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News Index

Pet Service at St Mary's

Memories of the Ferry

Neighbourhood Watch

Any Questions?

St Mary's News

Pet Service at St Mary's

On Sunday October 10th we all joined together in a wonderful service at St Mary's Church. Many of us brought our owners along. Amongst the congregation were a horse, a pony and a well behaved goat. Rats, gerbils and guinea pigs were very quiet. Dogs and cats barked and miaowed to the organ music. We were all blessed by Christine or Andy.

After the delightful service of hymns and prayers, we all joined together for dog biscuits, cat nibbles, bowls of milk or water. The others had tea and biscuits. Polly Brailey

Canon Christine blessing one of the dogs at the Pet Service       (Photos: Marion Brailey)

Christmas Presents?

Local History is an interesting and fascinating subject. The pace of present-day living is such that we forget the hardships about the past and remember only the good things. Local History books make interesting reading today and are an investment for thae future. Mrs Thomas' books are copiously illustrated.

Still available are:- Down the 'Mouth, a history of Avonmouth (7.00); Shirehampton Story (7.50); War Story (8.00) and Continuous Story of Shirehampton (15.00). Copies are all available from Messrs. Hawkins, High Street; Colin Mombers, 39 Pembroke Road, or from the author Ethel Thomas, 55 Cook Street, Avonmouth. Tel: 982 2738.

Christmas Greetings

Messages Yes, Christmas is coming, so if you would like your greetings to friends and relations included in the December issue, please let us have your message addressed to 'SHIRE', The Library, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9TU, by November 10th. (20 words for 1.)

November 5th - Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes and fellow conspirators planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament when the King opened Parliament on November 5th, 1605. One of the conspirators warned a relative who would be there and so the plot was discovered. Guy Fawkes was caught and later executed.

Since then the anniversary has been celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. These days the fireworks get bigger, more brilliant and certainly noisier! In our younger days we used to have firework parties in the back garden, but probably the best thing to do these days is to go to an organised display - the fireworks will certainly be much better than any we could let off at home!

However, if you do decide to 'do your own thing' here are a few reminders:

  • Never go back to a firework which has failed to go off
  • Keep all fireworks in a box with a lid
  • Never let children light them
  • Keep well back
  • Use a taper to light them
  • Never, ever, throw fireworks
  • Always follow the maker's instructions
  • Keep  matches away from them And finally, wherever you have your fireworks - KEEP ALL PETS INDOORS.

Recommended last posting dates for Christmas

  • In the UK 15th December  
  • Standard parcels 18th December 
  • Second class 21st December      
  • First class 22nd December       

Special delivery International airmail  

  • 6th December    S & C America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, New Zealand and Australia
  • 10th December  Japan, USA, Canada and East Europe
  • 13th December         Western Europe International surface mail 17th November Eastern Europe
  • 24th November    Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta and Iceland  
  • 1st December Western Europe

Please note - use the right postcode, add a return address on the back of the envelope, pay the right postage for international items.

Memories of the Ferry

I was one of the people joining in the queue to cross the Avon to relive memories of my childhood on Bank Holiday Monday. What a lovely evening - to see the people of Pill and Shirehampton crossing over in such an orderly manner, with shouts echoing of 'Have you got your passport?'

I can remember my Dad, Les Gibbings, cleaning the family's shoes, the smell of shoe polish and shaving soap filling the kitchen. This was prior to our walk along the Portway to the Lamplighters. Then the thrill of the ferry, paying at the turnstile, the muddy slipway, going aboard, finding a seat and settling for the journey to the other side.

Going downstream as I stared at the muddy water, eventually turning to the Pill slipway. Holding my parents' hands and arriving at the Pill pub. I would then have the treat of lemonade in a bottle with a straw, crisps with the blue salt packet. This happened quite often, but was always exciting.

We got home to hear Mum's favourite, Frankie Howerd on the radio. What a lovely idea if the ferryman could repeat this lovely occasion now and again, for others to enjoy.

Dear 'Shire',

Is it just me or has nobody noticed the rapidly changing face of Shire Village? It seemed to start with the new flats development on Station Road and The Ridge. The snooker club (old school) on Station Road is up for development, more flats.

Now I notice the Council has installed a small sign in the toilet block at the junction of Woodwell and Station Roads, explaining that it also is to close. What next! It's bad enough round that area on a Saturday/Sunday morning looking at the debris from the previous night!

I am sure as I write this that many others will be commenting on the closure of the 'Old School' which I know holds many memories for many folk. Whilst I don't disagree with progress, what about building small starter units for small businesses to hopefully create jobs in the area as opposed to taking them away?

As the last bulldozer disappears over Shire Hill, I wonder what will be left of the village as you all remember it!

Mark James

'Shire by Post'

Now is the time to be thinking of ordering 'Shire' to be sent to friends who are no longer living in Shire. 'SHIRE' by post is a good idea for a Christmas present for far flung friends and family - and it lasts all the year too! If it is as a gift, then send the names and addresses of the recipients to Mrs Sue Husher, 8 Burnham Road, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9QP with a cheque or postal order for 5, made out for payment to 'SHIRE' Newspaper.

You can also order a copy to be sent to yourself if you aren't on the delivery round by sending your name and address to Sue with 5. We're very sorry, but increased costs have made it necessary to put up the charge.

Rotha Clay 1878-1961

A new book called the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has just been published and among its entries is one for Rotha Mary Clay, historian and social worker. Yes, this is the same Rotha Clay that lived in Shirehampton for many years working for the Bristol University settlement and whose legacy in Shirehampton is the continuing work of the (AUS) Advice Centre on Shirehampton High Street.

I'm sure that many of our readers of more mature years will remember Rotha. She was the daughter of a clergyman, one of twelve children, born at Hendon. When Rotha was about fifteen her father became rector of St Michael's Church, Bristol and so began her long association with the city.

She was obviously bright and intelligent and although she never went to university, nevertheless developed a great interest in mediaeval history, using Bristol University library for her research. She also became involved with social work through the university and in 1914 went to work in Barton Hill at the Bristol University settlement.

