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Royal Visit - 24th September

What's on in September

Nicola Berry

Library Centenary

The Furture of Council Prefabs

Action Forum Funding Boost

Shirehampton Park

Royal Visit - 24th September

We now have more details of the programme for the visit of HRH The Earl of Wessex to the Public Hall and Library, on 24th September. The visit is to make the Centenary of the laying of the foundation stone of the building on 3rd October 1903.The visit will begin when His Royal Highness arrives at the Hall, accompanied by Mr Jay Tidmarsh, JP, the Lord Lieutenant. He will be welcomed by Dr David Thomas, Chairman of the Public Hall Association.

The Earl will begin his tour in the Library, where he will also meet people involved in Community Education, based at the Hall. He will then move to the Hall itself, where he will meet members of the Community Action Forum, and of some of the groups who have regular activities in the Hall. He will also see the work of the Station Road Playgroup, based in the Hall.The Earl will then move into the Community Garden outside the Hall, where he will plant a tree to commemorate the Centenary and his visit. Mr Tim Baynes Clarke, who is minister of Shirehampton Baptist Church, and also Vice Chairman of the Community Action Forum, will dedicate the tree. Sir Peter Miles will also be present. Sir Peter is the heir of Philip Napier Miles, who donated the land for the Public Hall and whose wife laid the foundation stone.After the tree planting, His Royal Highness will move to the Avon Youth Bus, which will be parked outside the Hall. The Bus has made regular visits to Shire High Street this summer. The Earl will leave for another engagement in Bristol at noon.

Commenting on the visit, David Thomas said: “We are very pleased to be able to welcome The Earl to Shirehampton. His visit gives our Centenary year the best send off we could have hoped for. It is a tribute to all of the people who have worked for many years to improve the Hall and to widen the range of community activities based there. It is also a splendid opportunity to put Shirehampton on the map.”We regret that it will not be possible to invite the general public into the Hall. However, everyone is welcome to come and watch The Earl plant the commemorative tree.

After The Earl leaves, there will be a light lunch, to raise funds for the Hall. All are welcome to come to this. Please phone Jeanette Cossey at the Hall, on 0117 982 9963, to obtain your ticket.

What's on in September

SEPTEMBER 1st, Monday, BLOOD DONOR SESSION in the Baptist Church Hall, Station Road, 1.30-3.30pm and 5.30-7.30pm.
SEPTEMBER 1st, Monday every week “See & KNOW” for under 6's in St. Mary's Church Centre 1.15pm-2.45pm.
SEPTEMBER 1st, Monday every week, 3 of Us BINGO at St. Andrew's Church Centre, Avonmouth 1.15pm-2.45pm.
SEPTEMBER 1st, Monday, FREE BASIC LITERACY CLASSES at Lawrence Weston. Tel: 9038824 for details.

SEPTEMBER 2nd, Tuesday, POLICE HELICOPTER talk with slides at the Cotswold Centre at 7.30pm. Everyone welcome.
SEPTEMBER 2nd, Tuesday, CARERS GROUP at the Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-12 noon.
SEPTEMBER 2nd, Tuesday, St. Andrew's Ladies meet at St. Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth at 7.30pm for QUIZ NIGHT.

SEPTEMBER 3rd, Wednesday, ARTHRITIS CARE 7pm at Jim O'Neil House.

SEPTEMBER 4th, Thursday, TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD meets 2pm-4pm at the Methodist Church Hall.

SEPTEMBER 5th, Friday, every week, FRIDAY FUN at Beachley Walk Centre for Mothers, Carers and pre-School children 9.30am-11.30am.
SEPTEMBER 5th, Friday, Monthly, COFFEE MORNING at the LIBRARY 10.30am-12 noon.
SEPTEMBER 5th, Friday, every week, EVERGREENS at the Public Hall 1pm-3pm.
SEPTEMBER 5th, every Friday, BINGO at the Public Hall 6.30pm-8.30pm.

SEPTEMBER 6th, Saturday, COFFEE MORNING at the Methodist Church Hall.
SEPTEMBER 6th, Saturday FAMILY FUN DAY at the Daisy Field 12noon - 4pm.

SEPTEMBER 7th, Sunday 10am COMMUNION at St. Mary's SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER will be present.
SEPTEMBER 7th, Sunday BAPTIST CHURCH SERVICE at the Cotswold Centre at 4.45pm.

SEPTEMBER 9th, Tuesday BEGINNERS ON COMPUTERS U.K. Course at the Public Hall 4.30pm-6.30pm.

SEPTEMBER 10th, Wednesday, EVERGREENS' OUTING to Dorchester Market & Weymouth.

SEPTEMBER 12th, Friday, weekly, INTRODUCTION to E-MAIL & the INTERNET Course at the Public Hall 1.30pm-3.30pm.
SEPTEMBER 12th, Friday, weekly, DIGITAL IMAGING Course for Returners or Beginners at the Public Hall 4pm-5pm.

SEPTEMBER 16th, Shirehampton Area Choir, Christmas Concert Rehearsals. 7.30pm at St Mary's Church.
SEPTEMBER 16th, Tuesday, St. Andrew's Ladies meet at St. Andrew's Church Hall at 7.30pm to hear “By horse and cart to the Moon” a talk by Mr. H. Bowden.
SEPTEMBER 16th, Tuesday RAILWAY MODELLERS 7.30pm at the Public Hall.

SEPTEMBER 17th, Wednesday, EVERGREENS' OUTING to Weston.
SEPTEMBER 17th, Wednesday WOMEN'S INSTITUTE meets at 7.30pm at the Methodist Church Hall.
SEPTEMBER 17th, Wednesday SHIRE STITCHERS at the Public Hall at 7.30pm.
SEPTEMBER 17th, Wednesday, HAPPY HEARTS WEST at the Beachley Walk Centre at 7.30pm.

SEPTEMBER 21st, Sunday, CHURCH OF ENGLAND SERVICE at the Cotswold Centre at 4.45pm.

SEPTEMBER 23rd, Shirehampton Area Choir, Christmas Concert Rehearsals. 7.30pm at St Mary's Church.

SEPTEMBER 26th, Friday, SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Centre 7.30pm-10pm.

