Shire logo

Back to March 2004 SHIRE April 2004 Fowards to May 2004 SHIRE
News Index

Library Centenary

What's On in Shire

New Day Nursery Opens

New Health Centre

Christmas Lights

Plans for the Daisy Field

St Mary's News

Letters to the Editor

Library Centenary

To mark the centenary of the Library on Friday March 5th, Ralph Hack presented the Library with a fine line drawing of the Public Hall, signed by the artist H.T. Large, 1904. The drawing is full of detail and very interesting. Ralph thinks it must have taken a considerable time to draw by someone sitting in the Hop Yard, which was then opposite the Hall.

The writing over the main doorway reads 'Parish Hall' not Public Hall. The mystery of who H.T. Large was has not been solved. We wonder if any of our readers have heard of this artist, we do not even know whether it is a man or a woman. Perhaps there are other examples of this artist's work in the village? 

Ralph narrated the story of the picture's chequered existence. Some years ago a man who lived in Old Barrowhill hailed him as someone who was interested in the history of Shirehampton and said he would like him to have a picture he had at home. So Ralph went round to collect it.

The picture then was without frame or glass, the donor (Ralph doesn't recall his name) told him that he had won the picture as a prize in a raffle in one of the rummage sales held regularly on Saturdays in the village during the days of depression in the 1920s and 30s to help raise funds for the unemployed.

Ralph Hack has had the picture framed and put glass over it and generally tidied up, and it has been hanging on a wall in Myrtle Hall ever since. Very kindly he has decided to give it to the Library so that it might be viewed by the public. The mystery remains, together with much speculation about whether it was commissioned, and if so by whom.

So, if anyone could enlighten us we should be grateful.  Ralph Hack in his talk also referred to the fact that Shirehampton Library was founded by the Carnegie Trust. It is one of those places which the Trust provided and equipped in Britain and America on condition that the local authorities provided the site and the maintenance.

The first Library to be sponsored by the Carnegie Trust in Britain was in Dunfermline, the birth place of Andrew Carnegie, where he lived for 12 years until the family emigrated to America. So, the fact that Shirehampton was selected for sponsorship of a Library makes it special as well as the fact that it has been going for 100 years.

Reminiscing about Shire and the Public Hall

The Public Hall's centenary celebrations have provided the opportunity to collect some wonderful old photos and memories of things that have taken place in Shire over the last 100 years. A wealth of reminiscences have emerged of parties, dances, concerts, events and celebrations and the Hall is planning to exhibit them later in the year.

Maybe there will   be pictures of activities that you'll recognise in it and you can perhaps add your own memories.  We're now widening the reminiscences to include things and events that have taken place in or around the village, too, between 1903 and 2004. Who knows, we may be able to produce our own book of 'Old Shire'.

Or set up a local history club. You may be sitting on really interesting information. Maybe you are:

  • A Shire local with a long memory!
  • A Shire artist with sketches of old Shire
  • A member of a longstanding Public Hall group or Club (or another village organisation) with an archive
  • The owner of some Shire written history or memoirs we don't know about
  • The saver of some old local press cuttings
  • Collecting photos for a local old school reunion

In that case we are very warmly inviting you to come along with your photos, pictures, memories, however quirky, to our Reminiscence Sessions to be held at the Public Hall on April 3rd and 17th between 10am-12.30am and 1.30-4pm. We will be making cups of tea and sitting chatting at those times.

Also, with the help of computer workshop running alongside, we are able (or you can do it yourself) enhance and reproduce your old photos, whilst keeping their authenticity, so that you can take the original safely home with you.

If you have memories to share and are a bit housebound, do let us know and we can arrange to come to you instead!   Just drop in to the sessions at the Hall and/or ring me, Kate Pollard (a past Community Worker based at the Hall), for more information about reminiscence activities. Kate 977 6744.

Library Talks


In May, the Bristol Library Service will run a series of local history talks and events across the city. Shirehampton Public Hall and the Library both mark their centenary this year and as part of the celebrations there will be a talk entitled 'The Years of the Squirearchy' by local speaker Mr Ralph Hack.

This presents a thoroughly entertaining insight into the lives and fortunes of the Miles family of Kingsweston House, a local merchant dynasty, with estates at Kingsweston, Sea Mills, Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton. Tickets priced 2.50, advance booking essential. Please ask at Shirehampton Library (tel. 0117 903 8570) for details.

Volunteers Wanted at Shirehampton Library

To work with children aged 7-11 years Volunteer Reading Help is a national charity working with children in primary schools, helping them improve their reading skills and confidence and encouraging a love of books. We are now looking for volunteers to join an exciting new project in Shirehampton Library.

The work would involve around an hour and a half once a week after school. Training and support will be given.  If you are interested please call Cathy Edler on 377 3871 or 273 2991.

Correction to Library Closing Times

Unfortunately in the March edition the closing times for the Library were wrongly printed. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday the closing time is 5pm and not 4pm as stated. With apologies!

An Apology

The local STROKE CLUB is called PORTWAY and not Portbury as was printed in the March edition of 'SHIRE'. We do apologise for this error.

Return of Photographs

When sending photographs to be included in the 'SHIRE', if you wish them to be returned please put your name/address, or telephone number on the back, otherwise they are liable to be mislaid among the hundreds of  photographs at the printers.

What's On in Shire

Thursday April 1st Every week.

Rehearsals for 'The Songs that Won the War', 7.30-9.30pm at the Public Hall.
Townswomen's Guild, 2pm-4pm, Methodist Church Hall.
Story Time at St Mary's each week for pre-school children.
BINGO at Tythe Barn (or a speaker), 2pm-4pm.

Friday April 2nd

All local schools break up for the Easter holiday.
Coffee Morning at the Library, 10am-12 noon.
Friday Fun at the Beachley Walk Centre for Mothers, Carers and Pre-School Children, 9.30am-11.30am
Evergreens at the Public Hall, 1-3pm.
BINGO at the Public Hall, 6.30-8.30pm.

Sunday April 4th

Baptist Church Service at the Cotswold Centre at 4.45pm.

