19 Apr 2021
Just a quick errand to the Post Office to send off Mollog's Mob, but afterwards I bought a flat white and a new plant from Foliage Cafe and headed for The Mall Gardens to enjoy sitting in the sun and reading a book on the first day this year that's been properly warm enough for it. Nice.
The Mall Gardens does actually have some signs up letting people know it's a public garden, but I think it was only my researches for this project that brought the number of public gardens there are in Clifton to my attention, and reminded me that I could make use of this space in Clifton Village, a little closer to the coffee shops and a little more sheltered than Clifton Down.
Hard to capture how nice this big magnolia in the Cornwallis Crescent back garden is on camera.
I did. It was a good bench.
With the neoclassical frontage of The Clifton Club (originally an assembly rooms) looking posh at the back.
I've been reading Adam Hall's books for many, many years. It's mostly his Quiller books, but I do have Bury Him Among Kings, about a World War I soldier, on my "incoming" shelf at the moment...
03 Jul 2021
I was headed into town to return RA Gilbert's biography of AE Waite to the library and along the way I noticed that Dreadnought had finished their refurbishment, but wouldn't be open until midday. That left me some time to kill, so I bimbled around the old St Augustine's/Gaunt's area for a while, then headed up Park Street for a coffee and a snack to eat on Brandon Hill before heading home the way I'd came so I could pop in and buy a pamphlet on the Hot Well I'd been interested in for a while.
I thought, if anyone was looking at this from the future, they might be interesting in comparing the size of the tree as it is now...
According to the listing, this plot has:
PLANNING GRANTED to erect a DETACHED MEWS HOUSE ( 1743 Sq Ft ) with GARAGE and courtyard garden.
Looks a bit of a tight fit, but it's a nice location and there are very few small whole houses in my neighbourhood, especially not modern ones. Round here it's mostly grand old Georgian stock that's been chopped up into flats, and even the "modern" blocks are getting on a bit.
Location-wise it might be a fair bit noisier than my place, because it's closer to the Hotwell Road and would also instantly become the closest house to Hotwells Primary's playground. On the other hand, unlike my listed building, you'd actually be able to have double glazing and there wouldn't be any immediate neighbours on any side...
I'll be interested to see what the price is like when it eventually gets built.
Up until recently it was just used as an off-street parking spot and always looked rather run-down, so I'm generally in favour of replacing it with a small house.
These nearest houses were originally called Chapel Row; they're an extension of the western end of Dowry Square, built 1725-1727. Most of the houses in this area were built from the 1720s onwards as the popularity of the Hot Well caused a demand for lodging space closer than College Green, where people generally stayed before.
Number 262 here, the closest, is presumably owned by the same people who own the little plot of ground that's for sale, given that it's basically at the end of their back garden.
It was called Chapel Row because a chapel used to stand in the middle of this terrace, long before Carrick House was built at the far end.
On the ever-helpful Church Crawler you can see some pictures of the original chapel Dowry Chapel, and its successor, St-Andrew-the-Less. St Andrew (-the-Greater) was of course St Andrew's in Clifton Village.
Pevsner apparently said of St-Andrew-the-Less:
is an unforgiveable crime against the architecture of Dowry Square and chapel Row. Of no value either in its own Gothic forms. The spire is particularly nasty.
Personally, I thought it looked rather nice, but I'm used to Bristol's jumbletechture. It definitely lasted until c. 1963 as there's a picture of it around then (in the background of the devastation wrought by the demolition to clear the way for the Cumberland Basin Flyover System) in Hotwells - Spa to Pantomime.
A protest was starting to form on College Green on my way past. As well as this one, there was also a Kill the Bill march that closed the M32 followed by "delirious" England fans having a mass celebration in the city centre, so I'm glad I wandered home pretty early. I wouldn't fancy being the Bristol Waste cleaning team as I write this, on Sunday morning...
When a samba band turns up, I leave. Several of my friends have greatly enjoyed performing in samba bands, and I find virtually everything about them makes me want to run in the opposite direction.
23 Feb 2021
Just a quick trip to knock off a path or two on Clifton Down. I'm not actually convinced I walked down the paths I was hoping to, but I suppose I'll see once I upload this and look at it on the map :)
Today's highlight turned out to be retrospective—looking up Gertrude Hermes' amazing wood engravings when I got home. (By complete coincidence, I was trying to discover the location of the Stella Matutina's former Hermes Lodge in Bristol as part of my researches last night...)
I rather like this tall, thin building. I'm guessing it's a leftover terrace-end from after the Bristol Blitz or similar.
Could you get much more funerary?
02 Mar 2021
A quick wander up to Clifton Village to wander down a path or two either around Observatory Road that I'd missed out previously. On the way around I took a moment to take in the incongruous 11 Windsor Terrace, smiled at a couple of mounted police, stopped to smell the crocuses, grabbed a coffee in Foliage and came home through the Polygon accompanied by the delightful Spring sound of a woodchipper running at full blast. Nice.
A bit of context.
If the half on the right were there on its own, it would probably look fine. As it is, it seems to be being shown up by the more-recently-cleaned half on the left.
