Shire logo

Back to January 2010 SHIRE February 2010 Fowards to March 2010 SHIRE
News Index

Lamplighters Closes

Whats on in February

Sledging on the Golf Course

Letters to the Editor

Shirehampton in the Snow!

Area Green Space Plan Update

Shirehampton - Public Hall

BBC Film Their Latest Drama in Shirehampton

For Those Who Remember...

St Bernard’s School Choir Success

Oasis Academy Brightstowe Post 16

SHIREs 38th Anniversary

Shirehampton Wassail

St Mary’s Notes

Lamplighters Closes

THE Lamplighters Pub, on the riverbank at the end of Station Road, has closed. Leon Franklin, the landlord for many years, closed the doors for the last time at the end of Sunday evening, 3 January 2010.

At the time of going to press, we do not know what the future plans for the pub are. The owners may install a new landlord, who might further develop it as an attractive destination for an enjoyable night out or lunch in the garden. However, some people are worried that it could close permanently, and be redeveloped in some other form.

The Lamplighters has a long history as an inn. In the eighteenth century it was known as Lamplighters Hall. It was offered to let as a Public House in 1768. By 1810 it was known as Lamplighters Hotel. In 1824 a guide book listed it as a destination for days out from Bristol. It has played a part in the history of Shirehampton for over 200 years.

The Lamplighters is a Grade II listed building, and is in a Conservation Area. It is also in a designated Flood Zone for Planning purposes. This implies that any proposals to change its use, or develop the site, will have to overcome significant difficulties.

We understand that Sam Townend, prospective Labour parliamentary candidate, is raising the question of the future of the building with its owners. We very much hope that a way can be found to ensure its future as an amenity for local people.

Story from the Bristol Evening Post, Sat 16 Jan:

An historic pub which was once the watering hole of Shirehampton ship pilots will reopen soon, according to its owner. Residents were stunned when Leon Franklin, the long-established landlord of the Lamplighters Pub, closed the doors for the last time on Sunday, January 3.

The pub, on the riverbank at the end of Station Road, has a long history. The land on which it stands was where King William III – the Protestant ‘King Billy’ – famously landed on his return to England after his victorious Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Sarah Arnel, owner of Nibley Road Stores, said: “It’s been really awful to see it empty. My husband grew up around here and he said it’s the saddest sight, it’s something he’s known all his life. There are rumours that someone else will take it on so there is hope, but it would be such a shame if it were lost.”

Jim Penny, 60, who lives in Woodwell Road, said the pub – the only one on the river side of the Portway – had a family feel as well as a historic past.

He said: “The Lamplighters is steeped in history. In the 1940s and 1950s, ship pilots would come from Pill in a boat called the Pill Shark that would drop them off almost at the door.

You can imagine all the business and trading deals that would go on.

“I can remember horses and carts being tethered in the grounds. In later years it’s been the only real family pub in Shirehampton with space for children to play. So many pubs are closing in the recession but this is such an important part of Shirehampton’s heritage it must stay open. I’d hate to see it turned into another development.”

Leanne Thompson, 22, who works at Fresh Catch, on Nibley Road, said: “It was a huge shock to see the pub close, it has a great family feel.”

Enterprise Inns, the pub’s owner, said it was a temporary closure for renovation work, and that a new landlord would move in.

Vicky Averis, spokeswoman for the chain, said: “The pub is closed temporarily while safety works are carried out. We will reopen soon but cannot give a precise date.”

In the meantime, local campaigner and prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate Charlotte Leslie has given a voice to community need for the Lamplighters, a grade II listed building, with a petition to ensure it is saved for future generations.


History of the Lamplighters

The Lamplighters at Shirehampton, once known as Lamplighter’s Hall, is the only pub in the country to carry this unique name.

It was built in the mid-18th century as a country home by wealthy businessman Joseph Swetnam who, it is said, had the contract for lighting half the parishes in Bristol with oil lamps.

Directly opposite the picturesque village of Pill, to which it was linked by ferry (until 1974) over the River Avon, the Lamplighters later became an inn.

