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Farewell to the Savoy Cinema?


History of the Gray family




Letter from Theresia


30 Years of The Shire Newspaper February 1972 - February 2002

This edition marks 30 years of Shire Newspaper!

Farewell to the Savoy Cinema?

Application has been received by the Bristol Council for permission to demolish the old Savoy Cinema building to make way for new apartments.

Cheltenham based Newland Homes are planning to build 38 2-bedroomed apartments on the site, which is in a conservation area and it is intended that the building plan will be appropriate for the surroundings.

The 'Savoy' was built in the 1930's and served the local population well until 1962, when it closed and became a Bingo Hall. This use was very popular indeed until Lidl made an offer that couldn't be refused in June 2000 and the building was closed down. It then, of course, became vandalised very quickly.

Fortunately, last month the site was sold by Lidl to Newland Homes and we look forward to the 'eyesore' being removed although there will be many regrets that the old 'Savoy' has gone, but perhaps the name may be retained.

Do you have any special memories of the Savoy? I'm sure our readers would enjoy reading about them.


A Safer High Street? Put forward your views

Bristol Council is one of 32 local authorities to share in a new 33.5 million cashpoint made available by the Government for road safety projects designed to prevent accidental road injuries to children and pedestrians.

The Council has been successful in securing 100,000 of this funding, which it is proposed to use for improvements for pedestrians in Sea Mills Square and Shirehampton High Street and Pembroke Road over the next few months.

A number of accidents involving child pedestrians prompted the City Council to choose these sites for its bid. Between 1998 and 2000 there were 8 accidents involving child pedestrians in Shirehampton High Street/Pembroke Road and 4 (including 1 serious) in Sea Mills Square.

The City Council is currently developing two potential schemes and over the next few weeks city council officers will be contacting anyone who might be affected by the proposals. Full details of the projects are yet to be finalised but they are likely to include 20 mph zones and other forms of traffic calming to protect children from speeding cars.

The Council want to listen to the views of businesses, traders, the local churches, the health centre and local residents before drawing up the final schemes. Once finalised, the scheme will be circulated for a full local consultation sometime in late March/early April before work starts in the late Spring.

Councillor Helen Holland, executive councillor for the Environment, Transport and Leisure says, 'this is really good news. With further funding we can continue to improve road safety and reduce child accidents. It is pleasing to see Bristol's work in targeting pedestrian safety endorsed by the Government. Details are still to be finalised and we look forward to listening to local people and businesses before any new measures are installed.'

Photos: E Verey

Our readers, either private residents or in business, are therefore urged to put forward any suggestions which you believe would improve safety in the High Street. Do so as soon as possible so that your scheme can receive consideration at an early date.

Post to:

Mr Mark Godwin,
Traffic Management,
Bristol City Council
Brunel House
St George's Road
Bristol, BS1 5UY


February 1st: Friday and every Friday FRIDAY FUN at the Beachley Walk Centre for Parents/Carers and pre-school children. 9.30am-11.30am
February 1st & 6th: Every Friday and Wednesday, 'Drop In' Sessions at the A.U.S. Cottage, High Street, 9.30am-11.30am
February 1st: Friday MONTHLY COFFEE MORNING at the LIBRARY 10.30am-12.30pm
February 1st: Friday each week BINGO at the Public Hall, start 7pm
February 2nd: Saturday SHIREHAMPTON F.C. Fixture at Penpole Lane, K.O. 2.30pm v Peasdown (1st XI)
February 4th: Monday-Friday February 8th both dates inclusive every week AFTER SCHOOL CLUB at the Public Hall during term time for details ring Myra Jenkins 968526
February 5th: Tuesday, St. Andrew's LADIES meet at St. Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth at 7.30pm 'Walking on the Severn Bridge' by Jan & Dave
February 6th: Wednesday ARTHRITIS CARE 7.30pm at the Public Hall
February 6th: Wednesday every week EARLY MORNING SWIM at Shirehampton Baths 7am-8am, 8.30am-9am
February 7th: Thursday TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD at the Methodist Church Hall. 'Watch out for those' by Mr. M.D. Bowring at 7.30pm
February 9th: Saturday SHIREHAMPTON F.C. Fixture at Penpole Lane K.O. 2.30pm v Nicholas Wanderers (2nd XI)
February 9th: Saturday STAMP FAIR at the Public Hall 9am-4pm
February 11th: Monday-Friday February 15th both dates inclusive HALF TERM FOR ALL LOCAL SCHOOLS
February 12th: Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day
February 19th: Tuesday RAILWAY MODELLERS meet at 7.30pm at the Public HAll
February 19th: Tuesday St. Andrew's LADIES, Theatre trip to see 'Beauty and the Beast'
February 20th: Wednesday WOMEN'S INSTITUTE meets at 7.30pm at the Methodist Church Hall
February 20th: Wednesday SHIREHAMPTON STITCHERS meet at 7.30pm at the Public Hall
February 20th: Wednesday, HAPPY HEARTS WEST meet at 7.30pm at the Beachley Walk Centre
February 22nd: Friday SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Community Centre 1, 8pm-10.30pm
February 28th: Thursday TEA DANCE at the Methodist Church, Sea Mills Square, 2.30pm-4.30pm 1 with Dave Morey.