Four years later she came to Shirehampton to begin her work with the disadvantaged, unemployed and young people, eventually being based in Twyford House, sadly no longer in use, where she became warden. She settled in Shirehampton for the rest of her life, eventually buying Ilex Cottage on the High Street.

I wonder how many people know of Rotha's other achievements? She was a noted scholar and historian. She had always been interested in history, particularly mediaeval history and before coming to Shirehampton had already had two books published which were used as reference books for the whole of the twentieth century.

The books in question were 'The Mediaeval Hospitals of England' published in 1909 and 'The Hermits and Anchorites of England' in 1914. After a good many years two further books were published, in 1941 and 1948, these were very different from the first two, written as they were on two men who through their work painted a picture of the social life of the late eighteenth century.

She also published further articles on hermits and anchorites. Knowing how much research she did for her books, and the work that she also did in the village, leads one to have great respect for her many achievements. For her achievements as a historian she was given a number of awards, among them an honorary MA from Bristol University.

And her name? Apparently she was named after the River Rothay at Ambleside where her great-grandfather lived. A thank you Thank you to all my family, friends and neighbours for all their love and support during my recent illness and hospital stay. I am now thankfully on the road to recovery.

All the love and prayers, cards and messages have been much appreciated. Also a mention for Canon Christine and the 'family of St Mary's Church' for their prayers.

Thank you all so much. Viv Holcombe (Thank you for your donation. Ed)

Marmalade Cakes

This is a foolproof recipe given to me by a friend - it is sufficient to make 2 cakes, but if you only want to make one then halve the ingredients and you only need one loaf tin, not two.

8oz of margarine 8oz of castor sugar 4 eggs 1lb of self raising flour 20oz pot of marmalade Mix all the ingredients together and add a couple of tablespoons of water.

Bake in oven 1 hour. It makes a nice moist cake which can be put in the freezer if you want to store it.

Disability Benefits

Do you have walking difficulties? Do you   have difficulties getting into the bath or with dressing/undressing? Do you   have problems with preparing a meal? Do you have a mental health problem? Do you suffer from arthritis, back-pain or something similar?

If your answer yes to any of the above questions, you may qualify for a disability benefit called Disability Living Allowance, or alternatively an Attendance Allowance if aged 65 or over. Tony can discuss with you - if you wish to claim these benefits and help in completing the forms.

He will do a benefit check to see if there are any other benefits which you may qualify for. If you require this help or with any problem or issue that is troubling you then drop in and see Tony at the Avon Community Association on 115 High Street, Shirehampton.

He holds Drop-in sessions on Wednesday and Thursday morning between 9.30 and 11.30.

Paul David Cox 1980-2004

Paul's family would like to thank everyone for the flowers, help and support during this sad time. Some comfort was obtained from the amount of people who attended Paul's funeral on 8th September (Paul's 24th birthday), estimated at between 500 and 600.

The amount of people wearing football shirts was amazing, Paul would have loved it. A big thank you must also be said to Joan and Keith from Stenner & Hill for their kindness and understanding and to Canon Christine Froude for the lovely service she conducted and her help and support afterwards.

Paul will be sadly missed by so many people.

Carol Broome (Paul's mum) (Thank you for your donation. Ed)

BBC Wildlife man comes to the Cotswolds

From freezing Antarctica to burning Sahara, David Attenborough has made superb films of the planet's wildlife that are the best in the world. But the TV programmes depend for their spell-binding imagery on the skill and patience of the men and women behind the cameras.

Ian McCarthy is a cameraman who has travelled the world with Attenborough over many years, taking the shots that have entranced all viewers of the BBC Wildlife service. This Autumn, Ian, who lives in Shirehampton, is coming to the Cotswold Community Centre in Dursley Road to share some of his many anecdotes about his adventures.

Provisionally the date is fixed for 25th November 2004 at 7.30pm, but this could be altered if Ian has to stay longer in the Antarctic where he is at the moment on a BBC assignment. So when you buy your ticket, keep an eye on the Hall door for any notice giving notice of a change of date.

Those of us who have already heard Ian know just how fascinating his stories are. He is a real enthusiast and loves the natural world. Those who hear him come away not only with an increased appreciation of the technical skill that goes into the films, but with their own enthusiasm for or planet's wonders kindled.

Be there! To book tickets (1) phone 01179 047319 or 982 8683.

Grainger Players bring back the old days with a Song

Many people have asked if we couldn't have a bit of a 'sing-song' at the Cotswold Community Centre in Dursley Road. Good news - it's going to happen, courtesy of Shire's very own troupe of entertainers, 'The Grainger Players'.

They've agreed to come and entertain everyone on Saturday 27th November at 7pm. So if you'd like a good evening out with the accent on song, then come along and join in the fun. To book tickets (1) phone 0117 904 7319 or 982 8683.

Christmas Table-top Fair

With the success of the last Table-top sale in January and the Plant Sale in May, the Cotswold Community Centre in Dursley Road has decided to give you another chance to make money! (And spend it). We are holding a Christmas Table-top sale on 6th November from 10.30am-noon where all kinds of things will be for sale, but the emphasis will be on things to help you get ready for the festivities: cards, wrapping paper, stocking fillers, and the like.

To book a table to sell your stuff from (5) phone 0117 914 0428 - to buy, just turn up on the day!


The family of the late Charles William Ford would like to express their sincere gratitude for all the messages of sympathy received after his recent death. We would also like to thank everyone who attended his funeral, those who gave donations and really appreciate that some people had travelled far to join us.

Thank you also to Canon Christine for the lovely service. Charlie would have been proud.

The life of CHARLES WILLIAM FORD 1.8.22 - 24.9.04

Charles was born in Hotwells and moved to Shirehampton when he was 6 years old. His Mother, Annie, looked after him and his three sisters, Irene, Joyce and Phyllis. His Father, also Charles William was a Merchant Seaman and later a Docker. St Mary's Church played a large part in the family's life, as it does today. His Mother was Verger during the war years. All the children went through the Scout and Guide Movements.

