14 Jul 2021
As it turned out, I didn't manage to get a coffee on my lunchtime coffee trip, as Imagine That were briefly shut down by a Covid-19 exposure notification (false alarm, it seems.) On the plus side, my trip was made worthwhile by spotting a couple of people from the University of Bath Mechanical Engineering Department testing an autonomous body-finding catamaran, which isn't a phrase I was ever expecting to write...
I love peeking in to the big shed on the way through Underfall.
...developing a robot boat that hunts for bodies!
All the way to the marina, but my destination had disappeared! Lucy and Dan were fine and I saw the Imagine That horsebox back here and working the following morning.
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.
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.
Shame there's nowhere you can get a better angle. It's a great carving.
There's a lot of outdoor trails of one kind or other going on, what with the current cicumstances.
The late, great Maggie Shapland was a familiar feature to anyone interested in historical industry in Bristol.
I think the first time I saw her was on an Open Doors Day for the Clifton Rocks railway, the disused funicular from the Avon Gorge Hotel down to near the landing stage in Hotwells, and the last time was when she was helping to restore Brunel's Other Bridge at Howard's Lock.
Both times I think she'd driven there in one or other of the classic cars she maintained. Sometimes when the garage door here was open on the way past you could sneak a look at the collection.
The last thing I saw her drive was this Moss kit car.
An amazing person by all accounts, I never knew that we shared the profession of "Database Consultant"...
Door, the Bristol Fringe, Princess Victoria Street
03 Dec 2020
I love the isolation of Cliftonwood -- the geography of it, with its solid boundary of Clifton Vale to the west and Jacob's Wells Road to the east mean that you tend not to be in Cliftonwood unless you've got a reason to be there. It's not a cut-through to anywhere, at least not from side-to-side, and you can only really exit to the south on foot.
I sense that I'd be happy living in Cliftonwood -- like my bit of Hotwells, it's a quiet little area with a sort of quirky feel to it. Plus it contributes the colourful houses that are the backdrop of about half of all Bristol postcards ever made :)
I found the "secret" garden especially interesting, just for the fact that it really does feel quite secret, despite the obvious name on the gate. I've lived a half-mile from it for twenty years and I don't think I've ever noticed it before, despite exploring the area a few times.
From the Independent obit, March 1999:
PETER WARE was one of the West Country's most eminent architects. He was a leading member of the generation of conservationists who acted in time to save the region's historic building stock in the Sixties and Seventies, and a versatile designer too of modern edifices.
Among his less prominent jobs was the transformation of the threatened 18th-century Hope Chapel in Hotwells into a flourishing community centre. One of its most successful activities became an annual pantomime. Ware, in Edwardian bathing costume or silly hat, dancing the tango with a dummy or being fired from a mock cannon, was a staple of the cast. He greatly enjoyed a bit of clowning and a good laugh.
Until he and his wife Marie moved out of Hotwells in 1996, to be nearer to their horses and woodland, Ware remained a faithful participant in the minutiae of neighbourhood affairs, chairing the Dowry Square Garden Committee, and was always on hand with technical advice on houses, keenly interested in local planning matters.
Something about this seems Greek, possibly because a Greek capital Rho looks like an English "P".
I did once have a beer in the garden when it was The Spring Gardens. It became La Demi Lune for a while, from what I remember, then shut down. Having just Googled it, before it was the Spring Gardens apparently it was "Durty Nelly's"!
From what I can see on Street View it's just flats now, but I can't be sure without going and having a proper look around the front. Maybe next time...
I got curious about Bioinduction's sign down on the Hotwell Road once. According to the company's website theire mission is to "develop a precisely targetted brain pacemaker that offers new hope for the millions of sufferers... To revolutionise the treatment of cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases where there is no effective drug therapy available today."
Apparently Gnodal "was a computer networking company headquartered in Bristol, UK. The company designed and sold network switches for datacenter, high-performance computing and high-frequency trading environments"
I'm not sure I've ever seen the top of Marcruss Stores before.
