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Shirehampton Public Toilets


An article in December 2004 'Shire' referred to the fact that our public toilets were in danger of being closed following a review and public consultation by Bristol City Council.

The reasoning behind the view was that many public toilet facilities suffer from lack of use, high running costs and difficulty in co-ordinating policy over the years leading to neglect of these amenities.

The outcome is that seven public toilets have been selected for closure across the city leaving fifty that will be refurbished and upgraded for Disabled Access.

Shirehampton's public convenience was indeed on the original list for closure as were prince Street and Blackboy Hill, but a press release on 20th July stated that these three will remain open.

Unfortunately Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston and Sea Mills are among the seven who will be losing their facilities when the current cleaning contract expires on 31st July 2005.

2005 Bristol Junior Chef Competition

Congratulations to Stephanie Smith and Jeannette Chamberlain, 2 Year 11 students from Portway Community School, who were selected to take part in this competition. The girls spent a week at the City of Bristol College and in West Country hotels working with top chefs to learn new culinary skills and finally to create a 2 course meal. Both girls had a wonderful learning experience and hope to take up a career in the hotel trade. The event was sponsored by Bristol Commerce, Connexions and Bristol Hoteliers.

What's On in August

AUGUST 1st Monday

  • KEEP FIT every Monday at Avonmouth Community Centre 7.30-8.30pm Admission 1
  • SEQUENCE DANCE at the Public Hall at 7.30pm
  • SEE AND KNOW for Under 5s at St Mary's every week 1.15-2.15pm
  • 3 OF US BINGO at St Andrew's Church Hall weekly 1.45-2.45pm
  • BASIC LITERARY SKILLS COURSE at Lawrence Weston every week - tel. 0117 913 8824 for details

AUGUST 2nd Tuesday

  • TEA JUNCTION at St Mary's Weekly 2pm - tea chat, board games
  • BINGO or A SPEAKER weekly 2pm at Tythe Barn, High Street

AUGUST 3rd Wednesday

  • MINOR ILLNESSES CLINIC for Group Practice Patients 10am-11.30am weekly at the Health centre
  • ARTHRITIS CARE at Jim O'Neil House at 7pm each week
  • THE BRIGHT HOUR every week in the afternoon at the Baptist Church Hall

AUGUST 4th Thursday

  • SLIMMING WORLD every Thursday 5.30 and 7pm at Jim O'Neill House
  • BINGO OR A SPEAKER at the Tythe Barn, High Street weekly at 2pm
  • AUGUST 5th Friday
  • COFFEE MORNING at the Library 10.30am-12 noon
  • FRIDAY FUN for parents, carers and pre-school children 9.30am-11am at the Beachley Walk Centre weekly
  • EVERGREENS at the Public Hall 1pm-3pm every week
  • BINGO at the Public Hall 6.30-8.30pm weekly

AUGUST 6th Saturday

  • COFFEE MORNING and BRING & BUY at the Methodist Church Hall 10am-12 noon

AUGUST 7th Sunday

  • BAPTIST SERVICE at the Cotswold Community Centre at 4.45pm

AUGUST 9th Tuesday

  • EVERGREENS OUTING to Moreton in the Marsh and Bourton on the Water, ring 982 3180 for details

AUGUST 12th and 26th Fridays

  • SAHAJA YOGA and MEDITATION 12.30 at the Public Hall (Penpole Room)

AUGUST 15th Monday

  • SHIREHAMPTON'S LOCAL HISTORY GROUP meets in the Library at 2.30pm

AUGUST 16th Tuesday

  • RAILWAY MODELLERS 7.30pm at the Public Hall
  • PBA PENSIONERS meet at the Club House, Nibley Road 1.30-2.30pm
  • CARERS GROUP meets at Avonmouth Medical centre 10am-12 noon

AUGUST 17th Wednesday

  • SHIRE STITCHERS meet 7.30pm at the Public Hall
  • BOOK CLUB 7.30pm at the Cotswold Centre, chosen book 'Atonement' by Ian McEwen phone 982 8683 for details

AUGUST 21st Sunday

  • CHURCH OF ENGLAND SERVICE at the Cotswold Centre 4.45pm

AUGUST 25th Thursday

  • TEA DANCE 2.30-4.30pm at the Public Hall

AUGUST 28th Friday

  • SEQUENCE DANCE in the Cotswold Centre 7.30-10pm


  • SUMMER BANK HOLIDAY the library will be closed

N.B. There is no meeting in August of the TOWNSWOMEN'S GUILD nor the ST ANDREW'S LADIES CLUB

REMINDER - remember in the Autumn there is the local CRAFT EXHIBITION in the Public Hall - so we hope all you nimbled fingered people are busy getting ready for it.