SEPTEMBER 30th, Shirehampton Area Choir, Christmas Concert Rehearsals. 7.30pm at St Mary's Church.

School Terms and Holidays

AUTUMN TERM 2003 September 1st Monday - December 22nd
Half term October 27th to October 31st

SPRING TERM 2004January 5th - April 4th
Half Term February 16th-February 20th

SUMMER TERM 2004April 19th - July 16th
Half Term May 31st - June 4th

As the dates of the Inservice Training vary from school to school, so the actual start of some of the terms for the pupils are accordingly individual for each school.

Restarting for the Autumn

Bright Hour held in the Methodist Church Hall is restarting this month on Monday 8th September at 2.30pm. We welcome anyone who would like to come and see what we do. Our monthly Coffee Mornings and Bring and Buy also restart this month on Saturday, 13th September at 10am. Come and meet your friends over a cuppa and look for a bargain.

Community Funds

In response to the advertisement in the May edition of “Shire” inviting applications for community funds, the following groups have been awarded grants which we hope will help them to achieve their aims:
The Sea Cadets
Shirehampton Evergreens
Dragon Club
Penpole Tenants Assn.
”Playdays” Holiday Scheme
Shirehampton Public Hall Community Association
Shirehampton Christmas Lights Association
Twyford Art Club
Shirehampton Community Action Forum
191st Bristol St Mary's Scout Group
The Lawns
Avon University Settlement
SCAF Shirehampton Greens
Avonmouth Holiday Play Scheme

Avonmouth Rotary Club

Come along and join us to hear about the large range of fun activities we do for the local community. We meet every Wednesday at Shirehampton Park Golf Club, 7.30pm for 8pm. For details phone (Sec) 0117 942207.

Tea Dances in Sea Mills

In the Methodist Church, The Square, Sea Mills. 2.30-4.30pm on October 16th - David Storey's organ. November 20th John Natton's organ.

”Thank You”

... to the Ladies of the Bright Hour, Shirehampton Methodist Church

Many thanks to the Ladies of the Bright Hour, Shirehampton Methodist Church for their donation to “SHIRE” funds, which is very much appreciated.

Nicola Berry

Portway Community School, staff and students will be saying farewell to one of their longest serving members of staff at the end of the Summer term.

Nicola will be taking up an appointment as Director of Music at the International School in Brussels.Nicola Carrick, as she was then, was appointed to teach music at Portway in 1978. After six years she was promoted to Head of Music at Brimsham Green School, returning to Portway to become Acting Director of Music in 1987.

After her term as Acting Director of Music Nicola went to work at Filton College and Speedwell School, where she also studied for her Masters degree. In 1990, having married, she returned to Portway as Mrs Berry becoming director of Music. Since her appointment Nicola has worked to establish the Music at Portway, so that it now has a reputation second to none in the city.The reputation, which Portway now enjoys, has seen the school selected to represent Bristol on a number of occasions including a Royal Visit.During her Portway career, the quality of the music performed by Portway students has got better and better and the Annual Summer Concerts which come at the end of the residential summer school have seen both past and present students performing at the very highest level.

Nicola has affected the lives of may ex-students who have now joined together to form the POMS (Portway Old Musicians Society).This group of ex-Portway Musicians are still heavily committed to maintaining the standards set at Portway with their loyal support at the Summer Schools.Nicola must take great pride that she has played her part in their development, and that music still plays such an important part in their lives. Nicola must take great pride that she has played her part in their development, and that music still plays such an important part in their lives.Nicola not only ran the Music Department but also became a Head of Year at Portway and an Assistant Headteacher.

Despite such a busy career Nicola has managed to find time to raise four children (Amelia, Olivia, Thea and Guy) and continue her own studies.The Portway Community wishes Nicola, John and the children every success in her new career, confident that she will very soon establish the reputation which will maker her name synonymous with Music in Brussels in the same way that it has been at Portway. Her loss to Portway in general and Music in particular, will be the International School's gain.Good Luck

Shirehampton Public Hall Centenary 1904-2004

- Renovate a bit of Shire History

Do you have happy memories of the Public Hall, attending dances, shows, playgroup or exhibitions?Would you like to have your own piece of local history? The Public Hall is coming up for its 100th birthday and the balcony seats are showing their age.

To refurbish all 71 seats will cost approximately £1000 that's just £14.00 per seat and we're asking for your help.You can have your own piece of local history by contributing just £14.00 to have the seat of your choice. You can sponsor just one seat or a whole block. How about your club sponsoring a seat or a family getting together and having a family seat?

If you would like to support the project please send your contribution with your name and address to Jeanette Cossey, The Administrator at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9TX. Tel: 0117 9829963 (cheques made payable to Shire Hall Centenary Fund). We will allocate you a seat number or you may like to visit our display in the main hall and choose your own seat.

For those of you with long memories can you tell us:
* when the seat pads were last upholstered?
* what the original covering was like?
* were the metal chair frames painted gold?
Answers to Jeanette at the Public Hall.

Library Centenary

On the 6th of March 2005 the Library will have been open to the public for 100 YEARS. Do you have any memories or anecdotes of your visits to the Library? (No we don't expect you to remember the Opening!!!) Can you remember your first visit? Do you have fond (or otherwise) memories of the staff? Has anything funny happened on a library visit? What changes have you noticed?

PLEASE share your recollections with us - we will respect wishes to remain Anonymous if requested.

Ship to Shore - TS Enterprise

The months of June and July have proved to be a very busy and profitable time for the unit. During June the Cadets held their flag week raising in excess of £350.00. The unit would like to thank the generosity of Shirehampton and in particular the “penny lady”.

On Saturday July 12 the unit split with some cadets providing assistance at the Police Spectacular held at the HQ in Portishead, and the rest of the unit manning a bric a brac stall at the Lawrence Weston Carnival held on the Green at Ridingleaze. This event raised £50 for funds, and gave the unit an opportunity for a promotion drive.

On Friday July 18 the cadets were invited to perform the piling of drums ceremony at the Sea Supper held in the church centre. The Supper was a fund raising event towards the cost of the floor refurbishment, and the cadets demonstrated how an altar could be constructed on a battlefield. On Sunday July 20 the Ganges Association held a skittle match, and will denote the
money to the unit.

