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News Index

A Visit by Royalty!

What's on in October

'Fun Day' at the 'Daisy Field'

Christmas Lights, Latest News

Public Hall Memories

Village signs

A History of Lawrence Weston

St Mary's News

A Visit by Royalty!

Photo: E.Verey

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, came to the Shirehampton Public Hall on Wednesday, 24th September 200, to join celebrations marking the 100th Anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone on 3rd October 1903. During his visit he planted a tree in the community garden which, together with a copper plaque also to be sited there, would commemorate both the centenary and his visit here on a day when fortunately the weather was absolutely perfect.

A 'Colourful' Architect in Shirehampton

Shirehampton Public Hall and Public Library are celebrating their first centenary. The Public Hall is now run  by a local management group of volunteers and hosts a wide spectrum of community and leisure pastimes. The Library, once the Carnegie Free Library, became the Public Library. One plan is to publish and exhibit the Hall's history and memorabilia; we decided to start with its Grade II Listed architecture - with surprising results!

When Shire Parish Council wanted a public meeting place, it approached the landowner, Squire Miles, at Kingsweston House, and in 1902 he donated a site and 100 towards building costs. (In early Edwardian currency, the labourers' pay averaged just over one old pound a week, and eventual building costs would amount to 2,000.

They commissioned Frederick Bligh Bond as designer. Bond was a notable Bristol architect living between 1864-1945. From 1888 his many designs were in evidence all over Bristol - Barton Hill, Easton and Southville Board Schools; the University's Medical and Engineering Schools; Clifton College Music School; Greenbank Elementary and St Georges Schools - were all his work. In 1900-02 he added 30-39 Davis Street, in neighbouring Avonmouth and The Wylands in Shire and at some time, 19-29 Station Road. Bond's grand new Hall was ceremonially opened in 1904.

Built from local Penpole Quarry limestone, it was dressed with Bath stone, and finished with a Cumberland slate roof. It boasted a turret with clock tower and weather vane, and two cupolas. It was ornately decorated in Arts and Crafts style.

Church architecture enthusiast that he was, Bond gave its main internal hall a barrel ceiling, giving the space and excellent acoustic. This may have been at the request of Squire Miles, who was a musician and composer. 'Lark Ascending' was premiered in the hall. During a visit of Vaughan Williams at Kingsweston House, the concert was arranged in his honour.

What's on in October

October 1st & 2nd Every Wednesday & Thursday "Drop in Sessions" at the A. U. S. Cottage, 115 High Street 9.30am-11.30am
October 1st Wednesday every week at 2.30pm. The Bright Hour at the Baptist Church, Station Road
October 1st Wednesday Arthritis Care 7pm. at Jim o'Neil House

October 2nd Thursday Townswomen's Guide meets 2pm-4pm at the Methodist Church Hall

October 3rd Friday every week Friday Fun at the Beachley Walk Centre for Mothers, Carers, and Pre-School children 9.30am-11. 30am
October 3rd Friday monthly Coffee Morning at the Library 10.30am-12 noon
October 3rd Friday weekly Evergreens at the Public Hall 1pm-3pm.
October 3rd Every Friday Bingo at the Public Hall 6.30pm-8.30pm

October 5th Sunday 10am Communion at St Mary's Sign Language Interpreter will be present
October 5th Sunday Baptist Church Service at the Cotswold Community Centre at 4. 45pm

October 6th Monday each week "See & Know" for the under 5's in St Mary's Church Centre 1.15pm-2.45pm
October 6th Monday weekly 3 of us Bingo at the St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth 1.15pm-2.45pm
October 6th Every Monday Free Basic Literacy Classes at Lawrence Weston tel 9038824 for details

October 7th Carers Group at the Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am-12 noon
October 7th Tuesday every week Shirehampton Area Choir Christmas Concert Rehearsals 7. 30pm at St Mary's Church
October 7th Tuesday St Andrew's Ladies Club meets at 7. 30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall to hear "Above Eye Level" by Gordon Tarrant

October 14th Tuesday Tea Dance at the Rock Lawrence Weston 2pm-4pm. Music by David Storey

October 16th Thursday Tea Dance 2.30pm-4. 30pm at the Methodist Church, The Square, Sea Mills with David Storey at the organ

October 18th Saturday Cotswold Community Celebration at the Cotswold Community Centre 5pm-8pm. Everyone welcome

October 19th Sunday Church of England Service at the Cotswold Centre at 4.45pm

October 20th Monday Blood Donor Session at the Baptist Church Hall, Station Road, 1.30pm-3.30pm and 5.30pm-7.30pm

October 21st Tuesday St Andrew's Ladies Club meets at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall for Bingo and a Fish and Chip Supper
October 21st Tuesday Railway Modellers meet at the Public Hall at 7.30pm

October 22nd Wednesday Women's  Institute meets at 7.30pm in the Methodist Church Hall
October 22nd Wednesday Shire Stitchers meet at 7.30pm at the Public Hall

October 27th Monday-October 31st Friday both dates inclusive Half Term for all Local Schools

October 28th Shirehampton Craft Exhibition begins at the Public Hall

October 29th Wednesday Book Group at 7.30pm at the Cotswold Community Centre. Book will be "The girl with the pearl earrings" by Tracy Chevalier