PBA Pensioners

Are invited to meetings held on the third Tuesday of every month, except December (second Tuesday) in the Club House at Nibley Road, Shirehampton. Transport is laid on from Sea Mills, Lawrence Weston, Shirehampton and Avonmouth. Further information can be obtained from the Secretary, tel. 956 8706. Doors open 12.30pm. Meetings are 1.30-3.30pm and include entertainment and plenty of opportunity to meet ex-colleagues and friends.

Muriel Vowles

Tea Dances

On Thursday 25th August and Thursday 15th September, from 2.30-4.30pm in the Public Hall, Shirehampton's new Tea Dance will be held. John Hutton will be playing a varied programme. Everyone is welcome and the cost is 2 including a cup of tea.

D L Tudor

City and Port of Bristol Bowls Club

We are currently recruiting new members and would welcome any ladies or men who would like to try their hand. Please contact Lis Davies, Weekend Captain, to arrange a 'roll up' and some coaching if required. Nibley Road, Shirehampton, tel. 0117 968 5447.


On October 8th the Avonmouth Sea Cadets are holding a dance at the PBA Club, Nibley Road to commemorate 200 years of victory at Trafalgar, from 7.30-11.30pm. Tickets are available now at 5 each - adults only. Please call 982 7015 or visit 51 Walton Road any evening.

R Watkins

Graham (Dinger) Bell

We had a surprise party on Friday 1st July for Graham's 65th birthday. Well, what can we say - it was brilliant! Thank you all for coming and keeping it a secret for so long. He really was so shocked, he thought he was going to someone else's surprise party!

Thank you to Marilyn Gorry (library) for getting Graham's school friends together and Gary for the help and support organising everything. Thank you to all of our family and friends for their help and support and to the PBA and staff, they really worked hard. Thank you also to 'Shindigs' for a wonderful buffet and the band Menphis for a brilliant performance of 60s music, as well as everything else. We really enjoyed it. All these things have been a talking point ever since and will be a long time remembered. Graham had a wonderful time.

Thank you again, to all of you!

Graham and Pauline Bell

Thank you for your donation to 'Shire' - Ed.


I was wandering round the village the other day, when I spied the name "Trafalgar Cottage". How appropriate I thought, this year being the 200th anniversary of the famous sea battle, I wondered how many buildings in Shirehampton have survived 200 years. Perhaps if someone has a map of the village as it was about the time of Trafalgar, it might be possible for us to reproduce it in "Shire" which would not only be interesting but add to the centenary celebrations!

National Carers' Week

As part of the activities for this week held in June, the Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston Carer's Group held their June meeting in Kingsweston House where they all enjoyed lunch in a friendly atmosphere and were able to unwind for a period away from their usual caring duties. Our thanks must go to Helen Mathias not only for making all the arrangements and giving us this very welcome break but also for all the other good work she does on our behalf. Eric Verey

Apologies - the Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston Carers' Group meets on the third Thursday of the month 10am-12 noon, not Tuesday as stated in last month's edition.


Too much sunlight is harmful and can damage the skin. There are two main types of damaging ultraviolet sunlight, UVA and UVB. UVA has an effect of ageing the skin and causing wrinkles and other damage to deeper layers of skin. UVB causes sun tanning but also burning. It can also cause other damage to the skin. In some people, too much UVB may cause skin cancer. All people are at risk if exposed to too much sun. People with fair hair, freckles, red or ginger hair are most at risk. In general, the darker the skin, the less risk of developing skin cancer.

Preventing sun damage

  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible. In particular, do not sunbathe between 10am and 2pm when the sun rays are the strongest.
  • When out, wear wide brimmed hats to protect the face and neck. These are the areas most commonly affected by skin cancers due to too much sunlight.
  • Cover up the body as much as possible. Wear long sleeve tops and baggy shorts.
  • Childrens skin is more sensitive than adults. They should keep their clothes on whilst playing in the sun. All exposed areas of the body should have sunscreen applied. Wide brimmed hats with a neck protector are recommended.
  • Sunscreens should be applied to all exposed areas of the skin. Renew it regularly. Sunscreens are labelled with a sun protection factor (SPF). A factor of 15 or more is recommended for maximum protection. Most work by absorbing ultraviolet rays but some reflect the rays. Ones that protect against both UVA and UVB are the best. Sunscreens should be used to help protect against sunlight, not as a substitute for avoiding exposure. If swimming use a waterproof sunscreen and renew it after coming out of the water.
  • Some suntanning lotions do not contain suncreen and will provide no protection.
  • Beware of reflected light. On sunny days, even in the shade, a hot sun can burn if reflected from sand etc. Sunlight can also come through thin cloud and thin clothes.
  • The suns rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Beware of this. It may be cooler but you will need more protection.
  • Wear sunglasses as exposure to prolonged sunlight can also damage the eyes.
  • Remember - SLIP, SLAP, SLOP. Slip on some clothes. Slap on a hat. Slop on sunscreen.