28 May 2021
Another dash to Greville Smyth Park for a coffee from Rich at Hopper, but at least this time I managed to divert a bit and knock off a small section of Cumberland Road I'd managed to miss on previous excursions. Along the way I muse on a strange residence in between a warehouse and a tannery, and wonder if the Mayor might be deliberately letting the Cumberland Road Flyover area go to seed...
That's going to take them a while.
Perched between the C Bond and the Thomas Ware tannery, I've always been curious about this odd residence with its tall mansards and unusual layout. It is, apparently, 8 and 9 Clift House Road. If it wasn't for the big busy route in front it could be in the middle of the countryside, really.
I imagine having that both the road and the tannery—operating since 1840 and still going strong, apparently—rather detracts from property value, but perhaps it's actually owned by the tanners and tenanted by people who are used to the smell anyway...
This is the bit of Coronation Road I came to wander down specifically, one of the little bits of road I'd missed on previous walks. It features the same nice Victorian terraces as much of the rest of Bedminster, including individual house names. I imagine the constant traffic reduces the appeal of this stretch, though.
21 Aug 2021
Lisa and I mostly went out to have a look at Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon as its tour hit Bristol Cathedral—I missed it when it was previously in town, at Wills Hall, I think—but we also took a trek up to Redland. Lisa's kind enough to indulge my strange current fascination with the Edwardian eccentrics that made up the Stella Matutina, so we swung by a couple of places with a vague connection to the Bristol branch of the organisation. Well, it was good walking, anyway...
As a stunning bonus, one of the picture's descriptions has more information than you'd probably want on the Bristol Port Railway and Pier's Clifton Extension Railway line, but I did happen to coincidentally write up this wander after reading about the extension line during my lunch hour at work today. It's a thrilling life, I tell you...
I love the affordances we humans make in our walls for venerable trees.
Formerly a house, now a nurses' home, according to Historic England. Seems to add up, as it appears to now be on the grounds of the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, which is "being used as the student health service for Bristol University"
On the left of the door is the service wing, apparently. It's a sprawling old place, and seems very awkwardly shoehorned into this corner. It looks from old maps like it was backing onto a quarry for a while, before that was filled in and the homeopathic hospital was built there.
There's a reason we swung by.
Yes, I'm back on the magical research. According to RA Gilbert's Golden Dawn Companion, this was one of the meeting places of the Hermes Temple of the Stella Matutina. I'm guessing one of the members lived there, but I'm not sure who. I'd probably need to cross-check the census records with the membership rolls, and the latter are quite patchy, anyway.
I was surprised to find that "thank-offering" is actually in Chambers' dictionary, and not at all surprised to find it means exactly what you'd expect.
The inscription is from Psalm 114:
Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.
Cotham House seems to make more architectural sense from the back. Maybe this was originally the front?
There's actually a Hotwells connection here, fairly literally. This section of track, from Ashley Hill, Montpellier, Redland, this bit right here, then Clifton Down and through a tunnel under the Downs to Sneyd Park Junction and Sea Mills station, was built as the Bristol Port Railway extension line, the Clifton Extension Railway.
The original Bristol Port Railway and Pier connected Hotwells to a deep-water pier at Avonmouth (with a few stations along the way) avoiding the need to have ships wait for the right tide to come into Bristol to unload. We've previously been inside one of its tunnels.
It was also used by plenty of passengers—during WWI an extra platform was added in Hotwells to cope with the sheer number of Bristolians commuting to the docks and munitions factories daily as part of the war effort, as well as troop movements and incoming wounded on hospital trains.
Later on this isolated Bristol Port track needed to join up to the existing railway network to survive, so this extension line was added to connect it with Ashley Hill with help from the Great Western and Midland railways. Only later did the section to Hotwells fall into disuse and close in favour of the Portway road.
(Information mostly courtesy Colin Maggs' The Bristol Port Railway & Pier, Oakwood Press, 1975.)
Can't resist a plaque. The original name of the organisation was "Guild of the Brave Poor Things", but that's Victorians for you.
Spotted a roller...
09 Feb 2021
A nice walk, but something of a failure, photographically. I went to knock Worcester Terrace off my list, a not dissimilar terrace to Vyvyan Terrace, but one street further away from me. Like yesterday, it was very chilly but this time I went prepared with an extra layer and a winter coat. I think this may have been my downfall, as it may have been the X100T's control wheel brushing against the coat that put it in aperture priority mode at f/16, which I didn't notice at the time, and made most of my photos a little too blurry to use. Apparently in this mode, the X100 doesn't bump up the ISO if it can tell things might be a little too wobbly. Ah well.
So, a nice enough walk, and technically I did Worcester Terrace, but if you didn't take a photograph, were you really there? I'll have to go back...
Can't find out much about the history of the name, as there's pages of Google results in the way about a World of Warcraft zone with the same name!