His working life started at the Docks being interrupted by the war. He lied about his age and joined the Royal Navy. Most of his service saw him on his beloved HMS Devonshire. During this time he met and married Dot. They were married for 58 years and had five children, Brenda, Julie, John, David and Robert.

After the war he resumed work with the Port of Bristol on the Railways. He was also a Shop Steward and he finished his career as a Supervisor. He went back to Scouting and started the Rover Crew in the 191st St Mary's Group. Later he became Group Scout Leader.

He always went to Cub camp as 'Cook' and took his young family with him. His ghost stories around the camp fire were very popular with the cubs! One of his other passions was Toc H, a group set up during the war to help others. In 1999 he was honoured by the Queen for his service to the Community and his Scouting life by receiving the Maundy Money.

Charlie was a popular and well known character of the Old Shire who was always 'first in the queue'. Many will miss his cheery smile and welcoming voice at the gate of his home. He was our beloved Dad and will be greatly missed by his Wife, Children and the Partners and Grandchildren.

Neighbourhood Watch

The Pembroke and Station Road Neighbourhood watches held a combined AGM on Thursday 7th October. Both groups spent a few minutes dealing with a small amount of formal business and some time identifying current problems within their areas.

Both NHW watches have been affected by antisocial and drunken behaviour from various groups, by no means all youths. The granting of a Dispersal Order for the whole of Central Shirehampton was announced at the meeting and was received with great relief. We then had a very interesting talk, slide and video show by Inspector Tockington of the Air Support Unit.

It's one thing watching car chases on television, quite another when it's the roads around Bristol. This was followed by a question and answer session before the meeting was closed. It was agreed that the meeting was successful and that Neighbourhood Watch schemes are very good for the community.

Anyone wishing to know more about schemes near to them or who are interested in forming a scheme should contact Wendy Hull NHW Administrator on 0117 945 4545. If you have a particular problem in your area, it is worth thinking about.

LC Pembroke Neighbourhood Watch The Police have been granted a Dispersal Order under the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 for the Shirehampton area. It came into force on Friday 8th October and will be reviewed on the 8th January and again three months later.

The area covered is basically the whole of central Shirehampton enclosed as follows - The Portway, Ermine Way, Meadow Grove, Lower High Street, The High Street, The Ridge, Clifford Gardens, Park Hill and Park Road. Pembroke Road and Station Road fall firmly into the centre of this area.

The powers, granted under the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003, permit officers to disperse groups of two or more people (this covers all age groups) and return under-16s to their homes if they are unsupervised in public after 9pm. A Police Officer or community support officer may give one of the following directions if they have reasonable grounds for believing that the presence or behaviour of a group of two or more persons has resulted, or is likely to result, in any members of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed.

* The group can be required to either disperse immediately or by a specified time, or if their home is not within the locality, to leave it or any part of it.

* An order can also be given for any of the people whose homes are not within the locality not to return to the area for up to 24 hours.

* If the people are under 16 the police can remove them to their home if it is between the hours of 9pm and 6am and they are not under the control of a parent or responsible person over 18.

* It must be stressed that this is not a curfew order. Only young people taking parts in acts of antisocial behaviour will be subject to being returned home. FAILING TO FOLLOW A DIRECTION It is an arrestable offence not to follow a direction, punishable by up to 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine up to 5000. What to do if you have a problem that does not warrant a 999 call

* Dial 0845 456 7000, say that there is a dispersal order in force for this area and there are a group of people causing a problem. You should be put through to the Control Desk, give them the details and don't forget to have it tagged as a NHW call. Persistent shouting and bad language comes under the Harassment, Alarm and Distress Act. Your calls have helped get this order in place, now help the Police implement it.

Liz Clifford NHW Co-ordinator, Pembroke Watch Thursday 7th October 2004

A Future for Prefabs is in sight

Bovis is the preferred developer who will carry forward a 21st century solution for the prefab redevelopment project as a cornerstone of Bristol City Council's priority stock strategy. The decision of the Council Cabinet means the end of uncertainty for prefab tenants and owners and a positive way forward that will deliver quality council homes to replace the prefabs and new homes for sale.

A masterplan was unveiled in early October. But draft plans for all 12 sites will be subject to full public consultation and individual planning applications. Councillor Richard Eddy, Executive Member for Neighbourhood and Housing Services, said: 'Bovis have demonstrated a good understanding of our priorities.

The best quality council homes for Bristol City Council tenants and the best deal for owners that can be achieved. Throughout the consultation process the council is committed to involving tenants and owners and addressing their needs as a priority wherever possible.

We are confident that the masterplan will clearly demonstrate that commitment.' Graham Clift, Director of Partnership Developments, Bovis Homes, South West, welcomed the approval. 'We are delighted at today's news that Bristol City Council has chosen Bovis Homes as the preferred contractor to undertake the Bristol Prefab Regeneration Programme.

'We will be holding a series of consultation events for each of the sites during the early part of October and will be contacting owners and tenants directly with the details. We appreciate that the sites involved are established communities in their own right, with long-standing tenants and private residents.'

New Management Team for Portway

It's all change at Portway Community School where work is underway on the complete rebuild of the premises. In addition, a completely new management team comprising a headteacher and two deputy headteachers started this term at Portway.

The new headteacher is Steve Davies who has come to Bristol from Caerphilly, where he was a head for six years. Joining him is Anthony Davis, previously at Monks Park School, who has joined Portway as a deputy headteacher. The other deputy headteacher is Maggie Haynes, who previously taught in Newport, Wales.

A further appointment is Rosemary Clarke, the new chair of governors at Portway School, who is a former city councillor. Councillor Peter Abraham, executive member of Bristol City Council with responsibility for education and lifelong learning, said: 'This is a completely new start for Portway Community School with the appointment of a new, permanent management team and the building of a brand new, state-of-the-art school, complete with enhanced sports facilities, which is due to open by January 2006.

