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Do you want to see an improvement in the quality of life in Shirehampton? The Public Hall Management Committee has recently commissioned a Community Profile of Shirehampton. A public meeting was held on Wednesday 31 January to present this report and to invite discussion for future action. The meeting was chaired by David Thomas. Ian Bone gave a summary of the findings and Sarah Osborne gave an outline of how a Community Development Trust might be useful to our needs. Ian's Report was intended to provide factual information about various aspects of life in Shirehampton so that we know what might need to be done to improve things. He talked to lots of people in different organisations and as individuals and made use of as much information as he could from census returns and official statistics. The report is well worth reading in full and you can see it at the Library or get if from the Public Hall. Copies were given out to those who came to the meeting.

The main recommendations were as follows:

1. If different organisations get together to work on projects important to our community, this gives more credibility and more muscle for getting funding. It is more likely to make things happen.

2. Safety in the area of the High Street and The Ridge would be improved if there was something more interesting for young people to do instead of hanging around and causing damage.

3. Low incomes, premature death and health inequalities show that Shirehampton needs to find a way of getting its fair share of available government and local authority funding. At the moment we do not seem to be poor enough or sick enough to get much help!

4. We need to build an inclusive community that values and helps everyone. Sarah Osborne represents BACEN (Bristol Area Community Enterprise Network) and she explained some of the details of ways that working in partnership might work in practice by means of a Community Development Trust. This is a more formal way of working in partnership that can apply for funds and manage bigger projects than would be possible for small individual groups. The meeting was then opened to the floor for comments. To begin with the report that Portway School might lose its Sixth Form was challenged by Cllr Lukins. It is by no means certain. There was also discussion of the school's bid to be a Centre for Sports Excellence which again remains undecided. Nicola Berry, Assistant Head of Portway Community School said that the school is committed to working in partnership with the local community and she is liaison officer for this.

A spokesman for Penpole Tenants Association agreed that action was needed to stop the problems with antisocial behaviour in the area around The Ridge, but he expressed concern about being pushed too quickly into a Community Development Trust before people really knew what this was and whether it would achieve anything.

Mrs Tillett, a representative of the High Street Traders Association agreed with the view that something needs to be done about crime in the Village. Closed circuit TV or video cameras had been suggested but this would not necessarily solve the problem and might not be cost effective. Janet Thomas pointed out that there are already a number of strong organisations in Shirehampton but that individually what they can achieve is limited. Working together would be more effective. There is a strong tradition of self sufficiency and independence in our community but we could build on this by working together.

The bottom line is that if YOU want a better quality of life don't just talk about it, join whatever local group appeals to you, make some new friends and let's start working together.

J. Thomas



Two volunteers are required, one to deliver 'SHIRE' to houses on the Portway from Shirehampton Station to Woodwell Road (on the Station side of the Portway only), and one to deliver to addresses in Valerian Close. Also we require volunteer drivers to deliver tovarious roads when the regular drivers are on holiday or unwell.

Please ring either 982 7268 or 982 4459. Your help would be much appreciated.


A Shirehampton Resident examines the latest addition to the High Street

(Photo: E Verey)


MARCH 1st: Thursday, TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD meets at 7.30 p.m. at the Methodist Church Hall.

MARCH 1st: Thursday and every Thursday, TWYFORD ART CLUB, 7.00 p.m.-9.00 p.m. at the Public Hall MARCH 2nd: Friday every week and every Wednesday 'DROP IN' Sessions at A.U.S. Cottage (next door to Twyford House) High Street, 9.30 a.m.-11 a.m. MARCH 3rd: Every Friday, BINGO at the Public Hall, doors 6.15 p.m., start 7 p.m.

MARCH 5th: Monday each week AVONMOUTH LADIES HOCKEY TRAINING SESSION 7 p.m.-8.30 p.m. at Gordano School, Portishead MARCH 5th: Monday each week SEQUENCE DANCE at the Public Hall at 7.30 p.m. MARCH 5th & 7th Mondays & Wednesdays TWYFORD ART CLUB 9.30 a.m. at the Public Hall MARCH 6th: Tuesday ST. ANDREW'S LADIES CLUB 7.30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth to hear Steve Williams speak on 'Family History' MARCH 6th: Tuesday LOCAL COUNCILLORS available for Consultation 7.30 p.m. at Jim O'Neil House MARCH 7th: Wednesday ARTHRITIS CARE 7.30 p.m. at the Public Hall MARCH 7th: Wednesday each week EARLY MORNING SWIM at SHIREHAMPTON BATHS 7 a.m.-9 a.m.

MARCH 8th: Thursday, TEA DANCE at Sea Mills Methodist Church hall 2.30 p.m.-4.30 p.m. with live music MARCH 8th: Thursday each week LINE DANCING at the Cotswold Community Centre 2 p.m.-3.15 p.m. Admission 2 per session MARCH 13th: Tuesday TEA DANCE at St. Peter's Hall, Lawrence Weston 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

MARCH 13th: Tuesday, Friends of Shirehampton Primary School, Lamplighters at 7.30 p.m.

MARCH 19th: Monday BLOOD DONATING SESSION at the Baptist Church Hall 1.30 p.m.-3.15 p.m. and 5 p.m.-7.15 p.m.

