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Back to May 2009 SHIRE June 2009 Fowards to July 2009 SHIRE
News Index

Shirehampton Lad Hits the Headlines

What’s on in June

Academy Brighstowe Principal’s Column

Anyone for Tennis

Public Hall Newsletter - The Grainger Players

Tribute to Joyce Daniels

Lawrence Weston Moor

Letters to the Editor

Shire's Got Talent

St Mary’s News

Mainly Gone Forever

Shirehampton Lad Hits the Headlines

CONGRATLATIONS to Luke Krupa - part of the team that are now World Schools Challenge Champions for 2009.

Luke was part of the winning team from Millfield School at the World Schools Golf Challenge which took place in Adelaide Australia during the Easter holidays.

60 teams from 22 schools took part, including schools from New Zealand and South Africa. Millfield took six teams – four boys and two girls all of four pupils. The best three scores of the four team members from each day contributed towards the final result. The matches were played over four days at different courses: Adelaide Shores GC, Adelaide Links GC, Flagstaff GC and Riverside GC. Luke finished 19th out of 240 individual players and with his team mates won the team gross title by 5 shots.

Shirehampton boy Luke Krupa has been on the winning team in golf tournaments all over the world. Luke, who attended Shirehampton Junior School and Portway Commuity School, won a scholarship to Millfied School where he has been playing for the school’s winning golf team.

Luke, who plans to work in Dubai this summer after completing his A levels, has just won the Somerset Schools’ Championships and completed in the ISGA’s home international trophy in which Millfield and England won against schools from Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Co-op Easter Raffle

Our Easter Raffle was drawn on Thursday 9th April by Sarah from the RNID.

A total of £1117.00 was raised. Congratulations to all our winners, especially Kerry Fry who won first prize.

Thank you to all the local traders that donated prizes and of course to our customers for buying the raffle tickets!

A HUGE thank you to Carol and Lesley (our Easter bunnies!) for all their hard work and enthusiasm. Tony Garland

What’s on in June

Monday June 1st

Keep Fit weekly at Avonmouth Community Centre 7.30 – 8.30pm

Basic Literary Skills Course weekly at Lawrence Weston. Tel: 9138824 for details

Kyoto Shotokhan Karate Club trains at St Bernard’s School – weekly 6.30 – 8.30pm

Drop in Advice Service – St Andrew’s Church, Avonmouth – weekly 9.30-11am sponsored by St Andrew’s Church.

Totstop for under 5s at St Mary’s Church weekly 1.15 – 2.45pm

Tuesday June 2nd

Penpole Luncheon Club – 2 courses, tea/coffee, cake £3.25. Details from Sandra, ring 0117 9381236.

St Andrew’s Ladies Club – 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Church Hall.

St Mary’s Craft Group – weekly 2-3.30pm in church

Totstop for under 5’s at Shirehampton Baptist Church – weekly in term time 9-11am

Wednesday June 3rd

Shirehampton Model Railway Club – weekly at 7.30pm in the Public Hall

Shire Advice Sessions every Wednesday and Thursday 9.30 – 11am at 115 High

Shirehampton Craft Group weekly at Guide HQ, St Mary’s Road, 1.30 – 3pm Tel 9823192 for information

ACTA Community Youth Theatre – for 11-16s weekly at the Public Hall 5pm - 6.30 pm

Keep Fit – weekly at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 10.30-11.30am for those with some movement experience.

Thursday June 4th

AUS Advice Session every Wednesday and Thursday 9.30-11am at 115 High Street

Townswomens Guild 2-4pm Methodist Church Hall

Kick Boxing – weekly at the Public Hall 5.15-7.15 pm

Stroke Support every Thursday at the PBA Club, Nibley Road 1.30-4pm

Slimming World – weekly at Jim O’Neill House 5.30 pm & 7 pm

Grainger Players Drama Club weekly at the Public Hall 7.30 – 9.30 pm

Kyoto Shotokhan Karate Club trains at Avonmouth RFC

Friday June 5th

Friday fun for parents, carers and pre-school children 9.30 – 11am at Beachley Walk Centre – weekly

Evergreens – weekly at the Public Hall 2-3pm

Bingo – weekly at the Public Hall 6.30 -8.30pm

Pillow Lace Group – every Friday 7-9pm at the Public Hall

Shirehampton Amateur Radio club – weekly at T.S Enterprise 7.30 – 10pm

Keep Fit weekly at the Cotswold Community Cenbtre, Dursley Road 1030am-11.30am

Saturday June 6th

Bring and Buy Sale at Shirehampton Methodist Church 10am – Noon

Sunday June 7th

Cotswold Service at Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45pm – 5.30pm led by Shire Baptist Church.

Tuesday June 9th

Evergreens day trip to Lynton and Lynmouth, for further details tring 9381725

Wednesday June 10th

Bright Hour (Woman’s Fellowship) Baptist Church, Station Road 2.30 – fortnightly.

Thursday June 11th

Advice Service at St Mary’s, second and fourth Thursdays 2-4pm

Sunday June 21st

Cotswold Service aat Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 4.45-5.30pm led by St Mary’s Church.

Monday June 22nd

Local History Group 2.20pm in the Library

Tuesday June 23rd

Avonmouth Ladies Club 7.30pm at St andrew’s Church Hall, Avonmouth. Talk

Port of Bristol retired employees association, Nibley road Club, talk

Wednesday June 24th

Shirehampton Stitchers at the Public Hall 7.30pm

Thursday June 25th

Diabetes UK 7.30 pm at the Penpole Tenants Association Hall, he Ridge at 7.30pm

Carers’ Group meets at Avonmouth Medical Centre 10am – 12noon

Carers’ Group meets at Ridingleaze, Lawrence Weston at 2pm

Friday June 26th

Library Reading Group 2.15pm at the Library

Sequence Dance at the Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 7.30 – 10pm

Tuesday June 30th

Crime Reading Group Sea Mills Library, ring 9038522 for details


Playgroup at the Public Hall every week 9.15 – 11.45am Mon-Fri, 12.30-2.45pm Mon-Wed only

Kids Klub at St Mary’s 8.30am most Sunday mornings. Breakfast and a short service. For information Tel: 9077026

Sea Cadets Mondays and Thursdays each week 12 – 18 years old; Juniors 10-12 years old on Thursday 6.45 – 8.45pm at T.S.Enterprise, Station Road

City of Bristol Basic Skills Classes - FREE. Improve your English, Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; help with your maths. Contact Gill Lloyd on 31125530

Bump and Rhyme for babies and toddlers every Monday 11.20-11.40am followed by Story Time 12 Noon – 12.15pm at the Library

Monday and Wednesday mornigns and Thursday eveings Twyford House Art Group at the Public Hall.