Cadet News

There will be four promotions taking place before September. Cadets: Lever, D.; Savage, M. and Thompson, T. will gain Able Cadet rating, Able Cadet Morgan, A. will become Leading Cadet and this is to be followed by three female cadets. Two cadets will join TS Royalist (a square-rigger) for a weeks sail training, and some cadets will attend a boat work course in Cornwall. The unit is pleased to announce that the Avonmouth cadets have gained a higher than national average re-qualifications.

During August much needed improvements will start on the galley, but the unit
will remain open on Monday and Thursday evenings for training. The unit has vacancies for seniors - 11 to 16 years. The unit is open from 7pm to 9pm and visitors will be made welcome. SEE YOU THERE!

Bright Hour

Do you find yourself at a loose end on a Wednesday afternoon at 2.30? If you do, why not pop down to the Baptist Church Hall and meet other ladies for a time of fellowship and a chat over a cup of tea. Most Wednesdays there is a speaker and outings and mystery trips are occasionally arranged. You will be given a warm welcome so why not give it a try.

Shirehampton Directory

There are many community and leisure organisations in Shirehampton. Three years ago, a Directory of all these organisations was published. Although this has been very useful for prospective new members to get in touch with organisations, it has not been updated since then, and copies are very scarce. Shire newspaper has therefore decided to update and republish the Directory.We have already written to many organisations, requesting details of their activities for the Directory.

However, there are almost certainly others which we are unaware of. If you are involved with a voluntary or community organisation of any kind in Shirehampton, and you have not heard from us, we would be delighted to hear from you and include you in the Directory.

Please fill in the form  details of the organisation. For a form in PDF format, which you can post or email to notify any revisions or new organisations, CLICK HERE. The most important items are the correct name of your organisation, and the name, phone number and contact address of the person you expect to be the initial point of contact for members of the public wishing to make enquiries about your activities. The more information you can give about the other entries the better, but the contact details are vital.

You may know that Shire also maintains a community internet site, SHIRE ON THE WEB, at This includes an on-line version of the Directory, which is updated whenever organisations give us up to date information. We will include your directory entry on the internet, where it can be updated whenever any details change. However, if you do not want details on the web, please tick the box provided.

Minutes of the Shirehampton Community Group Meeting

Held in the Public Hall on Wednesday 30th July 2003.

Matter arising from the meeting on 28th May

a) Nuisance motor cyclists - John has spoken with Inspector Ian Jones who confirmed that the police now have powers to confiscate these cycles and some have been. John has also written to Cllr Spud Murphy about the problem and awaits a response.

b) The gates to the Lamplighters Marsh pathway have been reinstated and are locked every evening. Access for pedestrians is at the side of the large gates but this also gives access to the motor cyclists.

c) Parking in Shire - John read out a reply in response to his letter about single yellow lines in Station Road, opposite the Post Office. It appears this suggestion will be taken into consideration when the overall Shirehampton parking issue is reviewed. With regard to the obstructions caused by the Car Sales business this will be addressed and parking attendants will make additional visits. The Planning Department has also been copied in on the correspondence regarding the lack of planning permission for the above business to operate.

d) Swimming pool - John has written to Cllr Pat Roberts and awaits a reply.

Section Reports

a) Highways presented by John Parsons

Bus shelter on Portway - Last year John wrote about the bus stop at the Portway/Station Road, junction going into town, which needed a shelter and in July 2002 was told there were proposals to 'enhance the waiting environment' including raised kerbs, all of which would be completed by September 2002. Nothing has happened so John will write for an update.

Historic finger posts the file on this matter is expanding and still no satisfactory outcome. John has now written to Cllr Spud Murphy to see if anything can be done.

b) General

Bristol Civic Society - John has received a letter from Alan Elkin offering to send the SCG newsletters and John has accepted. The Society has a lot of input into planning applications and the environment so it would be helpful to keep in touch with them.

Shire Forum - John explained again the origins and development of this group which is now a limited company and registered charity and will make it possible to apply for lottery and/or heritage fund grants etc. A few grants have already been received from the Council and Churngold. There was an official launch of the Forum in June. Organisations or private individuals can become affiliated members for a minimum of £5 per annum. John suggested SCG makes a payment of £10 pa and this was agreed by those present.

National Trust a meeting was held in June regarding the property management plan for the golf club, cricket club and Crabtree Slip Wood, a report will be published on the findings, in due course. Donations at the last meeting were £5.18.

Any other business

'Books on Wheels' - this service which takes library books to homebound people used to be run locally by WRVS but for various reasons isn't now. However, the facilities are in place to revive the service so anyone who would like to have a selection of library books delivered should contact Shirehampton library and the necessary action will be taken.

Date of next meeting Wednesday 24th September 2003 (AGM)

Shirehampton Craft Exhibition

Once again it's time to remind all those who beaver away at crafts in their spare time that the annual Shire Craft Exhibition will once again be opening its doors on Tuesday 28th October for the week.

We would like to invite all those who exhibited before to join us again and to extend that invitation to those who have yet to be part of this friendly showcase of what's happening in the craft world of Shire.

The idea of the exhibition is to allow both young and old to bring their achievements to an appreciative audience, we do have loyal following not just amongst Shire people but also visitors from well outside of the area.

We are small group of local people who get together each year to help highlight these achievements. It is not meant as a money maker but, we do support those who would like to sell their finished products themselves.

This year is a special year in the history of the public hall as it is coming up for its centenary and we are hoping to support not by just having an excellent exhibition but if we do more than break even on costs then we will put the extra back into the public hall funds to help with the celebrations.

So do look out for the booking forms. They will be appearing in the September issue of Shire. If you don't do crafts yourself but know someone who does please give them a nudge in our direction, we really do welcome all comers and will find a space for their exhibits.

If you feel the urge to get more involved with the organisation side of the project we are a very informal committee that meets only a few times during the year and would welcome new faces. Or if you just want more information about the exhibition then you can contact me Ed Amphlett on 0117 9821879 - evenings best or e-mail

Don't forget to put the date in your diary. If you don't do crafts you can still support by coming along and seeing the exhibition you may be surprised at the talent of the people of Shirehampton.