MARCH 20th: Tuesday ST. ANDREW'S LADIES CLUB 7.30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Church MARCH 20th: Tuesday RAILWAY MODELLERS meet at 7.30 p.m. at the Public Hall MARCH 21st: Wednesday WOMEN'S INSTITUTE meets at 7.30 p.m. at the Methodist Church Hall, Speaker Jean Archer on 'Producing Shire' MARCH 21st: Wednesday HAPPY HEARTS WEST at the Beachley Walk Centre at 7.30 p.m.

MARCH 21st: Wednesday SHIREHAMPTON STITCHERS at the Public Hall at 7.30 p.m. MARCH 22nd: Thursday TEA DANCE at the Sea Mills Methodist Church Hall 2.30 p.m.-4.30 p.m. with live music MARCH 24th: Saturday STAMP FAIR at the Public Hall MARCH 28th: Wednesday, Shirehampton Community Group, Public Hall, 7.30 p.m. MARCH 30th: Friday SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Centre 7.30 p.m. - 10.30 p.m.


We will be including an application form for the Art Exhibition in next month's issue.


March 9th: Thursday, Tea Dance at Sea Mills Methodist Church, The Square, Dave Storey on the organ.

March 22nd: Thursday, Tea Dance, John Hutton on the organ.


Future programme:

6th March:  

20th March:   Body Shop
3rd April:   Severn Walk, talk, Jan and Dave
17th April:   Container Gardening, Arthur Brice
1st May:   Dispelling the Myths, Joanne William
15th May:   Days with the Lord Mayor, Mr. Maddox
5th June:   Summer Trip
19th June:   Buttons, Anne Blight
3rd July:   Ghost of the Tower, Mr and Mrs Wynn
17th July:   A.G.M. American Supper
August:   CLOSED


Sunday, March 25th: Mothering Sunday, 11 a.m. Family Service and Parade Service. Rev. David Alderman.

Sunday, April 1st: Passion Sunday, 11 a.m. Rev. Dr Neil Richardson MA, M.

Litt. Principal of Wesley College.


Congratulations to Ray and Joyce Hawey on your 60th Birthday, February 4th, 2001.

Love from Shirley, Michelle, Colin, Wayne, Linzi, Darren, Claire, Jade, Courtney, Jack, Aaron and Ben.

(Thank you for your donation. Ed.)


This year's Women's World Day of Prayer Service will be at St. Mary's Church at 2.30 p.m. on Friday, March 2nd.


Hi folks!

Here we are into March and by the time this month is out a quarter of the year 2001 will have passed by.

We are now well into the season of Lent and usually the fourth Sunday of Lent is kept as Mothering Sunday. This is when we give thanks for out Mothers and it is traditional for us to give them a small gift as a token of our appreciation for all they do for us throughout the year. This year it falls on Sunday, 25th March my wife's birthday (I had better not mention how old she is, otherwise you may find yourselves without a correspondent for St. Mary's News in April!! All I can say is that she is shortly due for a pension!!!) The fifth Sunday in Lent is called Passion Sunday and this year falls on 1st April so I had better save details leading up to Easter until next month's edition.

By the time you read these notes the Church Centre will be fully operational again and our friends from the former Portway Centre will have moved in. The section they will be using has been completely refurbished and redecorated. It is to be hoped everything meets with their expectations and we welcome their closer association with St. Mary's.

We have now received a modified set of plans from our architect in connection with the redevelopment of the west end of the Church building. These are much nearer to what we originally envisaged. This is a very exciting time for the Management Committee and Parochial Church Council. I am sure after some fine adjustments these plans will be accepted. If you wish to see what has been proposed the plants are on view at the west end of the church. I am sure any of the 'Church minders' will explain any details to you when the church is open. I am confident you will find the west end of the church much more 'user friendly'.

I am sure many of you will be pleased to hear it is the intention of the Parochial Church Council to keep the St. Mary's Missal in the building on permanent display. How and where has yet to be decided, but it will be good to have this priceless treasure back home where it belongs. Bye for now C.M.E.


Meeting upstairs in the Lamplighters on March 13th at 7.30 p.m.


My family and myself would like to thank our relatives, friends and neighbours for all their kindness and support, for all the lovely flowers and for being at the church service for my dear husband, father and grandad, also my dear neighbours for the wonderful collection of eighty pounds. I shall put the money towards a plaque where he is now resting in the Garden of Rest in St. Mary's Church.

God Bless you all,

Mrs Peters and family.


Martin, Emma, Becky and families sincerely thank all friends, neighbours and colleagues at Lloyds T.S.B. Shire Branch for their kind words of sympathy and support at the sad loss of Lorraine. Also many thanks for donations given to St. Peter's Hospice.


On January 31st the Rotary President, Eric Bussell welcomed about 70 past and present members and their wives to the 40th Anniversary at Shirehampton Golf Club. The history of the Rotary Club was recalled by Dennis Squires, a founder member who is still an Avonmouth Rotarian, how the Club was started in the 60s, followed by Dick Mellor, who measured the exploits of the 70s. George Peszgnski, who dealt with the 80s and Derek Frise who brought the story up to date.

The Rotary Club's achievements are many, the list is very long, but here are just a few. Locally they have helped the Mission to Seamen; with their link club Bordeaux Nord for many years they sponsored disadvantaged and handicapped school children who could not otherwise have taken part in the Bristol Bordeaux exchange; supplied Christmas parcels to the needy; organised Public Speaking competitions for local schools; backed Glen 11 house on the Downs for children with difficulties. On the International front they have sponsored a shelter scheme for Italian street children;

Polio Plus to immunise children throughout the world against polio; WATER AID in the third world countries; provided emergency boxes, medical supplies to distressed parts of Europe.