If there is any local club or society, which would like their meetings included in the ‘What’s On’. PLEASE put the details in the Library by 10th of the month.

Events at Kingsweston Roman Villa

Late Night at the Villa

Wednesday 17th June 5.30-8.30pm

Have you always wanted to visit Kings Weston Roman Villa but can’t make it to a weekend opening? Late Night Opening gives you a chance to experience this exciting Roman site after hours. Curators from Bristol’s Museums, Galleries and Archives will be on hand to answer any questions you many have.

Dress Like a Roman

Saturday 11th July, 11am-4pm

Come to Kings Weston Roman Villa for the Festival of Archaeology and discover the Villa’s mosaics, under floor heating and bathing suite.

Enjoy the activities on site before making your own Roman style brooch, hairpin or wreath and trying on a toga. Kurt Adams our Portable Antiquities Officer will also be at the Villa to identify any objects you have found in your gardens.

Eat Like a Roman

Saturday 12th September 11am-4pm

Come to Kings Weston Roman Villa as part of Bristol’s Doors Open Day.

Explore Bristol’s only remaining Roman Villa and meet the curtators who look after it. Try a selection of Roman inspired food, discover which plants would have been used in Roman cooking and take away recipes to recreate at home. Younger visitors can take a fun fact-finding trail around the site. Kurt Adams our Portable Antiquities Officer will also be at the Villa to identify any objects you have found in your gardens.

Academy Brighstowe Principal’s Column

Hello and welcome to my first column in Shire newspaper. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the latest news from your local Academy.

The approach of summertime means the start of a busy period at Oasis Academy Brightstowe. The GCSE examinations began in mid May and our Year 11 students are currently well into their examination timetable.

Much work has taken place to prepare our students for this challenge. Revision days ran throughout the Easter break and staff held after school revision classes throughout March and April.

Attendance at all these sessions was very encouraging and many students attended enough sessions to earn themselves free tickets to the Academy prom in July.

During the examinations, Year 11 students are on a structured revision timetable and are not granted study leave.

Instead, students are expected to be in school for the full Academy day to take part in compulsory revision sessions when they are not in an exam.

We hope you will join us in wishing all our students the best of luck in all of their examinations and congratulating both them and Academy staff for all their hard work during this important time.

For more Academy news, please visit

Student wins iPod Touch from BAM FM

A lucky student from Oasis Academy Brightstowe has won a brand new iPod Touch in a competition organised by BAM FM, the company which provide facilities management support to the Shirehampton based Academy.

Year 8 student Shannon Kiernan was the winner of the £165 gadget, which acts as a portable media player and personal assistant and boasts a touch screen display; Wi-Fi access which allows users to browse the web and send emails; and 6 GB of memory to store media files including photographs and music.

She said: “I can’t believe that I’ve won it because I’ve never won anything before! I’m really pleased - I can’t wait to show it to my sister.”

The competition was made available to all students at Oasis Academy Brightstowe via an online questionnaire which entered all participants into a prize draw. BAM FM decided to run the competition across all the Bristol schools it currently works with, including Oasis Academy Brightstowe and Henbury Secondary School, in an effort to gather valuable feedback on how the students view the school facilities.

The prize is to be presented in a celebratory assembly by Principal Julie Winterman and BAM FM representative Lucy Horseman, who is Catering Manager at the Academy.

Julie Winterman said: “We would like to thank BAM FM for making this fantastic prize available to our students. We aim to encourage and reward student participation here at the Academy and are keen for our students to feel that their views can make a difference. We are pleased that so many of them took part in the competition and hope that their feedback will assist BAM FM with their review and help them to provide an even better service.”

Anyone for Tennis

Table tennis that is! The Cotswold Community Centre has just taken delivery of a brand new competition size Table Tennis Table, and the first people to hire the use of it were the Jonny Two Sheds All Stars, who are a group of chaps who are remnants of the 1960s youth club culture.

John Steve Lofty Leon Rich and Mike now meet once a week at the centre to play. John Hastings said This is a fantastic venue. We used to have to drive too Henbury or Portishead to hire a table, but we were not always in luck in booking a table so some weeks we missed playing. Now we can walk to the venue as we are all local. We all used to play as lads for our local boys clubs, which are sadly very scarce these days.

We hope to generate more interest in the game and make people aware that the hall and table are for hire, so if you fancy getting together with some friends for a game then please ring Barbara for details on 01179140428

Something that is free with NO catch!

Despite all the efforts of GPs and other health care professionals, many people of all ages live with pain or the knowledge they have a condition which may not get better.

Self-management courses are know to give many benefits not only to those with painful arthritis but other chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, Parkinson’s, MS, CLD, CSF/ME, heart conditions etc.

The courses teach a range of self-help skills whichj put people in more control of their condition and offer the opportunity for patients to benefit from the friendly and supportive atmosphere.

Arthritis Care has been commissioned by NHS Bristol to run free “Challenging Your Condition” courses over the next two years not only for peope with arthritis but any long term condition.

Courses are run over six sessions in local venues each lasting two hours

They are taught by fully qualified trainers who are fully supportive as they too have a long term medical condition.They are informal and fun as well as extremely effective in improving peoples’ quality of life and there is a refreshment break in the middle.

Patients can get more information or enrol by contacting the Arthritis Care office on 0207 380 6509 or low cost number 0844 888 2111 (leave a clear message outside office hours) or email

Those interested will be placed on a waiting list and contacted when a place is available on a suitable course. There are courses due to start across Bristol. This includes Shirehampton if there are sufficient people interested to make up a group. Doctors wishing to have a course for their own group of patients can contact Nina Fry on 01458 440943 or

Arthritis Care, the largest national charity working for people with arthritis, is pleased to be in partnership with NSH Bristol and South Gloucestershire to deliver courses to people with all types of long term conditions.

191st St Mary’s Scout Troop

On March 12th, the 191st Scout Troop saw the investiture of Alex Harris.

Alex was a cub in Gloucester before moving to Bristol and joining the 191st group.

Shire Nostalgia - Or a Trip Down Memory Lane

Part Three

Unless I can find an electrician to flash the field in my brain to flush out more memories this could be my last article, last month was smells and games before TV. Another game we played was Rounders in the street (do they still play that game). The bigger kids used to play it rough, they wouldn’t throw the ball to be caught they would throw it hard to hit the person running, as you took your clothes off to go to bed there were these little tennis ball marks all over your body, I’m glad we didn’t play with a cricket ball.

