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We are certain that readers will be pleased to hear that our annual Christmas Appeal, culminating a Fair held at the school on Saturday 24th November 2001, has once again proved a great success.  Seasonal music provided by the school band punctuated the warm welcome given by acting head teacher, Mrs. Chris Hill in her opening announcement. Scores of people filled the hall, each one seeking a Christmas bargain from the array of wares on offer.

As organisers and promoters, the Friends of Portway are very aware of the wide support the event received to guarantee its success. The acting head teacher, many of her colleagues, pupils, musicians and caretakers gave their valuable time. A multitude of Shirehampton people, comprising parents, uncles & aunts and families and friends supported the event as the customers and everyone appeared to enjoy it.

In addition, many companies, organisations and individuals provided generous donations, raffle prizes and notable personal help. We now take great pleasure in recording publicly our sincere thanks to all of the following:

Autoparts, Bobbetts Fruiterers, Boots the Chemists, Bristol Port Company, Bristol Rugby Club, Bristol City Football Club, Co-op Supermarket, Mr. R.  Dacombe, Devereux & Co., Maisie Drake, Elizabeth Anne Flowers, Kath.  Philiskirk, Focus Do-It-All, Flowerworld, The Lamplighters Inn, Maynews, Andrew Pinn Optometrist, Portway School Music Department, Rodaways Estate Agents, Sea Mills Post Office, Dave Sealy, Pete Sparling, Somerfields Supermarket, Sevalco Limited, Stage Electrics, Shire' Community Newspaper, Shire Hardware, Dianne West, W & B Butchers, Woolworths & Bristol Zoological Gardens.

From the Committee of The Friends of Portway Community School.

(Next year's fair will be held on Saturday 23rd November, 2002)

Christmas Fayre at the Public Hall, Decembe 2001


Mondays January 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

COTSWOLD LADIES CLUB meets weekly at the Cotswold Centre 2pm - 4pm. New members welcome.
WOMEN'S BRIGHT HOUR at the Methodist Church Hall 2.30pm for an interesting series of talks and demonstrations.
PLAYGROUP at the Beachley Walk Centre 9.15am - 11.15am during term time.
OVER  50'S SWIMMING in Shirehampton Baths 3pm.
JUDO at the Church Centre 6.30pm.
SEA CADETS 7pm - 9.30pm.
GROVELEAZE YOUTH CLUB 7.15pm - 9.45pm.
AVONMOUTH RUGBY FOR GIRLS (13-16) 6pm at Barracks Lane
KYOTO SHOTOKAN Karate Dojo Club train at St. Bernards School, 7.30pm.
AVONMOUTH LADIES HOCKEY club training 7.30pm-8.30pm Gordano School, Portishead
SEQUENCE DANCE at Public Hall 7.30pm

Tuesdays January 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th

TANG-SOO-DO at the Public Hall, (10 upwards) 7.30pm 9pm.
FIRST AID FOR CADETS organised by St. John Ambulance at Beachley Walk Centre
Badgers 6pm - 7.45pm.
SEQUENCE DANCING at the Baptist Church Hall, Dancing 8.15-10.15pm.
PLAYGROUP at the Beachley Walk Centre 9.15am - 11.15am during term time.
TOT STOP for mothers with toddlers and babies 9.30am - 11.15am at the Baptist Church Hall.
SOFT  PLAY at  Robin Cousins for under 5s 1.30pm -3pm
AVONMOUTH Mini Hockey 6-7pm at Bristol and West Sports Club, Portway, for further details 9828039.
SHORT MAT BOWLS CLUB 7pm - 10pm at Portway School.
PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB Meeting at 7.30pm - 9.30pm at Shirehampton Baths.
KARATE  at Church Centre 7pm - 8pm.
AVONMOUTH RUGBY Seniors at Rugby Club 7pm.
TAE KWON DO 6.00pm at Robin Cousins Sports Centre
SHIREHAMPTON CHOIR rehearsals for Concert 7.30pm at St. Mary's Church at Easter STOP SMOKING GROUP meets at Lawrence Weston Clinic. For details ring Mike Davies 9823205.
SHIRE BADGERS SET ages 6-11 years 7pm at Beachley Walk Centre. New members welcome.
ARMY CADET FORCE 7.30pm-9pm at Guide Hut, Orchard Close, Shirehampton for boys and girls.
MODERN DANCE (6 - 16 years old) 4.30pm at the Public Hall,

Wednesdays January 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th

PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB at Bristol North Pool (County Standard).
(Alternate) WOMENS FELLOWSHIP  7.30 - 9,00pm St. Bernard's Hall.
BAPTIST WOMEN'S BRIGHT HOUR 2.45pm - 3.45 at the Baptist Church Hall.
PORTWAY CENTRE CHOIR PRACTICE 7.00-8.30pm at St. Mary's Church Hall.
COFFEE MORNING 10am-12noon Methodist Church. All welcome.
PLAYGROUP at the Beachley Walk Centre 9.15am - 11.15am during term time.
TOT STOP   for mothers with toddlers and babies 9.30 am - 11.15am at the Baptist Church Hall.
NETBALL CLUB 7-9pm. Manor Farm, Portway. Ring 9070269.