October 31st Friday Sequence Dance at the Cotswold Centre 7.30pm-10pm

Penpole United

Referring to correspondence and a photograph in the September 2002 edition of "Shire", I would like to hear from my long lost cousin, Mrs Kathleen Bennett (nee Harries) with regard to my brother and myself. I am one of the founder members and would like to hear also from other members of the team. Bob Bolwell, 50 Raleigh Road, Ashton, Bristol BS3 1QTTel: 0117 966 4795

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 F. C. is no different. At this year's AGM two new officers were nominated onto 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 onto 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 16s last year and he has brought with him some surprising youngsters, many of whom have progressed through Shire Colts from Under 10s. 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. Training is held on a Tuesday and Thursday at the Club and we would welcome any new players to join us. We have started our home games at Penpole Lane and it would be nice to see local people following the team and have a drink at the 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 596260. Pete McCall

Forthcoming Saturday fixtures at Penpole Lane - 13th Sept, 1st VI v Tunley Athletic; 20th Sept, 2nd XI v Fishponds Athletic; 27th Sept, 1st XI v Weston Super Mare Res; 4th Oct, 1st XI v Burnham United; 11th Oct, 1st XI v Watchet Town; 18th Oct, 2nd XI v Pucklechurch Reserves; 25th Oct, 1st XI v Ilminster Town; 1st Nov, CUP; 15th Nov, 2nd XI v Hallen A; 29th Nov, 1st XI v Winscombe; 6th Dec, CUP; 13th Dec, XI v Oldland Abbots Res; 20th Dec, 1st XI v Oldland Abotts; 27th Dec, IX v Odd Down.

Music Duo Debuts at Cotswold Celebration

The Cotswold Community Association holds its 10th Birthday Celebration of the Community Hall, Dursley Road, on Saturday, 18th October, beginning at 5pm. Amongst the attractions will be music duo, Fi and Phil. Fi (short for Fiona) plays guitar and sings, whilst Phil is a pianist. The pair's musical partnership began in Shirehampton, so their debut is a real local event. Also in the Celebration will be Ralph Hack, giving some of the local history illustrated with pictures.

Ralph opened the Hall ten years ago, and is well known for his vast store of Shire lore. His talks are very popular, and are given not only in the Village, but in the Central library too. All this and more is accompanied by a buffet, so it promises to be a very worthwhile evening. Admission is free, but there will be an opportunity on the night to help towards the cost. Those intending to come are asked to phone 9047319 so that catering numbers can be estimated.

From Aerosols to Zimmer Frames

The New Online A to Z of What to Recycle WhereDid you know that 82% of a typical Bristol bin contains stuff that could be recycled? We've got to reduce, reuse and recycle more. But how can we do this?

Bristol City Council has created a new web resource to answer all your questions at www. bristol-city. gov. uk/recycling. The pages include an A-Z of recycling. With this new feature you can quickly get advice on how to recycle as many products as possible. There is a special section for schools and young people to help them get and keep the recycling habit, as well as recycling internet games to play.

To support the web pages, the Bristol Recycling Consortium has unleashed its character Scrapzilla. This terrifying monster, modelled on a certain other zilla, with its red eyes and wavey arms can currently be seen on the big screen in Broadmead urging Bristol citizens to recycle. He represents the volume of rubbish that Bristol sends to landfill every month - and the more we send the bigger he gets.

Last month we sent a staggering 14,200 tons, which means that every three months we bury the equivalent of the Titanic in the ground. To help Bristol think about the waste mountain it's producing, the council is also piloting an innovative way to think about the issues. Called E-decide, it starts with a statement and asks your opinion. Answering at this stage is not the end of the matter though, as E-decide argues against you and attempts to lift the lid on both sides of the argument. Try it at: www. bristol-city. gov. uk/consultation.

"Shire" by Post

We regret that the cost of sending "Shire" by post has increased during the year and the annual subscription will now continue at 4. 00. This is due to the increased postage charge and also to the extra amount required to purchase the wrappers and labels. If you wish to receive a postal delivery, please write to Mrs. Sue Husher at 8 Burnham Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9QP, giving your name and address and a cheque or postal order for 4. 00 made out for payment to "Shire" Newspaper.

With Christmas coming, why not send a year's subscription of "Shire" as a gift? Send names and addresses of the recipients to Sue, together with the payment of 4. 00 per person. It would be a "different" present and it would be very welcome to former Shire folk.

A Message from the Grainger Players

Unfortunately we have some disturbing news, our Producer Shirley "Shirl" James in unable to be with us for our forthcoming Show due to poor health. However, the Players, together with their voluntary assistants will, as usual, do their very best to make the Show a great success that will be enjoyed by one and all.

We are looking forward to seeing you and thank you all for your support at this time. Also, we must remember Shirl's constant reminder - "Don't forget your cushions, the seats are hard!"

Library News

Our apologies for the Library not opening until late on 24th September, but this was to facilitate arrangements for the Royal visit. The Library now has copies of all of Ethel Thomas' books for sale - so why not pop in and start your Christmas shopping, they would make ideal presents for locals and ex-locals alike.

Thank you from Norman Sims

This is to say a big Thank You to my family, and friends for their Get Well cards and for their good wishes for my speedy recovery on my recent hospitalisation. I also very much appreciate the prayers that were said for me in Church. Happily I am very pleased to say that I am progressing very satisfactorily.


'Fun Day' at the 'Daisy Field'

Dear Editor,

I just wanted to say what a wonderful event I thought this was. To be honest, I was a bit sceptical about the location etc, and wondered if anyone in Shire could actually pull this off. The answer, a resounding YES! The first surprise was, as we approached, suddenly seeing several marquees and gazebos, which gave a real 'fayre' atmosphere. The attractions were excellent, with displays about the local railway line, birds of prey and ferrets, the new 'Smart' police car and a demonstration of environmentally friendly wood turning.