Saturday: Soccer Skills, 5-9 years, 9-10.30am, 2.50; Junior Weights, 14-16 years, 11am-12 noon, 2.25; Junior Basketball, 8-12 years, 1-2pm, 1.50; Junior Basketball, 13-17 years, 2-3.30pm, 1.50; Rollerskating, 5-12 years, 4-5pm, 2.00.

Sunday: Karate Junior, 5 years +, 10.30am-12 noon, 2.50; Karate Adult, 16 years +, 10.30am-12 noon, 3.35; Bums, Legs & Tums, 16 years +, 11.30am-12.30pm, 2.60; Yoga, 16 years +, 1.30-2.30pm, 3.60.

Please be aware that there will be an entrance fee of 30p for all over 16s not in possession of a Bristol City Council Leisure card.

For full details of activities and prices please feel free to pop in or phone 0117 9823514, and our staff will be pleased to help.

Thank you for your donation to Shire. Ed.


Some of our older readers may well remember my Father, Stan Parsons who ran the Lifeboat pub from 1939-54, having taken over the licence from his father who had been landlord since 1911. Ron, my brother seven years my senior, emigrated with his wife, Pat, and two young sons to Australia in 1959. He has never returned nor have I ever had the opportunity to visit him until this past autumn. I officially became a senior citizen last August and so we planned a trip 'down-under'. Our furthest flight had been to Cyprus some ten years or more ago, so a 23-hour flight to Melbourne with just a refuelling stop in Singapore, was quite daunting but exciting at the same time. We took off on the evening of Guy Fawkes November 5th! Everything went as planned and we arrived to be met by Ron and his wife Pat at four o'clock in the morning.

They live about 85 miles north west of Melbourne in a village called Neerim South, the nearest town of any size being Warragul about ten miles away. The countryside where he lives is absolutely wonderful, very green and everything and everyone seems to live on a hill. They have a small wood clad house with a corrugated tin roof, standing in seven acres (most of the country houses are like this). They have two cows each with calves; about twenty chooks (chickens) and a couple of peacocks, which make very good guards, screeching at the approach of anyone to the property. Mains electricity, but bottled gas and the water for washing and drinking comes off the roof when it rains and is stored in large sealed tanks alongside the house.

It was early summer time there (our shortest day coincides with their longest) and the temperature in that part of Victoria was quite cool when we arrived and in fact the first couple of weeks were typically English. The abundance of colourful birds in the gardens was amazing. So many different species of parrot; Rainbow Parrots and Rosells, King Parrots with vivid red breasts and bright green wings, and Galahs with their pink breasts and soft grey wings all feeding in turn from seed put out in the garden and when they left there would be up to twenty large white cockatoos with yellow plumes on their heads. There were sparrows and magpies as well but these were lost to us as we watched the other birds feeding. Their garden was full of cottage-type flowers and roses but also orange and lemon trees loaded with fruit. We picked raspberries and blackcurrants by the tub full.

Whilst in Australia we managed to visit Cairns and go out to the Great Barrier Reef, which could be a story in itself, then on to Sydney which is a beautiful city with wonderful buildings and harbour and it was a great experience to walk around the opera house and waterside. We then flew inland to Alice Springs for a night before a coach ride (about five hours) across to Ayres Rock. Everyone has seen pictures of this amazing sight in central Australia desert land, we're sure. However for the past three years they have had double or treble the annual rainfall and so the land for some hundred or so miles around is in fact quite green at present and there are some very large cattle ranches there. The usual reason for visiting Ulura, the aboriginal name for Ayres Rock, is to witness the spectacular sunsets and sunrises but we were to witness something quite different on this occasion. On the evening of the trip to see the sunset we got caught whilst walking by another rock formation, The Olgas, in a terrific rainstorm, which found many of the coach party stripping down to the bare minimals to try and dry off. On reaching Ayres Rock later, still in the rain, we were to see the whole rock (it is 6.5 miles around) absolutely pouring with waterfalls; it really was something to behold and then just before the sun was to set we were rewarded with a total rainbow coming right to the edge of the rock. Who wants to see the sunset anyway!! The next morning we were picked up from our hotel at 4.30am to drive out to view the sunrise. There was no sunrise as such, the rock was shrouded in cloud which soon lifted, but we did not see the sun. It rained again, but we were able to walk round parts of the rock and learn of some if it's history and importance to the native Australians.

We then flew back to Melbourne and spent the last week again with Ron and Pat before another long flight home. We actually flew for twenty-three hours in the dark. It was quite weird as it was getting dark as we took off from Melbourne and the sun was rising as we came in to Heathrow it was a long night!

Ron and Pat send their regards to anyone who remembers them. Ron was in the Bristol Police for 10 years and had  some involvement with the Ranger Scouts here in Shire and Pat was in the local St. John Ambulance Brigade, having trained as a nurse at the BRI.

I could write much more about seeing kangaroos, koalas and even camels, yes there are 1,000s there, but space is limited! The trip was well worthwhile and our only regret is that we hadn't made the effort sooner. We have very many wonderful memories.

John and Mary Parsons


At Beachley Walk Community Centre, Shirehampton, every Friday from 9.30-11.30 a.m. Come and meet lots of new people. Activities available: Sticking activities, junk modelling, arts and crafts, toddler toys, playdough, painting, cooking. We will end the session with singing and the parachute. Refreshments available, 30p per adult. Come along and meet us or for more information please contact Nicky/Lyn at Freshways on 9235353.