Another way we kept busy and made money other than collecting bottles was to hunt golf balls up on the golf links, the man who ran the club was a man by the name of Mr Ackerman, he was always glad to take the balls we found and pay us. One time me and a school mate who I will name Bert, were up on the links and we happened to be riding a butcher’s delivery bike (it belonged to Jack Newman) the one with the basket on the front,

Built like a tank, Bert decides he is going to ride down the hill towards the bottom of the links, me sitting in the basket and Bert doing all the pedalling, all goes well until we hit a sand bunker half way down and we go head over heels almost landing against the fence overlooking the Portway, no damage to the bike but we were sore for a few days.

You would think we had learned our lesson but no, Bert decides to build a sled in early winter, it was a monster, one that would carry at least six kids stacked up on top of each other, which is what we did, with my neighbour Ted B laying on the bottom of the tier and the rest of us on top, Bert would shove us off then jump on and away we would go, down we went at a very fast pace, only to hit the same sand bunker that we could not see because of the snow, the sled went end over end, kids flying everywhere, the sled or heavy skid I would call it, coming down on poor Ted, he ended up with two broken ribs and cussing us all out.

What did we do before TV? Have fun, that’s what we did. Then there were the gangs, we had our street gangs and we were all armed to the teeth, peashooters and catapults and someone’s ashbin lids as our shields, off to tangle with the Avonmouth mob, Tommy W ran that outfit. We had our fun but never hurt anyone nor did we ever do any damage to private property. Rat-Tat-Ginger was the worst game we played where it made the adults a little angry with us, they forgot they did it as kids and we learned from them. We would build our secret dens, well we thought they were secret until we found them all torn up. We had a good one down in the allotment behind Springfield Avenue, it was underground about four feet deep and we used an old bedspring frame for a roof and covered it with dirt and grass, we even had our own dog, a German Shepherd, named Nipper, he belonged to Mr Norman but he played with us. The Harvey boys would be part of the gang and they would bring us potatoes from their garden to roast them and then we would also borrow from Mr Sid Norman’s garden any extra carrots he didn’t need and we would feed our faces.

We didn’t bother with girls much as we didn’t want them to be in the gang, just goes to show how dumb we were as kids back then, we just stuck to our Dandy and Beano. We did have a couple of pretty camp followers, there was the pretty Miss J and her friend the pretty blond Miss B both grew up into beautiful young ladies and ended up the mothers of Shire families.

Until next time Village dwellers, stay safe, healthy and be alert.

Portway School Reunion YEAR OF ‘85

Saturday 11 July 2009-05-17 Avonmouth Rugby Club

Barracks Lane

8pm ‘til late

(no admission after 9.30pm)

Entry £3 per person

For more information please contact:

Emma Mackay – 0755 4098643


Jayne Curtis 0787 0970068

Public Hall News


Weds 1st July 2009 at 7.30pm

All members of the public are welcome to attend the AGM

Light refreshments will be served

Have you got that spark of community spirit, would you like to tread in the footsteps of those local volunteers who saved the Public Hall for the people of Shirehampton?

The Public Hall is an historic building, cared for by a volunteer board of local people who are all committed to promoting the Hall and the community, not only now but for the future. The meetings are relaxed and you would be made most welcome. The AGM is an opportunity to be proposed as a trustee. We welcome new blood and new ideas. If you think ‘Maybe’ please phone either Lyn Sylvester 9825017 or Gil Osman 9826322 for more information.


July 4th – American Independence Day

Shirehampton Public Hall is holding a ‘Summer Sale’ on Saturday 4th July 2009, 11am till 3pm. If you would like to book a table/pitch then please complete the booking slip and return it to the Public Hall by Friday 5th June. 2009. The cost per table/pitch is £5 which is payable upon return of the booking slip.

If you have any queries please contact Katie (hall manager) on 0117 9829963

Impressions of Bristol Local History Festival

A Day Return to Severn Beach

Wed 3 June

Shirehampton Public Hall

7.30 to 10pm

Did you know that the Severn Beach railway line was once recommended by Thomas Cook’s European Railway Guide as one of the most scenic routes in Europe?

Dave Cheesley relives the day-tripping golden age of Bristol’s only branch line, which winds through the Avon Gorge and down to the Severn Estuary, ending at the 1930s Mecca for holidaymakers – Severn Beach

Tickets cost £2 and are available in advance from the library. Tea and coffee provided.

Public Hall Newsletter - The Grainger Players

The Grainger Players were formed originally to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of D-day in 1994. The show was produced by Shirley James, with music and singing directed by Walk May and Peggy Scott and Liz Hurd was the lighting lady. The show was a great success with a full house every night. So when Shirl (as she was known) asked the Players if they would go on and do another show, they all said yes. Shirl produced all the shows until her death, the current producers are Liz Hurd and Monica Doul. The Players are now in their 15th year and although they have had many changes in their line-up, there are jusT four original Players left, Liz Hurd, Monica Doul, Teresa Cox and Mary Hayball. The members live in the surrounding areas of Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth.

The shows are usually themed with singing, dancing and comedy. The age range is from nine years to 76 years. The younger members attend several local schools, they are well behaved, polite, helpful and bring a great deal of sun and energy to rehearsals and to the shows.

The members meet on Thursdays in the Public Hall at 7.30pm, for further details please contact MaRy Hayball. Email

On a personal note, on the 8th and 9th May the Grainger Players presented ‘the Swinging Sixties’ at the Hall, I was in the audience on the 8th and I thought the show was brilliant, it is amazing the number of talented people we have living in and around the Shirehampton area and I would recommend you all to attend their next presentation later in the year, I can guarantee you will be entertained.

Looking Ahead

Tickets for the concert of English Music, featuring the Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams will go on sale from the 1st June and can be purchased from the Public Hall and Shirehampton Library in Station Road, any inquiries to the Public Hall, telephone 0117 9829963. Ticket price is £10, your ticket price includes a programme and refreshments.



Shirehampton Evergreens’ Day Trip to Symonds Yat and boat trip on the River Wye is JUNE 30th, not June 3rd as announced in the May edition..

People in the News - Congratulations

Congratulations to Canon Vincent J. Ryan, Parish Priest of St Bernard’s Catholic Church.

In the summer Canon Ryan celebrates the Golden Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood.

On completion of his studies at the English College in Valladolid, Spain, he received the Sacrament of Holy Orders on 29th June 1959.

To mark this wonderful achievements and thanksgiving Mass will be concelebrated in St Bernard’s Catholic Church on

Monday 29th June at 7.30pm.

Nice Surprise

On Friday, April 17th, who should come to our door but Helen and Bob Brandt on their way home to Norfolk from a holiday spent in Cornwall.

While in Cornwall they had bumped into Antony Wheeler and on another occasion Toby Stride, two people well known in Shirehampton.

We caught up on all the Brandt family news. Helen is still involved with the local parish magazine ‘Link’ and Bob has several paintings in London galleries, he is also running local art classes. They both looked well and obviously enjoying keeping busy in retirement.