Monday April 5th EVERY week

Sequence Dancing, 7.30-9.30pm at the Public Hall.
WEEKLY 3 of US Bingo at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth, 1.15-2.45pm.
FREE Basic Literacy Classes at Lawrence Weston. Tel. 903 8824 for details.
SEE and Know each week for Under 5s at St Mary's, 1.15-2.45pm.

Tuesday April 6th

THE Tea Junction, 3.30pm at St Mary's. Tea, chat and board games.
CARERS Club at The Avonmouth Medical Centre, 10am-12 noon.
SHIREHAMPTON Choir Rehearsal for the Lenten Concert in St Mary's, 7-9pm.

Wednesday April 7th

EVERY Wednesday except Bank Holidays, drop-in Advice Sessions at A.U.S., 115 High St, 9.30-11.30am.

EVERY Wednesday

Minor Illness Clinic for Group Practice Patients, 10am-11am at the Health Clinic.
WEEKLY, The Bright Hour at the Baptist Church.
WEEKLY Bingo at The Tythe Barn, 2-4pm. ARTHRITIS Care, 7pm at Jim O'Neil's House
WEEKLY G.L.U.E. Youth Group for Secondary School Children, 7-9pm. Contact Nick or Lucy 938 2660.

EVERY Wednesday except Bank Holidays

Drop-in Advice Sessions at A.U.S., 115 High St, 9.30-11.30am.

GOOD Friday Public Holiday.

The Library will be closed.

Sunday April 11th

EASTER Sunday 10am. Communion at St Mary's. A sign language interpreter will be attending.

Monday April 12th

EASTER Monday Public Holiday. The Library will be closed.

Saturday April 17th

Stamp Fair at the Public Hall, 10am-4pm.

Sunday 18th April

CHURCH of England Service at the Cotswold Centre, 4.45pm.

Monday 19th April

ALL local schools begin the Summer Term.

Tuesday 20th April

ST Andrew's Ladies Club meet at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth to hear Sue Dainton of the Body Shop.
EVERGREENS Outing to Cardiff. Details tel. 982 3180.
RAILWAY Modellers, 7.30pm at the Public Hall.

Wednesday 21st April

COTSWOLD Book Club, 7.30pm. Details tel. 982 8683.
SHIRE Stitchers, 7.30pm at the Public Hall.

Friday April 30th

SEQUENCE Dance at the Cotswold Centre, 7.30-10pm.

New Day Nursery Opens

A much needed new day nursery catering for children from 3 months to 5 years old is now open.  Based at 112-116 Grove Leaze (the former Youth Centre), Shirehampton, Mama Bear's Day Nursery is open from 7.30am to 7.00pm, Monday to Friday, 51 weeks of the year.

Full day care, including meals, is available for up to 68 children, of which 34 places are 'assisted' under the Neighbourhood Nursery Initiative for local residents living in target areas looking to get back to work.  In addition the nursery also includes 'Bristol Bears Out of School Club', which provides pre-school, after school and holiday places for children from five years to 12.

The Club is open from 7.30am to 7.00pm, Monday to Friday. During term time the Club will drop children off at local schools and collect them. All sessions include meals prepared on the premises.  Mama Bear's Day Nursery and Bristol Bears Out of School Club are creating over 25 full and part time jobs for local residents. 

Speaking about the opening Zoe Gliddon, Manager of the Day Nursery said 'We have been pleasantly surprised by the level of support we have had for the nursery. As well as well-wishes from local residents we have had dozens of enquiries, many of which have already turned into bookings.

Although we have plenty of vacancies at the moment, we would encourage parents of babies and toddlers to book early as these places are filing up fast!'.  Emma Boreham, Manager of the Out of School Club added 'We are taking bookings now for our 5-11 year olds Easter Holiday Club which will run from Monday 5th April to Friday 16th April (excluding Bank Holidays).

Parents should also speak to us now about booking for the term-time breakfast and after-school club. We will serve Shirehampton Primary, Avonmouth Primary, Avon Primary and St. Bernard's RC Primary Schools'.  The nursery and club have been assisted by grants from the New Opportunities Fund and Sure Start Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative.

Parents and Carers interested in more information should call the nursery on 982 3345, email on or visit the website at

Cotswold Community Centre Book Group

The book group started one year ago, April 16th. The readers who came that evening (5) suggested a number of books from which we chose the first 6 to be read by the group. It was decided we all read the same book, then one month later meet to discuss it.

So far this has worked very well, there have been some very lively and interesting discussions over a cup of tea and a biscuit. The group has grown slowly and we now have eleven members. As a group we may read books that perhaps we ourselves would not choose, the result is a challenge and a broadening of interest in different styles of authorship.  

Should you wish to join us you would be very welcome, there is a small charge for the use of the hall. A booklist will be posted in the Shirehampton Library or contact me on 982 8683.I.S. Miller

May 19th Snow Falling on Cedars (David Guterson)June 16th The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)July 21st The Curious Case of The Dog in the Night (Mark Haddon)

Kathleen Neal

We read about the death of Kathleen Neal. Born Kathleen Williams in Shirehampton in 1920, later on she married Percy Neal and became a taxi driver in his firm. After that they bought and ran the newsagents at the Dock Gates in Avonmouth.  In 1980 they moved to Failand where Mrs Neal took a very active part in village life.

She was a founder member of Failand Music Club and served on the committee for several years. She was a church warden for a while and served on the parish council for 22 years. She retired in 2003 due to failing health. Her hobbies were bowls and bridge and she took a lively interest in many things.  No doubt there are many people who will remember.

Thank You

Our warm thanks to all readers who answered our call for volunteers to deliver copies of Shire Newspaper. We now have enough people to cover all deliveries and in some areas to cover for holidays and sickness as well.

However, we still need a few more people for emergency coverage in some areas, so if you are able to help please telephone Pauline on 982 6935.

New Health Centre

Almost fifty people attended the public consultation evening on Monday February 23rd. The meeting was chaired by Mr Arthur Keefe, Chairman of the Bristol North Primary Care Trust who gave an overview of the aims of the project which were outlined in the March issue of Shire.

The architects, Osmond Tricks, gave a presentation of the possibilities for the new centre with some detailed drawings of the likely site lay-out. The building will be much larger than the one it will replace. Ten consulting rooms for the doctors should shorten waiting times for appointments and there will be space for a pharmacy and specialist clinics providing some services now only available in hospitals. There will also be a self-contained section for Shire Link.