The activities were very impressive too, henna-tattooist, face painting, an opportunity make photo frames etc with glass paints, something going on with mosaics I didn't quite see, inflatables and probably much more I missed too. The tombolas etc were all reasonably priced, and the added amusement of chasing tombola tickets around the field because of the wind was something none of the organisers anticipated!

The best thing of all was the people of Shire all coming together for a Shire event. It appears we suddenly have something very worthwhile in our midst - SCAF (Shirehampton Community Action Forum). Thank you to everyone who worked hard to make this day a success.

Best wishes,

Verena Edgeworth

Raffle Tickets and Display Tents

Assault Course and Bouncy Castle

We've completed the assault course

Making mosaics

Face painting

Green woodworking demonstration

All photos: E.Verey

The Community Park Project

The Community Park Project from Shirehampton Community Action Forum and Shirehampton Greens to improve the Daisy Field along the Portway has been making good progress. A comprehensive community consultation has taken place, though this will always be an ongoing process, and discussions with the Council have also taken place on how to take forward the aspirations of the community for the site.

The consultation has revealed that local people feel the site should maintain a natural feel and that any improvements should concentrate on safety, community art, making access to the site and on the site easier and projects to benefit wildlife in the area. An energetic and positive prioritisation meeting with local people and the City Council to consider the results of the wider consultation provided the following results:

Priority 1: A dog-free area, a picnic area with rustic tables and benches, footpaths (hard surface and mown), little bins, dog bins, new fencing along the road and railway, wildflowers and native trees, notices re: dog mess.

Priority 2: Robust, vandal-proof seating around the site, litter-picking events.

Priority 3: A maze with mosaics/sundial etc, natural carved sculptures, nature trail, information about the site and the wildlife there, improved crossing across the Portway, leaflets on the site available to the community, regular community events and activities.

A decision has been made that the Daisy Field is not an appropriate site in the short and medium term to provide facilities that will attract children and young people. A City Council play officer highlighted that the Daisy Field is an ideal open space for adventurous informal play but that providing formal play equipment wouldn't be the right way forward. This is mainly due to the close proximity of the Portway Road and the railway line. However, a play area was the most popular idea put forward by the Shirehampton Community and so Shirehampton Community Action Forum feels that this is an issue that should be taken forward for another site.

The next stage for the Daisy Field project is to work with the Council to involve the community in helping design the improvements that can go forward and then try and raise money from grants for the work. A number of local people and members of Shirehampton Greens have been very active in helping the Daisy Field project move forward. If you would like to get involved in this process please give me a call at the Public Hall on 982 9963. Only with community input can this project meet the aspirations raised by the consultation and be a success.

Richard Fletcher
Community Park Project Development Worker,
Shirehampton Community Action Forum. Tel. 0117 982 9963

Christmas Lights, Latest News

We have more good news to announce this month. First Shire newspaper has made us a grant of 1,000 from its Community Development Fund. Shire's support for our work has always been freely offered and we are extremely grateful for this major grant which is most welcome. Secondly, the collecting boxes in the shops have already proved very successful. In May we collected 165, in June 91 and in July 174.

Our thanks to all who have contributed so generously and to the traders who have given us their support. The money collected so far from the tins will be enough to pay for three sets of lights, and if you continue to support us at this rate we should be able to instal seven new sets by Christmas. Thirdly, the Lamplighters Pub Quiz team have for the second time donated their first prize of 50 to the Lights Fund and we are most grateful for their very kind gesture. Fourthly, the Committee had a cake stall on the Daisy Field on the Family Fun Day on September 6th and thanks to the efforts of those who kindly baked and donated the cakes, another 130 has been added to the funds. Fifthly, we have just heard from the Cooperative Community Dividend Fund that we have been awarded 500 towards the Christmas lights.

This very welcome and generous award is a sign of confidence in Shirehampton and a recognition of the fact that we are doing our best for the village - all of us should feel pleased that the Community Dividend Fund trustees have shown their appreciation of our efforts in this way. Finally, readers might like to know that on Saturday November 15th we are arranging a Murder Night in the Public Hall. More details will be given in the next edition of Shire.

Do please try and come along, we can promise an unusual and entertaining evening. We rely on your continued support. Although our fund raising has been very successful so far, putting on a good display this Christmas is an expensive business. Apart from the lights themselves there is the cost of all the electrical work, the insurance (about 300) and the installation and dismantling (another 300 or more) and without your help through the collecting tins and other ways we shall not be able to make the High Street this Christmas the envy of all our neighbours.


Avonmouth Bowling Club Finals

As the season draws to a close the Avonmouth Bowling Club have held their club competition finals. The Mens' club champion was Jim Alexander and the Ladies' champion April Williams. Ladies' 7 was won by Julia Bennett and the Men's 7s by John Collins. Mens' 2 woods was won by Chris Dury. Jim Alexander won the open competition. The mixed doubles winners were Dave Manning and Sue Mountstevens, and the Mens' doubles winners were Arthur Taylor and Barrie Rockell.

At the top Club champions Jim Alexander and April Williams. At side from top down - John Collins, Julia Bennet, Barrie rockall, Chris Dury and Arthur Taylor

The Club members have enjoyed their season and look forward to restarting again in April 2004. At the top Club champions Jim Alexander and April Williams. At side from top down - John Collins, Julia Bennett, Barrie Rockell, Chris Dury and Arthur Taylor.