There was an episode of the TV series CASUALTY filmed at the Public Hall before Christmas. It will be shown on BBC 1 on March 23rd.

History of the Gray family

Dear Editor,

My brother Leslie Gray of 78, Dursley Road, who has several times published articles in 'Shire' sadly passed away in November 2001. I feel that the following article (about the Gray family) could be entered in your monthly paper to give village residents information in Shirehampton history.

A Gray family of Shirehampton with a railway connection.

My father was a railwayman employed in Yorkshire during the 1920's. Three boys were born there, Eric, William and Colin. We came to live in Dursley Road, where Leslie was born in 1927.

However, our family moved to No 4, Hung Road Cottages, next to Myrtle Farm, in 1932 and our time there gave us many happy memories, although lighting was by oil lamps and water from a well.

We moved to Lawn Cottage, High Street in 1937 and this was our parents' last home. Sadly Colin passed away in 1988 and in November 2001 I lost Eric and Leslie. I believe we were all thankful that our parents gave us a happy family life in Shirehampton.

Eric's working life was mainly in Westbury-on-Trym as manager of a hardware shop. Railway employment came into Colin's life in Shirehampton booking office, while I joined GWR in Avonmouth Goods Office, where I met my dear wife Joyce. It was however, Leslie who became a life-long railwayman, retiring as a Foreman Shunter with the Avonmouth Port Authority. His main hobby was model railways but his meticulous artistry in pen and ink drawings  provided historical albums of Shirehampton which are now lodged at Bristol Records Office, reference accession 41857.  Leslie also bequeathed an album to St Mary's Church, commemorating the war dead of Shirehampton.

W. T Gray,

43 Brook Road
Bristol BS16 3SL


Jan, Joe and family would like to thank everyone for supporting the rugby match held on the 22nd November 2001 in memory of John at Avonmouth Rugby Club.

Special thanks to Wayne Harvey and Nick Venn for all their hard work in organising such a fantastic day.

Many thanks to all the local support given by the pubs and clubs and to Bristol Port Company for their generous donation.

The total raised was 1709.15 which Wayne, Nick, Joe and I presented to the Bristol Children's Hospital who were very grateful for the donation. They have decided to buy three Blood Pressure Machines with the money.

Once again thank you all for your kindness and generosity.

Jan & Joe Collins

Many thanks for your donation to 'SHIRE' funds.


  Morning Afternoon
Mon 10am-1pm 2-5pm
Tue Closed Closed
Wed 10am-1pm 2-5pm
Thurs Closed Closed
Fri 10am-1pm 2-5pm
Sat 10am-1pm 2-4pm

Bristol Outreach Library Service

Do you have a few hours to spare? Would you like to be a volunteer taking Library Books to people who are housebound? Volunteers are needed to help with this valuable and worthwhile service. Interested? For further information please contact: Bristol Outreach Library 0117 9661508.

The Golden Jubilee of Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II

It is just 50 years ago this month when Princess Elizabeth retired to bed on 5th February 1952, and came down next morning, 6th February 1952 as Queen Elizabeth II, the forty-second Monarch of England since William the Conqueror. During the night her father, King Geroge VI had sadly passed away. She was staying at Treetops Lodge in the Nyeri National Park in Kenya with the Duke of Edinburgh during a Royal Tour of Africa. They returned to London straight away. She was only 25 at the time.

When Queen Victoria had reigned 50 years, every town and village throughout the land did something to mark this event. Shirehampton, which at that time also included Avonmouth, planted a Wellingtonia Gigantea tree on Shirehampton Green, which is still thriving we are glad to say. This picturewas taken in 1970.

To mark Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee our local historian and author Ethel Thomas, has written a new book. It is called 'The Continuing Story of Shirehampton', and includes all those subjects there was no room for in her 'Shirehampton Story', such as Royal Events, the Railway, The Portway, The Schools, Medical Matters, the expanding years between the Wars, Prominent Parishioners and Sporting and other Leisure Activities. It ends with a chapter about Accidents and a short account of Philip Napier Miles, the last Squire of King's Weston.

With this new book the author has tried to bring the history of Shirehampton right up to date.

The book is a hard-backed edition with 200 pages and 186 photographs priced 15.00. Copies are available in the local shops, or by post, plus extra 2.00 to cover postage and packing, from 55 Cook Street, Avonmouth, Bristol BS11 9JY.

Tea Dances Methodist Church Sea Mills

2.30 - 4.30pm, Thursdays. 1.

January 24th - John Hutton
February 14th - David Morey
February 28th - John Hutton
March 14th - David Morey
March 28th - John Hutton
April 11th - David Morey
April 25th - American Tea, John Hutton


The Library Staff tell us that by Saturday, January 5th, their 100 copies of 'SHIRE' had all gone, and that more and more people are asking them for extra copies. One man who comes in collects 6 copies of the paper, which he sends to friends all over the country. We will endeavour to find some way to meet demand.



Why not celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee with us The Grainger Players! as we step back to the happy years of '52/'53? Come and revive the memories of the accession and coronation all in one, with an evening of fun, community spirit and  a little bit of our past.