At present these are only proposals but a Local Investment Finance Trust (L.I.F.T.) is soon to be set up. Contracts could be signed by the end of this year with completion planned for Spring 2006. Several of the audience raised points of detail and were reassured to be told that all relevant bodies including patient representatives would be involved in the planning stages.

Those at the meeting were invited to indicate if they would be interested in attending the project group in the future and a number did so.   If anyone would like more details or would like to register an interest in being involved in the project group please contact Andrew Hughes, Locality Manager for Bristol North Primary Health Care Trust, telephone 0117 900 3415 or e-mail:

The History of Shirehampton Womens Institute

Towards the end of 1982 a meeting was held at Twyford House with a view to setting up a Women's Institute in Shirehampton. The chair was taken by Mrs J. Schaffer VCO.  Those attending were in favour thus on 26th January 1983 the Institute was founded. Three officers and a committee were appointed.

As from 23rd March 1983 the meeting was moved to the permanent venue at the Methodist Hall with 23 members attending. Monthly meetings to be held every third Wednesday every month. The Women's Institute comprised of the following levels: National, Area, Group and Institute.

Events at each level were well supported.  A member was voted as Delegate, attending Annual General Meetings held in various towns throughout the county, also attending Spring and Autumn Council meetings held at the Winter Gardens, Weston super Mare. Information gained was reported back to the Institute.

Fund raising was part of our function. A Harvest Lunch held in September 1985 at the Guide HQ raised 100, which was donated to the local stroke club. 'Pennies for Friendship' were collected at each monthly meeting and sent each year to support Associated Country Women of the World.

A tree was planted in Shirehampton Park in memory of Lyn Summers, a past President who died suddenly. A donation was made to the Public Hall celebrations when the Earl of Wessex visited a tree was planted by him in the garden which the Hall Committee had chosen.  During the whole twenty years many excellent speakers spoke at monthly meetings.

Social occasions were much enjoyed, such as Christmas lunches at local hotels, annual outings and monthly scrabble club.  Many firm friendships begun at the Institute will continue to thrive. December 2003 was a sad evening, but we are left with many happy memories.

Vera Dix
Past President 1984-1986

Christmas Lights

Now that last year's display has finally been stored away the committee is now planning for this year. Some people told us that they felt the coloured lights we used on the trees over the shops were not really bright enough, especially at dusk.

We agreed and we have already bought much brighter net lights, similar to those we used on the trees over Bennett's last year. These should make for a much brighter display. We are also happy to reveal that several establishments have agreed, for the first time, to allow lights and trees on their premises so we can look for a more complete coverage of the High Street and nearby parts of Station Road next Christmas.

At the AGM of the Association held in the Methodist Church Hall on February 23rd the present officers and committee were re-elected. At the meeting we were very pleased indeed to welcome Debbie, widow of the late Chris Hind, whose great generosity in donating over 600 to the Christmas Association we were able to acknowledge in person.

We hope that family and friends will draw some extra comfort year by year as they see how much pleasure the results of their donation are bringing to us all over Christmas.

St Andrew's Ladies Club

6th April No meeting, 20th April Body Shop - Sue Dainton4th May Charity Bring & Buy Auction, 18th May Beatrix Potter - Talk, 1st June Indoor Mat Bowling, 11th June Summer Outing (Friday), 15th June Back Stage Secrets - Kay Rawling, 6th July How to wear a Sari, 20th July AGM - American Supper, CLOSED FOR AUGUST, 7th Sept Quiz Night

Meetings held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at St Andrew Church Hall, Avonmouth at 7.30pm.

Puzzle Corner

  1. O T T F F S S _ _ _ Fill in the last three spaces.
  2. What is special about the following letters? H I N O X
  3. What do the following letters have in common? K Q W X Z

Answers next month

Ladies Outing

Thank you to Margaret Wray who has let us have a few details of the photograph included in last month's SHIRE. She thinks it was a Bright Hour Trip as those recognised were all members of the Methodist Church. The first two ladies on the left-hand side in the front were Dorothy Carter and Alma Wray of Park Road.

On the right-hand side, 2nd row back were Win Ann and the Minister's wife, and 3rd row back Mrs Coleman and Esme Lewis, Lottie Buffin is in the middle row behind the lady in a white cardigan in the front row.


Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does. (S.H. Britt)

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. (Vidal Sassoon)

By the time a man realises that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he is wrong. (Charles Wadsworth)

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows,is a fool - shun him He who knows not and knows that he knows not,is a child - teach him He who knows and knows not that he knows,is asleep - wake him But he who knows and knows that he knows, is a wise man - follow him.

Good Samaritans

My sincere thanks to two perfect strangers, Mr and Mrs (Mavis) Davies of The Ridge. On seeing me in a state of collapse at the top of Penpole Avenue on Monday, 1st March, they kindly and with great speed collected their car and took me (trolley included) home to Penpole Lane.

The incident could have had most unpleasant consequences but for their kindness. How good to know that such people are around.  My appreciation cannot be expressed in words.

Dorothy Wooller

(Many thanks for your donation to SHIRE paper)

Pension Credit

Many people have still not claimed the new pension credit. You could be missing out on extra money! Pension credit is a top-up amount on your state pension. It guarantees everyone aged 60 or over an income of at least

  • 102.10 weekly (105.45 as from April) if you're single or
  • 155.80 weekly (169.95 as from April) if you're a couple

You may be entitled to more than this if you are disabled yourself or you are looking after someone who's disabled or you have certain housing costs. If you are aged 65 or over you could get extra money. Having savings or a private/works pension will be longer be a penalty. Now if you have saved money for your retirement you may be rewarded. Pension credit guarantees everyone aged 65 or over an income (including savings income) of at least

  • 139.10 weekly (144.25 as from April) if you're single or
  • 203.80 weekly (211.50 as from April) if you're a couple

If you're not sure whether you'll get pension credits or not then please contact Tony at Avon University Settlement on 982 9399 or the Pension Credit Helpline on 0800 99 1234. Tony will check to see if you can get it and will also do a full benefit check.