Sunburn and sunstroke

Short term overexposure to sun can cause burning. The skin becomes red, hot and painful. After a few days the burnt skin may peel. A cool shower or bath will help. Soothing creams such as calamine lotion will help. Paracetamol will hep with pain. A mild steroid cream may be advised by a pharmacist or doctor to 'dampen down' the inflamed skin if severe. If vomiting, fever and headaches occur this may be due to sunstroke. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids and take some paracetamol. Consult your doctor if it does not quickly settle.

Sun damage

Repeated exposure to too much sun over a number of years can cause damage to skin. Apart from early ageing and wrinkling, sun damaged skin can include the following. Brown spots, roughened 'crusty' spots and skin cancers. It is not just people who sunbathe who are at risk. Outdoor workers who do not cover their skin are more prone to these problems. If you notice any area of skin that looks unusual, or any lumps or moles that change shape, become irregular in shape, bleed, change colour or become ulcerated (sore), then report this to your doctor.

Family Activities at Bristol's City Museum AND Art Gallery

Sunday 7th August - Sunday Funday: Life at Sea. Join us for life at sea, learn knots, sing sea shanties, make a stretchy sailor and take part in other activities. 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm.

Wednesday 10 August - Clay Play. Make pots the traditional way! Be inspired by pottery from around the world. 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm.

Monday 15 and Wednesday 17 August - Rocks. Learn about the rocks and minerals found in Bristol and how we use them. 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm.

Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24 August - Wildlife on Holiday. Find out what all the local wildlife will be doing while you are on holiday. 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-3.30pm.

For further information on any of the above activities please telephone 0117 922 3571.

The Crafty Club

Lawrence Weston Community Farm has been granted funding by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Underprivileged Children's Charity to set up the Crafty Club, which will run over school holiday periods at the farm. It will involve community artists running an exciting array of traditional arts and crafts activities for young people to try. Crafts include pottery, mural painting, batik, spinning fleece into yarn, willow weaving and green woodworking. Workshops cost 2.00 per young person and are open to anyone aged 8-18. Sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August and places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. They must be booked over the phone - contact Alex Willis on 0117 938 1128.

Shirehampton Library


Bannister, Jo The Depths of Solitude
Cooper, Jilly Harriet
Howard, Audrey Reflections from the Past
Jacobs, Anna Jessie
Kilduff, Paul Square Mile
Lightfoot, Freda The Favourite Child
Macaulay, Rose The Towers of Trebizond
MIchaels, Fern Crown Jewel
Murdoch, Iris A Severed Head
Scarrow, Simon The Eagle's Prey

Outreach Library Service - HOUSEBOUND LIBRARY - TIME TO SPARE?

Now you've retired what can you do?
Someone is out there who needs you
To visit the library, then call at their home
With books of their choice, they'll not feel alone.
To listen and chat and perhaps to have tea,
The library is there for the Housebound you see.

The Library Service requires volunteers to help with taking library books to Housebound People in Bristol. If you have a few hours to spare and are interested in people and books please telephone Outreach Library 0117 903 8533.

The welcoming smile as you appear at the door of someone who is housebound makes every visit armed with a load of books worthwhile, as I found when for many years I was part of this volunteer service. J.A.


If you are wondering what to do with a jigsaw once you have finished it, then remember that the Library is always pleased to add to their stock of puzzles.


This is a newspaper clipping found in a 1930 diary. It was headed 'Modern Upbringing Nonsense' and written to the editor of the Women's Page of a magazine.

Madam - I should like to thank the Hon. Mrs. St. Aubyn for her excellent article on 'This Modern Upbringing Nonsense'. Its sound common sense is like a fresh breeze amid the welter of sentimental, pseudo psychological rubbish which is written nowadays - mainly by people who have no children. The modern child is, too often, a bad mannered, uncontrolled, introspective little nuisance.

I am proud to say that my sons have been taught obedience, self-control and courtesy to others.