'The interim headteacher, Cledwyn Davies, who left Portway this summer, has already done much to address the issues raised by HM inspectors, who placed the school in special measures at the end of last year. I am confident that with a new and experienced management team in place and brand new school premises on the way, the future looks very good indeed for Portway.'

Mr Steve Davies highlighted improved results for the numbers of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grade GCSEs this year.

City & Port of Bristol Social & Sports Club (PBA) Bowls Section

HELLO BOWLERS On September 4th we all set sail On Barry's coaches begins the tale. We arrived and said 'Hi!' at Nibley Road Was everyone here? All except Roy, the toad. Suitcases, blazers and bags galore Came out of the coach and were strewn on the floor.

Coach driver Paul looked amazed and said 'Phew!' All that on my coach? Oh dear me no can do. Pat waved the tip right under Paul's nose, He smiled, looked again and said 'Everything goes'. Time for the paper, a nap and a chat? Bingo, raffle and sweets, we're too busy for that.

The winners are ----- My goodness we're here 'Dave shall we unpack? No Jen let's go for a beer'. Food, drinks and cards filled the rest of the day And then came Sunday - we're bowling today! The winners at Broadstone accepted their prize Aidan, Pat and John Brailey had tears in their eyes.

To avoid the spoons now where could they go? Then Marion stepped forward and said 'I know I'll take you to Jersey, we'll stay there all day'. But Irene wore hers proudly while they were away. Captain Des led the team to Wimborne next day. Didn't want to come back so good was their stay.

Winners, losers, quiz, diddle Beryl's birthday too She lost her balloon it sailed up to the blue. Bill tried to save it 'cause he's ever so tall The waiter helped too with his long window pole. We all watched with wonder and tears in our eyes As it slipped through the roof light to all our surprise.

We all went to Bridport on Tuesday you know Eight rinks they played us and oh what a show! Derek was our Captain and we had a happy game Sadly we didn't win our score was rather lame. So to Captain Derek we all say a big 'Thank you But don't call us we'll call you'. We walked to Melcombe Regis, it's only round the back But Captain, lottery, bingo Roy - you're gonna get the sack!

The Green was a bit rough but our score was quite good So we went inside for teach, just as we should. The speeches were next, now here's the surprise He must have been thinking of his favourite pies. 'Bowlers of Melton Mowray' Oh what a gaff But thank you Captain Roy for giving us a laugh.

Pat was our next captain and Sherborne the venue We all enjoyed the coach trip but spoons were on the menu. Des looked so cute with it hanging round his neck His rink said 'Let him keep[ it, all agreed? What the heck!' The other three who won a spoon were Bill, Joyce and Doreen, Jim looked on, sighed with relief 'I'm glad it's not my Maureen'. Captain John at Greenhill led us all to victory!

A beautiful place to bowl, it was right by the sea. Voices said 'It's raining inside we'll play today' Captain John was asked - he said 'Come on now, out to play' Our Gala meal was gorgeous, the Hotel did us proud. But other guests said 'Oh my word they are a noisy crowd'.

At nine o'clock we gathered for our fancy dress Leaving our bedrooms strewn with such a mess. The outfits were fantastic, a winner everyone To all who entered it must be said 'a thundering well done'. The communal singing left much to be desired, Was it too much wine or was everybody tired?

Now it was time to say goodbye to all at the Fairhaven We're planning next years bowling tour - it could be off to Devon. We all had great fun and we all joined in We bowled our best and we made a din. Well done to the Captains and Quizmasters too! To those who led the bingo and diddle we all thank you.

So if you think this tour was fun, Please sign up for the very next one! If you could use a summer of gentle exercise, fresh air, friendly competition and social events - then bowls is for you. For further details and news about free trials please ring 0117 982 0446.

Our next season starts April 2005.

Why Do We Still March?

Why do you still march old man
With medals on your chest?
Why do you still grieve old man
For those friends you laid to rest?
Why do your eyes gleam old man
When you hear those bugles blow?
Tell me why you cry old man
For those days long ago.

I'll tell you why I march, young man,
With medals on my chest.
I'll tell you why I grieve young man,
For those friends I laid to rest.
Through misty folds of gossamer silk,
Come visions of distant times,
When boys of very tender age
Marched forth to distant climes.

So young they were ... with blossom cheeks
Their eyes shone bright and clear,
Scant knowledge of this sinful world,
Though nought of hate or fear.
Their laughter rang through strange bare rooms
Hardships ... They were soon to know.
All they knew, was beyond their shores
Was a deadly vicious foe ...

They left behind their boring life,
They had nothing much to give
So they laid their lives on the line,
So you ... young man ... would live.

With bayonet ... gun ... and blossom cheeks,
The innocence of their youth,
They stood alone ... with fearsome pride
And perceived the awful truth.
The truth they learnt ... they had to die,
(It's not easy when you're young,)
The gods of war had chosen them,
And stilled their youthful tongues.

The guns they crashed ... the Stukas dived
Shells tore their flesh asunder,
I smelt their blood ... watched them die,
The war lords claimed their plunder
And as they warrior gods passed by
They smiled at their obscene death ...
Gone were their apple-blossom cheeks,
Scorched by Napalm's burning breath!

We buried them in a blanket shroud ...
Their young flesh scorched and blackened
A communal grave newly gouged
In the blood-stained gorse and bracken ...
And you ask me why I march young man,
I march to remind you all,
But for those apple-blossom youths,
You'd never have known freedom ... at all.

Bill Ridley (Aged 90)

What a carry on ... ...

Perhaps they are silly, but I can't forget words from long ago; remembered yet. Everyone knows that you'll head for a fall if you walk neath a ladder propped up by a wall. A brolly indoors should be kept furled tight. Don't use the stairs if someone's in sight. When cutting your nails, be in no doubt.

There's three days ill-omened, which must be left out. Never peer long in any looking glass for old Nick himself will not let this pass. The crossing of knives is a challenge to peace and never give gloves or friendship will cease. Cover all mirrors 'gainst lightning's bright flashes, there's 7 years trouble if one of them smashes.