He can also help with applying for other benefits, filling in forms, help with any problems with debt, housing problems, employment advice and other legal matters. Avon University Settlement offers free and confidential advice. The drop-in sessions are on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9.30am and 11.30am - no appointment necessary.

We are situated at 115 High Street, Shirehampton.

Shindigs Party Shop

Contrary to rumours spreading through the village WE ARE NOT CLOSING. The freehold of the building has been sold - which does not affect our business.

Plans for the Daisy Field

On several occasions over the past year, and especially the last few weeks, curious passers-by will have noticed some purposeful activity in the Daisy Field, the name given to the long wedge of grassy open space between the Portway and the railway line extending from Station Road almost as far as the Park and Ride Scheme close to the M5 Avon Bridge.

Some of it has always been open land but the part nearest the Park and Ride was a landfill site, covered over about twenty years ago. For a long time it has been used by dog walkers, by small children playing and larger children every now and then making their first faltering and noisy experiments on motorbikes.

Now, of course, the use of bikes in this area is illegal and offenders' bikes will be confiscated by the police, so in future children and dog walkers should be able to enjoy the peaceful use of this pleasant green open space.  Two years ago things started to change.

Richard Fletcher was appointed by the Council for one year to explore ways of turning the Daisy Field into a part of a network of urban open spaces to enhance the quality of life with attractive managed green sites offering local residents a pleasingly rural environment with something for all ages.

Richard's enthusiasm was infectious and he gathered together a committee made up of local residents known as The Shirehampton Greens Committee to work out a plan and share ideas about how best to develop the site with the limited funding available.

One of the first steps was to start planting a hedge inside the wire fence on the side of the Portway and then to start to clear the site of all the accumulated rubbish. On the last day of February five local residents gave up the better part of a sunny but windy Sunday for the clearing up.

Passers-by saw a growing pile of rusting cycle frames, old bottles, brittle plastic bags and all kinds of rubbish which the Council removed the next day. In addition there were many plastic pooper bags filled but left in the hedges by the owners of the dogs, possibly because there is no bin near the entrance where they could be left.

While The Greens appreciate the efforts of the dog walkers in clearing up after their pets, the plastic bags by themselves are a problem so we are asking the Council to provide a suitable bin near the entrance to the field where all owners will have somewhere to put the bags on their way home.

Apart from the clearing up, hedges have been planted and undergrowth cut back near the railway line. Some of this work has been carried out by the Bristol Trust Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) with financial aid from the Council and on March 20th the BTCV hope to start planting a small orchard on part of the site.

There are also plans eventually perhaps for a maze, a selection of sculptures and other improvements that it is hoped will attract as many people on a regular basis as we had for the most enjoyable Family Fun Day last year (which we hope to repeat this year).  The Greens Committee meets regularly.

A small core of enthusiastic local residents keeps it going and the group would very much welcome interest from other local residents, in the form perhaps of support and encouragement for their aims and perhaps also help with some of their projects.  A lot of people have worked very hard to get funding for this initiative.

As we have so often found it is the squeaky hinge that gets the oil, the more we put into project the more we get out of it. If you would like in any way to be involved, Renee Slater (telephone 938 1709) would be delighted to hear from you.

Calling All Sculptors

Shirehampton Greens would like to add sculptures to the Daisyfield between the Portway and the railway as part of the Community Park Project. If you are a sculptor, or if you know anyone who is, and would like to have your work on public view in the open air, please contact Lyndsay Libby on 07765 391 655 or email: for further details.

A Community Hall for All

The Cotswold Community Hall situated in Dursley Road, just off the Portway, is a community hall that has something for everyone. Apart from a wide variety of activities run by the newly resurgent Cotswold Community Association and others, it also offers good, modern, accessible facilities for all kinds of private functions, from parties to organisational meetings at very reasonable hire rates.

It can comfortably accommodate 90 people with plenty of room for them to move around, and up to 110 for meetings with a static seated audience. There are some kitchen facilities, sufficient for providing light refreshments such as finger buffets.

The Community Association, which is responsible to the Council for running the Hall, is a self-supporting organisation recently acquiring official charity status. It would love to see the Hall becoming of even more use to the community than it is at present, and would welcome enquiries for its use.

For details of availability and rates ring 0117 9140557.

After the Pancakes - the Plants!

New events continue to happen at the re-invigorated Cotswold Community Centre. Following on the heels of a successful Pancake Party, the next thing to happen will be its first Plant Sale, to be held at the Community Hall, Dursley Road on Saturday 15th May at 10am.

The local residents will have the opportunity to sell on their surplus stock of plants, and buy up what they need to fill the gaps in their own planting for summer. If you are interested in selling some plants ring 0117 914 0557 to book a table.  In addition it is hoped a local nursery will be selling some from its own splendid bedding plant stock.

The proceeds will contribute to the funds of St Peter's Hospice.   Cotswold's Pancake Party on Shrove Tuesday was tremendous fun for old and young, with children joining pensioners in not only enjoying delicious pancakes but also tossing them in a light-hearted competition.

This was eventually won by Clare Woodland with an amazing 47 tosses in 30 seconds.

Active Avon Receive Award

Staff and pupils at Avon Primary School were delighted earlier this month to hear that the school had received an Activemark Award from Sport England. Sport England is the country's leading strategic sports development agency. Avon Primary is one of just three schools in the Bristol area who have received the national Activemark Award this year.

The award is in recognition of the commitment the school has shown towards promoting the benefits of physical activity. To achieve the award a school must offer a well balanced Physical Education programme within the school curriculum and also encourage participation in a variety of extra-curricular activities.

Football, netball, table tennis, cricket and rounders clubs have been a regular feature, and recently a tag rugby club has been started.  The school also encourages lunchtime activity. In Key Stage 1 the Dinner ladies play games with the children and in Key Stage 2 the children each have a key fob which they can use to hire out equipment.

Avon Primary is actively involved with the Portway Sports College Partnership, which has helped to fund and support the training of staff and the running of extra-curricular clubs.  Sport England's acting chief executive, Roger Draper, congratulated the schools who had received the award.