A Mother, Manchester

Saving more than lives

  • Speed related crashes are increasing the burden on local health services - and taking up urgently-needed hospital beds
  • The bill for treating the victim of a single high-speed serious injury crash can add up to around 100,000 in intensive care, surgical procedures, in-patient treatment and outpatient care.
  • That money could pay for 20 primary hip replacements; fund a special care baby unit for several months or dozens of minor operations.
  • Figures produced by the National Health Service in 2001 showed that speed related crashes in Avon and Somerset were costing over 19 million a year.
  • These collisions resulted in 559 people being admitted to local hospitals for an average stay of around six days, a total 3,187 bed days during the year.
  • Ensuring that drivers travel at a safe speed will result in fewer accidents and less pain and distress for the victims and their families.
  • It will also save the National Health Service millions of pounds and free up beds in hospitals that, in turn, will enable them to reduce waiting lists.
  • Just 5mph can be the difference between life and death
  • An average of 75 people are injured every month on the roads in North Somerset. That statistic is horrifying enough, but it does not convey the trauma, pain and suffering of the accident victims and their families. Road accidents shatter lives.
  • Many of these accidents are preventable, if drivers adapt their driving to the conditions.
  • Speed is a major factor in a high percentage of crashes. It can be excessive speed or inappropriate speed for the conditions.
  • By slowing down, drivers have more opportunity to correct their own errors and react to the errors of other drivers.
  • In any collision, the slower the impact speed the higher the chance of surviving it. That goes for drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians. Even an extra 5mph could mean the difference between life and death. The braking distance of a car travelling at 35 mph is six metres more than one going at 30 mph - and a pedestrian hit by the faster car is more likely to be killed.
  • The community education programme launched by the Safety Camera Partnership aims to make drivers more aware of the dangers of speeding. The objective is to make speeding as unacceptable and anti-social as drink driving.

Plant Sale Success

Look for a riot of colour in the gardens of the Cotswold Estate this year! That seems a very reasonable expectation following the enormous success of the Community Association's second annual plant sale. With the valuable help of the Henleaze Garden Shop (who let the Association have plants at cost) a wide variety of good quality bedding plants were there at very reasonable prices.

A long queue had formed before the opening time, and once the doors were unlocked, the rush was on. Most things were sold within twenty minutes, and much more could have been sold if it had been there.

The Cotswold Community Association funds benefited healthily, but the biggest benefit will be in the gardens of the residents in the coming months - that's worth a walk round and a look at our very special corner of Shirehampton.

St Mary's News

Hi folks! As I write these notes it is a sweltering hot Sunday evening - no mistaking that summer really is with us! Our Patronal Festival weekend has just ended and there is very little doubt that the Salvation Army Band concert will take place on the village green on the Monday evening. On a warm summer evening where could you find a better location?

Our Patronal Festival was wonderful. On the Saturday we were blessed with wall to wall sunshine. A bouncy castle was sited in the churchyard for the younger children and a Summer Fayre for the grown-ups inside the church building. Much of Gill Sawyer's home made produce was quickly snapped up as were the brand new items on the gift stall.

During the afternoon the children from Shirehampton Primary School entertained us with half an hour of lively singing and I counted well over 100 people listening to them. The children certainly appreciated the chocolate bars Canon Christine gave them at the conclusion of their mini concert. In fact, the church was so busy with people we ran out of scones to serve with the cream teas, which were on sale - wonderful value at 2.50 per person!

Also on display throughout the day were our new chasubles and altar frontals. Alongside the chasubles were floral displays of matching colours, which received very favourable comments. But that was not the only colourful display, because we were fortunate to have our new stained glass window in situ at the west end of the church. It had been installed only a day or so before and shows the Nativity. It has been given in memory of Bill (Noel) and Gwen Williams by members of their family and is to be dedicated in the near future.

The next day (Sunday) was another wonderful day as our curate - Andy Schuman, celebrated his first Communion Service following his ordination as priest the previous Sunday in Bristol Cathedral. Not a hitch - you would think he had been doing so for years! Well, he will now won't he! After the service Andy cut a celebratory cake and a buffet lunch was provided at which the congregation were invited to join him. A super day topped off with a super lunch (not to be forgotten is Gill Sawyer who prepared it!) Oh, by the way, I nearly forgot to mention that our efforts on the Saturday raised in excess of 1200, which will go into church funds to help us pay our way.

We also had a secret celebration on Friday 1st July to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Canon Christine being ordained priest. She thought she was going out to dinner with husband David who was in on the secret. But no, she arrived in church to the music "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba". A short thanksgiving service was held followed by the PCC singing "You're Simply the Best" but with different words compiled by Gill Sawyer (yeah - the same one what does all the cooking!), and the exploding of party poppers. The PCC is now looking for an agent to promote their new CD! Again, this was followed by a celebratory cake made by Pat Davidson. It had so much brandy in it that if you ate two pieces you would have given a 'positive' breath test. This again was followed by a buffet supper prepared by "you know who". We gave Canon Christine a set of mini candlesticks and a silver cross in a carrying case for use when she administers Holy Communion to the sick. What would we do without her? The question doesn't bear thinking about.

Whilst Canon Christine was on holiday we had the Revd. Nick Hayfield conduct a service. He is the chaplain at Ashfield Young Offenders' Institute at Pucklechurch, better known to me as Pucklechurch Remand Centre before the inmates burnt it down. He gave us an extremely interesting insight into his work with young offenders, which I am sure was quite a eye-opener for many.