If you happen to mention blessings quite good remember! ward off misfortune by touching on wood. Try to be safe by all ways you can and be guided by wisdom from mother and gran.

John Connett

Police Targets in August

The Avon and Somerset Police ran a campaign called 'Operation Thistle' to target dangerous and disqualified drivers. The focus was on the hard core of dangerous, disqualified and uninsured drivers, who cause misery on the roads of the area. Some 4,000 vehicles were stopped and checked in crime and casualty hot spots.

197 were made by the road policing unit during August. This included 39 disqualified drivers, 42 drink drivers, 2 under the influence of drugs and 24 arrests for theft, burglary and vehicle crimes. 74,939 worth of suspected stolen property was recovered and 6 firearms.

In September when the children returned to school the police concentrated on child safety. In October the policing theme was on vehicle safety, especially poorly maintained, unregistered vehicles purchased for criminal purposes.

Christmas 'Shire'

Yes, already we are thinking about the December edition of 'Shire' and would appreciate readers' thoughts, memories, jokes or ideas we could print. Please put your efforts in the Library by November 10th.

Thank you - the December Editor.

Term dates 2004/2005

  • TERM 2 Monday 1st November to Tuesday 21st December 2004
  • TERM 3 Wednesday 5th January to Friday 11 February 2005
  • TERM 4 Monday 21st February to Thursday 24th March 2005
  • TERM 5 Monday 11th April to Friday 22nd July 2005 These dates apply to local schools

Shirehampton Snooker Club - The Past and the Present Building

The Snooker Club's owners are Mr and Mrs Brice. They may even have owned it since 1967 when the Church sold it off, or they may have bought it in the interim. As we now know, their application to demolish the building and develop the land has been unsuccessful. This will be met with mixed feelings in Shire. Perhaps now would be a good time to have another look at the 'Old School's' history.

Photo: E Verey

The Building's History

Of course the Snooker Club is housed in the former National School building. Thousands of National Schools were set up in Britain through the Church of England in a drive to 'train the infant poor to good and orderly habits and to instill into their minds an early knowledge of their civil and religious duties'.

This was because Britain and Europe had been painfully emerging for a long time from their feudal past; riots and revolutions had been taking place across the board as working class people and labourers fought for more humane conditions and better representation. (Remember, closer to home, the Bristol Riots of 1832?)

From 1824, fearing a full-scale English revolution, the Victorians had begun setting up education for the poor. The Shirehampton National School catered for Infants, Juniors and Seniors under one roof. A good grounding in 'the 3 Rs and Christian Education/ were given. Discipline was very strict - talking was not allowed at any time.

As a Church school, pupils attended services on certain Church feast observance days and were given given the rest of the day off. Absence was a problem because the School had to qualify for various educational attendance grants. As Shirehampton was an agricultural village, children were sometimes kept away to help with harvest etc. Building had begun in 1846, two years after Shire had become an independent parish.

There exists in the Bristol Records Office - BRO - the Conveyance 'to the Archdeacon of Bristol and his successors' for 22 perches (97') of land on Ash Paddock on the Tythe Map. This was at the time owned by Squire Philip Miles and was part of Kingsweston Estate. His successor, Philip Napier Mills, also gave a remaining portion of the same Ash Paddock in 1903 to the local Parish Council to build the Public Hall.

There is, as well, still a Conveyance in BRO between one Richard Carrow to the 'Ministers, Church Wardens and Overseers of the Poor of a Site for a School in Shirehampton', dated 1843. At first it had only one room at the east side holding around 30 children. The roof had blue slates, originally with a fish scale design, not now discernible.

It was built in 3 main stages, as the need arose and funds became available; the next stages of building were in 1892 - the architect was Patrick James Byrne and he included a cupola on the roof. (Does anyone remember if this was destroyed when the building was blitzed?). '1892' is inscribed in the freestone above the main window.

More building took place again in 1899. The outside west wall shows anticipation of further extension but as other schools were built in the village to accommodate the children of Shire's rising population between the wars it was not extended that side after all. In 1904/5/7 the Kingsweston Estate Office noted the floor plan for the Boys' Latrines to the rear of the School and the next proposed extension estimate in the name of architect Alex B. Carter for 80 children.

This was to be 'by similar architecture' but the back wall was to be in brick. The cost was estimated at 450. The School was administered by the Vicar and had as Governors the 2 Churchwardens. In 1861 a Trust Fund, documented in BRO, was set up in the name of the School's 'perpetual curate' for its maintenance, arising from income from Turnpike Securities.

In 1937 the Bristol Diocesan Board of Finance noted further income for the School's upkeep from War Stock investments and also 125 for the sale of some land - this was probably the City Council's fee for the land it bought from the playground for a public convenience. Shirehampton National School Dates 1846  First building erected.

No records were kept until 1851 when Henry Earle was Headmaster 1861    Mr Jones was Headmaster, assisted by 18 year old Pupil Teacher George Newton 1863-05    James Wedmore was Head. Instituted a Log Book, Attendance Registers, and Punishment Books. 75 children on the register. (These records now in the BRO archives.)

1861   Shire villagers turned out in their best for the colourful ceremony of cutting of the first sod by the Mayor and Mayoress of Bristol, of the Bristol Port and Pier Railway in a (then) Squire Miles-owned field where Woodwell Road now is. 120 dignitaries and guests enjoyed a 'cold luncheon' and speeches, including one by Squire Miles at the National School

1862     The School was given a holiday to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge opening
1800s-1904  Dates unconfirmed the National School was used for Parish Council meetings until the Public Hall was opened in 1904
1870       An Education Act made education for UK children from 5-14 years compulsory.