Howard Westlake

Diane, John and Janine would like to thank all the neighbours and friends for their kind support, cards and donations following the loss of Howard. The donations have been forwarded to St Peter's Hospice. (Thank you for your donation to Shire funds)

Thank You

Mrs Audrey Lang wold like to thank her family and friends especially Ellen, Ray and Margaret, for their kind support during her short time in hospital and thank all the people of Shire for their kind support with card and flowers. (Many thanks for your donation to Shire funds)

Sea Mills Social Club Programme

Tea Dances To be held at the Methodist Church Hall, Sea Mills: 2.30 to 4.30pm Thursday October 16th - David Story, organ Thursday November 20th - John Hutton, organ. Christmas Social to be held at Shirehampton Cricket Club 7.30 to 11.00pm - Friday 19th December. John Hutton plays.

Book Group

The Book Group meets once a month and the next meeting will be on Wednesday, October 29th at 7.30pm at the Cotswold Community Centre, when the book to be reviewed will be "The girl with the pearl earrings" by Tracy Chevalier. For details about the Book Group please ring 9828683.

Dear Editor,

Thank you for yet another interesting Shire paper which keeps us former residents in touch. With regard to 'Spending a Penny' on page 12 of the August edition, the practice of charging for the use of public toilets is considerably older than the 1851 date that your article suggests.

It was the Roman Emperor Vespasian who introduced the habit, and he reigned from AD69-79. To one man who objected to the introduction of the practice Vespasian responded by brandishing a coin in front of his face and said '. . . but this doesn't smell does it?' The coin was admittedly not a penny, nor even a denarius, the first letter of which - d - gave us the d in s d, but was probably a bronze as.

Vespasian, incidentally some twenty-six years before becoming Emperor, had been the General in charge of the Second Augustan Legion during the Roman invasion of Britain. A detachment of the legion has a small fort in Sea Mills down by the harbour. Perhaps Vespasian himself once visited the area!

Yours sincerely

David Elkington

Charity Search

Dear Editor. As many of you will know - the Charity Search Shop in Station Road has undergone something of a transformation in recent months. We have had lots of appreciative comments from our regular customers, and the manageress and volunteers are most grateful for your kind words.

Charity Search itself continues to give free support and advice to elderly individuals in need, and we would like to thank our customers for helping us to maintain this vital service. There is always room for new volunteers, even if it is only for a few hours or the odd half day a week, so please pop in and leave your details. If you prefer you can call the office on 0117 982 4060.

Thank you all once again for your support, and please do call in and look around, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Yours sincerely,

Dora Aspin,

The Bristol Shiplovers' Society (Founded in 1931)

Commence their Winter Programme on 2nd October 2003. All meetings commence at 1900 for 1930 at Holy Trinity Church, Hotwells Road, and Bristol. Anyone with an interest in ships or the sea is welcome. Visitors are very welcome - 1. 50 per visit. Programme for October:2nd - The Royal Fleet Auxiliary by Captain W. Walworth RFA. 16th - The Royal Navy current world-wide activities, Ships, People, Plans. Commodore R. Johns RN and Commander P. Unwin RN. 20th - Maritime Videos by D. Blanchard

Programme for December:4th - Bristol Channel Pleasure Steamers by P. Tolley. A series of Talks and Slides throughout the Winter. For further information contact Lt. Cdr. F. D. Tolfree, Honorary Secretary 01225 873317. Please find enclosed a cheque for 5. 00 as a donation to 'Shire' from Bristol Shiplovers' Society.

Yours sincerely,

Hamish Grant,
Vice Chairman(

Many thanks for your donation to 'Shire' funds

Public Hall Memories

The first memory I have of the Public Hall is attending my first opera there, or, rather, operetta - for it was Gilbert and Sullivan. I think it was 'The Pirates of Penzance'. This must have been in the years immediately following the Second World War. Then came many occasions in the fifties and early sixties when I took part in the !91st Bristol Scout Group 'Gang Shows'. The were very enjoyable affairs, where the whole groups (cubs, scouts, seniors, rovers, scouters and parents) took part. They were organised by Reg Clarke, the scoutmaster (from Bradley Crescent), who would invariably write a comic, potted pantomime as one of the items. This would always be written in rhyming couplets (so easy for learning a part!). The other items would include short sketches and a 'campfire' sing-song (always with some audience participation). We also gave demonstrations (en masse) of scout 'yells': these were chanted at the top of your voice.

An example is the Bristol County yell: B-R-I-S-T-O-L Gloucester, Somerset, County as well Oo bist thee? Wer bist goin'? Cassn't see fer dust? One eye open Always fust. Ya!Another one, which, unusually, started off in a whisper, but made the audience jump out of their seats at the final shouted word ran as follows: We must be ever so quiet Don't make a sound, or you might cause a riot We must be ever so ever so quiet Shhh . . . Shhh . . . QUIET!!!!

My parents were keen dancers and always attended the regular 'Bernwell' dances at the hall. Bernwell, I believe, is a contraction of Bernard and Woodwell, for I think the dances were started by residents of St. Bernard's Road and Woodwell Road. I accompanied my mother on one occasion in my teenage years after my father's death) to partner her. This did not work. She had become so used to taking the man's leading role, that she wanted to go her way and me mine! More recently I was musical director for the 'Grainger Players', with Shirl, and helped to give a lot of pleasure to local people and disabled people. The Grainger Players have become somewhat of an institution in Shire, an integral part of the Public Hall.