The Furture of Council Prefabs


Quiet anger at meeting to discuss redevelopment of prefab bungalow sites

In stark contrast on the previous meeting at Penpole Community Hall, the meeting at the Public hall on Monday, 4th August, was a comparatively quiet, subdued affair, which surprised even the chairman. However, there was a tangible tension in the hall.

The Penpole Meeting, called by the council to discuss the redevelopment of prefab land, was noisy, angry, and lacking in order. Matters were not helped by the fact that the venue had been changed from the Public Hall at the last moment, because of double-booking, and not all the people were able to cram into the small meeting room. For this reason the additional meeting was held at the Public Hall.

A public address system was used at the Public hall, which allowed every speaker to be clearly heard, whereas, at Penpole, speakers' comments were often drowned out amidst the general uproar.

Officers apologised that minutes of the previous meeting had not been circulated, as had been promised, and state that minutes of both meetings would be circulated later. Many in the audience expressed fears about their future, and the anxiety it was causing them at present. This was especially so with elderly and disabled residents. who had settled into their communities over many years and faced unexpected disruption.

Councillor Eddy (Executive Member for Housing) stated: 'This council would be mad if it sought to change these (prefab) communities. We don't want to do anything to imperil the future of such communities.'

A short OHP presentation was given by Nicky Debbage of the Technical Strategy Team, to explain how the present situation arose. The council had hoped to continue its programme of replacement bungalows (as at, for example, Westbury), but it was now too expensive an option. The council had a duty, under government regulations, to bring all its council housing stock up to 'Decent Homes' standards by 2010, or it would be in danger of losing control over housing.

Although a decision had been made that all prefabricated buildings would be replaced, no decision had yet been made as to what would replace them. Council officers had recommended general mixed development over all the sites in Bristol, but each site would be looked at individually, to determine what was best suited to that particular location. The council would work with a private developer and most sites would contain a mixture of council-owned and private dwellings. The aim was to retain the present number of council houses, which meant that there would be more housing on each site.

When asked what criteria were used to determine that the bungalows could not be repaired and had to be replaced, Ms Debbage replied: the bungalows had reached the end of their life (they were meant to last only ten years after the war); they did not have proper foundations, but were built on concrete slabs, some of which were beginning to crack; some timber frames were rotting, and the (potentially dangerous) asbestos cladding needed removing. As stated before, the cost of all this was now prohibitive.

Anger was evident from some owner/occupiers, who had spent thousands of pounds on their homes, which could now be compulsorily purchased. They were assured that compulsory-purchase would be the very last option, to be avoided as far as possible (builders could work around some privately owned refabs), but it could not be ruled out. Owners were therefore advised not to spend money on any major improvements.

Councillor Eddy assured people that the council was intent on keeping people regularly informed about developments. He state that he was setting up a Project Board (meeting monthly) which would include representatives from private owners and tenants from each site. The council was also going to produce a newsletter, to keep tenants informed.

Between sixty and seventy people attended the meeting (including some who had attended the Penpole meeting). However some did not attend twice. The panel consisted of Councillor Richard Eddy (Executive Member, Housing), Nicky Debbage (Technical Strategy Team Manager), Alison Napper (Policy Officer) and Ian Crawley (Director of Neighbourhood and Housing Services). The meeting was chaired by Geoff Brightman (Chair of the Shirehampton Area Tenants Committee), himself a council tenant (but not prefab).

Other councillors were in attendance, including the town local councillors. The meeting also included residents from homes adjacent to the prefab site, who were concerned about how the development would affect their properties.

Voluntary help required at Southmead Hospital

W.R.V.S. is looking for people who have a few spare hours a week and who would like to volunteer their help at Southmead Hospital in one of the retail outlets, where they would find a busy and friendly atmosphere.

We would welcome hearing from you shortly. Please contact Derek, Jacky or Shirley on 0117 959 5975 or 0117 950 5050 ext. 3675.

Volunteers Needed

Avon Scouts have a thriving membership of 8,400 members. But there are around another 1000 on the waiting lists. Why? Because there is a shortage of volunteer leaders. Would you be willing to invest in the future by joining as a volunteer leader? If you are interested George Peszynski, the County President, would be happy to talk with you on 0117 9621086.

New Football season 2003/2004

The new football season is once again upon us and inevitably it brings many changes to all clubs and this year Shirehampton FC is no different. At this year's AGM two new officers were nominated on to the committee, with Pete McCall (Chairman), Ken Hill (Treasurer) being the new comers and Graham Brunsdon retaining the Secretary's job. The club also welcomed new faces on to the committee.

This year the club will be looking to tie stronger links with Shire Colts with Steve Rowles the new “A” team manager. Steve managed Shire Colts under 16's last year and he has brought with him some promising youngsters, many of whom have progressed through Shire Colts from under 10's. This new link will be essential to ensure the future of the club.

Ike Greening will continue to manage the reserves with Martin Williams as his assistant, following on from the excellent job that they did last season. The first team also sees two new faces with Mike Collier taking the manager's job with Greg Amott his assistant.

Training is held on a Tuesday and Thursday at the Club and we would welcome any new players to join us.We start our home games at Penpole Lane at the end of August and it would be nice to see local people following the team and have a drink in the friendly clubhouse after.

Finally, advertising space has now become available on pitch side boards and in the match day program with 1st XI match ball sponsorship also available. For more information please contact me on 07970 596 260.

Peter McCal

Spending a Penny at Blaise Castle House Museum

Pennies over a hundred years old have been found inside the old 'penny-in-the-slot' toilet latches at Blaise Castle House Museum. As part of the refurbishment of the ladies toilets at Blaise Castle House Museum, three 'penny-in-the-slot' latches were removed from the doors. It was only when they were taken off that it was realised by their weight that two of them still contained coins.

The keys which staff would have once used to empty them have long since disappeared so the Museum's Curator of Social History, David Eveleigh, unscrewed the metal plates on the back. Inside one was found 3/4d - that is three shillings and fourpence in old pennies, while the other one contained 6/5d - or six shillings and fivepence.With twelve pennies to the shilling there were 117 pennies in total. They range in date from 1901 to 1967 and feature the heads or busts of Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V, George VI and Elizabeth II. The most common date is 1936... these coins bear the effigy of George V but were minted during the reign of Edward VIII... there were eleven with this date.