The evening raffle and auction raised over 200 towards a target of 3,000 for their present project which is to provide a mini-bus for a children's orphanage in EL-SHADDOW in Goa.



Few residents of Shirehampton can have failed to notice the noise, air and light pollution coming from the site of the former Ham Green Hospital. The hospital, formerly a tranquil oasis for people suffering from infectious diseases, where the peace and quiet and fresh air no doubt helped many to recover, was demolished a couple of years ago. What a shame our political leaders and town planners lacked the courage and vision to realise that it was the ideal site for the new Children's Hospital. I am sure many an anxious parent will curse the decision to site the new hospital next to the BRI, where parking is non-existent, and the environment hardly conducive to speedy recovery (unless to escape the concrete jungle!). The Ham Green site was sold off to 'developers' (a euphemism if ever there was one) and for the last two years, building has been going on apace. It seems as if a whole new town is growing just over the other side of the river, and of course it is our vulnerable bird and animal life which bears the brunt of the destruction.

Luckily the builders were told they were not allowed to cut down the majestic line of trees which is such a feature of the riverbank as it winds through Shirehampton. However, everything else is up for grabs, and instead of the peaceful cawing of rooks and haunting hoot of the tawny owl, we are left with the angry roar of machinery greedily churning up the ground, and the sulphur-orange glow of a thousand streetlights newly installed. Of particular concern is the fate of the heronry, which is situated in the branches of some of the trees just opposite the PBA club. Herons are huge and impressive, almost pre-historic-looking birds, and we have been honoured to have them nesting with us for years. However, will the very secretive birds take kindly to having a huge, noisy and polluting conurbation springing up at the foot of their trees? I imagine they will not. It is such a shame that the profits of construction companies, and our society's insane lust for ever more homes, shops and material possessions, will force these elegant fishing birds to leave. It is especially sad as there are only several thousand nesting pairs of herons in the whole of Britain. Is this a price worth paying?

As for other species, who knows? 'Who cares?', might be a more appropriate question. Can we not look at the beautiful unspolit areas we still have, even just here in Shirehampton and put just a little effort into fighting for their preservation? Otherwise, we may look back in 30 years and tell the next generation that this tarmac strip used to be a park, and this housing estate a playing field. The skies will be empty of birds and our hearts empty of their song. Is this what we want?

Katie Robson


If you know your 'Wind in the Willows' you will remember that dear old Ratty was actually a Water Vole, in Kenneth Grahame's day commonly seen on the banks of our streams. If you have never seen one, it is because he is the fastest declining mammal in Britain; but did you know that you still might see one along the waterways and ditches in Avonmouth, within Bristol City boundary? Increasing pressure for development, and the spread of American mink (escaped from the notorious mink farms of the 1950s and 60s) are threatening the extinction of this little creature, but the Avon Wildlife Trust is making a huge effort to protect his feeding and breeding sites. Local landowners are already helping and the work HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE. If you can help in any way, please contact Avon Wildlife Trust, 32 Jacobs Wells Road, Bristol BS8 1DR, telephone 0117 926 8018. Don't delay!



At a Special General Meeting of the Club held in the Public Hall Penpole Room on Thursday, 1st February, the following appointment of officers was made:

Chairman Mr John A. Case
Secretary Mr Ron Thorpe
Treasurer Mrs Pat Grimshaw

An Exhibition Secretary is also to be appointed and details will follow shortly.

The Club continues to be well supported and holds its meetings in the Penpole Room on Mondays and Wednesdays 9.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and Thursday evenings 7.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.

There are vacancies on Thursday evenings. Beginners are welcome, you don't need to have painted before. The club's activities are a good way to learn. Speak to the Club Secretary, Ron Thorpe on 0117 9681554 or e-mail him Art materials can be provided to enable you to try for yourself.


On behalf of my family and myself, I thank the very many parishioners, friends and group representatives who sent condolences, tributes and attended the funeral service of Philip on the 19/01/01 at St. Bernard's Church.

It was my intention that the service would celebrate his long, good life and I deeply appreciate the comments of members of other denominations who said that they felt very comfortable with the service.

I imagine that Philip, from his vantage position gave a quiet, ethereal smile as he considered the community, to whom he had contributed his interest, care and time, now come together to acknowledge 'Mr Shirehampton'. Philip, during his sixteen years of retirement, regularly took a constitutional trip to the village, shopping trolley in tow. There is a joke amongst our children that, in keeping with his Neighbourhood Watch role, the trolley should have carried a blue light and chequered markings. The eulogy given by Cecilia Owens, a member of his beloved Twyford Art Club, simply and descriptively paints a picture of the personality and character of Philip, and with her permission, I take the liberty of including it. Very many thanks also go to the people who donated to Ward 61 Oncology Department BRI. To my knowledge the donations exceed 750. Thank you community.

Pat Sq


(25/5/1925 - 11/1/2001)

Twyford House Art Club Eulogy

Funeral Service (19/01/2001)

Philip Squire was a good man. He loved life and whatever he strove to do, he gave it his best.

He sought not to be loved, but to love.

He loved his family. His wife, his children, his grandchildren were of paramount importance to him.

He loved his Church of which he was a pillar of strength. He loved his life's work in Education. On his schools, his staff, his pupils, he left his influence for good.

He loved Shirehampton and served it in so many ways. And he loved art. A love that on retirement he made a very important part of his life.