King William III – the Protestant “King Billy” – famously landed there on his return to England after his victorious battle of the Boyne in 1690. The king was on his way to visit Kingsweston House and, later, Badminton.

In later Georgian times the inn became a favourite resort of pleasure parties, eager to row down river in the summer and leave the dirty city behind for a few hours.

The Lamplighters was also connected with the Society of Merchant Venturers which went down there to examine the fitness of ship’s pilots, and to make its authority felt. On one occasion, in 1800, one pilot was found to be deaf with others suffering from rheumatism and gout. One pilot was even found to be permanently intoxicated.

By the 1810 it was putting on special Sunday lunches and so busy that they had to advertise for extra waiters.

Picture by Bob Pitchford

Whats on in February

Weekly Activities:


  • KEEP FIT - Avonmouth Community Centre 7:30-8:30pm
  • KEEP FIT – Avonmouth Medical Centre 12:00-1:00pm Ring 9824322 for details
  • DROP IN ADVICE SERVICE 9:30-11:00am St Andrew’s Church, Avonmouth. Sponsored by St Andrew’s Church
  • TOTSTOP - for under 5’s at St Mary’s Church 1:15-2:45pm
  • KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB 6:30 – 8:30pm St Bernard’s School
  • THE PULSE ACUPUNCTURE CLINIC Every Monday at the Health Centre
  • BUMP AND RHYME for babies and toddlers 11:20-11:40am, 12:00-12:15 Story Time in the Library
  • SEA CADETS 12 –18 years old Monday and Thursday, 6:45-8:45pm T.S. Enterprise, Station Road


  • DROP IN ADVICE SERVICE – Shire Advice Service 9:30 – 11am 115 High Street
  • PENPOLE LUNCH CLUB – 11:30am – 2pm, 2 courses, tea/coffee, cake £3.25 details from Sandra: 0117 938 1236
  • ST MARY’S CRAFT GROUP 2 – 3:30pm St Mary’s Church
  • MAINLY MUSIC FOR UNDER 5s Shirehampton Baptist Church, 9 –11am during term time


  • SHIRE ADVICE SESSIONS. 9:30 –11am 115 High Street
  • SHIREHAMPTON MODEL RAILWAY CLUB, 7:30pm in the Public Hall
  • SHIREHAMPTON CRAFT GROUP 1:30 – 3:00pm Guide HQ, St Mary’s Road. Tel 982 3192 for information
  • ACTA COMMUNITY YOUTH THEATRE. 5:00 –6:30pm at the Public Hall
  • KEEP FIT - Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road. 10:30 – 11:30am. For those with some movement experience.
  • AVONMOTH HOCKEY CLUB practice night 7:30-9:00pm Henbury Comprehensive School


  • SHIRE ADVICE SESSIONS 9:30-11:00am 115 High Street
  • ADVICE SERVICE. 2:00-3:00pm St Mary’s Church (session sponsored by St Mary’s)
  • STROKE SUPPORT 1:30-4:00pm PBA Club, Nibley Road
  • KICKBOXING 5:15-7:15pm Public Hall
  • GRAINGER PLAYERS DRAMA CLUB 7:30-9:30 Public Hall
  • SLIMMING WORLD 5:30pm and 7:00pm Jim O’Neill House
  • KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB 6:30-8:30pm Avonmouth RFC
  • SEA CADETS Juniors 10-12 years old and 12-18 years old 6:45-8:45pm T.S.Enterprise, Station Road


  • FRIDAY FUN for parents, carers, and pre-school children 9:30-11:00am Beachley Walk Centre
  • EVERGREENS 2:00-3:00pm Public Hall
  • BINGO 6:30-8:30pm Public Hall
  • PILLOW LACE GROUP 7:00-9:00pm Public Hall
  • SHIREHAMPTON AMATEUR RADIO CLUB 7:30-10:00pm T.S. Enterprise
  • RELISH for 11-16yr olds in term time. 7:30-9:30pm Shirehampton Baptist Church
  • KEEP FIT. 10:30-11:30am Cotsworld Community Centre Dursley Road


  • COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road 4:45 – 5:30pm
  • KIDS KLUB at St Mary’s 8:30am most Sunday mornings. Breakfast and a short service. Tel. 9077026 for information

Fortnightly/Monthly Activities:


  • LOCAL HISTORY GROUP - 3rd Monday of the month 2:30pm in the Library . 15th February next meeting


  • PBA RETIRED EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION 3rd Tuesday of the month – PBA Club, Nibley Road open from Noon . 16th February 2:30pm “Flanders and Swann” presented by Tim Lewis and Sheila Furneaux
  • AVONMOUTH LADIES CLUB First and third Tuesdays of the month 7:30pm St Andrew’s Church Hall


  • BRIGHT HOUR WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP. Fortnightly 2:30pm Shirehampton Baptist Church
  • SHIREHAMPTON STITCHERS. 3rd Wednesday of the month 7:30pm Public Hall


  • DIABETES UK. 3rd Thursday of the month, 7:30pm Penpole Tenants Association, The Ridge
  • CARERS GROUP. 3rd Thursday of the month, 10:00am -12 noon at Avonmouth Medical Centre, 2:00pm at Ridingleaze, Lawrence Weston


  • COFFEE AND CAKES. 1st Saturday of the month 10:00 –11:30am. Shirehampton Methodist Church, All welcome.

Additional Local Activities

  • PLAYGROUP at the Public Hall, 9:15 – 11:45am Monday to Friday, 12:30 – 2:45pm Mon –Wed only
  • LOW IMPACT AEROBICS at PBA Social Club 7:30pm – for information ring 07717833739
  • FOUR VILLAGES TOY LIBRARY. Beachley Walk, Old Barrow Hill, Annual subscription £3, 50p to hire a toy
  • BASIC SKILLS CLASSES. Literacy Skills weekly at Lawrence Weston. Tel: 9138824 for details
  • CITY OF BRISTOL BASIC SKILLS CLASSES – FREE English, Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; Maths. Contact Gill Lloyd on 3125530

Shirehampton Community Action Forum

Tuesday 23rd February 2:00 – 4:00pm. Shirehampton Public Hall. All welcome



Tickets £1 from Siobhan Tel. 9687845

Sledging on the Golf Course

Bob Pitchford catches the fun in January 2009

Letters to the Editor

Wartime bombing

Dear Sir,

This year will see the 70th anniversary of the second world war bombing of Bristol, in which Avonmouth and Shirehampton were heavily hit. According to the late local historian, Ethel Thomas, the bombing of Bristol started on the 20th of June 1940, when the first bombs fell in the vicinity of farm land in Avonmouth.

The full story is too long to tell here but I do remember quite clearly on one occasion my father Geroge Mitchell, who was an air raid warden in Nibley Road, talking with a fellow warden, Mr Llewellyn. They were standing by the sideboard in our living room just after a raid has passed over, they were discussing as to whether they should usae their whistles to sound the all clear and bring all the people out of their shelters. The problem was, would there be a second wave of bombers? I remember they decided to leave the pople in their shelters for another half hour. This is my earliest memory.

My brother was born duing an air raid on 10th January 1941. There was no telephone and no chance of a doctor or nurse attending. While the family went to the air raid shelter my mother stayed in the house and a lady was sent for, who lived in Dursley Road. Before the National Health service came into being, the help given by such ladies was much sought after and appreciatedby ordinary working people.

Although those days were dangerous and grim, indeed, we children certainly lived in what can now be considered exciting times. I remember one Saturday seeing a convoy of tanks and bren gun carriers driving slowly through Shirehampton High Street. We had two lodgers staying with us for a while.

I did not know the reason. One of the soldiers was Polish and other was Russian. The Polish spider was the driver of the camp bus, he was stationed at Kingsweston House. Both soldiers had seen active service. My in-laws, Raymond and Joyce Cook, who lived in Station Road, had an American officer and his wife lodging with them during the war.