There are four pennies dated 1967 which was the last year to appear on pennies struck for circulation (although the Royal Mint marks pennies with the other old denominations dated 1970 in special presentation packs). Two of the coins; the Queen Victoria Old Head penny of 1901 and the 1902 Edward VII are now over a hundred years old.

It is not known when these 'penny-in-the-slot' machines were last emptied. The old penny rapidly disappeared from use after Decimalisation in February 1971 so they cannot have been used after about the summer of that year, and it is more likely that they were last used in the late sixties.In average worn condition the coins are now virtually worthless, but this sum in 1971, when the coins were last legal tender, would have bought a round of drinks which today would cost about £10.

The idea of charging for the use of public toilets originated with the Great Exhibition in South Kensington in 1851 when a charge of a penny was made for the use of the public toilets (although men were able to use the urinals for free). The following year, 1852, the first public toilet in the street were opened in London and a charge was made for these and it is from about this time that the use of the polite euphemism, 'to spend a penny' dates.

The museum is to add one of the slot machines to the collection and the coins will be used for reminiscence sessions which are being arranged as part of an oral history project, 'Real Objects, Real Lives' currently being organised by the Museum Service. The decimal coins were immediately placed in the museums donations box - a Victorian letter box of c. 1860.

Harbour Regatta 2nd, 3rd August 2003

On behalf of the Merchant Navy Association, Bristol Branch, we would like to thank all those who helped and supported us at the above event over these last two days. Thanks also for their generous donations. Once again we were very lucky with the weather. I am sure all those who attended this event thought it was well worth a visit.Result of Raffle on Merchant Navy Stall - Winning ticket numbers: 1st - 199; 2nd - 379; 3rd - 308; 4th - 146; 5th - 40 and 6th - 179.

The Vickie Hall School of Dance

The Vickie Hall School of Dance have won three titled events in a Freestyle Championship competition earlier this year in June. Lucy Stephens won her section in the under 8 beginner solo Wiltshire championship, Tyler Trebble won the under 8 starter sole Wiltshire championship and both Hollie Thompson and Siana White came first in the under 10 Wiltshire championship pairs. For more information on classes in your area you can contact Vickie (UKA Associate teacher of dance) on 01275 818197.

Funding Your Care

On the 27th September 2003, the director of Funding Your Care, will attempt a Four Legged Walk from Shirehampton to the Cumberland Basin in Bristol and back. Dressed as nurses, our three directors will be linked at the legs and arms and will unit to promote the needs and rights of elderly people to remain in the care home of their choice not withstanding their financial means.

The objects of our charity are:
- The relief of poverty and distress of elderly people by providing funding for their continued care in residential or nursing homes
- To advance the education of the public regarding the needs of elderly people remain in the residential or nursing home of their choice not withstanding their financial means.

We are appealing for sponsors and/or donations from businesses and from the public. For sponsor and/or donation details contact Elisabeth or Teresa on 0117 9235641.

Merchant Navy Association

In accordance with the last wishes of Les Gray, who created a Book of Remembrance of local Servicemen and women who were lost in the 2nd World War, this has been put on display in a glass case in St Mary's Church.

Merchant Navy Day is on 3rd September and listed in the book are the names of 21 Merchant Navy Seamen - from captains to galley boys, and includes photographs of many of them. In one poignant picture three young nineteen year old school pals are sitting on a settee - sadly they were lost when the Ropner ship the s.s. “Stonepool” was torpedoed on 11th September, 1941. The youngest one recorded as lost was fifteen year old Arthur Beames, apparently he was the only crew-member to be lost when the s.s. “Ardenvohr” was torpedoed.

The Church is usually open every weekday morning between 10am and 12 noon when the Book of Remembrance can be viewed; every week a page of the book is turned over. The Association would like to see flag poles flying the red ensign on 3rd September as a token of support and loyalty.

Improvements at Lawrence Weston Community farm

The Management Committee of the Farm is pleased to announce there is now a shop open at the Farm. It is open on Wednesday between 3.00 and 4.30pm and Friday from 10.00am until 3.00pm. Visitors can buy drinks, light refreshments, eggs, garden products such as beans and potatoes, ceramics and garden furniture.

The shop has been opened in response to valuable feedback received from visitors about what they thought would improve the Farm. Ideas included a café, exhibits, a shop, another picnic bench, more events and activities, a decent play park and a bigger domestic animal room.

Although not quite a café the shop is somewhere visitors can now buy refreshments and sit whilst they enjoy them. Choices for Learning in partnership with the Farm provide the shop. They hope to open it on other days but need funding.

New picnic benches have also been installed at the Farm due to the fundraising efforts of people who use the Lunch Club held at the Farm on a Tuesday. Money from SureStart has enabled us to buy a new nappy-changing unit, which has been put in the toilets.

Members of the Management Committee wanted to know what visitors thought of the Farm. Over 75% of those who completed a questionnaire said that their visit as a whole was either good or very good and the Farm is a place they would visit again. The atmosphere at the Farm was welcoming and friendly, they were able to identify a member of staff, the staff were friendly and helpful, it was easy to find their way to the Farm, the grounds and buildings were clean and tidy and the opening hours are convenient according to over 75% of those who took part in the survey. Visitors liked feeding and being close to the animals, easy access to all animals, the atmosphere, the welcome received when they arrived and being offered drinks for the children (school) most. Visitors did not like the lack of runs for the rabbits/guinea pigs, lack of refreshments and the obvious lack of funding.

Entry to the Farm is free so anyone can experience first hand contact with the natural world. Please visit the farm and meet the animals. The Farm is open every day, except Mondays (but we are open Bank Holidays) and Christmas Day, from 9.30am to 4.00pm. For information about the Farm, including how to become a member, please phone 0117 938 1128.

Avonmouth Hockey Club

It is some months since Shire has been updated with the events of Avonmouth Hockey Club and by the time this gets to the Editor, summer league will be nearing its end and the club will be preparing for the winter league campaign.

This year's winter season will see the club with two teams in the local Brunel leagues and the continued development of the thriving junior section. There will be many changes of personnel due to the emigration to Australia of one of our longest established members, the usual loss and return of players due to having children and a couple of transfers to and from other local clubs or even some members who think they may be ready for retirement.