I'm afraid that this is a bit of a badly-curated wander, where I mostly just popped out to find out a little of the history of Underfall Yard and poke around the various open workshops, and, in hindsight, really didn't take pictures in any kind of coherent order. So there's a lot of pictures, but they don't really tell the story that, in hindsight, I seem to have been trying to tell, of the unusual electrical substation in Avon Crescent, the Bristol Electricity that predates the National Grid but is still in use, the history of the hydraulic power house... It's a bit of a mess.
But I suppose sometimes these wanders—always chronologically presented in the order I walked and took photos—simply will sometimes be a bit of a mess. Let's hope you still get something out of it, anyway...
I only found out from a recent Times crossword that "shivers" are splinters.
I've mentioned before the suggestion (apparently from Pete Wills, senior electrical engineer) that this building is haunted by the ghost of a worker who fell from the roof into the building but whose body was never found... Maybe I should have waited until Hallowe'en to feature the substation!
You can't see much. If you want some photos of the current sorry state of the interior, have a look at this Tweet from Pete Insole, Historic Environment Officer at Bristol City Council, and founder of Know Your Place.
Most of the gear in this docks machine room is belt driven from a motor we'll see in a bit. The motor is electric but the drive system is pretty much the same as it was in the days of steam.
26 Oct 2020
A dash around the harbourside to see if I can get to Mokoko and back in my lunch hour.
This was my first wander and I was still getting the hang of the technology. I managed to record only part of the way back on my GPS, by the looks of it, so I've had to bodge things a bit to pick up the photos, which is why there are photos in places the track doesn't reach!
I also need to fix a few technical things including managing my photo timezones more carefully. This wander was the day after the clocks went back for winter, and I think my camera may still have been in BST, which may not have helped me tie things up. Need to do a bit of research into how my cameras, Lightroom and the code I'm writing on this website handle BST and GMT, but at least I have until the last Sunday in March before things get urgent, I think...
I love the curve of the outer doors of Entrance Lock.
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.
31 Oct 2020
Starting up close in Hotwells with a few bits around the Cumberland Basin flyover system, I walked to Bedminster and back on Hallowe'en, including finding some excellent decoration work.
I may have used these steps, a few hundred metres from my house, at some point since I moved in, 21 years ago, but I don't remember doing it.
I wonder if these joined letters are gradually going to drift apart?
02 Nov 2020
I've taken a lot of photos of Royal York Crescent over the years. This time I walked right to the dead-end bit at the far west corner and found a plaque to the Empress of the French. Call me hard to impress, but among the scientists, novelists, architects and artists whose plaques litter the rest of the area, that seems quite minor claim to fame.
And in between times were the Napoleonic Wars, which probably explains the desire for a barracks.
I've been tempted to try these Voi scooters-for-hire to expand my range for lunchtime wanders. However, having read their rules, at 118kg I'm 18kg over their maximum weight limit.
03 Nov 2020
A very local exploration today, but there are still bits of the near field that I never need to walk down, so it didn't take me long to find somewhere I haven't been in a decade or more, the little enclave of smaller Victorian houses around Oldfield Road and Sandford Road. I'd really like to live in one of those houses, but I doubt I could afford it.
Another place I've passed so many times that I forget it's there. Haberfield House is a giant Victorian almshouse on Joy Hill, hidden from the Hotwell Road by a tall brick wall, but apparently with gardens around that side. I believe it's now privately-owned bedsit-style accommodation, but it's hard to find out much about it. It doesn't help that there's at least one other Haberfield house in Bristol (also an ex-almshouse, now and old people's home) which makes searches a little difficult.
There are ongoing proposals from the owner to convert the roofpace into more flats, in Bristol's ongoing mission to cram even more poeple into even less space, it seems.
This Charity was FOUNDED BY Dame Sarah Haberfield In Affectionate Remembrance OF HER HUSBAND, Sir Jobn Kerle Fabertied KNIGHT SIX TIMES MAYOR OF BRISTOL, Who Died on the 27th December, 1857 HAVING BEEN FOR MANY YEARS AN INHABITANT OF THE PARISH OF ST. MARY REDCHEFE AND OF THE PARISH OF CLIFTON
A lamppost advert for door-to-door fish delivery. Odd.
I think "refit" might mean "remove everything except the keel and build a new boat on top.