Gil Osman

Cricket Club Attacks

To The Editor. In recent years Shirehampton Cricket Club has experienced many acts of nuisance and vandalism. Youths have climbed on the roof of the clubhouse and the garage, damaging tiles and pipe work. Several seats around the ground have been demolished. An attempt was made to steal the clock. Fortunately this was prevented by a member of the public. A fence was flattened when the sightscreen was pushed into it. Most damage occurs during school hours when some pupils from Portway School use the cricket ground as an unsupervised extension to their playing field.

The club is sad to report the latest incident. On Friday 5th September, around lunchtime, a seat placed in memory of the late Ernie Hayfield was destroyed. It appears it was rammed by the sightscreen, which must have been pushed with considerable force. The incident has been reported to Portway School and is being investigated. Shirehampton Cricket Club would like to assure all relatives and friends of Ernie who contributed to the purchase of the seat that every effort will be made to replace it.

Finally the club appears to anyone who visits the ground. Please be vigilant and report any incidents to the Cricket Club or the School.

Trevor Beacham,
President, Shirehampton Cricket Club

Church Outing on the Severn Valley Railway

Dear Editor,

Although I live in Stoke Bishop, I regularly attend St Mary's in Shirehampton with my wife, where we are good friends with Canon Christine and her husband. We often go to 'Shire as both my wife and I are disabled and we find getting to the shops and parking easier. Last month I went on a church members' outing to the Severn Valley Railway for the day as my wife was in Belfast for a friend's son's wedding and I was at a loose end. (I am retired and you know us 'wrinklies' - we enjoy our retirement. ) Having had a good day out and as I like writing, perhaps you would like to see what I wrote when I got back to Bristol.

Here it is:"What did you used to do in the holidays, Dad? There's nothing to do round home. I bet it wasn't like now, when you were a boy!!"You're talking rubbish, Jason; I found lots to do. Of course I didn't have a computer or a TV in my bedroom, like you have. I got out into the fresh air and went exploring around about the area. "I can't do that by myself, you said so!"Alone, yes. But if you go with a group, it's much more interesting and safe.

I mean, take yesterday for instance, I went and saw a real life elephant sheltering from the midday sun under a tree, just a few miles from where you're sitting. And I didn't hop on a plane anywhere!"Well, you did leave the house after breakfast. "If you were enough awake to see me then, surely you also saw that I wasn't carrying a case or holdall when I left. "You said to Mum you were going with the social club on an outing. "Yes, and I said last week that you could come with me. But no, you said, you had other things to do, rather than go on boring outings with grown-ups. "Well, I had to stay home because Mum was threatening to clean and tidy my room while we were away for the day. Everybody knows you can't find anything after she's been giving the bedrooms a 'sorting', as she calls it.

"Well, you missed seeing the elephant and quite a few other things a swell. I was on a steam train, for example. You've not been on a big powerful steam train, all you've done is read about 'Thomas the Tank Engine' and his friends. "One of his friends is much bigger than him. "Yes, but you still don't know how big these engines actually are, or how they sound in real life and what it smells like when you travel in one of their carriages. "Who wants to travel in a smelly old carriage?"Oh they're not smelly like that; much more like when you travel in someone else's car, the smell is just different from our car. And steam trains smell different from modern day diesels or tube trains on the underground. Quite different. "I've been on one of those. They are all right. I thought people always went on those nowadays.

"Nowadays yes, but when I was your age I went on many long journeys with my parents on steam trains. One journey to Scotland took us a long time. We had sandwiches for our breakfast, lunch, tea and supper on the train for one journey and on another we even had beds to sleep in!"You slept on the train?"Well no, not all the time. It was too shuggly. And then there were the brightly lights and noises going past. It kept me awake most of the time. "Shuggly? I've never heard you use that word before!"There's no need to use the word nowadays. I meant the train rocked about a lot and you could never guess which way it was going to shake, left or right, up or down. It was tiring. "That was during the War, when you were very young?"Well, I'm not so old now. It's just that things change fast, and if you don't experience them when you can, they've gone into the history books. "We were hearing about musty old steam trains in history in school last week. "The real thing is much better than musty old history. Even space rockets are history now and you teenagers will always be bored. "You're an old fogey, Dad. "

John Cheyne

Lost Neice

To The Editor I'm trying to locate my niece who lived at 17 Bradley Crescent, Shirehampton, in February 1996. She married and I have lost touch with her and don't know her married name. She is my deceased brother's only daughter and I really want to find her. I can't find a web site or cannot locate the marriage license bureau so that I can search for her married name. I know that she married around August of 1996 or 1997. Her single name was Kaye Tracie Barry. Do you have any suggestions that could help me? I would so much appreciate it. She has lived around the Bristol area for most of her life. I just don't know where else to start as I don't have the fund to hire a private detective to help me.

Thank you.

Joan Carr
(Please email Shire on the Web to contact Joan)

Village signs

An article in the Countryman magazine (August 2003) draws attention to the Village Sign Society. There are about fifteen hundred signs in England, nearly all of them in East Anglia and South East England, and none in the South West. Perhaps Shirehampton, with our strong sense of identity as a village community, might be the first.