One of the most exciting developments of last season was the progression of a number of our junior members into the senior squads and for the first time in the history of Avonmouth Hockey Club the selection of a junior member from the City of Bristol team in this year Youth Games.

We are a small local club who endeavour to ensure that our hockey is primarily fun and we are always welcoming of individuals who would like to have a go at hockey. There are weekly training sessions with a qualified coach for both the junior and senior sections and weekly fixtures in the local area on Saturdays from September to April.

If you would like to know more about either the junior or senior hockey sections please contact either Sophie Lennox 0117 9829515 or Janet Wilson on 0117 9828039 or email

We would welcome anyone who would like to have a go at hockey even if you are a beginner or you've not picked up a stick since leaving school. We have opportunities for players and supporters in all positions including goalkeeper and umpire. We are a team who are of a very mixed age from the very young to those who will not accept that our bodies and bones are getting too old. If you enjoy team sports come and give hockey a go.

Return of Photographs

While we are pleased to receive photographs to accompany your copy and articles in the “Shire”, should you wish these to be returned to you PLEASE PUT A LABEL ON THE BACK WITH YOUR NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE NUMBER.The photographs are sent to the printer and soon become “lost” among the photo's printed in numerous other newspapers - so make it easier to sort them out by having your name and address on the back!!Ed.

Cotswold Community Association Celebrates Significant Anniversary

Ten years ago the Cotswold Community Association started meeting in a brand new building in Dursley Road on the Cotswold Estate in Shirehampton. The members had previously met in an old World War I hut. During that ten years many different groups have used the building, and it continues to provide an important community resource.

So the 10th Anniversary calls for something special to mark it. That “something special” is Cotswold Celebrates, on Saturday, 18th October, from 5pm to 8pm, when there will be entertainment, food, an illustrated talk from the indefatigable Ralph Hack (illustrated with his brilliant slides), and an opportunity to chat and hear something from the various people who use the hall about what they do.

The event is free, though contributions towards the cost will be welcome on the night, and there will be a raffle with some really worthwhile prizes to help further defray the cost.Everyone is welcome, Cotswold resident or not, but it would be helpful to our catering plans to let us know in advance - telephone 9047319.

Action Forum Funding Boost

Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF) was officially launched in June this year, after establishing itself as an independent organisation - previously the project was supported and managed by the Shirehampton Public Hall Community Association following SCAF's inaugural meeting in October 2001. The Forum brings together a wide range of local voluntary and statutory organisations, who work in partnership to advance social welfare, community safety, housing, health, education, the environment, expand positive awareness of the area, and leisure-time occupations.

The Forum has been awarded two grants to support its community work. Connexions West of England has placed a contract with the Forum to deliver the Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP) programme of holiday activities locally. Connexions aims to give every young person the best start in life and enable them to participate effectively in their communities through active citizenship, learning and employment, including those young people who are in greatest need through disadvantage, disaffection or economic or social exclusion. The Forum will work closely with Portway Community School, the Police based at Avonmouth, BCC Young People Services and other local partners.

The Forum has set up a number of Action Groups. These cover Youth Support, Community Safety, and Housing. Shirehampton Greens deals with environmental issues. At the last count, 37 organisations have participated in the work of the Forum or at least one of the Action Groups. The cross-fertilisation between groups and individuals working in the Forum has been very productive. Great Bristol Foundation has recently awarded the Forum a Neighbourhood Renewal 'Pockets' grant to support all these activities.

Forum Chairman Dr David Thomas said 'I am delighted that these two funding bodies have recognised the contribution which the Forum can make to the Shirehampton community, so soon after it has been launched. We hope that the PAYP programmed will continue in future years. It will help to fill the gap in provision for young people which has occurred since Groveleaze Youth Club in Shirehampton closed.'

If you would like to join SCAF, or to get more information on the details of the holiday programme, and availability of places, please ring Ash Bearman, Community Development Officer on 0117 982 9963, or email her on

Dear Shire,

I have recently come across a campaign that I would like to share with the residents of Shirehampton through the letters page in 'Shire'. The charity War on Want is calling on the UK Government to use its influence to make genuine progress in answering the needs of the world's poor at the World Trade Organisation talks in Cancun, Mexico this September.

Apparently, the current 'free trade' system, ruled by the World Trade Organisation, robs developing countries of £1.3 billion every day - 14 times what they get in aid. World trade has increased tenfold since 1970, but indicators alone show that poverty in Africa has doubled.

War on Want's 'Just Trade' campaign is asking the UK Government to listen to people across the world and concentrate on making progress on issues of major concern for them. The Cancun summit must not be used to give new powers to the World Trade Organisation that will further allow rich corporations to wield power over ordinary people right across the world. The talks in Cancun could be the last chance for the UK Government to turn global trade rules on their head.

The Cancun summit will affect all of us, so I would urge people to get more information from War on Want by calling 020 7620 1111, or go to

Yours faithfully,

Rosemary A Clarke

Shirehampton Park

Shirehampton Park was once part of the Kingsweston Estate and includes the golf course, a cricket ground and Crabtree Slipwood (which lies just between the Portway and the River Avon). It was given to the National Trust in 1922 by Napier Miles, who asked that it be kept for the playing of golf and cricket, whilst remaining open for the recreation of the general public.

Covering 40ha (99 acres), Shirehampton Park is part of a much larger area of undeveloped land that stretches from the River Avon up to the Blaise Castle Estate. The quality and variety of habitats on the site makes it valuable for wildlife, so much so that it has been designated a conservation area. It is also “inalienable”, which means that it can never be sold, so it will remain a part of this large, green space for future generations to enjoy.

This year we are producing a property management plan for the site. Fundamental to this process will be identifying what each of the areas within Shirehampton Park mean to local people and the key features which make them special. We'd really appreciate your views and comments to the following questions:
* Do you visit any part of the site?
* If so, how often and what for?
* Do you think any of the areas are special, and why?

We'd be grateful for replies by Friday 26th September 2003 and can be contacted at:

The National Trust, FREEPOST, SWB 11124, BATH BA2 6ZZ.
Tel: 0117 973 1645Fax: 0117 974 3976

If you would like to receive a summary of the plan once completed (Autumn 2003), please include your contact details.Thank you for taking the time to read this and we look forward to hearing from you.