He enriched Shirehampton by forming the Twyford House Art Club of which I am proud to be a member.

Over the years, he has moulded a group of people from all walks of life, into an Art Club which meets in Shirehampton 3 times a week, to draw, to paint, to socialise. An Art Club that in many ways is quite unique. No competition, no envy, no malice. Just a group of people who meet together to enjoy the form of art of most interest to them. This atmosphere has been created by Philip's expertise, not only by being an accomplished artist himself, but rather as being a man who understood people. He never sought to be understood, but to understand, his genteel humility was an inspiration to us all.

He has left an Art Club with roots so well nourished that it must do nothing but flourish in the future. In his memory, we owe him so much. In any session, one or another of us, would be dejected by a lifeless mass of colour that we had splashed on the paper before us. Philip would pick it up. His next worlds would invariably have been, 'it doesn't worry me'. After pondering a little he would suggest 'a darker shadow there shaft of light here!' (would put his brush on the paper if given the chance), or more often we would consider his advice amend the painting as suggested and immediately it came to life! From our deepest despair he brought hope, and we would all laugh and the banter would begin. 'He knows you know' or 'the Maestro strikes again' words to that effect.

These situations came vividly into my mind when a few days ago Pat was talking of a conversation she had had with their 6 year old granddaughter. Lauren said yes, she was looking forward to coming to lunch, but she was sorry her Grandad would not be there. But, she was glad he was no longer in pain that she did not know what she was going to do without him. 'He knows everything' she said to Pat. And so we used to say in our Art Club. Phil KNOWS IT ALL. And we said it in ALL SINCERITY. He was a superb artist, a master in any medium he cared to use. HIS boats just skimmed over his sunlit seas. HIS flowers always danced in the breeze. HIS piece of driftwood took on any guise he cared to create in quite a magical way. But, he spent so little time in those sessions painting for himself. He so freely gave his time to helping us.

He was true to the adage that 'teachers are born not made'. He had the knowledge, but more importantly he had the gift of imparting his knowledge in such a gentle, encouraging manner.

In his indomitable way he organised an Art Exhibition annually held in the Village Hall. With the help of just a few friends he presented exemplary exhibitions, produced with great precision, and always with good humour so effortlessly done, or so it seemed. But, as any of us who have even a remote knowledge of good organisation knows a lot of hard work goes into these seemingly effortless efforts.

Yes, Philip Squire was a good man.

I am sure that the Angel of Abou Ben Adhem's dream has long written of him in the Book of Gold as 'One that loved his fellow men'. What a better epitaph could anyone have?

He touched the lives of so many people, as is evident in our presence here today. Our lives have been impoverished by his passing. Have been enriched by his living. He will live in our hearts forever. In the words of Francis of Assisi: 'It is in dying that one finds eternal life'.

Cecilia Owen
(Representative of Twyford Art Club who delivered this eulogy at the funeral mass).



The meeting was chaired by John Parsons who welcomed those present. He began by paying tribute to Philip Squire, a founder member and Trustee of the Shirehampton Community Group, and the forerunner, the Shirehampton Community Association, who had died recently. His contribution in heading up the Law & Order Committee and as co-ordinator of the Neighbourhood Watch scheme had been valued and he would be sadly missed. There was a minute's silence in his memory.

Section Reports

a) Highways Presented by John Parsons

Non working street lights those reported previously had been replaced, and two more had been reported. Lighting in Pembroke Road John had received a letter and spoken to the Council who agree the lighting is inadequate. They intend installing better lighting, plus an additional light probably opposite the Undertakers.

Park Gates finger posts these have been removed because the lamp-post to which they were attached has been replaced. The signs were damaged on removal and the Council have assured John new ones will be provided on a like for like basis.

b) General Presented by John Parsons

Donations at the last meeting amounted to 12.60.

With the passing of Philip Squire, and with Roland Jones no longer being a Trustee a further cheque signatory is required. As Brenda Dammers was elected as Trustee in place of Roland Jones in September, the meeting agreed she should become a signatory.

On Wednesday 31 January there is to be a meeting to discuss setting up the Shirehampton Community Development Trust. This will take place in the Public Hall at 7.30 p.m. c) Planning Presented by John Callaghan Sirens on the Riverside a meeting was held in January on this matter and a note sent on behalf of SCG to ask that the planners be sensitive to the dangers of causing disturbance to wildlife in this nature conservation area. Pembroke Road Car Sales a letter has been received from the Council which answers some of our questions but raises others. Another letter to be sent to the Planning Dept.

Lidl nothing further heard to date. It was noted that 5 fire appliances were called to the site recently.

Swimming baths the People's Jury turned down the proposals and another plan is supposed to be forthcoming this month. Nothing heard so far. Kingsweston House more events and facilities are gradually coming on stream. Several weddings have been booked for this year and all seems to be going well.

Allotments John reiterated that we must use them or lose them. Park and Ride John had attended the Public Meetings in Avonmouth and Shirehampton and had written a brief report for 'Shire'. He went on to give the background of the Local Plan formulated in 1993 when this particular site was accepted by an independent inspector as being the most suitable of the alternatives looked at. As the Local Plan was approved in 1996, Bristol City Council are entitled to bring it forward now. At the time objections were raised by SCG and George Cooper and these objections remain the same today. The main thrusts of the objections were that this is a residential area, the site then was part of a wildlife corridor but has since been upgraded to a nature conservation area, the concerns about the effect of traffic congestion during rush hours on the A4, rat runs developing and air pollution.