Why not take the 'Golden Coach' for an evening on a sentimental journey on Thursday, 25th, Friday 26th or Saturday 27th April at the Public Hall, starting at 7.15pm. Tickets are 2.00 Thursday for all seats, Friday and Saturday 2.50 seniors and 3 adults. You can pre-book your seats NOW at Liz's Flower Shop (next to the Hairdressers) in the High Street, to ensure your ticket.

The Show will be a light-hearted reminder of 1950's memories, as a starter to the Jubilee Year.

Tickets are already being booked, so come and stroll down Memory Lane with us.

Shirl and Players


We would like to wish our Mum and Dad, Ron and Peggy Beaumont Rixen a very happy 60th Wedding Anniversary on Tuesday, 12th February. They met during the Second World War when Dad was serving in the Royal Navy and Mum was in the WRENS. They were married in St. Edyth's Church, Sea Mills, in 1942 and had five children, and have lived in Avonmouth for over 50 years.

We would like to wish Dad a very happy 90th birthday on Saturday, 16th February.

Lots of love to you both from Babs and all the family.


Dear Editor,

I am delighted to write that the album to which Mr. Dungey refers in his letter has been given to St. Mary's Church. Mr. Gray left a specific instruction to this effect and we hope to display the album properly when the re-ordering of the interior of the church is carried out. Until that time interested parties can view the album by contacting Mr Christopher Eynon on 9824349.

The album is a wonderful tribute to those Shirehampton men who gave their lives in the service of their country during the 1939-45 war. It is fitting that the album should be kept in the parish church where so many of the names are commemorated in a stained glass window.

With best wishes

Yours sincerely

Christine Froude

St. Mary's Vicarage
8 Priory Gardens
Bristol BS11 0BZ

Cary Grant

The Editor, Shire

It might be of interest to local admirers of the late Bristol-born film actor, Cary Grant, to know that he visited his uncle and aunt, who lived in Shirehampton on several occasions.

Just after the Second World War, on his last visit his Aunty (his Uncle had died) was at a party in a neighbour's house when Cary called. Imagine the neighbour's surprise on responding to a knock, to find Cary Grant standing there determined to gatecrash her party.

I cannot go into further details concerning the houses involved, in respect of the present owner occupiers.


Anthony Mitchell
23, Passage Leaze

P.S. It might help to guess the names of the aunt and uncle if we remember that Cary Grant's real name was Archie Leach. Ed.


Plans have been published for post 16 (sixth form to we oldies!) education in Bristol. These have included sending post 16 students from Portway Community School to Ashton Park School entailing hours travelling to and fro'. However, when I spoke to the Headteacher of Portway Community School, Mr Neil Sykes, he told me that there would be a full admission into their two-year post 16 courses in September this year, giving a  viable sixth form until August 31st, 2004. Neil Sykes added that this would give time to consider future viable options in conjunction with other agencies, for post 16 education at Portway Community School.



Dear Editor,

I would like to express the dismay I have felt at the sign displayed outside the Co-op of late which says something to the effect of No school children between 8am and 4pm unless with an adult. I fully appreciate that there is an element of troublesome young people in our village, and unlike many I do not hold the view that there is nothing for them to do. They have sports centres, swimming pools, Guides, Scouts, Navy Cadets, as well as Judo clubs etc. they can join and some youth clubs run by the churches too. Not to mention Playstations, more TV than we ever knew or dare I suggest it 'homework'. However I DO NOT like to see them cast out merely for being young, and I truly believe the vast majority of our young people are decent law abiding citizens. I would hope they had a 'Right' to innocence until proved guilty, and thus to shop. I am sympathetic to the shopkeepers who have to run the gauntlet of the wrongdoers but surely the way forward is to campaign for more effective forms of punishment for the perpetrators, and not a blanket assumption of guilt. One day shops such as the Co-op will be looking for new staff - I wonder if the local youngsters will pay them in kind and seek employment somewhere where they feel valued? The signs that say only two school children at a time are bad enough, this is completely overboard.

Thank you for allowing me to air my views.

Yours faithfully

Mrs V. Edgeworth


Why not buy some training too 'ON THE ROAD TRAINING for ADULTS and TEENAGERS' available. Start at your own home. Covers theory and practice on safe, effective cycling. To book training call Tamar Thompson, Cycle West 0117 9276808.

St Bernard's Day Care Centre

I would like to reply to the article in the January issue of Shire regarding the Portway Day Care Centre in St Bernard's Road.

  1. Not all the so called 'angry people' were from St Bernard's Road, just concerned Shirehampton residents.
  2. Troublemakers removed within 24 hours? Where would they go? To another Hostel, then another maybe even ending back here?
  3. Property values were not the main issue.
  4. We are not naive - most of these people would come from outside Shirehampton, South Gloucestershire, the other side of Bristol, asylum seekers. They would not be 'goody, goody nice people' down on their luck.
  5. Local residents should not be made to feel guilty opposing this plan - I am sure the person who wrote the article does not live any where near St Bernard's Road.

A decision is due to be made on 23 January.

Signed: Resident of St Bernard's Road.

Use of former day centre

Dear Editor

Recently I have heard of the meeting, December 11th, 2001, held to discuss a proposal for use of the former Portway Day Care Centre, in St Bernard's Road, Shirehampton.