Thursdays January 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st

AVONMOUTH RUGBY CLUB Seniors practice, 7pm.
AVONMOUTH RUGBY CLUB practice for Juniors & Colts 6pm ring 9852426 for details.
SLIMMING WORLD 5.30pm - 7.30pm Rear Hall Church Centre.
(Alternate) PORTWAY LADIES CLUB 7.30pm - 9.30pm Tythe Barn, High Street.
STROKE SUPPORT meets each week in the afternoons at the PBA Club, Nibley Road, for further details  Tel: 9684207.
SEA CADETS 7pm - 9.30pm at the unit in Station Road.
PLAYGROUP at the Beachley Walk Centre 9.15am - 11.15am during term time.
SOFT PLAY for under 5 years at Robin Cousins 1.45-3.30pm.
SHIREHAMPTON GATEWAY CLUB at Groveleaze Youth Centre 7.30pm-9pm.
THE SHED 6.30pm at Baptist Church 3-6 school years.
LINE DANCING TUITION 2pm-3.30pm approx. Open Invitation to come along to Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road.
GRAINGER PLAYERS 7.30pm at Public Hall.

Fridays January 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th

AVONMOUTH RUGBY Colts and Juniors training at Rugby Club 6.00pm.
PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB meets 7.30pm - 10pm at Henbury Baths.
JUDO at the Church Centre at 6.30pm.
SHIREHAMPTON RED CROSS First Aid Cadets, Methodist Church Hall Penpole Ave 6-9pm.
EVERGREENS 2pm-4pm at the Public Hall, during term time.
GROVELEAZE YOUTH CLUB 7.15pm - 9.45pm.
PILLOW LACE CLUB 7-9pm at Public Hall.
ARMY CADET FORCE 7.30pm-9pm.
COFFEE & TEA available in the Baptist Church Hall Coffee Lounge 10-12 noon.
TAE KWON DO 6pm in the Portway Community School gym.
BINGO at Tythe Barn, High Street at 6.30pm.
BINGO at the Public Hall at 7pm.
AMATEUR RADIO CLUB Sea Cadets HQ, Station Road 7.30-9.30pm

Saturdays  January 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th

PORTWAY SCHOOL SATURDAY CLUB for 8-13 yrs, 9am - 12 noon.
JUNIOR FOOTBALL 9am-11am, 7-14 years at Robin Cousins Sports Centre.
AVONMOUTH HOCKEY CLUB matches most Saturdays ring 982-8039.

Sundays January 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th
AVONMOUTH RUGBY Training sessions at Barracks Lane at 10am.
PORTWAY SWIMMING CLUB Henbury School Pool 3pm - 4pm.


JANUARY 1st Tuesday, NEW YEAR'S DAY - PUBLIC BANK HOLIDAY  Library will be closed
JANUARY 2nd & 4th Every Wednesday and Friday DROP IN SESSIONS at A.U.S. Cottage, High Street, 9.30a.m. - 11.30a.m.
JANUARY 2nd Wednesday ARTHRITIS CARE 7.30p.m. at the Public Hall
JANUARY 2nd Wednesday every week EARLY MORNING SWIM at Shirehampton Baths 7a.m. - 8a.m., 8.30a.m. - 9a.m.
JANUARY 2nd Wednesday every week COFFEE MORNING at the Methodist Church Hall
JANUARY 3rd Thursday SHIREHAMPTON'S TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD meets at 7.30p.m. in the Methodist Church Hall for the 27th BIRTHDAY PARTY
JANUARY 4th Friday MONTHLY COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10.30a.m. - 12.30p.m.
JANUARY 4th Friday BINGO weekly at the Public Hall. start 7p.m.
JANUARY 7th Monday SPRING TERM begins for all local schools
JANUARY 15th Tuesday RAILWAY MODELLERS 7.30p.m. at the Public Hall
JANUARY 16th Wednesday WOMEN'S INSTITUTE meets at 7.30p.m. at the Methodist Church Hall
JANUARY 16th Wednesday SHIRE STITCHERS meet 7.30p.m. the Public Hall
JANUARY 16th Wednesday HAPPY HEART WEST meet 7.30p.m. at the Beachley Walk Centre
JANUARY 25th Friday COTSWOLD SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Centre 8p.m. - 10.30p.m.


Contrary to what some might think, I do not make up the 'WHAT'S ON' each month out of my head. I do need actual dates to include in it. So come Secretaries of clubs and societies let us have your programme of events, pass them into the Library by the 10th and then we can include them in the next 'What's On'.