Also, back in June, we had a concert in church by the Bristol Brass Consort. They gave us a wonderful evening of light music, which also raised over 800 for our organ refurbishment fund. During the interval we had wine and nibbles (prepared by that same woman again! Does she have a cooker in her bedroom - because she never seems to get much sleep there!)

Another event was our Ascot Evening, which was held in the Church Centre. Ladies were invited to wear their best 'Ascot' hats and wooden horses were expertly ridden by the casting of dice and no horses fell at any of the fences. You don't get that at the real Ascot Races! Upper class nibbles and wine were provided (no - I'm not going to say who but I bet she's got a coat of arms with the words "By Appointment to HM Queen"!) This lovely evening raised over 400 I believe. If I'm wrong I can guarantee someone will tell me.

Now it's Diary Time again. On Friday 19th August is our Annual Car Rally. If you are interested you will find details shortly on the noticeboard at the west end of the church. Tim Forder who organises it is an expert at producing brain-teasing clues. Sign up if you are interested - we always end up at a good "watering hole" to quench thirsts and fill stomachs.

On Bank Holiday Monday, 29th August - Canon Christine is opening the Vicarage Garden to all. Here you can participate in coffee, lunches and cream teas. Another golden opportunity to increase your waistlines and lighten the load in your purses.

Also a quick reference to dates to remember in September. Our Harvest weekend will be on Saturday/Sunday 17/18th September. On the Saturday morning we are going to have a "Book Fair" in church. If you have any good quality books, CDs or records you no longer use then please consider donating them for us to sell. Canon Christine will arrange for their collection if you cannot deliver them. On the Saturday evening will be the Harvest Supper and Barn Dance - more details nearer the time. On the Sunday is our Harvest Festival service at 10am. This will be Holy Communion and the preacher will be The Venerable Tim McClure, Archdeacon of Bristol. All are welcome.

Finally, before I wish you "Au Revoir" for this month, congratulations must go the Mike and Jill Gillard who celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary on the 9th July (our Patronal Festival weekend). Congratulations to you both - may you enjoy many more happy years together. Bye for now. CME.


Shire would like to apologise that this obituary was omitted from the July edition.

Mrs Lilian Stevenson would like to thank all her family, friends and neighbours for their kindness and sympathy on the sad loss of her husband, Reginald Stevenson. A special thank you to all at Jim O'Neill House for their support. Thank you too for all the cards and flowers.

Thanks for your donation to Shire - Ed.

Letters to the Editor

Portway School Photograph

Mr Ted Sage, a Portway School 'old boy' from the 1950s has identified some of the people appearing in the photograph published in last month's 'Shire'. They are as follows:

No. 2 in the back row   Mr Bagshaw, No. 10 in the back row  Mr Wellings, No. 7   Mr Hart

Dear Editor

We were very interested to read in 'Shire' about Margaret and Roy Parfitt. Roy, David Thomas and the two of us (Paddy and Vivian) went to Germany in 1954 in a 'banger' that David had rebuilt from an old Riley engine and chassis. We had punctures galore on the Continent and I recall that David and Roy didn't get on well with the German sausages! We went to Hanover and met with a German family I had exchanged with in 1951, then we followed the Rhine down to Heidelberg. We dried our wet clothing by winding things around a long pipe under the bonnet. When we got back to Dover the customs officer congratulated us. He said he remembered the car and thought we'd never make it! David Thomas, who lived in Hung Road, later became a Vicar and lives with his wife Geraldine in Staffordshire.

Margaret Parfitt (nee Ellis) I knew well as a child when I lived in Park Road. They lived on the Portway and I played very often with Margaret's twin sisters, Dorothy and Gwyneth. Another sister was Ruth. I cycled with the twins one year to the Isle of Wight, staying in Youth Hostels.

Vivian's mother, Sally Stokes, was for many years caretaker of the Methodist Chapel. My father, George Harvey, worked for the Port of Bristol for 39 years. We married at St Mary's 50 years ago this year and have 3 children and 3 grandchildren.

We both had happy childhoods in Shire throughout the war. We remember the German plane that crashed into the Avon - we think the pilot survived - and the huge bomb that dropped on the golf course, leaving an enormous crater. Also the fun we had on the golf course in the cold winter of 1947, with sledges made out of galvanised steel! In 1948 the Revd Jim Lovejoy formed a youth group and there must be many members still living in the village.

It would be nice to hear any news!

Paddy Stokes (nee Harvey) Clevedon

I am currently researching my late mother-in-law's family and have traced the line back to a Frances Shayle George who was the daughter of John Southwell. She was born in Clifton circa 1827-9.