I am very concerned that the public attending were so unsympathetic to this proposal, that the meeting degenerated to a shouting discourse. I wonder how may of those attending have ever found themselves in the situation of not having any income with which to provide basic living necessities. Most probably, none of them!

We are assured that the people being given short-stay facility at the Centre are law-abiding citizens who need temporary living space, while waiting permanent housing and that they are not drug-addicts, nor criminals. There would be a night-time curfew - this would dispense with the fear of people returning late at night causing noise disturbance.

Could the local residents who complained so volubly remember they are living in a village and not an exclusive isolate up-market venue. Also that all of us have basic rights. Living accommodation is paramount among human rights and needs. The residents of St Bernard's Road may not realise they are there by choice, while the displaced persons concerned, are there by dint of circumstances. A local saying of 'Live and let live' will be recognised if the December 11th objectors were Shirehampton people. For, as a village community, this has always been our watchword. Using Portway Day Centre as a temporary accommodation centre would be putting that building to good and desirable use. I hope the proposal will go forward.

Yours sincerely,

A. Bollen


Dear Editors,

The breaches of health and safety regulations by two engineering firms that carried out work on the M5 Avonmouth Bridge have angered Avonmouth Ward Labour Party members. Both firms have been fined for a serious lapse in safety that led to the death of four workmen. Members were taken aback when told that the horrific and tragic accident would have threatened the safety of residential and commercial properties beneath the bridge had it occurred at the Avonmouth end of the bridge rather than the Pill.

During the time the works were taking place many residents living close to the bridge raised their concerns with Labour Councillors for Avonmouth Ward Celia Lukins and Pat Roberts. These concerns were raised with the Highways Agency and reassurances given that local people were not exposed to risk. The investigation carried out by the Health and Safety Executive, following the tragic death of four workmen, has revealed that in reality the safety of residents had been threatened.

Members of Avonmouth Ward Labour Party supported Councillor Pat Roberts call that both engineering companies should not be awarded contracts by any Government agency or public body to do any further work. Given the blatant and horrendous failures of the two firms and their assets, the amount they were fined (250,000 each) is hardly likely to act as a deterrent from continuing to allow lapses in safety to persist.

Councillor Roberts is using every avenue possible to ensure others are not put at similar risk when essential works are carried out in the vicinity they live or work. She has raised the matter within Bristol City Council; with Dr. Naysmith, M.P. for Bristol North West and with the Highways Agency.

The activities carried out by Councillor Roberts have resulted in the Health and Safety Executive the body responsible for enforcing safety law in Britain confirming they will be working with the firm that is awarded the contract to paint the M5 Avonmouth Bridge, as the gantry will be used. Neither of the two engineering companies has been invited to submit bids to do any further work on the bridge.

Yours sincerely

Rosemary Clarke
Secretary for Avonmouth Labour Party

42 Station Road


A volunteer is required to deliver 'SHIRE' paper to numbers 10-28 Groveleaze. Please ring SHIRE on 9826935 for details.

Many thanks to Andrew Huster who has covered this round for 10 years, boy and man. We send our good wishes to him in his new job.

Letter from Theresia

To my customers who over many years, have become wonderful friends.

I am not much of a letter writer but I had to put pen to paper to say how grateful I am to you all for being so supportive through my troubled times. The last three years have not been easy, but there you were with words of encouragement, jokes, flowers and cards to show that I was not alone.

Thank you, Pam and Tom, you were always there when needed. Thank you Mrs Coalman, you always showed interest and kindness. Thank you, Mrs Squires, for always listening and saying comforting things. Thank you, Marjorie, for mothering me with a hug and finding things I had lost. You have proved yourself a true friend. Thank you for pulling the business through.

Also thanks to Pam Lawton and Beverley for helping out.

I can't thank everyone individually who helped me because there have been so many and the Shire paper is not large enough. You all know, in your way, what you did for me and I won't ever forget the many kindnesses. Thank you all. I wish you all a good, healthy and happy life.

My love to you all,


Theresia Hair Fashion,
25 Pembroke Road.

P.S. I have had my triple bypass. As we say, you can't kill off couch grass, so here I am back again where I belong - with you in my little salon.

(With many thanks for your donation to Shire funds - Ed)


Shirehampton was once a village, then it became a suburb of Bristol, but it has always retained its identity. Our aim has always been to provide a local news service, which we hope plays a part in promoting Shirehampton's individual community. We would like to thank all those people who have helped shire keep going for 30 years and make special mention of those who make sure that the paper is delivered to every local home. J.A.


Mr Garland, Jenny and all the stafff of the Co-op would like to thank all customers for their kind donations on Christmas Eve to the Marie Curie Cancer Charity. We raised 450.72.


When I started the Public Hall Bingo Club I did not expect it to be such a success as it has become. It started with 15 members, then 25 and now it has grown to 54 and sometimes 61 we began on September 15th, 2000.

The success of the Club is down to the Members who help in everything the washing up, moving about the tables and chairs, issuing the Bingo tickets and raffle tickets and handing out the prizes to the lucky Raffle winners. It is truly a community Bingo Club.

The Christmas Party on 21st December was a huge success with thanks to Barb and Mary, who made the sandwiches, Margaret who served the wine, the Tea Girls, Eileen and Stella, and everyone who helped to make the evening so enjoyable. I am truly grateful to them.