OBITUARY - Les Gray 1926 - 2001

Dear Sirs,

My Uncle Les was born in 1926 and as a child initially lived in one of the terraced houses in Dursley Road, then moved to a cottage (long since demolished) by the river Avon, not far from the  Cable Crossing  sign on the river bank. With his parents and three older brothers, Eric, Bill, and my father, Colin; he then moved to Lawn Cottage in the High Street.  After attending school in Station Road and at Portway, then serving in the Home Guard during the war, Les began work at the P.B.A, eventually becoming a foreman shunter on the railway there. He married his wife Elsie (nee Cheeseman, who passed away in 1984), in 1952 at St Mary s Church. They moved 'down the road'  to a spot where the Avonmouth roundabout now stands and their home was compulsorily purchased in the 1960's to build the connection with the M5 motorway. So after just slipping over the Shirehampton boundary into Avonmouth, Les and Elsie bought their final home in Dursley Road - full circle, but not a large circle, so to speak!

Uncle Les had many interests based on his home village - as you know from the superb pen and ink illustrations of parts of Shirehampton that you may have seen on recent SHIRE calendars. Some of these were exhibited - occasionally in the Public Hall in Station Road - and elsewhere. Indeed on one occasion a fellow artist asked Les where he obtained the fine-nibbed pens he used for his drawings and was astounded to learn that they were simply ordinary  'Bic'  pens purchased from Woolworths!  Les was also something of a local historian, and his extensive works on the P.B.A and Shirehampton have been distributed to the Public Records office in Bristol, St Mary's Church and others. He also had a great interest in American railways of the steam era, building several model locomotives and rolling stock. I remember looking in awe at the fine scale buildings of his HO gauge railway layout that he built from basic items such as card and balsa wood.

Les and Elsie had a great interest in the singer Johnny Mathis, building a large collection of records and tapes - this has been left to the Johnny Mathis fan club for the proceeds to go to a Cancer hospice.  Although Les loved Shirehampton, he was well-travelled, going to Europe and the United States to follow his interests in railways including a run on the Orient Express.

The family's loss was heightened by the death of Les's oldest brother Eric, who lived in Lawrence Weston, just ten days earlier. Our particular condolences go to Eric's wife Barbara and to Les's sole surviving brother, Bill who also lives in Bristol. The family were grateful that many of you attended Uncle Les's funeral and very thankful to Les's neighbours who showed him much kindness and care.

Yours faithfully

Malcolm Gray

Les Gray

Dear Shire,

It was with great sorrow that I read about the death of Les Grey in the December edition of Shire. Although I did not know Les very well, he did come to my home on a couple of occasions to show me the work he had done on the Shire war dead, an interest we had in common, and told me something of his days in the Shire Home Guard.

Les compiled a great deal of information on the Shire men killed during the Second World War which he kept in an album with photographs of each man. If the members of Les's family are agreeable and no one is going to continue this research, I believe it would be a fitting tribute to Les and the brave men of this village that this album could be kept as a roll of honour perhaps in St. Mary's Church.


Bill Dungey

OBITUARY - Mrs. Kathleen Jackson

Kathleen Jackson died in Southmead Hospital on 17th November, 2001 after a short illness. Kath and Bill had been married nearly 52 years. Kath belonged to the Townswomens Guild. She visited the sick and delivered books for the blind from Shirehampton Library and was a founder member of the Community Centre. She also belonged to the Evergreens for several years.  With her sister-in-law Eunice regularly enjoyed visits to theatres and the cinema. When her sons, Alan, Martin and Michael were young she was also involved with the 191st Scout Group, and was given a silver badge by the Scout movement for her services.

Bill and Kath came to live in Shirehampton early in the 1950 s living first in Nibley Road, then in St. Bernard's Road.

Bill is at the moment in Southmead Hospital waiting for a triple coronary artery by-pass operation. He and his three sons wish to thank friends and neighbours for all their cards and kind thoughts in their sad loss.


We would like to thank friends and neighbours of St. Bernard's Road, Woodwell Road and Hung Road for the generous collection of  88, which has been sent to Ward 1, Elgar House, Southmead Hospital, at the request of Mrs. Kathleen Jackson's Husband and family.

Thank you very much.

Mary Miles and Margaret Giles
Thank you for your donation to Shire - Ed.

The above photograph of Portway School was sent to us by Mrs Carys Fowles, a teacher at the school who now lives in South Wales. The photograph was taken in 1949/50 and we show the present comparable view in 2001, which will probably be of great interest to many former pupils and staff who may be unaware of the fate of their former school.


We have a complaint this month to say that the  residents of Quarry Rise have not been receiving a copy of Shire newspaper for the past 6 months.  I would like to point out that a great deal of work goes into the production of this paper each month, and that it is all done by volunteers. Most of us are retired, and we even have some helpers over 80.  As there have been several new houses built in Shirehampton recently we have arranged to have a few hundred more copies of Shire printed each month.  If you do not receive a copy of Shire', it is not because we do not have enough copies produced - it is because we have no volunteer to deliver to your street.

Copies of Shire' are always available in the Library, as well as several shops in the village.

If anyone is prepared to deliver in Quarry Rise, please ring the Distribution Organiser, on 982 6935, when arrangements will be made for the papers to be delivered to you each month doer distribution.


There has been a lot mentioned recently, both in the press and on the media about the prefabs in Bristol, but with particular reference to those built in Shirehampton.