A picture of a village sign in Norfolk

These decorative signs, set on a pillar or pole and made of wood or iron usually depict some feature of the village or event in its history, such as for us the Pill ferry or the visit of the poet, Coleridge. But they can consist merely of the name in a decorative surround. They are usually paid for by public subscription and donations from local businesses. An attractive Village Sign on our village green would enhance the environment and make a statement about our identity.

Who would take this on? The new Forum? 'Shire' itself? A copy of the Countryman's article can presumably be obtained from any newsagent or direct from the magazine - tel. 01756 701381

Yours truly

Horace Dammers

St Bernard's School Shirehampton

There was a satisfying summer term at St Bernard's. After a successful OFSTED inspection during the spring term, the school was able to relax a little and enjoy the term. The Friends of St Bernard's had raised money to match a government Seed Grant and completely refitted the children's kitchen. This was officially opened by Mitchell Tonks, the chef and owner of Fishworks in Bristol. He did a number of cooking sessions with some of the children and prepared lobster, mussels, squid and various other fish courses.

Many thanks to him and the parents for their great contribution to the school. St Bernard's Staff also received a School Achievement Award this year for improved performance. This is the second time the school has had this award - congratulations to everybody. There was also an amazing All-day Aerobithon organised by Sarah Thayler. It was a sponsored event to raise money to provide a cooled water system for the children. Everyone took part and Mrs Thayer took all the sessions herself - so far over 600 has been raised. One girl, Alex, collected 105!

Thank you to Alex and to all the children and congratulations to Mrs Thayer. The Section 23 Inspection which comments on the R. E. , ethos and character of the school was also a success during last term. The Reception intake is full for this year and the school is oversubscribed for the next two years. In the Footsteps of Giants

A History of Lawrence Weston

Have you ever passed the Roman Villa and wondered what life was like in Roman times, or looked across the reclaimed salt marshes and envisaged what it might have looked like when storms and tempests wrought havoc? Did you know that pirates raided the coastal settlements along the Severn, or that the mediaeval Chapel of Ease had links with the Bishoprics of Durham, Bath and Wells and even the office of Lord Chancellor to Edward II?Perhaps the more senior of you recall climbing stiles and walking the fields to the Masons' Arms for a Sunday evening drink, in the days when Lawrence Weston was a cluster of cottages around that hostelry and surrounded by farms with a few 'big houses' to lend elegance and provide employment.

Maybe you have memories of the bulldozers moving in as the estate began to take shape after the war, or perhaps you worked at the 'Smelter', or attended one of the schools or churches in Lawrence Weston. Now you can read all about the history of this interesting parish, beginning with the Romans who lived in and farmed the area. Find out who lived in the hamlet or owned land over the centuries and whose names live on today in the street names; take a peek at the social history of the Victorian era as revealed in the census records, and share the memories of those who lived in the agricultural community that was pre-war Lawrence Weston.

The total shake-up after the war began a whole new chapter in the life of Lawrence Weston and you will discover how a bunch of strangers were brought together to build up a community from scratch. There are memories of the early days including life in the schools and churches and most aspects of daily life. Lawrence Weston gets a bad press but there is a positive undercurrent going on as the book shows.

Acta and the Springboard project have been working in the area for the past few years to facilitate drama and art projects within the community, including this book which includes many photographs and 140 pages of fascinating history, reminiscences, mysteries and ghost stories. Books cost 7. 50 and can be obtained from the Rock (St Peter's Church) on weekday mornings or you can call Judy Helme during office hours on 938 2849. Walk in the footsteps of the mythical giants Goram and Vincent and be educated and entertained.

Judy Helme

Decent Homes Standard

Dozens of crumbling steel-framed homes in the Shirehampton area are to be repaired over the next four years in the latest phase of a 2 million programme. The homes, which have a steel frame, 'corrugated' steel walls and asbestos roofs were built in the late 1940s and 1950s as a stopgap solution to Bristol's post-war housing crisis. Some 38 homes have already been renovated with 86 still outstanding. The city council's Cabinet approved the scheme to renovate the remaining homes on 1st August.

This is part of the City's Priority Stock Strategy, which aims to ensure all council housing meets the government's Decent Homes Standard by 2010. They agreed to waive normal procurement regulations to allow the Neighbourhood and Housing Services Directorate to enter into a public-private partnership deal involving the city's in-house contractors Bristol Contract Services (BCS) and private companies Ashcroft Avdon (Bristol) Limited and Permarock. The deal will give the council substantial discounts and savings on the cost of the work. The work is carried out while the tenants remain in the property and each home takes approximately 16 weeks to renovate.

Councillor Richard Eddy, Executive Member for Neighbourhood and Housing Services, said: 'This is real evidence of the city council's commitment to repairing its worst housing stock and ensuring all homes meet government standards. By investing in this programme we will be providing quality public housing for future generations of Bristol people.

Traidcraft at St Mary's

St Mary's Church supports 'Traidcraft' which is part of the 'Fair Trade' organisation. Fair Trade promotes Third World goods, they expect a high standard and pay a fair price for all the goods that they buy, so the traders get a fair deal. The goods are sold in various outlets such as Oxfam and supermarket chains. Many churches also sell Fairly Traded goods. At St Mary's the Fair Trade goods are on sale every day at the back of the church.

We stock cereals, tea, coffee, honey, dried fruit, nuts, sweets, chocolate, Geo bars, tolet rolls, kitchen rolls, cards, jewellery and gifts. Up until now the Traidcraft has been displayed on some old metal shelves and a table, but now there is a brand new cupboard. This has been specially designed for Traidcraft and has been made of French Oak so that it will match the rest of the wood in the church. The cupboard looks really beautiful and shows off the Traidcraft goods to perfection.