She married at Boyton in 1848. She and her husband, Thomas Shayle George, then emigrated to New Zealand in 1850 with their young son. I have been unable to find any reference to John other than his son George (born 1808) from his first marriage. George was a vicar at Yetminster, Dorset. I have some sketchy information about John Southwell from family papers that say he was a lawyer and received the Freedom of Bristol at some stage, but there the trail goes cold. I would appreciate any information on John Southwell.

Caroline Morris, Auckland, New Zealand

Dear Shire

I have been trying for some time to discover the location of a permanent scout campsite that used to be in Penpole Woods.

An old scouting friend of mine, Ted Harse, sadly no longer with us, often spoke about the site at Penpole, where he, as a Rover Scout, spent many weekends with members of his crew building and maintaining the site. I cannot put a date on when this took place, but it was probably pre-war. As to how long the site was there - again I have no idea - maybe somebody can help me?

Thank you

David Hinksman

Dear Editor

Re: May edition of 'Shire' school photo page 4

My nephew, Tim White lives in Shirehampton and told my sister (his Mum) of the school photo and that he recognised me in the photo. He gave the paper to my sister who lives in Wells, Somerset who then sent it on to me in West Wales.

I too have an original photo in my possession and I can name many of the girls and a few of the boys. I think it was taken in 1953 (probably especially to mark the Queen's Coronation) and we would all have been around 9 years old, so we were all juniors. I do not remember our photo taken for any other year so it must have been a special occasion.

I give below the names that I can remember.

Front row (all boys sitting crossed-legged): I can only remember Frankie Button (3rd from left).

Next row (all girls) from left to right: Christine?, Rosaline Rice (who was one of a twin, her sister was called Janet but was either in another class or not present), Carol ?, Janet ?, Anne Sterry, Brenda ?, Pearl ?, Margaret Scott, Sylvia Mitchell (me), ?, Sylvia Milias.

Next row up (boys and girls) from left to right:

3rd from left Chris Hamilton, 4th Michael Dorgan, 5th Jean Thacker, 6th June Shaddock, 7th Cynthia (Glover?), 8th either Michael or John Irwin, 8th Roger ?.

The top row I cannot remember any of these boys, only that 1st left and 6th from left were right little tearaways and I think one was called Steven.

I hope the above will help Rosemary Clarke and I wish her well.

Mrs Sylvia Norman

Camp Seamills

I was at Camp Seamills (I think that was the name) real close to Avonmouth from December 1943 until May 1944 and even returned on a seven day furlough in 1945. I have so many good memories of England and the good people I met.

The Greely family lived at 12 Poole Street and they were good to me. There were two daughters, Doreen and Joan, who were very friendly with a Worthy family who lived near me. Mr Worthy was what I always thought an English gentleman was supposed to be. I think he must have been a little above the ordinary for he owned his home and was very friendly. I have some pictures of the Worthy and Greely family that I will send to a survivor of either family. I am 82 years old and the pictures will be trashed when I am gone. I think Joan married a man from Holland and the last time I heard from Doreen her health was not good. If you can put me in contact with someone I will be forever grateful.

I have so many good memories of Bristol, Avonmouth and there was some place a short train ride from Avonmouth where some sort of amusement park was located and I have forgotten it's name.

Oh well, all that was another time and another place. My wife and daughter encouraged me to write this letter and it did not take much encouragement.

Donald A Hemphill

Originally published in 'The Community Voice', the Sea Mills & Coombe Dingle Newsletter

Dear Sirs

I would like to write about my experiences of swimming in days past, in response to your request in the June issue.

I was a pupil at Shirehampton Junior School from 1958-1962 and during that time learnt to swim at Shirehampton Baths. I can vividly remember the weekly lessons that we used to have in the small pool and the magical moment when, after weeks of struggle, I managed to keep my feet off the bottom and actually float. We were expertly taught by Mrs Prator (I hope that is the correct spelling) and I can still see her expression of encouragement when, at last, I managed to swim a few doggy-paddle strokes. She was a terrific instructor and we went on to gain certificates for swimming 100 yards and then the ultimate, the half mile.

I went on to Lawrence Weston School and was again fortunate to have weekly lessons at Shirehampton Baths. As we moved up the school, keen swimmers were able to attend 'Early Morning Swimming Club' after which we were provided with a coach back to school in time for registration. Inter-house and Girl Guide galas were frequent events at Shirehampton which led to qualification for Bristol Schools' events. Swimming became my favourite sport and I went on to study Physical Education at Teacher Training College. My first job in Bristol led me to teach at a school on the other side of the city, which used Bristol South Baths, and who should I meet with my first class but Dot Prator, again on hand to help a beginner.