The very first prefabricated house in the country was erected in Shirehampton, opposite the shops in Nibley Road. This was either in late 1945 or early 1946. As this was a special occasion, the prefab was opened by the Lord Mayor. We all trooped down to witness the opening. The prefab looked lovely and the garden was set out with flowers. This was such a pleasant sight as for years everyone had been - ODigging for Victory', so most of the gardens were empty of flowers.

The Lord Mayor declared the prefab open, the keys were handed over to the first tenants, amid cheers and clapping.

Everyone gradually dispersed - then along came the Council and dug up all the plants, which had been put in the garden in pots, but covered with soil to look as if they were growing! Even the new tenants looked rather surprised.


It's Official! Volunteering in Shire has taken off!

As promised, a special display stand has just arrived just inside the front doors, and it contains details of a myriad of volunteering opportunities in a myriad of places in and just outside Bristol. Some of these are in Practical Work and DIY, Fundraising, Community Work, Caring, Computers and IT, Business and Management, Befriending, Counselling and Administration.  Plus a Miscellany of jobs which don't fit into any of these categories or are weekend or evening work. Then, if you are interested in going further afield, there are even placements overseas.

You are welcome to come and browse - it's relatively warm in our hallway and there are seats! If you want to follow up any of the positions, you can get further information from the good people at Volunteering Bristol - contact details are all over the literature.

Volunteering Shire has its own information spot, too - right here in SHIRE!   Through this column the Beechley Walk Lunch Club has recruited the volunteer it badly needed. Also, it brought to someone else's attention that the Public Hall might need volunteers too. Well, yes it does - we have clubs needing help and the day to day upkeep of the building itself is an onerous task so we snapped her up with cries of joy!

We have a plethora of small but incredibly badly needed jobs to be done in the way of minute repairs, paint touch-ups and other paint jobs, bits of admin, occasional clean-ups and washing up, rearranging cupboards, painting white lines on stairs, improving on our recycling arrangements, sorting some IT problems....the list is varied, irregular and endless. I will be giving more details next year!  Meanwhile, if you have some time on your hands and could help at all, please give me a ring on 9829963, (I'm part-time and not always at the Hall). Or if you are an organisation which needs volunteers, remember this space has done it for someone else, and send your requirements to us at Shire Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton BS11 9TX.

Kate Pollard
Community Worker


The aim of the site is to provide a directory of e-mail addresses of ex L.W.   pupils, much the same as Friendsreunited, but free. We currently have about 70 members from Australia, Gibraltar, New Zealand, with the majority being from the British Isles. The database contains over 120 teachers names with the subjects they taught.

There were 1,300 pupils when I was at Lawrence Weston, so we still have a large number of potential members.

Les Harrold.


May I begin by wishing you all a very happy New Year.  I would like to take this opportunity to remind all of those Parents, Grandparents and Childminders out there in Shirehampton, Sea Mills, Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, and wherever else you live (one of our Tots travels all the way from Kingswood!) that our group is open to all carers with children under the age of 5 years. We now meet every Monday and Wednesday between 1pm and 3pm.

We have lots of toys to play with and have regular craft activities, where your child can get messy, but your house doesn't. At the end of each session we have a   Songtime, when we let each child choose their favourite nursery rhyme, or even pop song, and if we do not know the words, we learn them. All this for only 50p - Refreshments included.

Our sessions have been quiet lately, so if you have a couple of hours on a Monday or Wednesday afternoon, bring your children along, we would love to meet you.

Finally, to all our regulars, thank you for your continued support.

For further information contact - Mrs. Sandra Neate, 2 Chelwood Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9RA, Telephone - 0117 3777999.


Following the splendid afternoon of this concert on 9th December, I would like to thank all those who came along to support the choir and who contributed to a huge total of 510 in aid of St. Peter's Hospice.  The Choir were in fine form, and were complimented superbly by the fine soprano voice of Charlotte Newstead. Contributions from Gemma Harvey on the flute, Gil Osman on piano and Gill Sawyer and Christine Froud's duet rounded the afternoon off just right! And finally, a big THANK YOU to both Duncan Jennings our resident organist each year, and to Tim Forder our choir-master for keeping it all together.

See you on Good Friday

Derek Harvey.


List of forthcoming events:

22nd January - Beetle Drive (Please note that the dates for January are different to normal)
5th February - Walking the Severn Estuary - Jan and Dave
19th February - Beauty and the Beast - Theatre Trip
5th March - To be arranged
19th March - Bring & Buy Charity Night

Make it your New Years resolution to join our club - come along and give it a try.

C. England
St. Andrew's Ladies Club
St. Andrew's Church Hall,


Re: Letter on the December 2001 issue, regarding Springfield Avenue Park.

Dear Editor,

I have to agree with the letter, the park is a mess. Youths gather there all hours, and late at night, breaking and burning park equipment, smashing bottles and making a lot of noise. This can go on until very late, especially at weekends. In between all this, they play OKnock out Ginger', preying on lonely frightened elderly people. They hedge-hop all down the street and generally make themselves menaces to residents living in Springfield Avenue.