Pat Davidson

St Mary's News

Hi Folks! Here we into October - the nights are now beginning to really draw in and thoughts go to perhaps lighting the fire or turning the central heating on. So read on to see what we can offer you this Autumn. First of all - do you have any pre-school children who enjoy books or listening to stories? If you do, then why not bring them along to St Mary's on a Thursday afternoon. There will be a wide range of stories suitable for all pre-school children - we look forward to seeing you and your child.

The first session starts at 2.00pm on Thursday 2nd October and lasts to somewhere around 2.45pm which will then be followed by a cup of tea. On Saturday 4th October we shall be holding our Harvest Supper from 7.30 until 10.00pm in the Church Centre. Tickets are 6 available from the Church Office. Please bring your own drink - you may well need it, as after the supper there will be a Barn Dance to the accompaniment of 'The Canny Band'.

Next day - Saturday 5th October - is the day of our Harvest Festival and at our 10.00am Holy Communion Service we shall have a speaker from Euro-Aid. All food collected in the cardboard boxes, which were available in church, will eventually be distributed to the needy in East European countries. Our speaker will be telling us where and how the food is to be distributed. Thank you in anticipation of your generosity.

Another new idea which will commence on Tuesday 7th October is 'The Tea Junction'! Well, if you've got a spare afternoon and feel like some company, then come along to the church between 2pm and 3.30pm. There you will be welcome to a cup of tea, a chat, a game of whist, play a board game (Scrabble, chess or something similar) or bring along a craft of your own. 'Tea Junction' sessions will be held then on every Tuesday afternoon - so come along and try it out!

On Saturday 18th October we are holding a Gift Fayre in church from 10am until 12.00 noon when Christmas cards, paper decorations and gifts will be on sale. Our Christmas cards are a particular delight - I've seen the prototypes produced by Gill Sawyer. There is sure to be a high demand for them - so here is your chance to buy early for Christmas. Jane Powell - a member of our congregation - is a sign language interpreter for the deaf. Jane will be signing the 10.00am Holy Communion services on Sunday 5th October (Harvest Festival) and Sunday 9th November, also the 6.30pm Confirmation Service on Sunday 16th November 2003. We particularly invite deaf people to join us. Please read these notes in the future for details of our Food & Fellowship Club. This is to be for elderly people and will be by invitation only. It will be lunch time facility at around 1.00pm, hopefully on a weekly basis. Depending on cost and its success will decide whether it can be expanded further - so watch this space!

On Saturday 16th August we had our Annual Church Outing - at least we hope it will be an annual event! This year 60 people visited the Severn Valley Railway in WorcesterShire - whilst a limited number of folk went to the West Midlands Safari Park at Bewdley. The railway is 16 miles long and runs from Kidderminster alongside the River Severn to Budgnorth in ShropShire. It was a h to sunny day and showed the Severn Valley off at its best. About 4 hours were available to explore quaint and historic Bridgnorth Town. My son Andrew and yours truly were the loco crew for their return journey. For any steam loco enthusiasts reading this article, the locomotive was a Stanier Black 5 - No. 45110. To add to their entertainment we stopped to extinguish a grass fire caused by a previous train and a few miles further on we stopped again whilst Andrew played the role of Shepherd - chasing a couple of stray sheep off the line before we could proceed. Anyway, Kidderminster was reached only a few minutes down. Everybody eventually got back to Shirehampton by 7.30pm - all totally tired and worn out!

Those of you who listen to 'Sunday Starts' on Radio Bristol will have heard Canon Christine interviewed by Trevor Fry during the hour set aside for 'Parish People'. If you didn't know much about her before, you certainly did after the broadcast, as she revealed much about her early life and how she became an ordained minister in the Church of England. The previous Sunday, Trevor Fry mentioned he would be interviewing Canon Christine and also said she would be opening the Vicarage Garden all day on Bank Holiday Monday to visitors. A lady from Street in Somerset heard Trevor's comment and decided to pay a visit. Her name was Doreen and she enjoyed herself so much she also went to Gill Sawyer's Open Garden the following Saturday. It was very pleasing to welcome her from such a distant parish.

In case the next edition of 'Shire' is published late, I have been asked to remind you of our Annual Memorial Service at 3pm on Saturday 8th November. This service is mainly directed towards people who may have lost loved ones recently or indeed at anytime in the past. There does appear to be a need for a service of this type, as last year the church will filled to capacity and was appreciated by so many who attended. The collection at this service will be used towards the cost of the refurbishment of the Memorial Chapel in the North Aisle.

Finally, I have just been told that St Mary's has been given a Civic Society Award for all the work that has gone into the refurbishment of the church building. We shall shortly be receiving a Plaque and Certificate. First thoughts are that the West Porch may be an ideal place to display them. On hat happy note I will leave you until next month.