The bombing ceased in August 1942. Is there a memorial to remind us of those dark days. Well there is, although most people will pass without noticing. In 1940 scrap metal was collected to make Spitfires and tanks, all metal railings were considered scrap. All up through Station Road, from Springfield Avenue to the Baptist Church can still be seen the stumps of the railings that were removed from the garden walls of the houses.

The most prominent of these can be seen on the Roman Catholic Church wall.The 12 Apostles, we schoolchildren called them. The 12 railings that were left to support the name ‘Pembroke Avenue.’ A silent witness to dramatic events that occurred 70 years ago.

Anthony Mitchell

Passage Leaze


On the horns of a dilemma

Oh! Citizens of Shire
You should be made aware
That when travelling into village
You might meet with a deer.

Ash Bearman, our SCAF officer
Was cycling down one night,
When suddenly a beast jumped out,
And gave her quite a fright.

Across the road it bounded
Not heeding passing traffic
But she tried to send hand signals
And measured her moments, in panic.

The antlered creature altered course,
Bounded back to Kingsweston Wood,
Safe in the shelter of shadow and shade,
To settle its heartbeat and browse on food.

Now do we need some warning signs?
‘Beware! Deer crossing here’
Froggy flights, low-flying owls,
Or hedgehogs, a bristle in fear!

So citizens, send in your tales
Of strange wildlife encountered,
And we could play a hunting game
To cite our village creatures.

Pat Squire

Editor’s note: The warning sign ‘Low-flying Owls’ seems to have disappeared from the road to Portishead.

Army Huts

Dear Editor,

I wonder if any reader has a photograph of the old (Canadian?) army huts on Penpole, which was the home of the Portway Secondary Modern Boys School in the 1950s.

After leaving Shirehampton Junior School, I spent my first year at Portway School at the original buildings between St Bernard’s Road and the Portway itself. Then the girls took over the whole school and we boys were sent to Penpole.

Of course there were disadvantages, but the greadt advantage was that we had a marvellous woodland playground on our doorstep.

If someone does have a photograph, please contact me on 01179826322.

Gil Osman

Walton Road, Shirehampton

Shirehampton in the Snow!

Bob Pitchford braves the weather to take some shots of Shirehampton in the snow in January 2009

Do Teens Want to Talk About Sex?

Bristol parents think teens don’t want to talk about sex... but they do! And talking could reduce risky sexual behaviour

Research out today reveals that almost two thirds of Bristol parents think their teenagers don’t want to talk about sex, despite the fact that national evidence shows that 75% of young people want to talk to their parents.

Parents also believe that they should be the main source of information on sex and relationships, closely followed by schools and teachers. However, the responsibility is often left to the child’s teachers, friends, the media and the internet.

With evidence suggesting that talking to teenagers could empower them to delay first sex, promote safer sex and therefore reduce sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies, the Bristol Teenage Pregnancy Partnership is today launching a campaign to encourage parents to talk to their children.

Ninety-three per cent of parents surveyed asked for more support to include leaflets, a Bristol-based internet site and one-to-one advice and these are now all available in the city. Parents have also asked for parenting support groups which are being set up and will run from next year.

Anne Colquhoun, Teenage Pregnancy Strategy Coordinator, said:

“Approached in the right way, talking to your children about growing up, relationships and sex not only helps boost young people’s confidence, but can also delay first sex and promote safer sex.

“We know that about 1 in 20 girls under 18 get pregnant each year in Bristol and this campaign is a crucial part of our strategy to reduce these rates. The role parent’s play is incredibly important and we hope that the resources that are now available will support parents to start and continue conversations with their children.”

Councillor Clare Campion-Smith, Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We know it can be hard for parents to talk to their children about relationships and sex and that in some cases their own sex education might have been poor. But by providing up to date information and advice, we hope to give parents the confidence to start the kind of conversations with their children that the young people say they want, that parents say they want and which will have a lasting, positive effect.”