After consulting many of the residents, most agree that it would be better to close the park down altogether.

Ask yourselves, is this fair to the little ones who do enjoy this park? They are the ones who will suffer through the bad behaviour of others. We need to step up police patrols and add more lighting to help residents and young children put Springfield Avenue back to how it was - quiet and enjoyable.

Concerned Residents'


Dear Editor,

I should be glad to receive some information concerning Penpole House during the war years 1939 - 1945, when my Dad was there in the A.R.P.   I would especially like to see a photo of the people there and to hear from anyone who remembers George Rowles, who would then have been in the middle 30's.

If anyone does have memories of Penpole House at that time, I would very much like to hear from them as it would be of much interest to me.

B. ROWLES - 982 8854.


Re the photograph in the October issue of St. Bernard's School outing in

1950, I would like to thank 'SHIRE' and Mrs. Sheila Norman, nee Foley, who now lives in Cornwall for their help. Out of the 19 in the photograph, there are now only 7 remaining to identify. Those identified are (L to R) Back row: Mr. O'Sullivan, Mr. Riordan, ?, Middle row: (4) Norman Butler (Inwood), (5) Billy Paten, (6) Barbara Goodwin (7) ? (8) Susan Palmer (9) David Webb (10) Sheila Foley (11) Chris Thompson (12) Tony Bidwell (13) (14) (15) (16) Pat Scanlon (17) (18).

Have any others been recognised? If so, please let me know.

Mr. N. Butler (Inwood), 2 Western Green, Winteringham, Scunthorpe, N. Lincs. DN15 9NX Tel: 01724 734349.


Dear Editor,

We would like to say a great big Thank you to all family and friends who supported our sale on Saturday 26th October at the Methodist Church Hall.   We raised 370.35 and have donated this to cancer Research. This sale was held in memory of our dear sister Gloria who very sadly lost a 15 year battle to cancer.

Thank you again to everybody who supported us.

Jacqui Bagge, Jenny Ward and Gill Williams.


Dear Editor,

I was just wondering what your correspondent Danny from Auckland (in the November issue) was trying to say. If by 'get rid of it' he means close the Avonmouth factories down, he might like to consider what to do with the several thousand unemployed that would result.

The companies could of course have not put a warning system in and hope for the best. In place protection is a proven method of protection and sure beats trying to out run a gas cloud.

Finally, the plant in Bhopal was not Ever Ready and had nothing to do with battery manufacture but was Union Carbide Chemicals whose parent company Union Carbide happened to own Ever Ready.

Tony Haggerty

Hazardous Substance Adviser
NZ Fire Service (by email)


Tickets are now available for Shirehampton FC's celebration dinner to mark their 50th anniversary that will be held at the Bristol County Ground home of Gloucester County Cricket Club.

For more information for this event, please contact the club president Kelvin Gordon on 9739990 or the club secretary Graham Brunsdon on 9078042.  All ex players, supporters and members are very welcome.  Advertising space has now become available on pitch side boards and in the match day programme with 1st XI match ball sponsorship also available. For more information please contact the club treasurer Brian Rowswell on 9687757.

Forthcoming Fixtures at Penpole Lane

KO 2.30pm

05th JAN DRG Stapleton Res (2nd XI)
12th JAN Burnham UTD (1st XI)
19th JAN Hambrook (2nd XI)
26th JAN AEK Rangers (2nd XI)
02nd FEB Peasdown (1st IX)
09th FEB Nicholas Wdrs (2nd XI)


Congratulations to Doreen and Eric Nairne on the occasion of their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, from all their friends and family.  Doreen and Eric have lived at the same address in Dursley Road for 54 years, 25 years in a Prefab and 29 years in a house built on the same site.  Thank you for your kind donation to Shire - Ed.



There were 71 people present

In the absence of other section leaders there was only one section report.


a)  Planning & Environment

Bristol plan - acknowledgement had been received regarding alterations made by the committee, and these will be considered in future reviews. There will be another opportunity for comments to be made when the First Deposit Plan is issued. The importance of getting our views known at this stage was stressed because once the plan is agreed it is Oset in stone' and the Park and Ride is a good example of that.

Antennae - Kingsweston - a further application has been submitted for an additional 3 antennae on the existing cabin of the CTI Relay Station. This is an ongoing situation whereby when one application is turned down another is submitted with slight alterations in the hope of eventual success. The friends of Kingsweston are opposing it.

Park Hill Service Station - a planning application has been submitted for the erection of two semi detached houses on this site.  Wessex Water - improvements have been made to decrease the unpleasant smell from sludge that had to be stored because of Foot & Mouth. A further meeting will be held in January and a Wessex Water representative has offered to address our meeting in March if required.

2-Storey office building at MHS, Portway - several local residents have written opposing this application.

Bingo Hall - rumours are circulating that the site will be converted into flats but nothing official has been seen. Details can be obtained from the planning department.