Methodist Bright Hour

Over 40 ladies (and some gentlemen!) gathered in the Methodist Church on Monday April 20th at 2.30pm to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the Methodist Bright Hour. (There has been a ladies group there for a lot longer, under another name).

The ladies came from churches in and around Shirehampton. The speaker was Dawn Carn (who is in her last few months of training, before moving to Winchester with her husband Geoff, where she will take up ministry there). “Good luck” to you both.

We had an enjoyable time together, sharing in the service and the tea that followed. This year the cake was cut by Joan Elston, a long standing member of the Bright Hour.

The Methodist Bright Hour meet the first and third Mondays of each month (except Bank Holidays). We share in friendship from 2.30-3.30pm and enjoy various speakers and entertainment. Do come along, you will be met with a warm greeting.

Hazel Thorne (President)

Tribute to Joyce Daniels

Joyce Daniels – maiden name Joyce Hone, was brought up in Shirehampton. She lived at 100 Bradley Crescent and worked as a secretary in the legal side of the South West Electricity Board.

When she retired, she became part of the ‘Shire’ team. Joyce was on the rota of editors, then she became secretary of the paper and then she was also responsible for getting in the adverts, which as you know is the papers’ source of income. She was for many years the pivot of the paper.

Joyce was part of the production of the paper for over 20 years and then in June 2005 she decided to retire and we understood her decision, although we were sorry to see her go. A little after that she moved from the village into a retirement home in Westbury-on-Trym, where she lived until she died recently.

Our sympathy goes to the Hone family, her brother and her nephews.


In Loving Memory of PAMELA DRYSDALE


Pam passed away on 29th March 2009 at Bristol Oncology and we wish to thank all friends, family and former colleagues for the cards, floral tributes and donations to Cancer Research UK. We also thank the staff at Memorial Woodlands for their help and sensitivity throughout that sad period.

Canon Christine Froude was most inspirational during our bereavement and words cannot express the support we obtained from Canon Christine following Pam’s death.

Larry, Jane and Duncan

(Thank you for your donation – Editor)

Megan Sims

It is with sadness that we record the death of Megan Sims, of Walton Road, who passed away on Monday, 4th May 2009 (obituary in next issue). Her husband, Alan, would like to thank all those who gave flowers and those who gave donations towards St Peter’s Hospice.

Adrian Tiger Evers

The Fun Day in memory of Adrian on Sunday 5th April at Avonmouth Rugby Club was an excellent day raising money for Motor Neurone disease which Adrian had been diagnosed with. We would like to say ‘Well done,’ to our son Wayne Harvey, Nick Venn, our grandchildren, their friends and all the helpers for the hard work they all did raising the money.

Shirley and Ray Harvey

(Thank you for your donation – Editor)

Lawrence Weston Moor

I noted with interest the article in the May edition of ‘Shire’ - ‘Along the rhines of Kingsweston Lane’ because I, like many local residents, am aware of the ecological diversity of this area of Bristol and how fortunate we are to have wonderful green spaces teeming with wildlife, to enjoy on our own doorstep. I’m thinking in particular of the Kingsweston and Blaise Castle Estates, the banks of the River Avon and that area managed by the Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT), known as Lawrence Weston Moor, access to which is at the beginning of Long Cross travelling from Shirehampton, or in Barracks Lane.

Restored Rhine on Lawrence Weston Moor ---- courtesy Avon Wildlife Trust

Restored Rhine on Lawrence Weston Moor ---- courtesy Avon Wildlife Trust

The moor itself nestles between the M5 and Lawrence Weston housing estate. Until the 17th century the land from the Severn to the current estate was salt marsh, but was reclaimed to become farm land. There is evidence that towards the end of the Roman period (around 410) the sea level had risen and deposited mud at Lawrence Weston, but prior to this the Romans probably used the water pasture for stock and probably grew wheat. The Romans built a road, (known as Mere Bank Rhine) across the marsh from Long Cross to a ferry at Holesmouth Creek. This is shown in the 1840 Ordnance Survey map and in 1860 a Roman pavement was discovered in the same area. Traces of the ‘road’ are still apparent today.

So much for a very brief history of the moor, but what about the modern day version? Thanks to the efforts of AWT the area is now a site of unimproved grassland broken up by fresh water rhynes or ditches, three pools and a large reed bed. There are also flower rich hedgerows and meadows. This environment provides ideal conditions for dragonflies, butterflies and grass snakes among other species. Restoration work is being carried out by the AWT to bring the wet wildlife corridors back to their former glory so that many more species including the endangered water vole, will return in larger numbers to a safe and robust habitat.

As the aforementioned article stated, there are larger mammals (foxes, badgers and small deer) and birds, including herons that frequent the area so, in order to perhaps catch a glimpse of these or just to enjoy a peaceful couple of hours it is well worth a walk or cycle ride along the designated path that ends at St Bede’s Catholic College but en route takes in the delights of Lawrence Weston Community Farm. What a lovely leisure activity for all ages but especially children who can walk or cycle in complete safety, and enjoy a welcome break at the farm.

So whilst we, quite justifiably, bemoan the loss of many amenities in Shirehampton, let’s not forget that we have others courtesy of Mother Nature and a little human intervention, and they are free of charge! JH

(Anyone interested in learning more about Avon Wildlife Trust and their local projects can contact them on 01179177270 or

Lawrence Weston Community Farm

What’s on in June and July

Summer tree ID walk, June 17th 11.15-12.30; Grow your own food in containers, June 18th 10-3pm

Lunch Club: Tuesday 12.30-1.30pm Open to everybody.

Farm Tots: Wednesday mornings 11-12.30pm. For parents and children under five years. Come and have a go at helping to look after the animals and gardening.

Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday (Open Bank Holiday Mondays) 9.30 – 4.30 Summer: 9.30 – 3.30 Winter. Free entry – donations gratefully received.

Super Saturday

Super Saturday and Pampered Pets Parade

Sea Mills Community Centre proudly presents their annual Super Saturday and Pampered Pets Parade on June 6th between 12 and 3pm at the Community Centre on Sunny Hill just off Sylvan Way

Yet again this year we are planning a bonanza summer fair for all the family.

There will be all the traditional stalls selling wares, including jams, preserves, handmade cards, books, new to you clothes as well as a coconut shy, smash the crockery, tombola, bouncy castle, face painting, a cake sale, chocolate fountain, raffle and a BBQ as well as the ubiquitous strawberries and cream.

For those of you with pets we are again welcoming Maria Lowe of Viking Vets in Henbury to attend and judge our Pampered Pets. All animals are welcome and we are this year providing the following categories:

  • Best Small Furry Pet
  • Best Unusual Pet
  • The Pet That Looks Most Like Its Owner
  • Golden Oldie
  • The Pet The Judge Would Most Like To Take Home

And of course we will have the overall show winner picked from the winners of the above categories. Entry forms are available from the Community Centre, Sea Mills Library, the Veterinary Clinic, Shirehampton Road , The Dog Saloon, Trym Parade and of course from Viking Vets in Henbury.