He said 'We need to re-emphasise the benefits of sport and physical activity to children and young people through positive first experiences at school. These schools have been awarded Activemark for doing just that.'

The Life of Andrew Carnegie

After thinking about Shirehampton Library and its connection with the Carnegie Trust, I became intrigued to find out more about the man himself, who had made his way in the New World and then decided to share his good fortune to help others. This is what I found out.

In 1835 Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline in Scotland to Margaret and Will Carnegie. His father was a skilled weaver. A younger son, Tom, was born in 1843. In 1847 after steam-powered looms were introduced in Dunfermline, hundreds of hand loom workers became unemployed, including Andrew's father.

The next year the Carnegie family decided to emigrate. They save 20 for the fare and the voyage to America in 3 weeks. They settled in Pittsburgh and Andrew got a job as a bobbin boy in a textile mill. Later on he got work in a factory tending the steam engine and boiler. He impressed his supervisor with his writing and was offered work as a clerk.

In 1849, now aged 14, Andrew worked as a messenger boy in a telegraph office. He memorised street names and the names of men to whom he took messages and was able to save time by recognising the recipient of a message on the street. Soon he was promoted to telegraph operator.

In 18953 Andrew became personal telegrapher and assistant to Thomas Scott, the superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad's western division. He learnt the ins and outs of the railway industry and suggested innovations such as keeping the telegraph office open 24 hours each day and burning railroad cars after accidents to clear the tracks and get the trains moving quickly.

Although Andrew was successful in America his father was not able to find work as a weaver. He tried to introduce his own cloth and then to sell it but had few buyers. In 1853 Will Carnegie died at the age of 51, Andrew was 20 years old and the sole breadwinner of the family.

In 1856 he helped snuff out a strike before it began. He borrowed from a local bank and invested in the Woodruff Sleeping Car Company and in two years his return on this investment was more than 3 times his salary from the railroad. In 1859 Andrew was made a superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad's western division; he was in charge of his own department.

Two years later he helped Thomas Scott supervise the repairs after the Confederate mobs destroyed the railroad lines in Maryland. They then went on to organise the railroad and telegraph lines to Virginia.  Using the proceeds from his investments in the sleeping car company, Andrew Carnegie invested in oil through a company in Titusville, Pennsylvania.

About half his income then came from oil. He went on to invest in Piper and Schiffler Co., Adams Express Co and Central Transportation Company. In 1864 Andrew was drafted into the Union Army but decided to pay a replacement to serve in his place. The next year he retired from the railroad and with several associates founded the Keystone Bridge Company.

They planned to build more durable bridges with iron rather than wood. In 1867 Carnegie established the Keystone Telegraph Company along with associates. The Pennsylvania Railroad gave a new company permission to string telegraph wires across the railroad poles stretching across the entire state.

This asset meant that Keystone could merge almost immediately with the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Co. and Keystone investors got a triple return on their investment.  In 1865 Andrew Carnegie, in a letter, outlined his future plans. He was going to resign from business age 35, live on an income of $50,000 per year and devote the remainder of his money to philanthropic causes.

In 1872 on a visit to England Carnegie went to see Henry Bessemer's steel plants. The Freedom Iron Company which he had formed in 1861 had been using Bessemer's process for several years. While in England Carnegie realised the commercial potential of steel and returned to America with plans to expand his steel business.

The next year he donated a pool to Dunfermline. In 1875 Carnegie opened his first steel plant, the Edgar Thomson Works (named after the President of the Pennsylvania Railroad) in Braddock. His first order was for 2000 steel rails for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1881, having been one of Frick's largest coke customers, Andrew proposed a merger.

At first he had only 11% of stock but soon his share was increased to over 50%. Andrew and his mother visited Dunfermline and he donated a library to the town, his first to be given outside USA. In 1883 Carnegie bought Homestead Works, a rival mill. 

In 1886 in Forum Magazine Carnegie published an essay defending workers rights to organise into a union, he also published 'Triumphant Democracy', selling over 70,000 copies which celebrated the American belief in democracy and capitalism. Tragedy struck the Carnegie family that year.

At his home in Cresson Pennsylvania Andrew caught typhoid and had a relapse when he learnt of his brother's death. A month later, while Andrew is still ill, his mother dies of pneumonia. In order to keep Margaret Carnegie's death a secret from her son her coffin was lowered out of her bedroom window.

Shortly after his mother's death Andrew resumed an earlier friendship with Louise Whitfield, the 21 year old daughter of a wealthy merchant. Within a year the couple married.  Carnegie and Frick disagreed over striking unions and would again in the future disagree on labour issues.

In 1889 Carnegie published 'Gospel of Wealth' arguing that the wealthy have moral obligations to serve as stewards for society. The Homestead Strike broke out in 1892 leaving Frick to deal with it as Andrew was on holiday in Europe. It ended with the militia being sent in to reclaim the mill and the strike breakers were hired to reopen it.

That was to be the end of Carnegie's image as the workers' friend.  In 1897 Andrew and Louise's daughter, Margaret, was born. The family looked for a home in Scotland and bought Skibo Castle, which was in ruins. After the 1898 Spanish-American war the United States captured the Philippines from Spain.

America decided to pay Spain $20 million for the islands which Carnegie felt was imperialism and offered the islands the same amount to purchase their independence. The next year Carnegie organised several of his steel companies into Carnegie Steel, having decided to expand his business into the finished products, and was in competition with J.P. Morgan's interests.

Friction continued between Crick and Carnegie over coke. In 1900 the Carnegie Institute of Technology at Pittsburgh was opened and the next year a similar Institute was established in Washington DC. In 1901 Carnegie sold out to J.P. Morgan, making Carnegie the richest man in the world at that time. In 1902 he founded the Carnegie Institution to provide research for American colleges and universities.

About this time he set up a trust to help Scottish universities, and for this benefaction he was elected Lord Rector of St Andrews University. In 1905 he set up the Carnegie Teachers' Pension Fund and in 1910 the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace was established and the Central American Court of Justice in Costa Rica was built which was sadly destroyed in an earthquake later that year.

In 1911, with his remaining money Andrew Carnegie established the Carnegie Corporation, which he intended to aid colleges, universities, technical schools and scientific research. This was the last philantrophic trust he created - in all he had given away 90% of his fortune.