Site of former Portway Day Centre - (Application No. 01/03383/FIX) the large number of people at the meeting reflected the strength of feeling about a second planning application submitted to convert the site into a hostel providing temporary accommodation . The first application was turned down under delegated powers and did include a second storey building being built.  This current application is for using the present single storey building and reducing the number of bedrooms to 14 with accommodation for a maximum of 25 people. In view of the disquiet felt by local residents, and the feeling that not enough is known about how the scheme will be managed, there will be a public meeting in St Bernards School at 5pm on Tuesday 11th December, chaired by Doug Naysmith, MP, and it is expected that representatives from the construction company, hostel management company and the Council will be present. It was suggested that everyone with views should co-ordinate their arguments to present a united front at the meeting, but it was stressed that emotional responses would not be helpful, the application needs to be opposed (or supported) within the parameters of planning law.  It was argued that 5pm is not a good time for a meeting as many people would be at work so those objecting should inform the Council and try to get it changed. A show of hands demonstrated that nearly 50 people had written to the Council opposing the application and a good percentage had received a reply, but all should receive a letter about the meeting.  Park & Ride - Work is well underway but the Ombudsman had been involved and it was discovered that an environmental impact assessment had not been carried out prior to work starting. This will be done in the new year but it is unlikely to stop the development.

b) Any other business

Pembroke Road Car Sales - a comment from the floor expressed concern at two fires at the site recently, which if not caught in time could have had a devastating effect on nearby property. Despite a promise from Mr Cadman of the council, to keep us updated on the planning status, nothing has been heard. This will be followed up.

Date of next meeting Wednesday 30 January 2002 at 7.30pm


On December 11th a large number of people attended a meeting, chaired by Mr.   Doug. Naysmith MP, in St. Bernard's School. Mr. Graham Parker of CFJ Planning, Mr. Lee Douglas of Bristol Family Housing, Mr. Brian Cadman from the Council Planning dept., and Councillor Pat Roberts were present, to answer questions about the proposed use of the former Day Centre as a Short Stay Accommodation Centre.

There were a lot of angry people there from St. Bernard's Road.  Firstly, they fear that the proposed new residents will cause trouble. The assurances from Mr. Douglas that the occupants, statutory displaced persons, would be neither criminal nor threatening were shouted down. So was his assertion that any troublemakers would be removed within 24 hours.  Secondly, the residents fear that the presence of a hostel would lower the value of their properties. For this they blamed Bristol City Council, with more shouting.

Thirdly, they feel that for many years Shirehampton has been marginalised by the planners, and insufficient notice has been taken of their wishes.  Instances quoted were Othe failure to repair and preserve the swimming pool' and Othe relocation here of problem families from other parts of Bristol', in their opinion just adding to Shirehampton's many problems. Again the Council was blamed.

It was said that everyone in Shirehampton opposes the location of a hostel.

This is manifestly untrue.

There was not one word of sympathy for the proposed residents of this hostel, many of whom would be from the Shirehampton area and would be in the category of Ohomeless not of their own volition'. The Council has a statutory duty to rehouse such people, but this cannot be achieved without local goodwill.

There seemed to be no acknowledgment of the fact that homeless people are now a fact of life worldwide, and a challenge to us all. Are we not prepared to play a small part in addressing the problem in this Country? Couldn't we in Shirehampton be supportive and consider helping? - because the problem won't go away. When this is printed we shall have celebrated the festival of Christmas; are we going to continue the excuse that there is no room in the inn? What sort of caring community are we? If you have strong views about this write to the Council.


As usual the few weeks at the end of last term were a busy time for the children and staff of Avon Primary. Towards the end of November the Pre-Christmas Bazaar was held, raising 510 for school funds and also a donation to Children in Need. Many thanks should go to all the OFriends' of Avon for their loyal support and hard work - and for making it such a pleasant event.

The Junior classes and the Infant classes between them put on 4 performances of two different concerts in which all the pupils took part - featuring a musical Nativity, carols and light-hearted Christmas songs and music.  Collections taken will donated to UNICEF, which is our chosen charity for this academic year.

In addition to this the school Choir and musicians entertained the Portway Ladies Club at the Tythe Barn and the PBA Retirement Association at their club. At the school's Gift Service the children were encouraged to brings gifts, later distributed to local elderly folk.

Headmaster, Duncan Jennings, said 'At Christmas there is no better time for us to think of service to our local community and working together with it, as well as having an enjoyable time. A great deal of hard work by our dedicated staff has allowed us to continue this tradition'.  This month Avon Primary will be forging even closer links with the local community when the computer suite, in conjunction with the UK Online project, will be made available for members of the community for tuition in IT skills.

In December a  group of our Omore mature' friends enjoyed a session where they made Christmas cards using the technology. They are now embarking on a series of 10 sessions to develop their computer skills.

Congratulations to Sarah Wilks, who attended Lawrence Weston Comprehensive School from where she went on to Bath College to obtain a B.Sc., degree in Environmental Biology.