The Structure Plan was inherited from Avon and it is recommended that Bristol City Council reject this plan and find an alternative site. To forward this view people were advised to write to their local Councillors as well as the Planning Department. Addresses were available at the meeting, along with printed comment forms. All views needed to be in by 2 February. It was stressed that there are supporters for the Park and Ride, and most of the objectors are in favour of the concept but not on this particular site. One member of the P & E committee who is au fait with technical and planning jargon, has contacted English Heritage and other national and nature conservation bodies, with concerns about the effects this site could have on the environment.

There was a break of 10 minutes whilst the Park and Ride Plans were studied and then John introduced Steve Bird, Park and Ride Co-ordinator, who was there to answer questions and take note of objections.

Steve Bird explained that his role was to design, implement and oversee Park and Ride schemes once planning permission had been granted, so objections to that particular side were not his province and needed to be directed to the Planning Dept. He did however explain the Integrated Transport Strategy, one element of which is Park and Ride and reiterated John's comments on the Bristol Plan. There was an urgent need to reduce traffic in central Bristol for many reasons, one of which was that large companies were moving out as a result. His work would not start until planning permission was granted and part of that process included public consultation, hence his presence at the meeting. The planning application is due to be heard on 28 February 2001. He gave an overview by showing a plan of the proposed site on the north side of the railway and stressed there were no plans to go south of the the railway line because of environmental issues. The P & R would cater for 550 car park spaces plus room for the associated bus facilities. The site would be monitored by security officers and CCTV, and buses would run into central Bristol at approx 10-12 minutes frequency and local people would have access to the buses because there would be no conflict with other commercial bus services along the Portway. Two bus stops at Hung Road and Roman Way would integrate with the railway stations at Shirehampton and Sea Mills. He went on to explain the junction changes, single lane arrangement on the Portway between the P & R entrance and exit, signal controls, pedestrian crossings and landscaping.

Various issues were raised from the floor such as:

  • Where do the figures come from that project the number of people using the facility and wanting to actually go to central Bristol? (SB from original destination studies and forecasts based on existing P & Rs which indicate a significant number of commuters and shoppers will use it)
  • How was the judgement made that this was the most suitable site what criteria were used? (SB the report is available to the public in the Planning Office. H Dammers asked if a summary could be produced for local people so they could be more informed. SB agreed this would be a good idea)
  • Concern over traffic congestion by reducing the carriageway for the length of the P & R, especially in rush hour, and scepticism about the Council's figures on current traffic flow. Also concern that an accident could cause gridlock or encourage rat runs through the streets of Shirehampton.
  • A feeling that at some time in the future the facility would be extended despite assurances that there were no plans at present.
  • Concern over air pollution for cars idling in traffic jams. It is believed a further public meeting was to be held in Avonmouth shortly, and in the meantime those present were urged to make their views known in the appropriate quarter.

There being no other business, the meeting finished at 9.30 p.m.

Date of next meeting Wednesday 28 March, 2001 at 7.30 p.m.


The volunteers of Clic would like to thank Mrs Julie Grimes for the past 6 years by being Manager and wish here every success in her new job.

Thank you. Clic volunteers.


We are enjoying the Teddy Bears' Picnic at Shirehampton Primary School morning nursery

We are a group of parents and friends who support the work of the school (separately from School Governors). We work had to enhance the children's education. We do so by co-ordinating a variety of social events throughout the school year. This can be from helping the children with crafts and cooking for the Christmas Fayre to organising discos, quiz nights, cake sales and much more.

We would be very happy to welcome anyone who wishes to join us in this worthwhile work, grandparents, ex-pupils or anyone in the community who has any spare time/expertise that they can offer.

Our next meeting will be in the Lamplighters (upstairs) on Tuesday, 13th March at 7.30 p.m. Why not come along and find out more about us. If you cannot make this meeting but would like to find out how you can help us, please contact the school or telephone 9080617 Mrs Knowlson. It's good fun and for a good cause.


I had a recent visitor to stay. Joyce is of Indian descent and was born in Trinidad; but she lives and works in Fiji, where she is a psychologist at the University of the South Pacific.

It was Joyce's first trip to Europe, so I did my best to show her all the important sites in Bristol, London and Bath. I was surprised to find the Observatory (near the Suspension Bridge) open at this time of year and Joyce had her first experience of a camera obscura and a cave. We also fitted in a trip to Paris, my favourite European city (probably because I served most of my National Service there!).

I made sure that Joyce saw a good deal of the English countryside. We saw quite a bit of Somerset on the way to Cheddar, Wells and Weston-super-Mare. Unfortunately, the Pier at Weston was closed, so I couldn't show Joyce that peculiarly British institution in all its glory. We also saw a good deal of Wiltshire (Stonehenge, White Horse), Hampshire and Surrey, on a roundabout trip to London.

On her last full day in the U.K. I took my visitor to experience another peculiarly English institution, the pantomime. She thought it was wonderful. Being a matinee performance the Hippodrome was packed with schoolchildren, who reacted with gusto to all the audience-participation invitations (even non-invitations!). As an educational psycologist, Joyce was as interested in the audience reaction as in the stage performance but what was it that most impressed my visitor? No, it wasn't any of the important historical and other sites. It was our hedgerows!! 'Aren't they beautiful!' she would keep exclaiming. Of course, we tend to take them for granted, but I think we may be the only country that has such a profusion of small fields and country lanes bounded by all kinds of neatly cropped, or uncropped, hedges, made of a variety of different shrubs. She admired the domestic hedges also, but it was the country hedges which sent her into raptures.

