around the pavements nearby you'll find some evidence of people still enjoying the effects of nitrous oxide. #whippets
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.
Another place that wasn't there in Fanny Burney's time—Evelina visits the Hot Well and Pump Rooms, but this would have been the original building down on the bank of the Avon below, long before the upper pump room or the funicular railway from here, next to the Avon Gorge hotel, that linked to the Portway below, existed.
In the novel Evelina in fact stayed in Hotwells, from what I can work out, rather than Clifton, as getting from Clifton to the Hot Well itself every day would have been too much travelling at the time.
13 Dec 2020
A long walk around Cliftonwood and Clifton with my friend Lisa, taking in some of the 12 Days of Christmas display at Queens Parade, picking up a take-away coffee from Pinkmans of Park Street, and poking our heads up against the glass of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Cathedral.
14 Dec 2020
The lunchtime walk has been feeling a bit of a chore lately, especially as I only have an hour and have to keep a mental watch out for my "bingo" point or risk being late back. Today I went for a deliberately brief local walk and got home in time to have lunch on my sofa rather than while I was back at work.
It's interesting filling in the gaps in my Clifton Village knowledge, especially starting to "see" the bits I can't see, the negative spaces. The size of both Fosseway Court and the Bishop's House gardens (check out the latter on Google Maps for an idea) are both something I've noticed by just getting to know the areas around them. I may also have to walk into the driveway of the very well-hidden Nuffield hospital to get an idea of how big it is.
None of those are anything compared to the trick of hiding the gargantuan public school that is Queen Elizabeth's Hospital so well that I keep on forgetting it's there, until a glimpse of it from somewhere like Lower Clifton Hill reminds me about it, of course...
I'd only heard of the Siege of Lucknow through cryptic crosswords. Don't @ me, I'm not a historian.
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.
05 Nov 2021
I did do a much longer wander earlier in the week, but that'll take me some time to process (and cast a plethora of photos into the "out-takes" pile!) In the meantime, here's my lunchtime jaunt, taken to give myself a break from doing the company bookkeeping to send to my accountant so the taxman doesn't sling me in chokey.
I've recently bought a slightly creased secondhand copy of Redcliffe Press's 1992 collection of Samuel Loxton drawings, Loxton's Bristol: The city's Edwardian years in black and white. It's a nice selection of Bristol Library's collection of the drawings. I'd noticed a drawing of 25 Royal York Crescent, a house I pass quite often, so I thought I'd wander up the crescent on the way to pick up some lunch and try to reproduce it.
On the way back I took a few photos of Clifton Hill Bank as the crowdfunder to make quite a lot of it into a wildflower meadow has just hit its target, so I figured some "before" shots might be a good investment for the future...
Loxton drawing from Bristol Library collection via Loxton's Bristol, Redcliffe Press, 1995 ISBN 1 872971 86 5.
I was just about starting to feel better—the antibiotics seemed to have kicked in for my dental issues, and it had been some days since I'd left the house, and I was at last starting to get itchy feet. So, a wander. But where? Well, there were a few industrial bits near Winterstoke Road in the Ashton/Ashton Vale areas of Bristol that needed walking. I knew they were likely to be quite, well, unattractive, frankly. So why not do them while I wasn't feeling exactly 100% myself? Maybe it would fit my mood. Hopefully you're also in the mood for a bit of post-industrial wasteland, for that's what some of this feels like...
Then, at the last minute, I thought again about the Bristol International Exhibition—I've got a book about it on the way now—and that gave me another goal, which could just about be said to be in the same direction, and I decided to walk significantly further than my normal 1-mile limit and try recreating another historical photo...
Sadly I don't know much about the Ashton area; it's just on the edges of my mile and I rarely have cause to go there. It's brimming with history, I'm sure: the whole South Bristol area rapidly developed from farmland to coal mines to factories to its current interesting mixture of suburbs and industrial work over the last few hundred years. As a more working class area less attention was paid to it by historians, at least historically-speaking, than the Georgian heights of Clifton, and much of it has been knocked down and reinvented rather than listed and preserved. I see here and there some of this lack is being addressed, but I'm afraid I'll be very light on the history myself on this wander, as most of my usual sources aren't throwing up their normal reams of information as when I point them at Clifton, Hotwells or the old city.
12 Mar 2022
There's a few tracks in Leigh Woods that lie within my mile and show up on my map but that I've not walked yet, so I decided to take one of my traditional big long walks through the woods on this nice crisp sunny morning.
For years—decades, even—I've been doing a similar route from my place, along the towpath to the far woods entrance, up the hill for a varied walk on one of the marked tracks and then across the Suspension Bridge to Clifton Village for a coffee-based reward. It's my default "long walk", really, and I almost always enjoy it. Today, at last, spring actually seemed to be springing, which made for some extra positivity...
"Swing bridge machinery by Sir William Arrol & Co. Ltd": Sir William was knighted for his commitment to his work on both the Forth Bridge and the replacement Tay Bridge, erected following the loss of the previous bridge in the great Tay Bridge Disaster. He was also responsible for knocking up some other little bridges around the country, like london's Tower Bridge, to pick an example...
My friend Sarah made a podcast episode about Sylvia Crowe (credited bottom right on the plaque) and her development of the landscape in this area, with Wendy Tippett, a local landscape architect. It's a great listen if you're familiar with the area, and explains all sorts of things, including the PPILA after Sylvia Crowe's name on the plaque: Past President, Institute of Landscape Artists.