Hi Folks

I am  sure there are many of you entering this winter month of January with bulging waist-lines after the excesses we indulged in over Christmas - anyway excesses or otherwise, May I wish you all a very Happy New Year!  Now that Christmas has come to an end we immediately enter 'Epiphany'. 'What is Epiphany?' some of you may ask. Well, Epiphany commemorates the revealing ['showing forth' is the exact meaning of the word] of the Divine Nature, first to the wise man from the East, and it is observed on 6th January.  There are four to six Sundays after Epiphany before Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima Sundays, giving warning of Ash Wednesday - but more of that in February.

Over the past few months many of you will have observed the church yard boundary wall in Pembroke Road has been refurbished and that a new small wall, topped with railings and accompanied by a wrought -iron gate, has appeared near the South Porch in Pembroke Road. This gate will give access to the churchyard outside the Choir Vestry, which is to become an extension to our Garden of Remembrance. The existing garden is now almost full. It has yet to be landscaped and made suitable for the acceptance of ashes.  Hopefully, redevelopment of this part of the churchyard will not take too long!

Finally, I have to inform you a Consultation Meeting is to be held in the Church between 3pm and 8pm on Wednesday, 16th January, 2002, concerning the proposal to erect a telecommunications aerial in a flagpole on the west end of the Church.

Well, that's it folks for this month - I will speak to you all again in February.

Bye for now


PS - The Christmas Concert on Sunday, 9th December raised the sum of  520, which was donated to St. Peters' Hospice - thank you for your generosity, it is very much appreciated


Dorothy Wooller wishes to thank friends and neighbours for all their kindness and support on the death of Joanne.....and without the strength of Jacqui and Richard would never have survived the ordeal.  Many thanks for your donation to Shire - Ed.


The Long White Cloud - A Journey through New Zealand' An illustrated talk by Rev. David Alderman to be held on Sunday, 27th January, 2002 - 6pm

Refreshments available afterwards


It is with great sadness that we report the death on 26 November of our former pastor and dear friend Chris Keogan after a long and difficult illness.

Chris was Minister of Shirehampton Baptist Church for 19 years and left our fellowship in January 1990 to become minister at the Baptist Church in Upper Bedding in Sussex. Many of you will remember him and his wife Anne and boys Mark, Paul and Peter. Chris retired from the ministry in 1997 and moved to Stonehouse near Stroud to enjoy a short, but busy retirement.  Anne will no doubt be remembered as an assistant at the Mother and Toddlers group, always there with a friendly smile and cup of tea.  Chris was a gentle compassionate man, who cared about the members of his fellowship and was committed to the community here in Shirehampton. He was a governor at both the Infants and Junior School, as it then was, and was involved with the Shirehampton Community Council. His passing will be sadly missed.

Jean Mills


Congratulations to Val Flint-Johnson, Church Worker at Shirehampton Methodist Church on the poem printed below, which won a runner-up prize in the recent Methodist Recorder Poetry Competition.

God's Time-line

God's time-line
A vibrant rope of life
Stretching through the centuries.
The thread of love
Binding together primeval stars
In the nativity of our universe,
Woven into creation.

God's time-line,
Its unbroken cord winding
Through paradise and wilderness,
Entwining the lives of patriarchs,
Through flood and fire, exile and homecoming,
Through sacrifice, psalm and prophecy,
Woven into history.

God's time-line,
Past, present and future
Firmly anchored in redeeming love,
Securing the gift of eternal life
Through His incarnate Word.
Birth and death, cross and resurrection
Woven into time and space.

God's time-line,
Encircling our lives,
Enlarging our vision,
Guiding a pilgrim people on the Way,
Its golden iridescent stream,
Far greater than our imaginings,
Woven into His eternal future.


It appears to be a little-remembered fact these days that Shirehampton was once home of one of the great cricketers of all time. Gilbert Jessop, who rejoiced in the soubriquet of 'The Croucher', was a batsman whose rate of scoring is still without consistent parallel in the history of the game, the news of whose arrival at the crease caused offices and factories in the vicinity of the ground to empty, and who once won a Test match for England against Australia almost single-handedly.

Jessop and Shirehampton

On the site of Walton house, Jessop's former residence in Shirehampton, now stands the Blockbuster Video Rental shop. All that remains of his property is what is now the British Red Cross charity shop, which would have been his lodge/coach house and not actually a part of Walton House itself. Of the four years or so during which he lived here, no other trace remains; time has forgotten him, and no local memorial exists. His memory lives on elsewhere, though, as the Jessop Bar at the Gloucestershire C.C.C. ground at Bishopton and Jessop House at Cheltenham Grammar School bear testimony.

A Short Biography

Gilbert Laird Jessop was born on 19 May 1874 at Cambray, Cheltenham, the eleventh child of Dr. Henry Jessop. His cricket career began at Cheltenham Grammar School, where he won his First XI colours at the age of thirteen. He progressed into senior cricket by playing for Churchdown and South Woodford, where he scored his first century, then, after moving to Oxfordshire, for Witney Town before being invited to play for Gloucestershire for the first time on 30 July 1894 at the age of twenty under the captaincy of another of the game's titans, Dr. W. G. Grace. He later also played for and captained Cambridge University, before returning to Gloucestershire full-time on cessation of his studies in 1899 and taking up the captaincy there on Grace's abdication a year or so later. In January 1909, in addition to the captaincy, he accepted the post of secretary to Gloucestershire, whereupon he moved from his residence in London to Walton House in Shirehampton. There he stayed until 1913, when he moved back to London. His retirement from cricket, enforced by the outbreak of WWI, came at the end of the 1914 season, after which he joined the Army. During the war, his family moved to Somerset, where he settled following the Armistice and took up a career as a writer. He died at Dorchester on May 11th, 1955.