Come along and bring all the family and pets, of course, for a wonderful time.

For more information please call Siobhan on 07710 629953 or email

Shirehampton Boy becomes Local Fire Station Manager

Local firefighter Derrick Hone has recently taken over as the Station Manager of Avonmouth Fire Station.

Derrick, who has lived in Shirehampton his whole life, took charge at one of Avon Fire & Rescue Service’s busiest stations earlier this year. In his role as Station Manager he now has overall responsibility for the four watches, two fire engines, rescue tender and rail rescue unit based at the station. He also coordinates the wide array of community activities crews are now involved with.

Growing up Derrick was a pupil at Shirehampton Juniors and the former Portway School before setting out on a five year career in the Royal Navy at the age of 16. In 1981 Derrick joined the then Avon Fire Brigade as a young firefighter. His first posting was to familiar territory at Avonmouth Fire Station on St Andrew’s Road which covers Shirehampton in its station ground.

Derrick stayed at his local station for 15 years, until 1996, when he transferred to stations around Bristol during a series of promotions. Working through the ranks of Firefighter, Crew Manager, Watch Manager to his current position of Station Manager, Derrick was delighted to be given the responsibility for Avonmouth earlier this year.

He said: “I’m a Shirehampton boy, to have started my career at Avonmouth and now come back here as a Station Manager is very exciting. Shirehampton is my home so it’s great to be working in an area where I have so many ties.”

In his 28 year career Derrick says he has seen many positive changes in the fire and rescue service. “The days when firefighters spent their time waiting for fire calls have long gone, now we are much more interested in using our time to try and prevent fires happening in the first place.

“As a local I’m aware of the issues people in Shirehampton are worried about because I share the same concerns. In this area last year we had 114 deliberate vehicle fires and 95 nuisance fires, which include deliberately set rubbish fires. These types of fires have a negative on local people, put lives at risk and are a drain on our resources. If we’re to reduce deliberate fires we need people to work with us by reporting abandoned cars and flytipping or notifying the police if they know people involved in starting these types of fires.”

Compared with 20 years ago you’re now much more likely to see your firefighters out in the community carrying out work to educate and inform in an effort to stop fires happening in the first place.

Derrick said: “Last year we visited 1,464 homes in this area to provide advice on fire safety to local people. However, there’s more to be done and we want to work with people most at risk in the area like the elderly, single parents and people with disabilities to make sure they have all the information they need to be safe in their homes.

“We can only do this by providing people with better education, so myself and all my watches are keen to get out to homes, schools, groups or workplaces or even invite people here to the station.

“We have already built strong links with the local Sea Cadets who we welcomed to the station every week for 15 weeks to find our more about us. More recently we have also started working with the Gateway School at Lawrence Weston to teach young people about the risks of dangerous driving, another really important area of our work.”

To find out more about the work of Avon Fire & Rescue Service and how you can keep you and your loved ones safe, visit or call the station on 0117 926 2061, extension 8050.

Chinese Adventure

So Friendly!

Gil Osman on the steps of the Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Gil Osman on the steps of the Temple of Heaven, Beijing

I have just returned from China and besides being impressed by the magnificent tourist sites, I was surprised by the reaction of the people – they were so friendly! I had suspected a certain amount of wariness, if not suspicion, towards Westerners in this communist country but nothing could be further from the truth. Everywhere we went we were met with broad smiles, even teenagers on motorbikes grinned and waved as they drove past the coach. Young children living on the outskirts of Bejing (the old Peking) or in rural areas, stared open-mouthed at us ‘big-noses’ (as the ordinary people call Europeans). They obviously had rarely seen a Westerner – if at all. When you greeted people in Chinese, they were even more delighted.

The 10-hour flight is the biggest drawback but once you get there all is awe and marvel!

The Great Wall, The Forbidden City, The Terracotta Warriors were wonders to behold. Yet there were unexpected pleasures, the largest wooden Buddha in the world, The Temple of Heaven, the largest man-made lake in the world at the Summer Palace; The Bell Tower and the Drum Tower in Xian and the great mediaeval wall surrounding the city (in some ways more impressive than The Great Wall).

Dancing in the Park

Dancing in the Park

In China there are no such things as clubs or pubs or leisure centres. The general public takes it exercise in local parks. In one we observed ballroom dancing, pennon-waving, card-playing, a band and individual musicians and all sorts of other activities – all in the open air. It was good to see women holding their own with the men at cards!

The inner city population never goes to the countryside – it’s too far. I was amazed to be told by several guides that Beijing was as big as Belgium; that is, one city the same size as a country! It is full of high-rise tower blocks, with many more under construction, to house the millions of people who live there.

In Xian, my niece and I visited a colourful Chinese market and in nearby backstreets a Muslim market. The Muslims were just as pleased as the Chinese to be greeted in Arabic and responded as they would have done in England but with broad smiles. One young man nearly fell off his bike, to be greeted in Arabic by a white westerner!

Of course the guides were anxious to extol the achievements of their country: in particular, what China had given to the world; gunpowder (and fireworks), silk, tea and kite-flying, for example. What I didn’t know was that Marco Polo brought the secrets of noodle-making back to Europe. Of course, the Italians called their version spaghetti.

Luckily, I chose a time of year when it wasn’t too hot. I wouldn’t have cared to do all that walking in the heat of the Chinese summer, especially climbing The Great Wall or the various towers.

At 69 I was not the oldest in the group, in fact, I started jogging across Tiananmen Square and was joined by a 79-year-old retired headmistress!

I would recommend China to anybody, as a fascinating place to visit, with a history going back a thousand or more years before our own.

P.S. I love Chinese food, but after 10 days of it non-stop, it will be a while before I have my next Chinese meal in Bristol!

Gil Osman

Sleep Safe?

I don’t know if this is a new phenomenon, but twice in the last week I have heard of young people becoming the victims of theft in strikingly similar circumstances. In the first case a young man(over 18) had been drinking with friends and was staying with them at a house he was not familiar with but felt safe in, because they were there.

However, while he and his friends slept his mobile phone, house keys and other items were stolen. In the second case I overheard a conversation in which two young girls had similarly been out for drinks and gone back to a house with some lads they met feeling quite safe as they were together. Once there they were plied with more drinks and one of the lads tried to become “overfriendly”.

Fortunately the two girls stuck together and this part of his plan was foiled. However, when the girls fell asleep one awoke to find £40 missing from her purse and her passport gone. In both cases it is obvious the victims were not intending to take any action as they felt their own naivety had played a part in their losses.