I was overwhelmed when I was presented with a Card by everyone, also a sum of money, which was totally unexpected.

Thank you from your Bingo Caller, Norman.


Dear Editor,

Hi! I would like you to know that the Grove Leaze Youth Club is no longer open. You mention on your What's On page that the youth club is open on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Unfortunately the building has been temporarily boarded up by the Council during November and it actually closed in July. It is a real shame to see. As a family which lives near the Youth Centre and having been brought up in the local area for all my life it certainly brought tears to my eyes to see it like it is. Can you please amend your records accordingly. If there is any progress in the use of the Youth Centre I will let you know if I can.

Also another amendment needs to be made on Thursdays 'The Shed' at Shire Baptist Church no longer runs either. There is a youth programme in operation but it would be best to contact the church office on 9828238 for further info or leave a message and will get back to you.

Yours faithfully,

Cath Brown


Hi Folks!

I know we are now entering the period of Lent, but before I mention anything about that, I just wish to cast our minds back to Christmas Eve, when a group of people from St. Mary's, the Methodist Church and Baptist Church were singing carols in the churchyard these good folks raised the sum of 130 in the space of 1 hour for Christian Aid. A further 170 was donated through Christian Aid envelopes so thank you for your generosity.

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) is on the 12th February, this year, when people confessed their sins and then made merry before the next day Ash Wednesday which is the first day of Lent. Lent is a solemn period of discipline and repentance which roughly lasts for forty days, the period of our Lord's special preparation in the wilderness through temptation for the opening of His Ministry.

Our Lent course this year will be looking at issues of bereavement and will be following a course called 'Living with Loss'. The course will run for 5 sessions and there will be a final session of Holy Communion with healing. This will be on Wednesday evenings from 7-9 p.m. and will commence on Ash Wednesday and will finish on Wednesday, 20th March. We hope many of you will attend and find this interesting and worthwhile. The Ash Wednesday Holy Communion Service will be at 6.30 p.m. followed by the first session for those who wish to stay. If there are enough people who would prefer an afternoon course, it may be possible to run this course one afternoon a week as well. If you would like this, please sign up on the notice board at the back of the church giving the preferred day and time.

Last month you will recall an obituary for Les Gray, where mention was made by Bill Dungey of an album compiled by Les of the Shirehampton men killed in the Second World War, which included details of my own father. Les very generously left this album in his will to St. Mary's. We are extremely honoured to accept this bequest and it is currently held by me pending a decision as to where the album should be kept and how it can be displayed to interested people.

It is extremely encouraging to report a significant increase in the number of people attending Sunday morning Holy Communion Service. Many familiar faces have returned as regular worshippers. Thursday morning Holy Communion has also seen an increase in numbers 19 has been the maximum so far.

As regular members of our congregation will confirm, we have not paid our full quota to the Bristol Diocese since 1994. The quota is a sum of money each church is expected to pay annually to the Diocese which is used to pay Clergy Stipends, Pensions and Grants etc. Canon Christine recently held a Gift Day which, including money claimed back on behalf of tax payers, realised the sum of 3,000. This has enabled St. Mary's to pay our 2001 quota of 17,010 in full and hopefully a substantial amount towards our previous unpaid quota.

We thank God that in response to this presence in our lives and his generosity to us we have been encouraged in our giving. There is not doubt that being blessed with a new incumbent who has given everyone such wonderful inspiration, leadership and encouragement has made an enormous difference and so we also thank God for bringing Canon Christine to St. Mary's.

Finally, Canon Christine has asked me to remind you the church is open from 10am-12 noon each day (except for Thursday when Holy Communion is held at 11am). You will received a warm welcome and be offered a cup of tea or coffee. These refreshments are FREE, but any donation you care to make will certainly not be refused! Look out for out advertising banner facing the High Street if the banner is displayed we are OPEN!

Bye for now,



Colin Chidgey and John Parsons, who kindly put up all the equipment, the lights, microphone and platform were convinced that it would be fine enough for us to gather outdoors, after having the event for the last three years in St. Mary's. Luckily they proved to be quite right. So thank you fellows for the grand job you do. The proceedings started off very promptly at 7.30pm by Canon Christine Froude, our new Priest in Charge at St. Mary's and her husband David added his support by standing with her on the platform. We all sang the carols with heart and soul and shouted 'Merry Christmas Shirehampton' at the top of our voices. One young fellow will always remember  when several hundred people wished 'Happy Birthday'. Our thanks go to John Berry who conducted the combined bands of Portway School and the North West Wind Band, and to the musicians who make the evening something special, thanks also to Norman Sims, who brought the Wind Band along. Finally thank you to all who turned up, most of us remembered to bring the middle pages of Shire along. Hope we shall all gather again next Christmas Eve.

St Mary's Toddler Group news

The three month trial period for our Wednesday afternoon session is now over and as there has been very little demand for a toddler group during this time, it will no longer take place.

However, our popular Monday afternoon group between 1pm and 3pm will continue and I thank all our regulars for their continued support.

If you care for a child under 5 years of age and would like to join us for a couple of hours on a Monday afternoon, you will find us in the Church Centre on Pembroke Road next to the Health Centre.

We look forward to welcoming you,

Sandra Neale.