In 1913 the Palace, or Temple, of Peace in the Hague, which was financed by Andrew Carnegie, had its grand opening. A fitting tribute and end to Carnegie's remarkable journey from poverty to philantrophy!

This article was compiled from a variety of sources by Mrs Jean Archer and her grandson, Luke.

St Mary's News

Hi folks!  Spring is here at last! (although it doesn't seem like it at the moment I am writing these notes and there is snow on the ground again). Nevertheless, whatever the weather you are guaranteed a warm welcome at St Mary's. 

As mentioned briefly last month, Bishop Mike (Bishop of Bristol) will be joining us for our 10.00am Holy Communion on Palm Sunday (14th April) when he will dedicate our Memorial Chapel which has been created in part of the north aisle.  We then enter Holy Week. Please note there will be NO Holy Communion Service on Maunday Thursday (8th April) at St Mary's.

This is because we have all been invited to Holy Communion at Bristol Cathedral at 10.30am that day when the blessing of the oils will take place. These are the oils used for anointing etc. Lifts can be arranged for any person who wishes to attend - please contact Gill Sawyer at the church office.

At 6.30pm there will be a Service of Holy Communion in St Mary's with the ceremony of washing the feet. After the service there will be a fellowship meal held in church.  The next day is Good Friday. At 10am there will be a Family Service around the Cross, which will be particularly suitable for children, followed by Hot Cross Buns for everyone.

At 1pm 'Stations of the Cross' will be held followed at 2pm by the Shirehampton Area Choir's performance of the Cantata - Pardon, Penitence & Peace by J.H. Maunder.  Easter Sunday - Holy Communion at 10am. This will be a signed service for the deaf for which we are in debt to Jane Powell.

On this Sunday we would like to see ladies wearing 'Easter Bonnets' and gentlemen wearing 'Boaters' and the children dressed as Easter Chicks or Bunnies. Easter Sunday will also be the last week Nick Rowan and his wife Nina will have with us. Nick is an ordained priest from Trinity College and has spent a month with us observing how the parish operates. 

On Sunday 18th April after 6pm Evensong we shall be holding our Annual Parochial Church Meeting when a new Parochial Church Council is elected. Please give this your support - it is also an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.  On Sunday 25th April we say farewell to Bishop Michael (Bishop of Swindon) who is leaving to head up U.S.P.G. A farewell service will be held in Bristol Cathedral at 3.30pm on that day.

We wish him well in his new venture.  On Friday 30th April a "Cowboy Evening" is to be held in the Church Centre at 7.30pm. Tickets are 6 and I am reliably informed "Bangers and Beans" are on the menu. But beware we all know the effect this gastronomic delight can have on some folks. You eat the beans at your own risk!

Tickets for this event are available from the Church Office - see Gill Sawyer.  Finally, I am delighted to tell you that our St Davids Springtime Fayre last month raised the sum of 1,000 in the 2 hours it was open. Thank you to those who supported this event and to Gill Sawyer who was the main organiser.  Well, that's all for this month.

Bye for now!


His Life

He gave His Life, on the cross, at Calvary For each one of us He died, He bled,His Precious, cleansing Blood, He gave, For each one of us to be forgiven.And with His rising from the grave,The Hope to live with Him, and God, in Heaven.All Love, Praise, Glory and Honour, To Jesus, our God,Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Everlasting Prince of Peace. Hallelujah, Amen.

Christian Aid Week

9th to 15th May 2004The theme of Christian Aid week this year is 'We believe in life before death'. Information and materials will be available in St Mary's Church featuring people from the world's poorest communities who are enjoying a better quality of life through the support of Christian Aid as well as the stories of individuals and organisations who are making that happen.

The following fundraising events have been arranged so please make a note of the dates in your diary.Saturday 8th May - Barn Dance - Tickets 6  Telephone 983 6168Saturday 15th May - Coffee MorningTuesday 9th June - Strawberry Cream Tea DanceSunday 13th June - Sponsored Cycle Ride

In February St Mary's had a visit from Nigel Quarrell, Christian Aid's Area Coordinator (Bristol and Gloucester) following his recent trip to Uganda. Whilst there he visited three partner agencies: Uganda Debt Network, ACET and the Church of Uganda Namierembe Diocese.

He was accompanied by Marvin Rees from the BBC and you may have seen a documentary or news item about the visit which featured Bishop Mike presenting football strips donated by Bristol Rovers and Swindon Town. This was part of the tackle Africa venture which uses football to educate people about HIV/AIDs.

As people flock to watch the matches the aim is to publicise important information about the virus, which is Africa's biggest killer. Nigel also spoke about the devastating impact of the war in northern Uganda led by the rebel army (LRA) which over the last 18 years has killed or mutilated thousands of innocent civilians and an estimated 25,000 children have been abducted.

Following a retiring collection we were able to send 189 to Christian Aid to support their work in Uganda.  If you would like more information about Christian Aid or would like to help with the fundraising please contact us on 983 6186

Jane and Richard Powell

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Sunday April 4 Palm Sunday 6.30pm   Visit of Bristol Evangel ChoirEASTER DAY 11am   Rev John Clapham (Communion) 6.30pm   United Service at Baptist Church   Rev David AldermanSunday April 25 Home Missions Anniversary at Sea Mills Methodist 4.00pm - Video 5.00pm - Tea 6.30pm - Rev Edward Standhaft and Rev David AldermanSaturday May 1 May Fayre - Various goods, toiletries, side-shows, refreshments Admission 10p COME AND BUY A BARGAIN

Understanding the Rules on Child Support

Both parents are legally responsible for providing financial support for their children.  A parent who does not have day to day care of his or her child may be liable to pay child support maintenance.

The Child Support Agency (CSA) can work out how much is due and set up payment arrangements for children living in the UK as long as the person with care and the non-resident parent (NRP) also lives in this country.  A child for whom support maintenance is payable is a 'qualifying child'. A child is a qualifying child if:

  • One or both of the child's parents do not live with him/her and
  • The child is under 16 or aged under 19 and in full time non-advanced education.