From the listing:
Pair of attached houses. 1846. Limestone ashlar with external and party wall stacks, roof not visible. Double-depth plan. Tudor Gothic Revival style. Each of 2 storeys, basement and attic; 2-window range. A detailed, symmetrical front has projecting wings with small gables and octagonal, panelled buttress-turrets with octagonal finials; weathered sill bands, a moulded parapet, paired buttresses to the party wall linked by a raised parapet, and side entrances.
I don't know much about architecture, but I understand that if your porch has a dormer, you're probably quite well-off.
I was hoping to cut through to the back of the Cathedral, but perhaps this only leads to the Presbytery. Didn't want to get chased off by a bishop, anyway.
My friend Sarah used to live down here. No time to walk down it today, though.
15 Apr 2021
Just a quick trip to Imagine That for a flat white and a date ball (they're really nice), snapping the general sights along the way. No new roads, as has rapidly become the default on my lunchtime wanders, but as I'm in the routine of this project it almost seems strange not to pop my wanders up on the site.
There's some very pretty trees around at the moment.
Have I ever noticed this plaque screwed into Cumberland Piazza before? Was it previously covered up by one of the massive rocks in the row here? Either way, we've seen the Found Installation Group's work before...
06 Apr 2021
I'd originally intended just to pop up to the area around Alma Road, where I'd missed a few streets on earlier wanders. It was such a nice evening, though, I decided to extend my walk up to the very top of Pembroke Road, just outside my one mile radius, to take a few snaps of something intriguing I'd found in my researches.
I've driven, walked and jogged past the little triangle of land at the top of Pembroke road a great deal in my time in Bristol, but I didn't know that it used to be the site of a gibbet, in fact that the road itself there used to be called Gallows Acre Lane. According to the Durdham Down history trail, by Francis Greenacre (an excellent name for a Downs researcher!) among other sources:
...it was below this quarry near the top of Pembroke Road, once called Gallows Acre Lane, that a gibbet stood. It was sometimes occupied by those who had committed robberies on the Downs and was last used in 1783 to hang Shenkin Protheroe for the murder of a drover. Stories quickly spread that he descended from the gibbet at midnight every night and stalked through Clifton. Such was the alarm that his body was cut down and buried.
Also very close to this little triangle of land was one of the gates of the extensive turnpike system...
Anyway. Along the way I encountered a wooden tortoise and a real squirrel, among other things. It was a good walk, and more light in the evenings means I can move my wanders out of the ticking countdown clock of work lunch-hours and be a bit more leisurely.
Shame there's nowhere you can get a better angle. It's a great carving.
This fella definitely wasn't here a few years back, when I used to commute to work at Axa at the top of Whiteladies Road past this garden.
I knew I'd missed a street! This wasn't my destination tonight, though, and there was a children's party going on in the street, by the sound of it, so I decided to come back here another day.
I only snapped this so I'd remember that I didn't miss this "street", but that it was a private car park.
Although the low sun was a bit annoying for some photos (and for walking directly towards) it did bring out some of Clifton's features very well.
According to the listing:
A fine composition with an Ionic tetrastyle-in-antis temple front, with a full entablature and dentil pediment with scroll and wreath in the tympanum.
It's certainly eyecatching, and very much doing its own thing compared to the rest of the road. Built c. 1845.
The actual street isn't much to look at. Unusually for Clifton, the front of one terrace stares directly at the back of another.
The Guardian's obit calls her "a saviour of historic Bristol".
At that time, there were 400 buildings in the city earmarked for demolition but Dorothy, who was instrumental in their listing, managed to save most of them, including the 18th-century Brunswick Square in St Paul's, via many public inquiries. Among her later successes, Dorothy helped to save the Clifton lido – dating from 1849, it is one of the oldest surviving lidos in Britain – which nearly succumbed to a developer's bulldozer in the late 1990s.
I noticed I'd missed a bit of Circular Road and Ladies Mile, and it was a nice evening for a sunset wander up to Clifton. There was something I recorded along the way, not photographically but in video.
Bristol Zoo, the world's oldest provincial zoo, has recently decided to close its Clifton site after 185 years of occupation, which means that the sounds of wild animals will no longer drift incongruously through this leafy Georgian area. They're moving everything up to their existing second site, The Wild Place Project near Cribbs Causeway. As I was wandering the Downs, I heard some fierce roaring noises, so I decided to see if I could get a little closer while they were still going on and record a sound that's soon to disappear.
I don't have a way yet to put video directly on this site, so here's a link to the video of my attempt to catch a bit of the zoo noises that I just popped on YouTube. It's sad that this might be the last time I hear such noises in Clifton.
An araucaria, I reckon. I know the scientific name because there's a late great crossword setter who used it as a pseudonym, John Galbraith Graham.
This was about halfway between being on the Downs and hearing the roaring of zoo animals and actually reaching the zoo.
I thought this was a fairly short shortcut to Bridge Valley road that I was tryihg to knock off my list. I was wrong, and I retreated. There's a big network of paths all through this (literal) neck of the woods.
Not sure I've ever come across this little viewpoint before.
Slightly stymied again by not knowing my way thorugh this little network of overgrown paths, I mostly just followed my ears towards the sound of traffic on Bridge Valley Road.