Top tips for talking to your child about relationships and sex

Start early:

The sooner you start, the easier it will be. Talk to your children before other people can give them conflicting or confusing information. Even if your child is older, they still appreciate the opportunity to talk. You could use storylines on TV or your own experiences of sex education to introduce the subject.

Be open and honest:

Children and teenagers get lots of information from their friends, other adults and the media and these messages can be wrong or incomplete. It’s so important that you answer questions truthfully to help separate fact from fiction. If you don’t know the answer, don’t worry, for advice and support visit

Start the conversation:

Try making it an everyday subject to be talked about in the car, over lunch or while washing up. This will help put your child at ease. For example, you could use events, like a family member getting pregnant, as a way to talk about babies and how they are made.

Mums or Dads:

Mums are often left to ‘do the talk’ but it is important that dads get involved too. Mums and dads are both important role models and children form their ideas about women and men from them. It’s good to teach girls and boys about each other’s bodies so that there is no mystery around what happens to the opposite sex. For example, boys need to understand periods and girls need to understand wet dreams.

Talk about emotions and feelings:

It’s really important that you talk about values and emotions with your child rather than just giving medical facts about the body and how it works. This will help them understand good and bad relationships, what’s appropriate behaviour and the importance of love and respect in deciding whether to have sex or not.

Always listen:

By always listening to what your child is saying or asking, you help them feel good about themselves. By paying them attention, you show them that they are important and that what they have to say is worth listening to. It’s always good to ask your child what they know about a subject to get a better understanding of what they know, or think they know.

Talk, talk, talk!

It’s good for parents to keep talking openly and honestly about growing up, relationships and sex as their children develop. For young children in particular, it can take a while for the information you give them to make sense so you may have to repeat something a few times before they understand. Also, if the conversation continues throughout their growing up, they’ll be more likely to come to you with questions or problems.

Don’t just leave it to schools:

It’s easy to expect schools to provide all sex education but it’s not a matter of one or the other. Schools and parents have a vital job to do in ensuring that young people get everything they need to prepare themselves for healthy and fulfilled relationships.

It’s a good idea to talk to your child’s school about what they’ll be teaching and when. You can understand what your role at home might be and talk to your child about what they learnt in case they have any questions.

Learn more:

No one expects you to be an expert. There are lots of resources available to help give you the confidence to talk to your children about the tricky topics of body parts, puberty and sex.

If you don’t know the answer, don’t worry, visit for more information.


My daughter had this rabbit
His hutch was in my shed
But when I went to say goodnight
I’d find him in her bed.

I told her off, it isn’t right
She thought it rather funny
That I was making all this fuss
Abut a little bunny.

I know she had him toilet trained
And always had a bath
She got away with most things
Saying, Dad you’re going to laugh.

My protests came to nothing
Her groundings came to nought
The day I found she trained him
To do a somersault.

But I had to put my foot down
And come to a decision
‘Cos I caught the rabbit on his own
Just watching television.

Dave Fisher

Area Green Space Plan Update

From Bristol City Council Parks & Green Space Stategy (

Dear Stakeholder,

We are writing to inform you that Bristol’s Area Green Space Plans, part of of the Parks and Green Space Strategy will be open to consultation from June 2010.

This has been re-scheduled from our intended January start, and there are a number of reasons for this:

This timing will ensure the public and key stakeholders can consider the Parks and Green Space proposals in the context of the Council’s long term planning policies, currently being proposed as part of the Core Strategy and the Site Allocations Plan. The Site Allocations community involvement is now due to proceed in June and we are keen to take a ‘one city’ approach and remain aligned.

It is vital that we have a joined up approach so that you remain fully informed on the Council’s overall vision for the city’s future planning and development - and how our parks and green space continue to play a vital role in the fabric of the city.

The June consultation will also mean that our emerging Neighbourhood Committees will have more opportunities to consider the proposals and determine the local community benefits the strategy could bring.

We are confident that the decision to hold the consultation in June will pay dividends with more local people better informed - and the final strategy documents will be of a high quality, setting out clearly the potential opportunities for the future investment and improvement of our cities parks and green spaces.