Thankfully these possessions can be replaced but please make youngsters you know aware of the risk of ‘sleepovers’ in homes they are not totally familiar with. These incidents happened very locally!

Letters to the Editor

Bert’s tales

Dear Editor

I read with interest the article from Mr Dacombe that mentioned Bert Wheeler, for he was my Grandfather.

As children we were fascinated by Bert’s tales of old Shire. The tricks young boys got up to, hanging onto carts as they went up Park Hill, placing blocks under the wheels so the horses could have a rest halfway up. Open buses where boys got to sit by the driver. Circuses on the Downs.

Bert was born in Bradley Crescent and lived in Shirehampton all his life. He was proud to say he was Shirehampton’s oldest inhabitant. His mother Victoria was an accomplished musician and used to entertain Squire Miles at Kingsweston House.

His father Edgar, a local bricklayer, was involved in the building of Bradley Crescent. Many old people will remember Bert with fondness, as for the bomb in the bank, that’s another tale!

Stephen Harris


Dear Editor

Our present Rainbow leader now finds that due to work commitments she is unable to run our Rainbows every week. If we do not find someone to run our unit we will have to close at the end of July (the end of the summer term). We need to find someone who would be willing to come every week to work and play with us. At the moment our mums take it in turns to help and really enjoy themselves but we need to find a leader.

This year is the start of the Centenary celebrations of 100 years of Guiding and we were looking forward to going to the launch on 5th September but if we do not have a leader we will be unable to join the Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and adults from our division when they join the celebrations. PLEASE HELP US.

If you can help, please telephone either 0117 9823192 or 0011-7 3307917.

Thank you, Pat Davidson

Portway Photograph

John Smith, who describes himself as ‘An old Shire boy’ and now lives in Bedminster, was shown a copy of last month’s Shire by his sister, and could identify some of the people in the Portway School photograph.

Mr Smith says that the photograph was probably taken in 1953 as they all left school in 1954. The teacher was Mr Terry Pagmey, who taught English and PE, he served in the desert during the War and told the boys “Never show the soles of your feet to an Arab.”

Mr Smith could identify the the following boys in the photo: middle row 3rd right Alan Coombes, next to him, Chris Dunning from Avonmouth.

Front row first right - - - Buffen, born May 12th 1938 in Southmead Hospital, the same day at John Smith.

Mr Smith didn’t say if he was in the photograph or which boy he was.

Portway Photograph

Dear Editor

I was very interested to see the photograph of Portway Girls’ School staff in 1946-7 in Shire last month. I had forgotten about this one. I was married in 1948 so this one was taken when I was Miss Davies. It was Mrs Howells not Miss Howell and she was the school secretary. I have a copy of the 1948-9 staff and I was Mrs FOWLES, not VOWLES!

A very special teacher is missing in 1946-7. She is Mrs Grace Evans, she must have come in 1948. She died last year and was 92 years old. I kept in touch with her all those years.

Miss Shewell formed a department for slow learners, Mrs Evans in charge, Mrs Warren, Mrs Northcott and another teacher were the only teachers allowed to teach them and when they left they could all read. I have always felt that it takes a better teacher to help a slow learner. I am sure that there are many grandmothers around who remember those ladies for their help and patience.

The other group with Miss Rees and Miss Winchester were the girls who could have left at 14 but who Miss Shewell encouraged to stay on and take their ‘O’ levels. We had excellent results. They went on to St George to take their A levels and several went on to further education and some became teachers. There must be several of these girls around.

I have often said had Miss Shewell been Minister for Education we would not be in the mess we are in today. When we became a mixed sex comprehensive all this was changed and everyone who had the same syllabus as the slow learners would feel inferior!

When the lower school was demolished, old pupils were allowed to buy memorabilia. I gather the most popular piece purchased was a brick from Miss Shewell’s office.

Carys Fowles

(Thank you for your donation – Editor)

Pill Slipway


I am the secretary of the Portishead Cruising Club in Pill, we are trying to find out about the history of the cobbled slipway that we use just outside of our clubhouse in Pump Square in Pill. Could any of your readers hep us with any information?

My home email is and any information would be gratefully received.

Regards Margaret O’Connor

Shire's Got Talent

The latest show from our local Grainger Players was ‘The Swinging Sixties’ and took place on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th May at The Public Hall. This two hour show in two halves was a carefully chosen collection of songs from the sixties performed by a very happy, smiling and well rehearsed cast.

The sixties of course, as we know, were a rich source of top songs and choosing the ones to sing must have been a very difficult choice but classics such as ‘It’d My Party,’ ‘My Boy Lollypop,’ ‘Ferry Across the Mersey,’ ‘Daydream Believer,’ and ‘Locomotion’ to name but a few from the more than 30 songs performed provided a nostalgic trip down memory lane and for the younger ones an introduction to an amazing erA in pop music from the past.

Besides the songs sung by the entire cast there were solos and duets. Also there were some individual acts like ‘The Fastest Milkman’ featuring ‘Ernie’ – so funny and made even more so by Monica and Liz carrying signs from one side of the stage to the other behind him – he was completely unaware of just what the audience was laughing at!

Other items of note were ‘Stranger on the Shore’ where two very talented clarinettists gave a brilliant rendition of Acker Bilk’s number one song and Liz and Monica showed that they could still tap dance along with the best of them and a clever item called ‘A Piece of History’ which briefly summarised each year with a snippet of news of the time such as the moon landing in 1969 – memories were jogged bigtime!

A special mention must however go to the four youngest members of the cast – Lori and Chloe Hayball, Sophie Giltinan and Teddy Powell, who, although obviously not around in the sixties, must have taken great time and effort to learn the words of the songs along with all the choreography, an amazing feat in itself given the number of songs on the programme, it was really good to see them enjoying themselves and receiving the well deserved applause for their efforts.

There was a little survey form in the programme asking the audience if they preferred the pre-recorded backing tracks or the live keyboards - I think that the varied programme showed there was a place for both so I hope they don’t drop one or the other.

Both the sound and the lighting added to the professionalism of the show but this review can’t end without mentioning the costumes. They were absolutely excellent in design and colour. In particular the ones for the Locomotion were very sixties indeed and captured the times perfectly so all credit to the designer and those that helped.

As we left the hall the cast were in the lobby so we had an opportunity to say how much we enjoyed the show and to drop a few coins in the collection for Multiple Sclerosis.

The show was produced by Monica Doul and Liz Hurd who reminded us that they have been producing local shows now for over 30 years – so well done you two!! They also put out an appeal for new members who would be most welcome to join the group.

So, if you missed this super local show you should definitely make it a resolve to go to their next one – I can fully recommend that it will be most worthwhile to get out from in front of the TV to see for yourselves that ‘Shire’s Got Talent!’