Until 1886 Avonmouth children had also attended the Shirehampton School - a very long walk for them, particularly as they returned home for dinner. A break of 2 hours was therefore provided 1892  New classroom and girls' cloakroom added. Plans extant in BRO 1901      The School was closed for 6 weeks because of a Diphtheria outbreak 1905 James Banks became Head 1905   

The 'final meeting' of the Parish Council was held at the National School when the Bristol boundary was extended to include Shirehampton 1911   National School was shocked by the deaths of two of its pupils - killed by a lorry whilst crossing the Green. School was closed for the funeral. The tragic events were immortalised in a local poem which was published on a postcard and sold for 1/2d to raise funds for the bereaved families.

Here is an extract: 'Short their little lives and pleasant, Two small boys of Bradley Crescent, Joy or sorrow sharing ever, Hand in hand they cling together, So they leave Shirehampton School, As such was their unfailing rule' 1920s The school increased in size significantly when council houses were built in Shire.

Overspill classes were accommodated at the Temperance Hall and the Public Hall 1926 Headmaster James Banks ceremonially led all the School's staff and pupils to their newly built Council School at Barrow HIll. The ceremonial opening included the installation of said Mr Banks as the school's first Head.

This all followed the years of overcrowding at the National School. Devastating fire destroyed St Mary's Parish Church. The National School was then licenced by the Bishop so that services, weddings and funerals could be held there for the next two years until St Mary's was rebuilt.

Apparently no more School use until 1954 1936   Bristol Council bought c.       100 sq yds of the School Playground for 50 (75 added for depreciation) on the road junction for a public convenience site. This was against the wishes of the Vicar and Churchwardens who felt the toilets were too close to the School and also devalued its land.

The adjoining Savoy Cinema started renting the Playground as car parking for its patrons - car use was just beginning 1939-45     The National School was requisitioned by the Council, converted for use as Shire's Public Mortuary. The floor was linoed and a grid of white lines painted to mark the positioning of the anticipated coffins

1941       During an air raid, a high explosive bomb fell right outside the National School/Mortuary causing extensive damage and the deaths of two   male passers-by 1945  Mortuary de-requisitioned 1951-c.56      The School was used as a youth club (oral history)

1954 The National School housed overspill classes from Portway for about 3 or 4 years during the early 50s 1967      St Mary's Church Centre opened and the National School building was of no further use to the church. It was sold and subsequently became Shirehampton Snooker Club

My information came from Ethel Thomas's three books - Shirehampton Story, War Story and The Continuing Story of Shirehampton, Oral History from Marilyn Gorry and the BRO Archival material for documentation, architects' plans and Church Minute Books. My thanks to all concerned.

Kate Pollard

Shire Public Toilet - Considered for Closure

Extract from a letter received from Bristol City Council (BCC) to Shirehampton Community Action Forum on 11th October. 'Due to deteriorating standards in many of Bristol City Council's public toilets and increasing problems of anti-social behaviour, especially drug abuse and vandalism, Bristol City Council currently is reviewing the provision of public toilets citywide.

Bristol City Council would welcome any comments you may wish to add concerning the possible closure of the toilet. To contact the Council either write to Simon Graham, Bristol City Council, N & HS, 4th Floor, Brunel House, St Georges Road, Bristol BS1 5UY or call 0117 922 3838'.

The official closing date for comments in 30th October. However, Ash Bearman of Shirehampton Community Action Forum (SCAF, tel. 0117 982 9963) writes: 'I have spoken with Mr Graham and he has said that comments received after this date - with the Shire circulation in mind - will still be OK.

Any Questions?

Friday 17th December RAdio 4's long running Any Questions? programme will be broadcast live from the Public Hall on the evening of Friday 17th December. Any Questions? was first broadcast in October 1948.

It visited Shirehampton Public Hall nearly 50 years ago, in May 1955, when the question master was Freddy Grisewood. Jonathon Dimbleby now chairs it. The panel will be announced later. If you would like to attend, tickets are now available. There is no charge.

The BBC hope that people prepared to play a positive role in the broadcast, who thank about topical issues and will do their best to contribute useful questions, will apply for tickets. The minimum age for audience members is 14. The programme will be broadcast at 8.00pm, but the BBC ask audience members to arrive between 6.45 and 7.15pm.

Questions can be submitted up to the last minute. There is no limit to the number of questions individual people can submit. If you would like to take part in this broadcast, please pick up tickets from the Public Library in Station Road. Tickets will be available there on a first-come first-served basis.

Shirehampton FC 2004/2005

After last season's success in winning the Senior Amateur Cup the new football season is again in full swing and inevitably it brings many changes. At this year's AGM two new officers were nominated on to the committee, with us welcoming Darren Nurse (Treasurer) and John Gazzard (Secretary).

The club also welcomed new faces on to the committee. This year the club has a new sponsor in Nicky Rodaway from Rodaway and Son, the local Estate Agent. Nicky has supplied the first team with a new kit to which the club is very happy to have received.

It is always a good link when a local business supports a local club and we as a club appreciated the support shown from Nicky and Rodaway Estate Agents. We have tried to build up the local support from businesses in the village with adverts in our match day programme and appreciate their support as well.

Thanks to you all. On the football side, the first team is managed by two local players, Graham Smith and Darren Nurse who both have lots of experience which I believe can take the team forward. There is also a new manager in the reserves, Steve Rowles who is an ex Shirehampton player with a hunger to succeed.

Geoff Goulding and Nathan Flower are running a youthful A team, which gives an opportunity for lads coming out of youth football to make a start in a Senior team. So if you are 15-16 and want to make the step, you are very welcome to join us. Training is held on a Wednesday at the Club and we would welcome any new players to join us.

Just like the teams, I am in the process of building a solid committee and as a club I think we are well on our way to doing this. It takes committed people to do this and it takes a lot of hard work in the running of a football club, and I am lucky to have these professional and willing people to work alongside.

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 in the friendly clubhouse after. Finally, advertising space is available on pitch side boards and in the match day programme with 1st XI match ball sponsorship also available.

For more information please contact me on 07970 596260. Pete McCall Shirehampton FC Chairman

Volunteers Wanted

A volunteer is wanted to deliver 'Shire' papers to Springfield Avenue (from Burnham Road) to end (Portbury Grove). Papers are brought to your door each month for you to deliver one to each house. This should take you about an hour. If you can help please telephone Pauline on 982 6935.