Joyce is a keen gardener and I can imagine, on her return to Fiji, her attempts to encircle her tropical garden with a British-style hedge!!

Gill Osman


The writer agreed to take the Chair for the remainder of Year 2000 in September last when Beryl Keller found it necessary to stand down. I am thus thankful to the Committee for assisting in raising this Report, and to Beryl for her past service to the Society. The Society has once again proved its utility in confronting a number of local matters in the past year, including the following:

Kingsweston House: Over the years since the Police vacated the House the Society has found it necessary to object to a number of proposals for its use, attending many meetings with the Council, and writing copious letters. It was with pleasure that a suitable incumbent was found, and great improvements have been made to the buildings since it was re-occupied in July last. Due to the Society's co-operation with the Kingsweston Hill Neighbourhood Watch a number of attacks on the House were detected as it became re-occupied. Opening the House for commercial purposes has provided employment for younger people in the area, and work experience for Portway School students.

Kingsweston Road/Kingsweston Lane Junction: Following members' complaints about the state of this junction, and its poor visibility, the Society approached the Highways Department and had subsequent site meetings. The ground was levelled, topsoil and grass seed were put down, holes in the edge of the road filled, edging stones put in and the wall adjoining the footpath repaired. Bulbs were also provided by the Council and have been planted by the Society's members on both sides of the Lane.

Napier Miles Road/Kingsweston Road Junction: Fly-dumping has been prevalent for years at this junction. With the Society's intervention the Council have put down soil and grass seed, and bulbs provided by them have been planted by the Society's members. Sapling trees have also been planted in this area. Motorbikes in Kingsweston Estate: Motorbikes are still using the House grounds to the danger of walkers. The local police say they can do nothing to prevent this. The Society Committee is considering ways to combat this problem.

Kingsweston Road/Kingsweston Lane Traffic: The heavy traffic using these highways remains a problem. In April last the Society made representations to the Highways Department, and after numerous telephone calls it met with representatives of the Department. The Society also met with the Community Police and one of our Councillors. The upshot was that we have just received a letter from our Councillor, enclosing a copy letter from the Police, that there is no traffic problem! Petitions have been raised and the Society will continue to pursue this matter to a reasonable solution. The Society: We urge all people who enjoy the pleasant environment of this area to continue support for the Society. We would be delighted to welcome you as a Committee member.


The society has been in existence since 1977, its main role being the protection of the landscape of the Kingsweston Conservation Area, which includes the hamlet of Kingsweston, Kingsweston House and its Estate including Kingsweston Down and adjacent areas. It seeks to enhance and preserve the environment of this neighbourhood, not only for the benefit of residents but also for those who visit and appreciate the local amenities. Membership of the Society includes the majority of those living in the Conservation area, and a large number on its fringes. It is vital for Kingsweston that the Society should continue to be strong and representative. All those who share our love and concern for this area are welcome as members. By joining, you give the Society the backing to work effectively for the benefit of everyone.

Developments within the area are closely monitored, and there is constructive dialogue between local authorities and the Society. The views of members and residents are always canvassed and we represent the communities' concerns with local and national organisations. The Society meets at least five times a year. These meetings provide opportunities for discussion and reporting back on matters of importance, for socialising, and most include speakers on topics of local interest.

Much of Kingsweston is in the hands of local authorities, or is public amenity land. Close liaison and persuasion by the Society has resulted in higher standards of upkeep, many improvements and better conditions for all recreational enjoyment. At the same time the Society has successfully maintained the historic rural character of Kingsweston. A number of very effective campaigns have been mounted on behalf of the community, including a ban on heavy traffic using Kingsweston Lane and pressure to remove travellers' camps from the Estate. It has successfully resisted development proposals such as the expansion of the relay station on Kingsweston Down and the infill building in Ferndown Close, both of which would have detracted from the aesthetic appeal of the area. The Society has also taken the initiative in improving the area by bulb planting, litter collection and restoration work.


A friend of mine drove to Leigh Woods, just before Christmas, to take her dog for a walk. She carefully hid her handbag from sight in the car, only to find on her return that her car had been broken into and her handbag pinched. So ladies wherever you are going take your handbag with you, don't leave it (however well hidden) in the car - even if you are only popping into one place.

Another safeguard if you are carrying a shoulder bag, is not just to sling it elegantly over one shoulder, but to put the strap round your neck so that the rest of the strap hangs diagonally front and back. Maybe it looks a bit like Postman Pat fashion, but it makes it more difficult for your handbag to be snatched and leaves your arms free to deal with any eventuality.


Presentation of five Chief Scout Awards tomembers of 191st Shirehampton Troop by Andrew Smith, Assistant District Commissioner, with Troop Leader, Grant Watkins. Photo: E. Verey

On February 16th, Malcolm Edgeworth and Jonathan Neate were invested as Scouts into the 191st St Mary's (Shirehampton) Scouts. During the evening Thomas Morse, David Armstrong, David Collard, Tom Upton and Sam Cogan were presented with the Chief Scouts Award by Andrew Smith, Assistant District Commissioner. This Award follows many months of hard work and commitment WELL DONE TO ALL FIVE SCOUTS. Grant Watkins, Scout Leader.

'SHIRE' Committee add their congratulations to Grant for his successful training and leadership of the 191st Troop.