Your continued engagement in the process is extremely important to us and we hope you will continue to support us in participating in our June consultation.

If you have any questions - please do not hesitate to contact your Area Green Space Planning Officer, or Katy Mugford on 0117 922 2369.

Yours sincerely

Richard Fletcher
Area Green Space Plan Project Manager

The Land Grab Continues

Just when we thought the green spaces of Shirehampton were safe from the builders the breaking news is that they are now turning their attention to a new site.

At a time when people are queuing up to grow their own produce on our diminishing allotment sites the council in their wisdom have decided that the land at Tynings field Shirehampton, is surplus to requirements. Instead of using the land as it was meant to be, it has without consultation, been sold to developers. Is it not time we put a stop to this constant asset stripping of our allotments land?

E A Petersen

Shirehampton - Public Hall

Santa’s visit to the Hall on 21 December was a little more exciting this year especially for the children, most of them walked to the Hall because the snow had arrived.

I would like to thank the Trustees of the Hall for not only giving their time but also for donating Raffle prizes and items of refreshments for the event.

A very special thank you must go to Patrick Comer, for the role he played as you know who and also to NANGAZ (Carol Gazzard) the children’s entertainer.

A big thank you for the generous donations given for Raffle prizes, presents for the children, items for the children’s activities and items of refreshments for the event..

Thank you to Tony Garland the Co-Op, Eileen Lloyd Shirehampton Library and to

Pamela Baynton, Natasha Beaumont, Jenny Brooks, Edna Canby, Pauline Curtis, Peter Gorry, Lynn Hurley, Shulah Palmer-Jones, Sheila Mounter, James Purnell, Rosemary Rodman, Deborah Tudor, Mary Wallis and Alison Earley-Wills .

Marilyn Gorry.

BBC Film Their Latest Drama in Shirehampton

Back in December 2009 you may have seen a BBC film crew working hard in Priory Road. They were filming a three part drama that will be screened by BBC1 later this year. No date has been scheduled as yet but the BBC has said they will keep us informed.

Two houses in Priory Road were used during the filming. One was used as the production office whilst the other house was used for the filming.

The drama is called “Five Daughters” and is a three-part drama serial by acclaimed writer Stephen Butchard who also wrote “House Of Saddam” and “Vincent”. - It is a sensitive portrait of events surrounding the discovery of five young women tragically murdered in Ipswich in 2006. “Five Daughters” is made with the full co-operation of Suffolk Police and other agencies involved in the case, as well as following the inside story of the police investigation.

Writer Stephen Butchard says: “These five young women, precious to their families, had heart, ambition and potential; until an event or events, one wrong turn, one chance meeting led them into the world of heroin and crack.”

“Their dependency on these drugs facilitated their easy exploitation and led them to the street. Our hope is that this drama provides a glimpse of the real girls their families knew.”

The drama stars Sarah Lancashire (Cherished, All The Small Things), Ian Hart (Father & Son, Dirt), Jaime Winstone, Eva Birthistle, Natalie Press, Juliet Aubrey, Aisling Loftus, Kate Dickie, Al Weaver, David Bradley, Lisa Millet, Ruth Negga, Kirsten Wareing, Anton Lesser, Sean Harris and Joseph Mawle.

Five Daughters is directed by Philippa Lowthorpe (The Other Boleyn Girl). The producer is Simon Lewis (My Family And Other Animals) and Executive Producer is Susan Hogg (Survivors, Larkrise To Candleford).

Do You Have Any Old Photos?

The BBC are filming a new television series about the Lawrence Weston estate and are on the hunt for any photos that show a particular part of the estate. Do you have any photos from the early 1950’s onwards that show either Vincent close, De Clifford Rd or anything near to these roads? Maybe you have some photos of the area before, during or after the flats were built? If you do please do drop us an e-mail with some contact details and we’ll get in touch immediately. Please contact us on or 01752 727678. We look forward to hearing from you.