Jessop The All-Round Cricketer

Jessop began his first-class cricket career as a fast bowler. While not being considered by his contemporaries to be quite of the front rank at this discipline, he was certainly an able performer who would often take vital wickets cheaply, and he was fast enough to instill a certain amount of trepidation amongst those who faced him. His prowess in this area was definitely on the wane by the turn of the 20th century, however, though by this time his batting had developed to the point where he was the best batsman in the Gloucestershire side, to say nothing of being one of the most exciting to watch that there has ever been. He was also an outstanding fielder with a 'good arm' who perfected the action of picking up the moving all and throwing it back to the wicketkeeper in one motion. Between 1899 and 1912, he appeared in eighteen Test matches for England: thirteen against Australia and five against South Africa.

Jessop The Batsman

In 491 first-class matches, Jessop batted 855 times and scored 26,698 runs with a top score of 286 at an average of 32.63. This may not sound exceptional in today's terms, but pitches were not as good during Jessop's career as they are now. He was also constrained by the prevailing law of the time that the ball had to be hit completely out of the ground, not just over the boundary ropes, to count as six; many of Jessop's fours would have counted six under the modern cricket laws. It should also be taken into account that he played primarily as a bowler for the first third of his career. His batting record, measured by contemporary standards, is by no means a bad one.

What really set Jessop apart was his rate of scoring: he scored his runs at a rate of around 79 per hour. Compare this with acknowledged master batsmen such as Sir Jack Hobbs and Walter Hammond, both of whom scored at around 45 runs per hour, and the rate of scoring in modern county or Test cricket, where 300 runs in a day's play of around six-and-a-half hours is about average, a combined effort between two batsmen of less that 50 per hour.  Small wonder that the news, 'Jessop's just coming in' would empty the members' bar, and that the ground rapidly became packed as the tidings spread to the neighbouring buildings.

His method was unorthodox: his crouching stance, leaning over his bat with his upper body more or less parallel to the ground, earned him his nickname, and many of his shots were played cross-batted, almost baseball style, making them highly unlikely to be found in any cricket coaching manual. But Jessop was not just a slogger. Sloggers usually score a few quick runs and get out: thanks to a superb eye and exceptional co-ordination, Jessop was, as often as not, in the habit of scoring a few quick runs, then a few more, and then yet more. He scored 53 first-class centuries, and his average for all scores made when he passed the 100 mark was 140.  Of all his phenomenal feats with a bat, of which there were too many to list in detail here, his finest hour was during the Fifth Test against Australia in 1902 at the Oval. In England's second innings on the last day of the match, on a difficult wicket in poor weather conditions, Jessop came to the middle shortly before lunch with the England total at 48 for 5 wickets and another 215 required to win, a seemingly impossible target. During the next 77 minutes' play, which spanned the lunch interval, Jessop scored 104 runs from only 79 balls received, out of a total of 139 runs added during his tenure at the batting crease. He reached his century in 75 minutes, which to this day remains the fastest hundred ever scored by an Englishman against Australia. This put England in sight of an unlikely victory which was eventually achieved by the narrow margin of one wicket. Without Jessop's timely innings, it would not have happened; not without good reason does cricket history remember this Test as 'Jessop's Match'.


My thanks go to the publishers of the Wisden Cricketer's Almanac for some of the statistical data above, and to the late Gerald Brodribb for his excellent biography of Jessop, 'The Croucher', from which much of the biographical material was gleaned. Most of all, I extend my thanks to Jessop himself: it was my misfortune to be born too late to stand the remotest chance of ever seeing him play, but how I wish I had.

David Wheeler

March 2001


We want to print your news, views, stories, puzzles, photographs, pictures, local history and anything else you think would interest the rest of us. So get out your paper and pens/pencils/word processor, whatever, put on your thinking cap and tell us all about it! It's really not all that difficult!  There must be hidden talent out there. The closing date for copy is always the 10th of the month, hand in to Shirehampton Library. Be hearing from you..


We held our sale this year on Friday, 7th December. As usual the children had worked very hard on their crafts that were on sale, from dough decorations, cards, decorated boxes to the painted plates. A big thank you also to the following local traders for their gifts for the raffle - Co-Op, Hawkins Newsagents, Tubbs, Elizabeth Ann Flowers, Autoparts, Swift Travel and Shirehampton Drug Store. Thank you also to all the parents who helped with preparing crafts, donating items and helping on the day. A lot of hard work is required for this special event, but it is very enjoyable for both children and helpers.   We take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy 2002.

Thank you

S. Knowlson and S. Curtis.