Some frequently asked questions"My husband and I have recently separated and our two children live with me. Do I have to apply to the CSA for a maintenance calculation"?It is possible for people to agree between themselves how much maintenance should be paid.

Where these have been agreed and have been put in writing then an order may be made by consent for child periodical payments. In this way, the jurisdiction of the CSA can be avoided, but only for one year. After that, either party can apply to the CSA after giving two months' notice to the other. 

However, a parent with care who is receiving, or who has applied for income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance may be treated as applying for child support, although they do have the right to tell the CSA that they do not want to be treated as applying for child maintenance.

This is called 'opting out'."If I do apply to the CSA, how much maintenance will I receive and will this be reduced because my son regularly stays overnight with his father"?

The amount of maintenance will depend on the following:

  • The non-resident parent's (NRP's) income
  • The number of qualifying children
  • Whether the NRP has other children who live with him or her
  • Whether there is shared care of the qualifying children
  • Whether there are special circumstances which mean the calculation is adjusted.

The rate of maintenance is decided by the NRP's net weekly income. Income includes earnings (both employed and self employed), working tax credit and child tax credit, employment credit for people aged 50 or over and payments from an occupational or personal pension, a retirement annuity or similar schemes.

There are four rates of maintenance which may apply to a NRP. In most cases the CSA will use the 'basic rate', but for NRP's who do not earn very much, or who are in receipt of certain benefits, the CSA will use a reduced rate or a flat rate.  The basic rate applies when net weekly income is 200 a week or more.

The basic rate uses set percentages of the NRP's net income: 15 per cent if there is one qualifying child 20 per cent for two qualifying children 25 per cent for three qualifying children

If the NRP has other children living with him or her, the NRP's net income is reduced before the percentages are applied.  Where the qualifying child stays overnight with the NRP on a regular basis, this reduces the amount of child maintenance payable.

The level of the decrease depends on the number of children and the number of nights per year which each child spends with the NRP."I have a court order which provides for periodic payments of maintenance by my wife for my daughter. Can I still apply to the CSA"?Where there is a court order, no application for child support can usually be made. Any changes to the amount of maintenance should be agreed by the court.

This also applies where there is a written maintenance agreement made before 5th April 1993.   In some cases, however, the court order will no longer have effect. Where a court order was made after 3rd March 29003 and it has been in force for at least a year, an application may be made to the CSA (subject to two months' notice being given to the other party).

The order will cease to have effect from two days after the calculation is made."The CSA has made an assessment for child maintenance but my partner's income is substantial. What can I do"?Even where there is a maintenance calculation in force a court may make a maintenance order in certain circumstances.

If the NRP's child support is based on a net weekly income of 2,000 (maximum amount of net weekly income that can be used) but the NRP actually earns more than this, the court might decide that the NRP should make payments under a maintenance order in addition to paying child support.

The rules and practice relating to child support are complex but specialist help and guidance is available.

Sally Quilter

Letters to the Editor

A 'Mr K Perry'

In the February issue of 'SHIRE' a photograph appeared of a rugby team from Portway School and pictured alongside them was a 'Mr K Perry'. Many will remember Ken Perry as Head of Mathematics at Portway School. I remember him as the first Community Education Officer at Twyford House.

Community Education was a new idea, intended to replace purely adult education. It provided a service to all age groups from play-school age upwards and whilst adult education continued in the time honoured way, new academic courses at 'O' and 'A' level appeared on the syllabus.

On the more social side, new groups began to emerge which were started and supported by the Community Education Programme until such time as the members of these groups felt confident to take over the responsibilities themselves.  I was already working at Twyford House when Ken arrived as the new Community Education Officer.

He took on his new role with enthusiasm, imagination and great energy. In addition to Twyford House a new Centre was opened in Avonmouth in the old school building and a complete programme of courses and groups was built up from scratch.

It was a very exciting time and whilst it kept us extremely busy we felt we were creating something important for the community.  Ken stayed at Twyford for some time before being promoted to work at Avon House. In the time we worked together our families became great friends and we have kept in touch with one another ever since.

Ken and his wife Dot moved to Rugby to live and I'm delighted to report he is fit and well and is now involved with the community where he lives. I know he retains fond memories of both Portway School and Twyford House and Shirehampton generally, plus all the people he met and worked with over the years. 

I must add that Ken had one great failing - he was always losing his keys! One set still remains behind the skirting board in the first floor room we used as an office. Maybe when the new owners of Twyford House start their work on the renovations they will find them and return them to their rightful owner!

Margaret Hedges
Old Quarry Road, Shirehampton

From Rugby

Dear Editor

Although I now live in Rugby, Warwickshire, I recently received a copy of the February issue of your Community Newspaper and I would like to add my personal congratulations to all your volunteers for the magnificent job they have done over the last 34 years. I have no doubt that their efforts have done much to develop and foster that unique 'village feeling' that has been such an integral part of Shirehampton's development. 

My earliest connection with Shirehampton was when I joined the staff of the Portway Boys Secondary Modern school at the start of the Summer term in 1951! My first day at the school was on its first day on the Penpole site in the old army huts. The Headmaster at the time was Spencer Carlisle and I had the pleasure and privilege of serving under him until he retired and also under his successor Bill Bradley and latterly Miss Draper.  

I was a member of staff of both the Boys Secondary Modern School and the Mixed Comprehensive School. Of a working life in the education service which covered 36 years and of which 23 years was spent in Shirehampton, I have no hesitation in stating that the Shirehampton years were the most enjoyable and rewarding of my whole working life.  

Apart from placing on record my high regard for the 'Shire' I also wished to comment on two items reported in the February issue. 

On page 15 there was a letter from Brian Swain of Collingwood Court,Australia accompanied by a photograph of the Rugby Team for the season 1951-52 and which notes that the teacher in the photograph was, and a quote 'a Mr K. Perry'. 

I must own up to the fact that I am the young chap in the photograph who at that time was but 25 years old and is now about to celebrate his 79th birthday within the next few weeks. May I also say that this was the first Rugby team in Portway Boys history and I was the instigator of the introduction of Rugby Football to a school which had always had a great reputation on the fields of schools football. The fact that within a few years we were producing players of sufficient quality to play for Bristol Boys, the Avonmouth Rugby Club and also for senior clubs including Bristol and Cardiff and not least the outstanding achievements of a Portway boy, Barry Nelmes, who played for Bristol Boys and England Boys. He went on to captain the Cardiff Club, an honour not bestowed on many Englishmen and he was to become a senior England International. 