Smile for you

Smiling is infectious, you can catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin
When he smiled, I realised I passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile then I realised it’s worth,
A single smile, just like mine could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected
Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected.

For Those Who Remember...

Many years ago Shire village had an annual ‘’Victorian’’ street market. The whole of the High Street and much of Station Road was closed and market traders from the local area and surrounding villages gathered to sell their wares and create a festive theme at the heart of the community.

As village life changes in Shire from year to year we have all watched as the community falls apart, businesses fail, and the image of our historically beautiful village deteriorates.

It’s time to change and restore Shirehampton to a ‘good old family village’.

Our aim is to recreate the ‘Victorian street market’ not only to bring revenue to the village, but to reinstate the community spirit and family values. We aim to raise money towards lighting Shire at Christmas as Portishead and other small villages have done. This is going to take a lot of time, effort and support.

We are in the process of liaising with all the different agencies ie; police, council, community groups etc. Friday 3rd of December 2010 5pm - 9pm is the date and time we propose to set for the event. The plan is to close the High Street between the Co-op and the green. Local market traders will be invited to hire a pitch. Children’s fair ground rides, food stalls and a bandstand on the green are also planned with an invite to ‘Santa’ to attend for the little ones.

What is also missing for the festive holiday is the ‘tree’. Over the years the Christmas tree has made an appearance next to the George pub but sadly due to vandalism it has had to be cancelled. We are hoping to raise sponsorship to dress the existing fir tree that is on the green and protected by railings. This tree is old and parts of it are missing but it can be lit to establish a focal point to the Christmas decorations.

It is our hope that all of the residents from Shire, Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston will join in and support our venture. We will be asking for help in many different ways during the forthcoming months. Local companies will be approached for donations of equipment, time or funds. Community groups will be invited to join in the form of choirs, bands and dance routines and demonstrations.

The more ‘family’ orientated the event becomes the more the community will benefit and hopefully this will become an annual even that is looked forward to every year by you.

Please contact Lizzy at PJ’s with any suggestions, offers of help or donations on 0117 938 1123.

Lizzy Tucker

St Bernard’s School Choir Success

St Bernard’s RC Primary School competed in the final of Broadmead’s Christmas Choir of the Year competition on Saturday and gained third place. They did really well and have won £250 of music equipment for their school.

The results of the competition were:

  • Almondsbury C of E Primary School, Almondsbury, came first place and won £1,000 of music equipment
  • Hanham Abbots Junior School, Hanham, came second place and won £500 of music equipment
  • St Bernard’s RC Primary School, Shirehampton, came third place and won £250 of music equipment
  • Torwood House School, Redland, came fourth place and won goodie bags filled with Christmas treats

The competition was organised and sponsored by Broadmead. Katie Lewis, Bristol’s Fame Academy runner-up, performed at the start and also handed out the prizes.

Heart 96.3’s Saturday Breakfast Presenters Gareth and George compered the day as well as judging the choirs alongside Julie Harding, Chief Reporter at The Evening Post, a member of the Broadmead Management Team and Lynne Landais from Zings Music who put together the prize packs.

Oasis Academy Brightstowe Post 16

The Academy is pleased to announce that our new sixth form will be opening in September 2010 and will provide opportunities for Post 16 students to study both vocational and academic pathways, to assist them on the road to Higher Education and provide a head-start towards a career.

“Hi, my name is Mr Woodville and I am Assistant Principal in charge of Post 16 Education at Oasis Academy Brightstowe.

“I have recently come from a school in Wiltshire, where I was Director of Post 16 Learning, and am thrilled and excited to be helping the Academy plan for their new sixth form, which I feel is a key part of the school’s transformation.

“It will require strategic planning to get the sixth form off the ground and we are very keen to ensure that it is a consultative process, so that we offer students the courses that are right for their future.

“We hope to offer vocational and academic qualifications with an emphasis on our Academy specialism of ICT and Mathematics. A list of available courses and entry guidelines will be published nearer the time of opening.