Summer Fayre

On Saturday 12th July Avonside District held their Summer Fayre at the Guide Headquarters. We would like to thank everyone who came along and supported us. The photo shows Fiona Taylor of the 120th St Mary's Brownies being crowned the Summer Fayre Queen.

The Big Read - Cotswold Style!

CAN YOU REMEMBER how and when you learned to read? I was in the infants' class of Friarm Street School in Bridgwater. My teacher was Miss Beale, a very kind and gentle women. She was so encouraging that I never felt I was 'learning' to read at all - it just happened. Once started, it has never stopped. I must by now have read thousands of books of all varieties. Some make be laugh, some make me cry, and from some I learn.

The reason I tell you all this is that we have started a Book Group, meeting monthly in the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road, Shirehampton.

This is how it works. The group all read the same book during the month, and then we meet to talk about it. Some lively discussion takes place - we don't always agree, but we're always friendly! So far, we've read Chocolat, Jane Eyre and Miss Garnett's Angel. Our book under the spotlight for September is Antonia Fraser's Gunpowder Plot. A cup of tea/coffee and biscuit is provided, and we pay £1 per session to cover the cost of the hall.

Please come and join us. Contact me, Irene Miller on 9828683 and I will provide you with a book list and dates of our next meetings.

Irene Miller

St. Mary's News

Hi folks!

It is a gloriously warm, sunny afternoon in August as I write these notes for the September issue of “Shire”. Traditionally this is always a rather quiet month for news as during August most people are away on holiday. Nevertheless, St. Mary's never closes or slows down for holidays.

Since I prepared my last notes numerous members of our congregation have opened their gardens to visitors. People were invited to look around and were offered to partake in light refreshments. Any donations received were to be donated to “church funds”. So far, at the time of writing, well over £500 has been received. Thanks must go - Claire Bush, Pam Handford, Eileen & Don Barnes, Pam & Andy Crawford, Joy & Sid Webber, Sheila Bubb, Edward Erdborough & Ray, yours truly and Jill. These have been wonderful social events as well as raising money for a worthy cause. 'Cos we got a lotta bills to pay for the refurbishment!

Those of you who remember Esther Chiumbu, will be interested to know she was married to Matthew Prior at Burgess Hill, Sussex on Saturday, 9th August, 2003. It was a baking hot day - similar temperatures I should imagine to her native country - Zimbabwe. The Wedding Service was considerably longer than normal - i.e. 11/2 hours and Esther was given away by her mother. Also present were her 4 sisters. In addition to the traditional music was a worship group who played guitars, drums and clarinet etc. who produced some very lively music including one song from Zimbabwe. After the ceremony guests were invited to a cream tea in the nearby Church Hall. I think it is rather amusing Esther's surname is now Prior - for a lady who will shortly be ordained. Perhaps she will be asked to preach at some time in a “Priory Church”!!

St. Mary's has recently held two very successful 'Open Days' for pupils at Shirehampton and Avon Primary Schools. The “thank you” letters received by Canon Christine have been very amusing.

On the subject of schools - all the children at St. Mary's Sunday School received Book Prizes for regular attendance. Canon Christine presented them at the conclusion of Holy Communion one Sunday morning.

Starting in September - in addition to the Sunday School - will be a creche for children too young to attend. This will hopefully assist parents with very young children to attend Holy Communion on a Sunday morning knowing their children are in safe hands. We are keen to make this a success!

Gill Sawyer - one of our Church Wardens who recently retired as Headmistress of Ravenswood School, Nailsea, has taken on the duties of Parish Secretary. She may be found working in the Church Office from 10am to 12 noon (which is adjacent to where we serve morning tea and coffee) on most days. Gill will be most happy to arrange appointments with Canon Christine, answer queries and accept deliveries etc.

An unsung hero at St. Mary's is John Ellis, who for the past few months has been rubbing down and repainting our wrought-iron candelabras. This is a long and laborious job - removing decades of candle-wax before they are able to be repainted. Don't despair John, as serious consideration is being given to replacing the wax candles with Kerry Oil Candles - the same as those in use on the High Alter. Another item to be pleased on our “Wish List”.

Finally, this paragraph is for the rather distraught lady (identity not known) who came into the church one morning at coffee time protesting that the golden cockerel on top of the church had not been replaced following the recent refurbishment. Well, I am sorry to disappoint her, but the present St. Mary's Church building has never had a weather-van or golden cockerel on it since it was built. I'm afraid we cannot replace something which we've never had in the first place. The previous St. Mary's Church (destroyed by fire in 1928) may well have had one - but I'm afraid all we afford is a seagull - and he's not there all the time!'

Bye for now.


All Aboard the Good Ship St. Mary's!

If you happened to be walking through Shirehampton on the evening of July 17th then you might have seen a group of seafarers making their way to the Church Centre to enjoy a “Sea Supper”.

Everyone who came entered into the spirit of things and pictured are Joan Comer, who won the prize for the best fancy dress as Shirehampton's Cockle seller and Joy Webber, complete with parrot on her shoulder!

The Sea Cadets provided a spectacle with their drum routine and together with a quiz and other entertainment a great time was had, as well as raising money towards the refurbishment of the church.Thanks to all who came and made it such a happy event.

Canon Christine Froude
St. Mary's Church

Leon White

The funeral service of Leon White was held at Canford Crematorium on Monday 14th July. Leon lived next to the Co-op and had friends there, and at Shirehampton Working Men's Club and the Bookies.This poem, written by a friend, was printed on the Order of Service:-

It was God's decision that you had to go
And a better man we could not wish to know!
The Co-op and the Bookies will never be the same!
Shirehampton's loss and the good Lord's gain.

I sit here now and I cannot understand why
A lovely man like you had to die,
We spoke in Shire just before the end
Good night and God bless - my dear, dear friend.

Bye Leon.

In memory of John McEllin 22.06.03 - July 2003

John was a well known Shirehampton 'lad'. He lived as a child and young man at what was once No. 2 The Ridge. Educated at Cotham Grammar School he became a very gifted pianist, guitarist and artist - indeed, he founded the first ever Rolling Stones Group.