Shirehampton Baths provided me with a hobby which I still keenly pursue on a regular basis. I come to Shirehampton every week to visit my Mum who still lives on the Portway, and she gives me a copy of your excellent paper each month. I do hope that Shirehampton Baths can be saved. Children and adults should not be deprived of a first-class facility, vital to the health of a thriving community.

Mrs Elaine Amos (nee Brain), Eastville

Dear Editor

In the past decade, Shirehampton village has lost a number of community facilities, including Groveleaze Youth Centre, St Bernards Clinic, the Portway Centre and Twyford House, and now is about to lose the swimming pool and St Mary's church centre and possibly even Robin Cousins Sports Centre. The decision to close the Shirehampton pool in favour of a new pool at Henbury School has saved the council a great deal of money, but it deprives the local community of yet another amenities which is not going to be replaced.

We were promised that Shirehampton pool would not close until the new facilities at Henbury school were open, but now we are told it will close in August at the height of the school holidays - a time of maximum demand. As far as we are aware, Henbury pool will not be available before October. Is this true? Apart from this, there is also the problem of a very limited bus service between Shirehampton and Henbury which will greatly inconvenience the many people who do not have cars. Has any thought been put into providing better bus links?

If the new pool at Henbury is going to be a community facility, rather than a school facility, as has been stated more than once, during what hours will the public be able to make use of it?

Closing two pools - at Shirehampton and at Henbury - and opening only one is a deprivation that seems to fly in the face of the new government directives about people leading healthier lives. Although we don't know what is planned for the swimming pool site, it is very possible that it will eventually be used for new housing. Would it not be better for it to be given back to the people of Shirehampton for community use, even if it means increasing the council tax? As a swimmer I would like an answer to all these questions.

Pool User (Name and address supplied)

Dear Shire

May I, through your pages, warmly thank neighbours and friends for the many cards and messages of sympathy and support on the loss of my dear wife, Jean. I and my family were immensely comforted by the kind response. Many thanks to Stenner and Hill (especially Joan) and to Canon Christine Froude for her understanding and for making the service at Canford a beautiful one.

Yours - Derrick Ackland

Thank you for your donation to Shire funds - Ed

A poem by John Connett


From the sky itself they came;

Feathers sleek and hollow frame,

At speed to test the human eye,

At speed to daunt the humble fly.

Angry arcs stab buoyant air,

Screaming, screaming, all beware

Defiantly they claim their right

To dazzle us with their matchless flight.

Suddenly the sky is bare,

For they have gone; yet still I stare.

St Bedes College

St Bedes College, Long Cross held an activities day on Tuesday 21st June and amongst the activities was self defence and army training, where amateur boxing classes coached by Garry Cave coached with the NSC Amateur Boxing Club based in Shirehampton. There were 2 classes of 20 pupils each, both boys and girls, all in Year 10. The classes were for Beginners who follow the 'Kid Gloves' syllabus (non contact skills format). The pupils learnt the basics of stance, guard, footwork, straight punches and blocks, and finished with a vigorous boxers' circuit. They gave it their all and really enjoyed themselves. Feedback was so good the school is planning an after-school boxing club with the help of coach Garry Cave.

Several St Bedes' pupils are now training at the NSC boxing club at the King George Playing Field gym and are hoping to box for the club later in he year in the Manor Farm Tournament on 13th October. If anyone is interested in amateur boxing give Garry Cave a call on 01454 898549 or come along on a training night (Monday, Wednesday, Friday 6-7pm beginners and 7-8.30pm experienced boxers).

Library on the Rocks

Shirehampton Library users were treated to a fascinating account of the history of the long-abandoned Clifton Rocks Railway in June, which once ran beneath the cliffs of the Avon Gorge to link Clifton Village to Hotwells Road. An attentive audience of over 80 people were enthralled as local transport expert and author Peter Davey recounted the struggle to get the railway built, and showed slides illustrating the railway and its staff during its relatively brief lifetime. Mr Davey told the story of how, after the line's closure, the tunnels were used by the BBC and BOAC during the war, and the audience were particularly interested to learn of current attempts to restore the railway to its former glory.

Mr Peter Davey chats to members of the audience during the interval in his talk (Photo: E Verey)

The event was part of the city-wide Local History Festival which is held annually by Bristol Libraries. Library Supervisor Eileen Lloyd said of the event, "We know our borrowers have a strong interest in local history, so an evening like this is a lovely way to thank them for their continuing custom, whilst also attracting new members to the library".

Part of the audience   (Photo: E Verey)

The library has an interesting collection of local history books for loan, and also hosts Shirehampton's Local History Group, which meets on the third Monday of each month at 2.30pm.


An online discussion group for past and present residents of Shirehampton provoked these memories from John Merrett. No doubt it will evoke many 'I remember's' from our more senior readers.