Thirty Pupils from Portway Community School went to the Dome at Greenwich on 8th November to experience the 'Science Lesson of a Lifetime' which introduced our young people to the wonders of science through the exhibits in the Mind Zone. The lessons are part of 'Engineering our Future', a nation-wide education programme designed by BAE SYSTEMS and the New Millennium Experience Company to stem the United Kingdom's shortage of engineers and encourage more young people to consider careers in science, engineering and technology!

Melvis, the robot and a number of performers from Johnny Ball Productions Ltd presented the interactive and entertaining lessons to Portway Students. Using exhibits from the Mind Zone, including Ron Mueck's Boy, infra-red thermal imaging cameras, 'Plan-it' and morphogenic machines, the one hour lesson explores how the brain, the body and our senses work. The ideas are aimed at the full school age range and go on to explore artificial intelligence and robots.

Portway is lucky to be one of 210 schools across the United Kingdom that have taken part in the 'Lesson of a Lifetime' in 2000. The lessons are just one element of the 'Engineering our Future' programme in which all schools are invited to take part last year.

John Weston, Chief Executive, BAE SYSTEMS said 'This is the largest educational project of its kind ever undertaken in the United Kingdom. It builds upon our growing reputation with the world of education and will encourage all those involved with schools, colleges and universities to think differently about engineering, science and technology. Headteacher Nigel Astley said 'We are delighted that our Portway Students have been given the opportunity to take part in this stimulating science and engineering programme. We think that it is absolutely essential for our students to be at the cutting edge of new learning initiatives; we now hope that many of our students will seriously consider Science, Technology and Engineering as a career option.' The Portway pupils (aged 11-14) took full advantage of their trip to the Dome, by staying an extra night in London, with visits to the Science Museum, The Natural History Museum and also finding the time to go to see Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria.


Dear Editor,

I had cause to visit the 'local' Police station the other day at Avonmouth and found the place shut, this was at 5.30pm.

I saw in the window a notice saying 'Avonmouth Police Station will now only be opening 8am to 4pm Mon to Fri.

I am old enough to remember that Shire used to have its own Police Station on the corner of Park Road, what a sad day to see that close, now it seems that they are trying to close another.

Avonmouth Police Station used to open from 8am to 12 midnight, then dropped it to 8am to 8pm, which seemed good hours, now it is 8am to 4pm, what's the next move, to close the Front Office altogether?

I work between the hours of 8am and 5.30pm Mon-Fri and now I will have to go and use the 'LOCAL POLICE STATION' at Southmead, and living in Shire that's FIVE MILES away.

As you can see I am a little annoyed about this because you see on the news that other areas are opening up the little stations, and this one seems to be on the verge of closing!

No Christmas lights, no police station, when will it end. (No Swimming Baths? Ed.)

Mr D. Phillip

Resident of Shire and Pro Police


It didn't seem possible in those days when I first started teaching at Portway Girls' School that it would all end as a pile of rubble! It was a big school with a well-deserved excellent reputation under the guidance of the Head, the redoubtable Miss Shewell. She was a wonderful person, warm and friendly with a great sense of humour. She expected high standards from staff and pupils alike and mostly got them! One of her favourite sayings was, 'Set your sights high,' she always wanted what was best for her girls. It was a very happy school with a well deserved high reputation. I well remember the day I went to see Miss Shewell after I had been appointed to her staff. My interview was fixed for a certain time, and having asked numerous people what bus I should catch, off I set in what I thought was good time. Incidentally my query about how to get to Portway School occasioned the same reply: 'Oh, it's out in the fields.' My informants must have been totally confused, I got on the right bus but going in the wrong direction and landed up at The Centre! The bus driver then told me to go to Prince Street and catch a 99. I eventually arrived at the school, late, hot and bothered and anything but composed. But that was not the end of my troubles for I went through a playground gate only to find that yes, you've guessed it, it was the Boys' School. However, I was escorted round to the proper entrance and went in. It was afternoon break time and the whole corridor was a seething mass of girls! Never was I more glad to see anyone that when a smiling Miss Dyer came into view, rescued me and took me to Miss Shewell who quickly put me at my ease. It was the start of a long and happy time for me at Portway School, I shall always look back on my time there with great affection.

M H Robathan.


To Angela Thompson Smith (Nee Powell)

In response to your letter in last month's edition, yes, you are very well remembered from your days at Avon Primary, Infants and Junior Schools. All your classmates are still around and meet regularly at the Hope & Anchor about every 3 months and would very much welcome you if you are able to join us at some time.

We all started at Avon Primary & Infants School in 1950 and followed on to Portway School in due course. At our 'get togethers' we are joined by the Portway girls of our year, and we have a smashing time chatting about the 'old days'. We are now all married with children, and working! I should be very pleased if you would contact me Margaret Lydiard at 79 St. Bernard's Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9UN, and I will get in touch with you. Please let me have your address, telephone number etc. We are all looking forward to seeing you.

We would very much like to hear from any of you who were at school with Janet Westlake, Cherry White, Pauline Aitkin, Sheila Sweetman, Ann Bird, Lesley Hunt or Margaret Croft and I will let you have details of our next Reunion if you would please ring me on (0117) 9825794.

Margaret Lydiard

Our class at Avon Primary and Infants School

Dear Shire Readers,

Can anyone shed light on a small local mystery?

Why do the road signs for Kingsweston Ave, Lane and Road all carry different spellings, some with Kingsweston as one word and some as two i.e. Kings Weston?