St Mary’s News

Hi folks,

Welcome to my news from St Mary’s for the month of June. I trust you are all looking forward to the warm summer weather which the forecasters promise we are going to have this year! Well we shall wait and see if they are right!

Looking back to our Spring Sparkler Ball at Kingsweston House it truly was a superb evening in a wonderful setting. The interior of the house looks absolutely magnificent – much improved since I last saw it when it was a Police Training School and it is a credit to the present custodians. The profit from the event, together with the draw and that recovered from Gift Aid, raised a truly wonderful sum towards our purchase of The Tithe Barn amounting to £4467.75p. Thank you to all of you who came and supported this social event.

Easter now seems far away but I must mention our Easter Day Sunrise Service on Shirehampton Park, which was blessed with superb weather. The trees were just bursting with fresh green foliage, the birds were singing and the view across the golf course towards Abbots Leigh with the mist just rising off the fields made you realise what a wonderful world god has given us and how lucky we should count ourselves to live so near to such a natural beauty. The service was led by Canon Christine and Ray Smith and Alan Gibson provided the musical accompaniment to the hymns with their guitars. After the service we adjourned to Shirehampton Cricket club where courtesy of Maureen and Don Geddes and Pat Carter, a full English breakfast was provided for some very eager participants. Thanks must go to ‘Tubs’ our local butcher for providing the eggs, bacon and sausages etc. His generosity over several years is very much appreciated. He is the only family butcher left now in Shirehampton and deserves our custom and support throughout the year. Did you know that Thornbury town has no butchers’ shop now, whereas a few years ago there were three.

On the Sunday after Easter (Low Sunday) we held our Annual Parochial Church Meeting when the Parochial Church Council for the ensuing 12 months was elected. We welcome one new member this year – Sarah Sammans to our midst and hope she finds the experience worthwhile. Sadly we had to say farewell to Julie Smith as Churchwarden and she has been replaced by Claire Bush. Churchwardens can only serve for a period of three years before they have to relinquish their position but there is nothing to prevent that person in the future offering themselves for re-election. So thank you Julie for your loyal service these past three years!

At the end of April we were blessed by a visit to our parish by Bishop Alphonse and his wife Evelyn who were visiting the United Kingdom from Uganda. He is a very jolly man and enjoyed his lunch with us at the Wednesday Lunch Club and also paid a further visit to St Mary’s on May Day Bank Holiday Monday. It is to be hoped he will take many pleasant memories of St Mary’s back to Uganda with him.

Back in May we were extremely honoured to receive the gift of a new ‘fall’ for our Legilium made by a member of our congregation – Christine Porter – who is an internationally known Quilter and has written several books on the subject. The ‘fall’ is for use at our ‘Kids Klub’ service on Sunday mornings. Some of you may wonder what a Legilium is – well it can be best described as a fold-away reading desk which has a decorated piece of material hanging down the front part of it, which is known as the ‘fall.’ We are indeed indebted to Christine for her generosity and thank her very much for such a wonderful gift!

Now that the summer weather is with us you may wish to take part in our ‘Open Gardens’ season, when we open our gardens for other people to see. This is usually accompanied by the provision of a cup of tea and a piece of cake or similar. A collection box is usually provided for any person who may wish to make a donation to St Mary’s. If you wish you could even become more adventurous and have an Evening Session with perhaps a glass of wine and some crisps – it is entirely up to you what you feel you would like to do. If you are interested then sign your name up on the vacant date on the list at the back of the church.

Last month Ray Brocklesby held a Bric-a-Brac Sale in his garage at Keswick House on The Green in aid of ‘The Tithe Barn Refurbishment Fund Appeal.’ Thank you Ray for your ingenuity and generosity in support of this appeal.

Also during May an etched glass window was installed in the Memorial Chapel which depicts ‘The Tree of Life.’ It has been given to St Mary’s by Ray Brocklesby and other family members in memory of the late Edward Erwood. A number of animals are depicted in the window including ‘Pip’ Edward’s pet dog. Edward had a love of animals and for many years worked for the RSPCA. The window was dedicated to his memory on Sunday 19th May and will serve as a permanent reminder of a very gentle and kind man.

I must say thank you to all of you who came and enjoyed lunch and tea at St Mary’s on both the May Bank Holiday Mondays. Without your support these events would not take place – so thank you very much!

Planning is under way at this moment in time for the Childrens’ Holiday Club for five to eight year olds from Tuesday 26th until Friday 29th May. We were kindly offered the use of Shirehampton Primary School premises but owing to holidays this proved not to be possible and the Guide Hut is to be used.

I hope many of you took the opportunity to visit The Tithe Barn on Saturday 30th May and have a cup of coffee or tea with Canon Christine and tell her how you would like to see the premises used for the benefit of the community. It really is an exciting project which will, if we get things right, be a benefit for future generations to enjoy.

Our annual Parish Outing this year will be on Tuesday 20th June and we shall be visiting Oxford. We shall have ‘Brunch’ before leaving St Mary’s by coach. It is anticipated we shall have approximately two and a half hours free time in Oxford before going on a guided tour which will include a visit to the Picture Gallery and The Treasury. We shall then attend choral Evensong at Christchurch Cathedral after which we shall have a cream tea in The Great Hall before our coach journey back to Shirehampton. Let’s hope for a fine day to visit an extremely photogenic city with all its University and College buildings. A must for those who follow Morse and Lewis detective TV series!

Now, just a quick reminder that our Patronal Festival will take place during the first weekend in July. On Saturday 4th our summer Fayre will be held in St Mary’s from 10am until 12 noon followed later by cream teas served from 2.30pm until 4.30pm. There will also be a Flower Festival in the church – the theme of which is to be ‘Summer Days.’ Also from 3pm until 4pm the Filton Concert Brass Band will be entertaining us in the churchyard with their music but should the weather unfortunately be wet then of course they will play inside the church building.

Sunday 5th July is our Patronal Festival Day – and the first service will be ‘Kids Klub’ at 8.30am followed by Holy Communion at 10am. Bishop Mike – Bishop of Bristol – will be the Preacher at this service and he will dedicate the new Bishops’ Chair in our Sanctuary for use at St Mary’s and in memory of the late George Goulding. The final service of the day will be Compline at 8pm a quiet end to what promises to be a hectic weekend.

Before I go – did you hear about the Vicar who having just taken a Communion Service came out of church and slipped and fell. A small girl witnessed what had happened and said “Let me help you up mister!” The Vicar replied, “That’s kind of you but I can manage and you are rather small.” “No trouble” said the little girl who detected the smell of Communion wine on the Vicar’s breath: “I’ve helped my father up when he was far drunker than you are!” and on that note I will say:

Bye for now!