Anti-racial Harassment Policy

There have been a few reported incidents over the past year of racially based complaints in Shirehampton which will be of great concern to the vast majority of residents. It is unbelievable that because someone is perceived to be 'different', for whatever reason, they should be victimised for that difference. Sadly a small minority of adults and some children use this excuse to bully and frighten others, usually those whom they consider to be least able to defend themselves.

In December 2001 Bristol City Council's department for neighbourhoods launched its Anti-Racial Harassment policy which sets out clearly what a racist incident is and that it will be firmly dealt with under the strengthened powers now available to local authorities.

A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person. Racially motivated action is a physical, verbal, written or psychological attack on an individual, group or their property for which there is no reasonable explanation other than their race, culture, religion, ethnic origin or personal relationship with an ethnic minority person, where this is the view of the person receiving the report or the person reporting it.

A number of articles under the Human Rights Act enable action to be taken against perpetrators as does The Crime and Disorder Act 1988 and the protection from Harassment Act 1997. The 1996 Housing Act enables councils to evict tenants who are found to be racist. Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are a fairly new option which enables councils to deal with anti-social behaviour of any kind. These orders have been used very successfully in Bristol.

I am sad that 'Shire' felt this article was needed and I am sad that a few bullies amongst us make it necessary for me to write it. However, if we are all mindful of the issue we can help our neighbours who may be victims of this lowest form of harassment. If you witness an incident please have the courage to do something about it. If something offends you it almost certainly offends the majority of residents. Report it to the police or to Meadow Grove area housing office. If you are a parent, teacher, youth worker or have some other dealings with young people please be mindful that children can be perpetrators of racist action. It can seem very devilish and good sport to join in stone throwing when egged on by peers. Nevertheless, it is wrong especially if racism is the basis for it. Make sure you do all you can to educate young people in this.

Cllr. Celia Lukins
Avonmouth Ward and Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood and Housing Services.


Dear Editor,

Chris Inker was very pleased when you published his story in 'Shire'. He phoned me from Dubai in the Emirates on Christmas Eve and said he had received about seventy Christmas cards from your readers. He decorated the bulkheads (walls) of his cabin, much to the envy of his shipmates.

I have received the enclosed picture which he asked me to send you as thanks for your kindness.

He is expecting to be home in April or May, so it has turned out to be a long voyage.

I should like to take the opportunity once again of thanking you for your kindness and wish everyone involved in producing 'Shire' a happy and successful 2002.

Best wishes, Yours aye,

Hamish Grant

(Thank you for the photo Chris.)


We had a letter from Helen and Bob Brandt, who now live in Norfolk, and used to live in Station Road. They both seem to be very busy, Bob has written several articles for The Artists' Sketchbook, shown his pictures in Southwold and sold images to a card firm. The Art class which he runs in the parish room is full to overflowing. Helen is the Secretary of the P.P.C. and and busy getting funds to repair the church, still making her toy Norfolk farm buildings, patchwork quilts, helping run older residents to Glaven lunches and hospital appointments, and being on the committee for the History society. In fact being heavily involved with the local community. If you have news of friends who once lived in Shirehampton you could share with our readers, we would be pleased to print it.

A Tribute to Win Pople and Ernie Bristow

From Councillor Celia Lukins

Over the festive period Shirehampton heard of the passing of two stalwarts of the community who had lived in the area all their lives and had given a great deal of service both locally and to the wider community: Win Pople and Ernie Bristow.

Win Pople will be known and remembered by many either through the long years she worked in the cash desk in the Co-op, or through the 40 years or so she was connected with the Cotswold Community Association in Nibley Road, or for her canvassing for the Labour party (a party member for almost 60 years), or for being Lady Mayoress of our great city when her husband Vic had the great honour of being Lord Mayor. I remember her in all these roles.

I remember seeing her whizzing down Hung Road on her bike during her lunch break from the Co-op when I was on my way back from school. I remember her at the Cotswold CA where she was a committee member almost from the beginning. I remember how she was always enthusiastic about my fund raising projects during the 6 years I was secretary there. Of course I remember her tireless work for Avonmouth Labour party because she believed in an evenhanded society that gives everyone a chance. I also remember her as a very capable and warm Lady Mayoress. I have enjoyed many a session listening to her recount her experiences of that year and admiring her many trophies which necessitated the building of a special cabinet to house them!

In whichever role we knew or remember Win I know it will be with warmth and probably love. I don't think the work 'no' was in Win's vocabulary, she was always pleased to help and always did so with enthusiasm and a smile. Whilst Win never held high office in her own right, she worked tirelessly for this community almost all her life, her contribution should be acknowledged and respected by us all.

Ernie Bristow was well known in this area as a local councillor for over 20 years. He was known throughout the area which was Avon county as a councillor and champion of Avon Fire Brigade. He was known throughout the south west of England for his trade union work amongst dockers, being one himself. For all these things he had a national reputation. It was not uncommon for organisations, TV stations, students, etc., to contact him from all over the country seeking his help, advice or the benefit of this tremendous knowledge in so many areas.

Ernie gave a lifetime's service to people and in particular to the people of Avonmouth ward. Few will appreciate just how much of himself and his time he gave. Besides his community and environmental achievements he must have helped thousands of individuals over the years making their lives better in one way or another. I wonder how many of us stopped to say, 'Thanks Ernie'?