I was involved with the 191 scouts when we bought the plot of ground in St Mary's, by the girl guides hut and built our own headquarters. I seem to remember it cost 350. To raise the money we used to hire handcarts from Gould's who did undertaking and other things, to collect the gear for our jumble sales. I think the rate was five bob a day. There were characters around in Shire in those days. Anyone remember the old Bag Lady who used to push a pram round and rummage the bins for 'goodies' just after the war? I think she lived in St Mary's Walk. Another was 'the Joker' who would recite long tales at a prompt from any kid, usually on the seats around the fountain on the Green. How good that water tasted in the copper cup dangling from the chain.

Anyone remember Old Mother Mitchell in the ticket box at the Savoy who could tell at a glance the age of anyone to an accuracy of a week!, who tried to get into an 'A' picture unaccompanied by an adult? I remember Waite's the ironmongers - the smell in that shop! and Bolwell's where everyone got their hair cut. The same two fellows worked there for ever. Down the bottom of Shire Hill, opposite the Hope & Anchor (where you could buy a quart of cider for sixpence with a sticker on the cork to stop kids from drinking it) - there was Charlie Barber in an ivy covered house who would cut your hair for tuppence and you could put a penny in the polyphon. What a gorgeous sound it made with the huge disc slowly going around playing 'Hands Across the Sea', and after you would go down Barracks Lane to drink your illicitly acquired cider.

Mr Payne the cobbler at the end of Barracks Lane used to heave himself round his workshop with a crutch. He had a huge cat, which used to lie on the counter just inside the door and if a dog went in the cat would step sideways and drop on the dog's back, all claws working furiously so the unfortunate victim exited at high speed yelping, with the cat on it's back raking out clumps of fur.

Then there was the elderly lady who always wore a Tam and was thin as a lath, who used to serve in Sandfords. She would test every bulb or battery you bought. I heard when she had to retire she walked into the river at the Lamplighters one night and drowned. Very sad - I miss her.

John Merritt now lives in Palmyra, a suburb of Freemantle - Ed.

'Shark in the Park'

'Shark in the Park' - a drama presentation by Avon Primary School children as part of the 1 million words campaign. This event was reported in the June issue of 'Shire' but there was insufficient space to print this delightful photograph of the children enacting one of their favourite stories written by Nick Sharratt.

We Know Who We Are!

Some 'Shire' readers may have watched that fascinating BBC series 'Who Do You Think You Are' earlier this year wherein certain 'celebs' were assisted in tracing their family roots. Alright, so some Grumpy Old Genealogists might have though it made the process look too easy but nevertheless it has given rise to an upsurge in visitors to county record offices and repositories, eager to join those of us already sucked into this terribly addictive habit!

You will probably be aware of the existence of Avonmouth Genealogy Group, but don't be fooled by the name, half of our members live in Shirehampton! We are a happy dedicated band of family historians who get together monthly in Avonmouth Community Centre to be educated and entertained on an outstandingly diverse range of subjects - imaginatively devised by our Secretary Pete Williams. This year alone we have met the 'Witch of Wellington' - yes a genuine white witch who gave us insight into the practices and culture that some of our own ancestors may have been familiar with, and visited 'Nan's Attic' - an array of artefacts and slides plotting the life of our speaker's mother from the late 19th century (fascinating).

Canon Christine Froude told us in June all about her life in the ministry over the 10 years since her ordination and how the churches in Shire work together. We have also had a talk on Brunel (our Secretary's hero!) and other interesting topics.

We do sometimes talk about family history! In fact one of our own home grown speakers is Pat Squire whose amusing stories of her ancestors would surprise no-one who knows her!

The real reason for this article, however, is to remind you that as a group we have, and are constantly adding to an archive of Avonmouth of which we are very proud.

This gets an airing at local functions and family history fairs on occasion but most importantly it is available for the use of anyone with an interest in local, social or family history and we are happy to search the census records (1841-91) parish registers (1893-1940) or directories - all of which have been transcribed. So, if you 'want to know who you are' and think those roots might have a passing or more persistent association with Avonmouth then please contact myself (Judy Helme) or Dr John Andrews through 'Shire' for a free search.

Our latest project is the transcribing of the Avonmouth Congregational Registers and although in the early stages, we can still carry out searches. This church had an illustrious history in the locality and there are still people around today who have happy memories of involvement in its many religious and social activities. This project is being undertaken in memory of Joanna Pickett a former member of our group and whose grandmother officiated at the laying of the foundation stone of the church.

A future plan is to transcribe the 1901 census.

We're happy to welcome new members, whether seasoned researchers or beginners and we certainly have a wealth of experience on which you can draw. We meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7pm in the art room (except August when we have a meal together).

So we think we know who we are -- how about you?