I also notice that Kingsweston House is all one word, whereas in years gone by it was spelt with two and an apostrophe between the G and the S. I would welcome any ideas, or suggestions as to which is correct.


N. Parker

Dear Editor,

Reading Chris Eynon's article 'Remembering the Days' in last month's 'SHIRE' was a delight and brought back so many memories.

I was one of Class 5 (Sept. 1948-July 1949), even though I wasn't on the photograph. We must all have been celebrating the Big 6-0 in the last twelve months so I am enclosing a photograph of myself and my great friend Jasmine Rogers, who was also in that year, celebrating our birthday together. We have been friends since that time and are now closer than most sisters. Where are all those 'handsome' pupils from that year now?

Does anyone have any news?

Diane Wright (nee Tovey)     (Thank you for your donation. Ed.)

Diane, left, with Jasmine


Now here's a BLAST FROM THE PAST I can reminisce too Chris Eynon! The above photograph is of one of the pantomimes written by the late Rev. Geoffrey Griffiths, the curate mentioned by you in last month's edition. The Public Hall was always full to capacity for each performance, usually on three nights for each Show. Entertainment was simple in the middle years of the 50s very few households had television then; I know we didn't. Many of the scenes were written in our lounge behind the shop, you could hear a roar of laughter from Geoff when he thought of a humourous line. The scenery had a lot to be desired and the costumes were begged or borrowed, but it was good fun! He would practice the music too for his choristers on our piano he had more use out of it than I ever did! I often would return from school to the sounds of Bach, Beethoven, Elgar or a lighthearted rendition of 'I'm a Gnu'.

I think the pantomime pictured above was called 'The Demon and the Seven Wharves' and I'm sure all who took part in it can say 'Ah, yes, I remember it well'!

From memory I think the people in the picture are (?), Jean Williams, (?), Sheila Shepstone, Mollie Shattock, Jean ?, Julie Gillard, Geoffrey Griffiths, Anna Gazzard, Annette Rex and CHRISTOPHER ENYON. I SAY CHRIS DO TELL ME, DO THOSE LEGS STILL LOOK THE SAME TODAY?




MONDAY 'COTSWOLD LADIES' Every Monday 2.30-4.00 New members welcome

TUESDAY Weekly BINGO SESSIONS. Doors open 6.30 for 7 p.m. start.


FRIDAY Monthly Sequence Dance (last Friday in Month) Cocktail of Modern, Sequence and Line Dance Do join us in a pleasant evening 7.30-10.30


Dear Editor,

I would like to say that I was a member of the 1950s swimming team of Portway School. My name then was Wendy Love but in 1968 I moved to Nottingham. My parents still live in Shirehampton so I am a regular visitor. After reading Deborah Britton's letter concerning her Mother Irene Perkins (nee George) I would very much like to make contact with them, my name and address being Wendy Griffin, 82 Haddon Crescent, Chilwell, Nottingham NG9 5JR.

I also read the article from Helen Elkington who I remember well during my swimming days with Irene Perkins (nee George) Margaret Crocker (nee Buston) Maureen and Carole Coneybeer. Sadly Carole died in her twenties but Maureen lives in Canada and I am still in contact with her. I am in contact with Margaret Crocker but would very much like to get in touch with Irene Perkins (nee George) and her daughter Deborah Britton.

Many thanks

Wendy Griffin


Thanks to my very good friend Delia Humphries of Severn Beach the 'SHIRE' newspaper pops through the letterbox around the 10th of every month. John, my husband and I are always eager to read it as we both came from Shirehampton but are now living in Carlow in the Republic of Ireland where we have resided since 1998. Ireland is a lovely country and we are both very happy here although we obviously miss our old friends. However, it's always good to read of the events going on in and around the 'village' and it is especially good when there are nostalgic articles which bring back happy memories of events or people we knew. I was therefore delighted to read the article printed in January's issue covering the visit of three of my former school friends Sylvia Wiltshire (Short), Marilyn Curtis (Gorry) and Edna Burt (Camby) on a visit to a fourth friend Iris Hawkesby (Sanderson) who it appears now resides in Canada. When February's issue arrived John got to it first so I left him in peace to read it. After a short while I heard him calling to me to come and look at something in the paper. He had found the photograph sent in to you by Chris Eynon showing Class 5, September 1948-July 1949, Shirehampton Junior School and had spotted my name listed in the back row. Goodness did that bring back some memories, most names remembered but some forgotten until a jog like this brings it all back, and yes Chris, I too remember those teenager years, the Youth Club, the Youth Choir and the Rev. Geoffrey Griffiths who certainly played a big part in all of our young lives at that time. I'd like to say a big 'thank you' to Sylvia, Marilyn, Edna, Iris and Chris for their articles and to 'SHIRE' for printing them. I just wonder how many more of Class 5 or the Youth Club still get to read the 'SHIRE' newspaper wherever they may be now and if they do, my good wishes to all of you. Freda O'Neil (Hilliard)


Next meeting is on Wednesday, March 28th at the Public Hall at 7.30 p.m.


With summer coming and thoughts of holidays don't forget that vital travel document your passport. Many countries require the expiry date to be six months after your homecoming, so check it out in good time!


A 'Shire Paper' will be available at the following collection points, in addition to house deliveries.

The Library
Liz Flower Shop, High Street
St Mary's Church, High Street
The Pet Shop, Pembroke Road
Health Centre, Pembroke Road

Thank you to the distribution volunteers for their help in giving this service to the community.