Walking together

Walking together on Good Friday began about 20 years ago for Shirehampton when they linked up with Avonmouth Evangelical Chapel and St Andrew’s C or E. Together they walked with the cross from Shirehampton to Avonmouth where outdoor services took place. Over the years the walking route has changed several times. It now starts at the Green in Shirehampton calling at the Methodist Church and then St Mary’s C or E, continuing along Walton Road, Springfield Avenue leading to St Bernard’s Catholic church and then the Baptist Church.

The walk finishes back at Shirehampton Green. Tea and hot cross buns were first served at St Andrew’s in Avonmouth at the end of the event. The serving of refreshments was at times hosted at the Baptist or St Mary’s. For several years now St Mary’s have kindly provided the tea and hot cross buns, a welcome interlude along the way, with the opportunity for people to socialise before they continue their walk. All are welcome to come along on this spiritual journey with the cross. It will be about ten months until the next Good Friday walk so keep a look out for other special events.


Shirehampton Cemetery

It was wonderful to visit the cemetery recently and to see the trees removed from the centre roundabout. Last year when I visited these were just being removed and I had not seen the finished renovated site. It was just brilliant to visit over Easter and what a difference it has made. It has been beautifully transformed and is well-maintained. I have to be honest: I thought I was going to miss the trees but in actual fact I am not disappointed.

So, if you haven’t been to visit the cemetery this year then can I encourage you to go and have a look and many thanks to Bristol City Council for a job well done. I am sure it has provided a peaceful haven for people to be able to sit quietly and reflect.

Cath Brown

Local resident and a leader of Shire Baptist Church

Shirehampton Park

Old Mrs Waters was sporting a frown;
Obviously, something was getting her down.
She saw Mr Pace in his usual seat
On The Green and walked over in order to greet
Him with ‘How are you, my dear?’ ‘You look sad, he replied.
As her glowering features he quickly espied.
‘It’s the Park that’s upset me,’ she cried with a pout.
‘In fact, the poor state of it’s quite put me out.’
‘I know what you mean,’ said young Pace with concern.
‘I don’t understand just why people can’t learn
To leave things as they are.’ ‘You’re right there, my young man
The Park was so nice,’ the old lady began.
‘Just like a lawn it were, tidy and neat;
The turf like a sponge it felt under your feet.
The kids could play ball games, or climb up the trees,
Or play in the ‘quarry’ and scrape a few knees,
Or knock a few conkers down – then lay the game;
They can’t do that nowadays; it’s such a shame!’
Pace nodded in agreement: ‘It’s only too true.
It used to be such a pleasure to view;
A lovely approach to our village it was;
An asset to Shire – but no longer, because
It’s just so unsightly, unkempt – not a park;
Not what the Squire meant for us at all. Mark
My words; the poor gentleman would turn in his grave
To see this beautiful park which he gave
To the folk of Shirehampton in such a dire state –
The park, which he loved, have such a sad fate.’
Mrs Waters looked at him with great admiration,
His face flushed and glowed with excited elation.
‘When you’re all worked up, you speak ever so well.
All your fine language – it just seems to gel.’
Now it was her turn again and she said:
‘These days you have to take care where you tread.
The children can’t play in the long grass unless
They step in or fall in a pile of dog-mess.
If it was cut, they could see it clear
And then the poor parents have nothing to fear.’
Young Pace joined again with ‘The car park should be
A lot bigger, so more people use it, you see.
And the area for picnics should also be bigger.
Again, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure
That the flat space adjacent is ideal for sport,
But families can’t use it’ it’s stupid; it ought
To be utilised for widespread and safe public leisure,
Where adults and children can both take their pleasure.
Who thought to call it a ‘meadow’ is crazed;
The idea is so ludicrous, it makes me amazed.
For flora and fauna there’s plenty of land –
Blaise Castle and Penpole, the riverside and
The marshes, the gold links – to name but a few,’
‘But dear Mr Pace, what are we going to do?’
Interjected the lady in frustrated tone.
‘Well, tomorrow,’ said he, ‘I shall get on the phone.’
With that he got up and with firm resolution,
Strode down the High Street to seek a solution.


Shirehampton Park, like other sites of this kind, has been assessed by the Council on its suitability to benefit wildlife and the grass is managed accordingly. The Park is part of the blaise Castle Estate and is managed by Martin Harris, the Blaise Estate Manager and his team. (Editor)

Mainly Gone Forever

Several street names in Shire commemorate houses that are no longer there, or at least share a name with them: Walton Road, Sunnyhill Drive, Myrtle Drive and Hermitage Close, Penpole Close is on the site of a big old house called Pen Pole. The Lawns is another example but the name of the demolished house comes from some local field names which were there before it. In the case of Priory Gardens and Penlea Court, the old houses with those names are still there.

The local historian Ethel Thomas mentions a local name not heard any more: Steepy Fields, a house in what is now called Penpole Place (which is certainly steep as streets go around here). Then there was The Batch, which was a name for all or part of The Green. ‘Batch’ is an interesting local word whose origin is not known for sure but it may be a form of the word ‘back’ used to mean small hill, as in the Somerset dialect ‘emmet-batch’ for an ant hill.

According to Mrs Thomas, Bucklewell Close contained the name of a spring from which a stream flowed whose course is followed by Woodwell Road. She mentions a steel plate set into the pavement in Woodwell Road between St Bernard’s Road an the Portway which marked its position. But old maps show ‘Bucklewell’ as a field name near Horseshoe Bend, beyond the end of Woodwell Road and Angela Thompson Smith calls the well-hidden spring near here the Buckle Well. The researchers of Bristol Springs and Wells Group also think that one’s the Buckle Well. Was it originally a ‘puck-well’, a well frequented by a hobgoblin, like Puckwell in West Knoyle, Wiltshire.

Valerian Close must be a name taken from the red or pink flowered plant which escapes from gardens and grows freely on walls and rough ground in this area. It seems unlikely that it is for the first Roman emperor of that name, even though there are other local names with Roman connections. He had no known connection with Britain but spent his time fighting the Persians and nobody has a good word for him.

Now for some final Scott-ish questions. Can anybody tell me anything about Waverley Road? Waverley in local names usually referred to the title of the novel by Sir Walter Scott (published in 1814) which used to be very famous and popular. But is there a particular reason for it turning up in Shire? What about Minto House, which used to stand at the junction of Park Hill and Park Road? Minto is a village in the Scottish Borders, in Scott’s neck of the woods, in fact and it gives rise to the surname. How did it find it’s way to Shire? It seems likely to commemorate the 4th Earl of Minto (1845-1914), a Conservative politician famous in his day, who became a governor-general of Canada and viceroy of India.