My second admission is that in 1971, when Fred Gould 'retired' from Twyford House, I was appointed as Community Education Officer based at Twyford House. In this capacity I came in very close contact with Fred and John Smith, as at that time the administrative base for the Shire was in the cottage next door to Twyford House, where Fred had taken up residence to continue his work for and on behalf of the University Settlement. As many of your younger readers will know, Fred was a powerful personality and he kept a very 'fatherly' eye on what was going on in Twyford House during my stewardship there. 

I inherited from him the services of Margaret Hedges who had worked tirelessly for Fred over many years and who gave me the same dedicated support as my secretary. I recall well the weeks leading up to each issue of Shire, as Margaret typed and we jointly proof read all the copy. Those were heady days and in retrospect I now realise how worthwhile they were and their own reward is the continuance of a thriving community newspaper to this day. 

My final thought is one of sadness from the news that the Portway School has fallen on hard times. It is easy to apportion blame without knowledge of the full facts and I will restrict myself to say that I am sure that a school which has always had such a firm foundation and reputation will again reassert itself and become a seat of learning in which the community can share with pride its connection with the school. I would wish all the staff and the current pupils a happy and successful future. 

My best wishes for the future to 'The Shire'. God willing I shall live long enough to help you celebrate your golden anniversary in 2002. Should I last that long I will be 97.

Best wishes,

Ken Perry

US Army Troops billeted on Golf LInks

Dear Sir

With reference to Mr Mark James' request for Memories of 'the Old Days' in Shire, a very clear memory I have of the war years was in 1943 when I was 10 years old. The children in my class at Shirehampton Junior School were taken to the Theatre Royal to see an afternoon matinee about the assassination in 1865 of Abraham Lincoln.

How the American soldiers who were billeted in Nissan huts on the Golf Links found out about our trip I never discovered, but they were obviously pleased that we were learning about one of their famous Presidents. Officers from Sergeant up invited the whole class back to the camp for a meal. Each officer was allocated a child to look after. My officer, the one on my left in the photograph, was named Louis. I remember we had a steak dinner, the steak was enormous and was large enough (if we had enough 'points' in our rations books) to feed more than one person. We also had butter which at that particular time during the war, in my family, there were only enough 'points' for us to have butter on Sunday, the rest of the week it had to be margarine. 

The only thing which disappointed both the Americans and us was that they could not provide us with ice cream as there were no refrigerators in the camp. In those days refrigerators were not in general use in the ordinary household. We were all given sweets, chocolate and chewing gum to take home and some of the boys were given badges. 

The enclosed photograph was taken by the camp photographer and we were told, when developed, would be sent to the American Newspapers for the Americans to see how some of their boys were coping with the war. Only three photos were taken - a group - one of Donald Wiltshire (I wonder what happened to him?) and the third of me. The girl's head in the left-hand corner was Peggy Adams. 

Shortly after this period of the war the white Americans left and were replaced by black Americans. When the black Americans were posted, Italian prisoners-of-war occupied the camp. 

I also have a vague recollection of a large number of white American soldiers being accidentally killed by their own fire on practice landings on Saunton Sands about this time and have often wondered whether 'our' Americans were among them. Perhaps a local war historian would know if this is right. 

I also remember large numbers of American vehicles lining one side of the Portway and local children, mainly boys, asking the Americans for badges and 'any gum chum' (I hope they added 'please'). 

One afternoon when I was walking near the Horseshoe Bend I saw a parachutist floating down into a field on the Ham Green side of the river. I heard later it was an airman from a German aircraft and the plane had crashed at the mouth of the river. 

I have lots of other memories of the bombing in Shirehampton and children being evacuated, but I am sure that topic will be covered by many of your readers. 

Hope this short account of part of my war will be of interest.

Yours Truly

Betty Joan Smith (nee Western)
Townsfield Lane, Frodsham, Cheshire

From Councillor Roberts

Dear Editor

A number of people have approached me after a newspaper article appeared, suggesting that Filwood and Shirehampton pools be closed, together with Robin Cousins sports centre, the reason being that there is a 300,000 deficit in Bristol Community Sports Budget (they run the pools and leisure centres), and that these are the least well used facilities.

I found out about this on Monday 23rd February. To say I was angry is putting it mildly. As well as being your local councillor, I have for 4 years chaired the Swimming Strategy Working Group which has masterminded the pool renewal programme. It has been our continual commitment that barring major plant failure we would not close a pool until a replacement was in place. Those who have followed this saga closely must be bored with hearing me say it. Because this commitment is cross-party, I lobbied all 3 leaders and at the Council Budget meeting on 2nd March 2004 the proposal was removed from the budget and substituted with an agreement to look at the problem again, but in light of the swimming strategy and only with the agreement of the Cabinet. I think the deficit can be solved, without closures, and have suggested ways it can be done. 

We are making good progress on pool replacement. Easton is closed for refurbishment, opening June this year. The 25 metre 8 lane pool at Horfield has been started and should open around April/June 2005. The pool and leisure centre at Henbury School (in a separate building) should be started soon, and should open in October/November 2005. At that point, Shirehampton pool and Robin Cousins leisure centre will close, but I remain determined to keep them open until then.

Pat Roberts
Labour City Council, Avonmouth Ward

Bogus Callers

Dear Editor,

On numerous occasions we learn of bogus callers gaining entry to homes on the pretext of being Local Council or Service representatives. In spite of warnings,  many folk continue to fall prey to such vultures. Recently I was offered a service by a Council Department and the procedure was as follows:

  • An advisory letter of service on offer
  • A follow up visit from a Council representative who was authorised not to enter the house
  • A visit from a surveyor was agreed
  • A telephone call from Council Department to confirm the name of a surveyor and proposed date of visit
  • Arrival of surveyor who confirmed his name before entering the house
  • Telephone call from the Council to confirm a time and date of the workforce arrival

Congratulations to Bristol City Council department on their security procedure.

M P Squire (Mrs)