Approximately 45 years ago he departed these shores to make a new life for himself in America, and eventually became very involved with a tribe of American Indians who came to regard him as a friend.

It is with great sadness that his Shirehampton family report John's sudden death at Frazier Park, California.

John paid his last visit to Shirehampton in April of this year.

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Harvest Festival Weekend. Saturday September 27th at 7.00pm Harvest Supper. Sunday 28th services led by Revd David Alderman at 11.00am, and a united service at 6.30pm when friends from Sea Mills will join us.

The Kneelers for St. Mary's

In the spring of last year a meeting was called for anyone interested in sewing a kneeler for our Lady Chapel. About ten people attended and Mrs. Brenda Dammers, who was to take charge of the project, handed us each a colourful catalogue from which we were to select the kneeler we would like to stitch - and so the project began. Initially Canon Christine Froude asked for a kneeler for each of the Lady Chapel chairs - sixteen in all. Over the next few weeks the main question to Brenda Dammers was “have the kneelers arrived yet?” - they seemed to take an age; however time passed, the parcel arrived and stitching began. That was the easy bit! Once the tapestries were complete the kneelers had to be put together: sketchy instructions on how to achieve this was included with the kits, but much debate, red-hot telephone lines, stitching and unpicking, many sore fingers and broken nails resulted before we were satisfied with our efforts.

The first batch of kneelers was greeted with great enthusiasm, and congregation members and other Shire residents were keen to be part of the project and so our “Donate a Kneeler” scheme was born. Many people have now given a kneeler in memory of a loved one, or to mark a significant event in their life, or simply because they wanted to take part in beautifying the church - our original sixteen kneelers have grown to somewhere in the region of seventy, either in church or in the process of being stitched and the equipping of the main church is well under way. The enthusiasm of our stitchers shows no sign of waning and Brenda Dammers has had no difficulty in finding willing stitchers for those who wished to donate but had no time or inclination to do the sewing themselves.

Jacksons of Hebden Bridge, the suppliers of the kits, offer to design kneelers to customer specifications, so while the initial stitching was in progress Brenda Dammers was in negotiations with them for three long kneelers for the Lady Chapel Altar Rail incorporating the motif of our St. Mary's “lily” which had been used on stationery, handouts etc for some years. We supplied the artwork and they did the rest, but again delivery of the kits took many weeks much to the frustration of all concerned!

Brenda Dammers worked tirelessly on the project, spent many hours on the telephone to Hebden Bridge and could frequently be seen head first in an enormous cardboard box in the vestry as she unpacked yet another delivery. However, earlier this year she felt unable to continue to co-ordinate the project and last April I took over from her.

Currently we have just ordered long kneelers for our main Altar Rail and for behind the Altar incorporating the St. Mary's lily motif, and already I am being asked by our keen band of stitchers, “when will they arrive?” or “have you got them yet?” This is a specialist and individual service which Jacksons offer, and I fear my answer to such questions for some time yet will have to be “NO”.

If you haven't seen the completed kneelers why not pop into church one morning and see how they enhance the décor. If you would like to know more about “Donate a Kneeler” or to look at the catalogue, this, together with order forms, is available in church each morning at coffee time. The cost of a standard kneeler is currently £27. If you complete an order form please make sure you include your telephone number and address so that I can contact you - any one of our band of stitchers would be happy to sew for you if you don't have the time or inclination.

Vivien Hearn Tel: 968 4873

Portway Community School Summer Concert

On a warm evening in July a large audience was enthralled listening to the 27th Annual Summer Concert performed by the talented musicians of Portway Community School which was held at Clifton Cathedral.

The ages of the performers ranged from 11 to 18 years and the concert followed a successful week of music making at Bideford in Devon. They were as always ably supported by “Portway Oldies Music Society” (POMS) a group of former pupils of the school who give up some of their annual leave in order to attend and play at the week long course, the concert and fund-raising events throughout the year.

Graham Large, Head of Music at Portway and his Deputy Alastair Stewart had the excellent support once again of professional conductor Fraser Goulding. The music as always was a delight ranging from classical through to jazz and pop with “Last Night of the Proms” favourite Fantasia on British Sea Songs and its rousing Rule Britannia providing a splendid finale.

The comments of the audience at the end of this tremendous evening were a reflection of how much they enjoyed it. If you missed this year's concert then make a date in your diary for July 2004 and come to support these wonderful young people who are a credit to Portway School and the local community.

Obituary Rosalind Dyer

In this picture of Portway Girls' School staff in the late 1950s, Rosalind Dyer is the 4th person from the left in the second row

Rosalind Dyer who died recently, was for many years deputy head of Portway Girls' School and later on of Portway Comprehensive School when the Girls' and Boys' Secondary Modern Schools were amalgamated to form the new comprehensive school.

She had been evacuated with the Girls' School to Holsworthy in Devon during the war and later upon the retirement of 'Ghandi' Wyatt was appointed deputy head. By now the school was back in Shirehampton with Miss Muriel Shewell as Head.

Rosalind Dyer saw many changes at Portway Girls' School. It originally occupied the building overlooking the Portway until with the 'bulge' numbers increased so much, to well over a thousand, that classes had to be accommodation in the old St Mary's School in Station Road (now the snooker hall). Eventually the Boys' School was removed from its buildings on the Portway site to the old Nissan huts on Penpole. There followed months of building alterations to combine the two buildings on the Portway site into one for the girls to occupy - walls knocked down, steps built, classrooms altered and much more besides. Some years later the two schools were united to form Portway Comprehensive School in new buildings on the Penpole site. Throughout all these upheavals including two changes of head, Rosalind Dyer remained dignified, calm and cheerful.

She was a much respected and liked teacher who was totally loyal to and supportive of the school, the staff and the pupils in her care, pleased with the successes and encouraging to those who were struggling.

Some time after her retirement she went to live in sheltered accommodation at St Mary Redcliffe where she became actively involved in undertaking voluntary duties.I am sure that many people will be saddened to hear of her passing and be grateful that they have known her.

Jack Cornall

Val and Mike would like to thank family, friends and neighbours for their support, cards and messages of sympathy following the sad loss of Jack. Thank you also for donations amounting to £192.00 which have been forwarded to the Merchant Navy Association.(Thank you for your donation to Shire funds).