Also, a temporary volunteer wanted A temporary volunteer is wanted to deliver 'Shire' for the months of December and January to the High Street. This included all houses and flats from The George to Alldays. Papers will be delivered to you for onward delivery. If you can help please telephone Pauline on 982 6935. Thank you.

Public Hall Rededication Service

I would like to thank everyone who attended the service for making it a great success, Canon Christine Froude who conducted the service, Kate Robson who played the piano and Mrs Travis, Headteacher of Shirehampton Primary School who came along with some of the children who sang so beautifully at the service. With many thanks - Norman

Many thanks to the Committee of the Avonmouth Summer Skittles League

I would like to thank Mr Brian Champion and the Committee of the Avonmouth Summer Skittles League for the generous cheque presented to me on behalf of the Shirehampton Evergreens Club on Friday 8th October at their Annual Presentations. Norman Sims (Chairperson)

Shirehampton Methodist Church Programme

Christmas Fayre - Saturday November 6th, 10am. Various stalls/refreshments. Admission 10p. Come and buy a bargain! 129th Church Anniversary Sunday November 21st, 2004 11.00am       Mr Andrew Maxwell  6.30pm        Reverend David Alderman Visit of the St Andrews, Filton, Methodist Church Choir.

Popular Authors at Shirehampton Library

Bingham, Charlotte         The House of Flowers Clark, Mary Higgins         Night-Time in My Time Erskine, Barbara   Sands of Time Gower, Iris       Halfpenny Field Higgins, Jack   Dark Justice Masterton, Graham  Darkroom

Haven't had your Flu Vaccination Yet?

The Group Practice, Shirehampton Health Centre will be running one further 'flu vaccination session at the Health Centre on Thursday 11th November from 5.00pm-6.00pm. If you have received a letter of invitation and have not yet had your vaccination, please call in anytime during that hour (PLEASE don't arrive before 5pm - we have no space for long queues!).

There is no need to ring the Health Centre for an appointment. The computer will tell us that you are eligible for the vaccination. If you are a carer, you need to call in to complete a consent form and be added to the register. You will then be entitled to a 'flu vaccination.

Please ask for details at reception. Don't miss out on this very important vaccination - contrary to popular belief, the vaccination itself does not give you 'flu and you may avoid being ill over the winter.

Marathon Runners

How nice to hear that three local men ran in the recent marathon on Sunday 12th September. Our congratulations go to Colston Davidge who completed in 1.48.40 and to John Vowles with a time of 1.50.23 and thirdly to Phil Arnel who finished in 1.51.38. Welcome to Shirehampton!

A new hairdressing and beauty establishment has opened in the High Street. The proprietor, Lorraine Douglas, is a local lady who attended Portway School and served her apprenticeship in Shirehampton. She will also be remembered by   many from her days as a mobile hairdresser both at customers' homes and in hospital wards.

A busy mother of two, Lorraine is looking forward to getting another string to her bow in the coming year when she will become a grandma!

Good luck Lorraine.

St Mary's News

Hi Folks! Here we are into November and before we realise it we shall be preparing for Christmas. But let me relate to you things which have occurred in the recent past. The Kneeler Service was much appreciated with the church filled to capacity.

All the new kneelers were out on display for everyone to see. On the same evening the Maesteg Male Voice Choir gave a magnificent performance. Not only was it most enjoyable but it raised over 500 towards the Organ Restoration Fund. The Mercy Ships Coffee Morning on Saturday 9th October was well patronised and raised the sum of 265.

Thanks must go to Beryl White and Gill Sawyer for their hard work ensuring that everything went off to plan. A very big thank you to all of you who gave gifts for our Harvest Festival. Two full car loads were delivered to the Community of the Sisters of the Church at St Pauls.

All these foodstuffs will be given to the homeless in our city. Shirehampton Primary School held their Harvest Festival in St Mary's on Friday 1st October. It was wonderful to see the church filled with children, parents and members of staff. Everyone enjoyed the refreshments afterwards - orange squash and biscuits! The local Sea Cadet Corps joined us for the first time at a recent Parade Service.

They  made quite an impression with their drums and woke up the babies who were to be christened! We hope to see them again when we have another Parade Service. I am afraid I have to record the deaths of two more stalwart members of our congregation, namely Sid Webber and Charlie Ford. In his latter years Sid could often be found working as a volunteer in St Peter's Hospice Shop in the village.

He suffered badly with arthritis in his legs but you n ever heard him complain and he always greeted you with a wicked grin. Charlie Ford was well known in the community for his many, many years involvement with the local Scout Movement. When you saw Charlie about you could be assured of a wave and friendly greeting.

They will be sorely missed but not forgotten. We extend our deepest sympathy and prayers to both families. Before going on to tell you what will be going on at St Mary's in November I must tell you about our recent Pets' Service. We had just one cat, several dogs, a Parakeet, mice, hamsters, a goat called 'Myrtle' a pony and yes, a horse, which I believe was called 'Lady'.

Whilst the service was in progress several people walking through the churchyard looked in and couldn't believe their eyes and came in to see what was going on. All the animals were very well behaved and the dogs joined in singing some of the hymns. The pony must have had an entire bag of oats for breakfast that morning as towards the end of the service she did a 'whoopsie' on the flagstones, much to the amusement of some of the children.

But never fear, our Jill was here, with bucket and shovel to save the day. After all the excitement had died down, it was thought what a great pity Myrtle the goat and Lady the horse hadn't done the same - we could have sold it at 1 a bag in aid of the Organ Fund! Right, now on to our November calendar.

On Saturday 6th November there is to be a display of Traidcraft Gifts in Church, which of course you will be able to purchase. The next day - Sunday 7th - our Guest Speaker at the 10am Holy Communion Service will be Edna Snaith from Traidcraft. I'm sure she will have a lot of interesting things to tell us.

On the following Saturday 13th November at 3.00pm is our annual Memorial Service. At this Service we remember all those who have died recently and also those who died in past years. Little white cards will be available for you to write the names of loved ones who have passed on.