Bye for now

C. M. E.

When I Survey

Last time I wrote of the happiness that comes from choosing to live simply and free yourself from envy of the rich and unfulfilled desire for what you can't afford and from debt. Over thirty years ago now I invited those who agree with me about this to join what we call the Life Style Movement. Our members accept the following Guidelines:We are encouraged to:

  • Recognise that there is a connection between the affluence of some and the poverty of others.
  • Resist the social and economic pressures to buy what we do not need. Some may see this as 'living simply that all may simply live', some as 'living responsibly', others as living an 'Earth-friendly' lifestyle.
  • Support other organisations with money, time or talents; not only those concerned with the environment, justice and peace but also those that help the poor and marginalised, at home and overseas.
  • Enjoy the natural world, show care for the environment and avoid wasteful use of resources.
  • Use non-renewable resources with care. Avoid unnecessary travel, especially by car.
  • Encourage the repair, recycling and re-use of materials and products.
  • Challenge over-packaging, built-in obsolescence and bad workmanship.
  • Avoid over-eating and find alternatives to food whose production or distribution involves damage to the environment or the exploitation of the poor or the oppressed.
  • Enjoy such good things as are compatible with our commitment to care for the planet and its inhabitants.
  • Be generous without ostentation and hospitable without extravagance. Make time for reflection, for the deepening of our understanding of our planet and of the people in it.
  • Take care that our commitment to 'Earth-friendliness' is not at the expense of family or friends.
  • Encourage others to join our Movement as a personal contribution to the struggle for global justice and peace and to rescue Earth from further exploitation.
  • Make the effort to get to know like-minded people in our area, including other members, and offer and received mutual support.

If you would like to know more about us, or indeed join us, get in touch with our General Secretary, Mr K. R. Taplin, 78 Filton Grove, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0AL. Tel. 0117 951 4509.

A. H. Dammers

The End of an Era

To the Editor. In 1947 Thompson Brothers opened a shop in Avonmouth selling electrical goods. I do believe they were the first in the area to sell TVs - they were black and white in those days. It was a true 'local shop' where you could buy a single fuse instead of the multi packs one now has to buy. They were always courteous and friendly to each customer.

I remember being in the shop one day and a local elderly lady came in with her electric iron that had stopped working. Gordon, the elder of the two brothers, took the iron and then went behind the counter and brought a chair for the lady to sit on while he looked at the iron. Not many minutes later he came out from his little workshop office with the iron, the flex neatly rolled around, and gave it to the lady. She asked how much for the repair and he replied 'No charge - it was only a loose connection to one of the wires'.

In today's modern world that would have been 'too old for repair - buy a new one'. Many times on my visits, even just for a chat, I would be given a cup of coffee. Alas, they are to retire next week (the end of August) - another nail in the Avonmouth coffin!I remember while working in the Avonmouth area when it was a busy place with plenty of shops and cafes and pubs, with of course the mainstay of the area - plenty of ships in the Docks. When I speak to people I refer to the Docks and how busy it was. I tell them I can remember ships having to wait out in the bay for a berth.

The Dock workers were a hard-working bunch of men and were also known to have the quickest turn-around for unloading the cargoes. Alas, now a Ghost Town, with the last of the shops to close. Supermarkets and giant stores have taken over, but not with the friendly service given by the little shops, no longer a 'please' and 'thank you', and a chat. I with the Thompson brothers well in their retirement, and I'm sure many more will also.

G. Burke

Denys Parker

Denys passed away on August 22nd at the B. R. I. Shirley, Richard and Janice would like to thank everyone who sent cards and messages of sympathy and to those who attended his funeral at Canford. Thank you also for the very kind donations that were made to the Bristol Oncology Centre, which amounted to 500. 00. We would also like to thank the Rev. Canon Christine Froude for her kind words and support. (Thank you for your donations to Shire funds).

Olive Stacey

15th July 1926 - 21st July 2003

Gill, Pete and Emma would like to thank everyone for their expressions of sympathy, love and support following the death of Olive at the Shirehampton Nursing Home on 21st July. Thank you also to everyone who attended the service of thanksgiving at St Mary's Church, shared many happy memories, and made donations to the Dragon Club for people with learning disabilities - donations amounting to 300 have been forwarded to the club in Olive's memory. Thank you for your donation to Shire funds.

Voluntary help required at Southmead Hospital

Southmead 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.

Letter from Mrs Pat Gingell

The following letter from Mrs Pat Gingell was received by the Rev. Canon Christine after her recent radio broadcast in the programme 'Sunday Starts with Trevor Fry'.

"Dear Canon Froude,

I feel I must write to you, as an old Shirehamptonian! I was listening to Sunday Starts this week and your conversation with Trevor Fry about St Mary's Church. I went to Portway Girls School years ago, and I have many happy memories of Shirehampton. I met my husband there, was confirmed and married at St Mary's and our two eldest boys, twins, were christened at St Mary's. What happy memories I have, going to the Saturday night dance at the St Bernard's Hall, and my first date, being taken to the Savoy Cinema by a boy from Sea Mills. At the time I thought he was the 'cat's whiskers' because he gave me his sweet rations!

We left Shirehampton in 1955 to move to St George, where my husband took over a butchers shop. I missed my friends so much and took a long time to settle down. It seemed like the back of beyond to me, and there didn't seem to be any young people. But then more houses were built and we had two more children, and time just went by. So many ups and down. Then when my youngest son was 21, he had a diving accident and we had to find a level place to live. The shop was all steps and stairs! So we moved into a bungalow at Farmborough. So many memories, but it was lovely to hear you chatting to Trevor about St Mary's.

I hope you will be very happy there. I hope you will excuse my handwriting, I have recently had a shoulder replacement and my arm is a bit stiff!By the way, my name before marriage was Pat Derrett and I lived in Fairford Road. My husbands name was Rex Gingell and he lived in a pre-fab in Nibley Road with his parents. We married at St Mary's in August 1952. I was nineteen and my husband was 21 the following November.

Anyway, very best wishes,

Pat Gingell"