Much has been written and said about Ernie's public life over the last few weeks which I will not reiterate. I will say two things. firstly that I have lost a very dear friend and colleague. When I became a councillor 12 years ago, it was Ernie I turned to for guidance and there evolved the very best of ward councillor partnerships which benefited the residents of Avonmouth ward more than anyone will ever know. Secondly the residents of this area have indeed lost a sincere, loyal and dedicated champion of their causes, as a resident on their behalf I say, 'Thanks Ernie'.

Celia Lukins.


We wish to thank friends and neighbours of St. Bernard's Road, Woodwell Road and Hung Road for the generous collection of 73.00 in memory of Mr. W. Jackson.

At the request of the family, it will be forwarded to Ward 5 ICU, BRI.

Mary Miles and Margaret Giles.

(Thank you for your donation to SHIRE funds).

Life after Death?

Many people say, 'If anything should happen to me' when they mean, 'When I die.' But we can't thus easily escape the fact of death. Each day brings the day of our death one day nearer,

Most religious faiths teach their adherents that death is the gateway to new life. St Paul in prison on capital charges writes, 'For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me. yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better, but to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.' (Phil.1.21-24.)

But is this promise of a wonderful new life with Christ and in Christ in the presence of our heavenly Father true or merely wishful thinking? Shakespeare referred to death as the entrance to 'the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.' 'The sure and certain hope of the resurrection' of which the funeral service in the Book of Common Prayer speaks is strictly speaking a contradiction in terms. Hope is not the same as certainty. Yet if you believe, as Christians, Jews, Muslims and many others do that god is almighty and also loving and merciful then this hope is fully reasonable. As God loves us beyond our imagining He surely wants us to love for ever in His love. And as He wants this and is also almighty He will surely make it happen.

So no more of this 'If anything should happen to me' nonsense. Instead let us say with St Paul, 'To me to live is Christ and to die is gain.'

A. H. Dammers.

Obituary - Carol Wookey

Sadly, Carol passed away on the 14th December, 2001. Iris and Joanne would like to thank you all for the cards and flowers, and also for the donations to the Huntingdon's Disease Fund.

(Thank you for your donation to shire funds - Ed.)

Dot Knight

With the sudden and unexpected passing of Dot Knight, Shirehampton has lost one of it's most loved and respected inhabitants.

Dot lived and worked in Shirehampton all her life, beginning as a shop assistant in Bendall's Stores. She married Des Knight (a sailor who came from Pill) and they lived for many years in Groveleaze and were very involved with the Scouting movement. Sadly they lost their son, Ian, when he was 21 years old, but they never lost their spirit in caring for other members of the community. Indeed, they would extend a helping hand to anyone in trouble.

Dot was well known for her excellent cakes and her penchant for flower arranging a skill she used most successfully for many, many years in St. Mary's Church. Dot was a loyal and hard working member of the Church for many years, and evidence of her many talents remain in evidence to this day.

Both Dot and Des were caretakers of St. Mary's Church Centre and on his retirement from the P.B.A. Des became caretaker of the new Health Centre.

Shortly after moving to a flat in Park Hill, Des sadly died, but Dot carried on with the help of her daughter. Despite health problems, she was Chairwoman/ Treasurer of Tythe Barn, raising money with sales etc. organising entertainment and outings. She was still actively employed working as a volunteer in St. Peter's Hospice shop at the time of her death.

I was privileged to call her a dear friend and will miss our infrequent chats, advice on cooking, and the bouquets and flower arrangements she would make for me. Dot was such a cheerful, caring soul and I know that Shirehampton will be a poorer place without her.

Our deepest sympathy is extended to her daughter, Maureen and family.

Maureen E. Geddes

P.S. Des and Dot Knight organised the distribution of 'SHIRE' for a good many years most efficiently for which were most grateful. Editor.


It is with deep regret that we have to announce the death of Kathleen Doble (aged 84) on December 20th, 2001. Kath had lived in Priory Road, Grove Lease and for the last 51/2 years at Priory Gardens. Kath was a well known face around the village but since the death of Alf had suffered increasingly from poor health. Kath's daughters Myra (Lynn), Rita and son Steve would like to thank family, friends and neighbours for their cards, letters, messages of sympathy and very kind donations to The British Heart Foundation in memory of their Mum. A very big 'Thank You' goes to the Baptist Minister Revd. Tim Baynes-Clark for the time he spent with the family and the lovely service he conducted at Kath's funeral on 28th December, 2001.

M. L. Constable

Thank you for your kind donation. Ed.


Spring Term 2002

Begins: Monday 7th January
Half Term: Monday 11th February to Friday 15th February
Ends Thursday 28th March

Summer Term 2002 -

Begins Monday 15th April
May Day: Monday 6th May
Half Term: Monday 27th May to Friday 31st May
Ends Tuesday 23rd July

Public Holidays 2001/2002 School Year

Christmas Day Tues 25th Dec.
Boxing Day Wed 26th Dec.
New Years Day Tues 1st Jan.
Good Friday Fri. 29th March
Easter Monday - Mon 1st April
May Day Monday 6th May
Spring Bank Holiday Mon 27th May
Summer Bank Holiday Mon 26th August