These will then be hung on the Tree of Light on Advent Sunday. This is a Christmas tree with plain white lights on its branches. The next day, Sunday 14th, is Remembrance Sunday. The 10am Service will begin in St Mary's and after the laying of a Poppy Wreath beneath the West End Memorial Window we shall move off in procession to the War Memorial at the top of Park Hill.

At the conclusion of the ceremony we are invited into Shirehampton Cricket Club Pavilion for a warm drink or something stronger! Thanks must go to Maureen and Don Geddes for arranging this facility. At 6.00pm that evening the choir from St Andrews Church, Westbury Park, will be leading our worship by singing Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer.

Shirehampton Area Choir were originally advertised as doing this, but may well do so later on in 2005. The following Saturday 20th November we shall be holding our Festive Food Fayre in the church from 10am until 12 noon. On sale will be Christmas puddings, mince pies, cakes and hampers etc. Please put this date in your diaries, otherwise you may miss a bargain!

The next day Sunday 21st at our 10am Holy Communion Canon Douglas Holt from Bristol Cathedral will be the Guest Preacher. Also at 6pm that evening the Bishop of Bristol will be presiding at the Deanery Confirmation Service, which this year will be at St Mary's, Stoke Bishop.

There will be confirmation candidates from Shirehampton at that service - all are welcome! Finally, on Sunday 28th November (Advent Sunday) at 10am we shall be holding a Family Service with Baptism and at 6pm in our Advent Carol Service when the Tree of Light with the Memorial Cards will be lit up.

If you attended the Memorial Service you will probably want to attend this service as well! May I remind you all that St Mary's home produced Christmas cards are now on sale. They are of professional quality and show pictures from the Shirehampton Missal, the Virgin Mary & Child (an embroidery picture hung in the Lady Chapel), also a picture of a painting of the old Shirehampton Parish Church which was destroyed in 1928.

There are also others from which to make your choice. The Church will again be floodlit over the Christmas period. The lights will be switched on on Advent Sunday evening and will be on each day from dusk until 12 midnight. They will be switched off on the 12th Night (January 6th).

It has also been suggested that people may wish to sponsor the floodlighting of the church to commemorate a Birthday or Anniversary. This can be arranged if you contact Gill Sawyer in the Church Office. It is felt the sum of 10 is an appropriate figure, to cover the cost of electricity and general wear and tear of the floodlights.

Worth thinking about if you want to impress the 'missus'!! Now a postscript - the Stork flew over a certain house in Walton Road recently, which now means that Jill and I are grandparents. Danny Mark weighed in at 7lbs 10oz on Wednesday 13th October 2004.

If I look old and worn out - you know the reason why. (Sit down all those who said I always look like that!).

Bye for now C.M.E

What's on in November

Monday November 1st

All local schools begin the second term SEQUENCE DANCE 7.30pm at the Public Hall 3 of US BINGO at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth 1.45-2.45pm. BASIC LITERACY SKILLS COURSE at Lawrence Weston Tel 0117 913 8824. Every week. SEE & KNOW for under 5's at St Mary's 1.15-2.45pm.

Tuesday November 2nd

ST ANDREW'S LADIES 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall to hear Mark Rowland on 'pub signs'. TEA JUNCTION every Tuesday at St Mary's. Tea, chat and board games at 3.30pm. CARERS' CLUB 10am-12 noon at Avonmouth Medical Centre until 12 noon. BINGO or a Speaker at Tythe Barn, High Street 2pm.

Wednesday November 3rd

Every Wednesday and Thursday ADVICE SESSIONS at AUS, 115 High Street 9.30am-11.30am. MINOR ILLNESS CLINIC for Group Practice Patients 10am-11.30am at the Health Centre. Every Wednesday G.L.U.E. YOUTH CLUB for Secondary School pupils. Contact Nicky or Lucy on 0117 983 2660. ARTHRITIS CARE 7pm at Jim O'Neill House THE BRIGHT HOUR every Wednesday afternoon at the Baptist Church Hall.

Thursday November 4th

TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD 2pm-4pm at the Methodist Church Hall. Every Thursday BINGO or a SPEAKER at the Tythe Barn, High Street, 2pm. STORY TIME at St Mary's for pre-school children, 1.15pm.


MONTHLY COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10.30am-12 noon. FRIDAY FUN weekly for Parents, Carers and pre-School Children 9.30am-11.30am at the Beachley Walk Centre. EVERGREENS at the Public Hall 1pm-3pm. BINGO at the Public Hall 6.30pm-8.30pm.

Saturday November 7th

Baptist Church Service at the Cotswold Community Centre 4.45pm.

Thursday November 11th

TEA DANCE at Sea Mills Church Hall with David Storey 2.30-4.30pm.

Friday November 12th

SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP at St Bernard's School, Station Road. Entrance 3 includes light refreshments.

Saturday November 13th

MEMORIAL SERVICE at St Mary's at 3pm

Sunday November 14th

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 10am at St Mary's then a PROCESSION up to the War Memorial at the top of Park Hill EVENSONG at St Mary's, SINGERS Shirehampton Area Choir

Tuesday November 16th

St Andrew's LADIES CLUB 7.30pm at St Andrew's Church Hall, Avonmouth to hear 'Violent Moments' by John Perry RAILWAY MODELLERS 7.30pm at the Public Hall

Wednesday November 17th

SHIRE STITCHERS meet 7.30pm at the Public Hall

Sunday November 21st

CHURCH OF ENGLAND SERVICE at the Cotswold Centre 4.45pm.

Thursday November 25th TEA DANCE at the Sea Mills Methodist Church with John Hutton 2.30pm-4.30pm.

Friday November 26th

50s-60s DANCE organised by the GRAINGER PLAYERS 7.30pm-11.45pm. Tickets 5 each from Elizabeth Ann, Florist, 27a High Street. SEQUENCE DANCE at the Cotswold Community Centre, 7.30pm-10pm.