“Until then, we will be listening closely to the requirements of the current Year 11, supporting them with relevant and individual careers advice and matching their needs with our aspirations.

“The sixth form will be open to anyone. It is hoped that many existing students will wish to stay on and we are keen to welcome students from schools in the surrounding area.”

For more information, please contact Matthew Woodville, Assistant Principal and Director of Post 16 Education on 0117 353 2600 or email

Carols on the Green Christmas Eve 2009

We think this Christmas Eve tradition is certainly over 30 years old, but we are not quit sure which year it started.. However, thanks to Mr. Sims and the band of NW Bristol; Colin Chidegy, who put up the platform and installed the microphone and lights (as well as the fairy lights round the edge); the house on the Green, who let us plug into their electricity; and the Rev. Chris Grant, our new Baptist minister, who guided us through the carols, the show rolled on. Luckily the weather was fine so we were outdoors. A good crowd turned up to sing, most bringing the middle pages of SHIRE with the words, so we didn’t have to distribute so many spare copies of Shire to those who forgot.

At the end, two people quite independently came up to Mr. Grant to thank him for being M.C., saying that it was the first time either of them had been to Carols on the Green, and how much they had enjoyed it. SHIRE newspaper which sponsored this gathering was once again delighted with the response of the crowd, who sang with might and main, and also left the Green looking neat and tidy.

We thought we saw someone using a cine-camera at the event; if anyone has a film of the occasion, it would be great to see it. We might be able to organise a public viewing - who knows?


(Photos Bob Pitchford)


This year, three members of the Chidegy family graduated: Maria graduated in Music from the Welsh College of Music; Rosa graduated in Psychology from Surrey; and their mother Misha received her M.A. in Education with her thesis ‘Raising Achievement in City Schools’.

We are always delighted when someone from the village or who has local connections, does well. If you know of other peoples’ achievements, do let us know; we would love to give them some printed praise.


SHIREs 38th Anniversary

We often wonder if we are the longest-running FREEBIE, perhaps in Bristol, or even from further afield. among monthly publications. We are an amateur team, dependent on local businesses for their continued support. We are inter-denominational and non-political. The format has changed over the years; it started in1972 as an A4 magazine and in July 1975 it became a small newspaper, which it has remained ever since. Thanks to our readers and advertisers, who have kept us going over the years. Long may it continue. J.A

Three Men Charged with Murder and Robbery

Three men appeared at Bristol magistrates’ court on Thursday Jan 14 charged with murder and robbery.

They were arrested on January 12 in connection with the death of Senel Mansiz during a robbery at M and M Catering Supplies, St Andrew’s Road, Avonmouth on October 29, 2009.

They are Stephen Sarkozi, 28 and Brendon Weafer, 30, both from Fishponds, and Vincent Randall, 42, from Lawrence Weston.

Four other men arrested in connection with the incident remain on police bail while inquiries continue.

Shirehampton Wassail

On Sunday 17th January 2010 the Community of Shirehampton had a ‘Wassail’ in the Daisy Field. An ancient tradition, performed on the old New Years Eve, it was said to bring good luck to the orchard and a good harvest. Organised by Jim and Caroline Penny of Shirehampton, Morris Dancing was performed by Rag Morris of Bristol.

It began with music on the Green where free apples were given and free hot spiced ‘wassail’ apple juice was drunk. Everyone then walked to the Daisy Field where a young girl was chosen to be our Wassail Princess, her role to pour cider around the roots of one of the trees in the recently planted orchard. Rag Morris continued to entertain in a lively style and did a fantastic job encouraging people to join in.

The Daisy Field, is a field that has been earmarked by Bristol City Council as part of a programme of selling off open spaces that are supposedly ‘low value’. The Community of Shirehampton disagrees that the field is of low value and their huge support of the Wassail shows that it is not. In fact, the Daisy Field, formerly Portway Tip, was made into a park not so long ago, as a vision for a greener Bristol Project, and is now used by the community a lot. It is a wildlife haven as a survey by Wessex Ecology shows, deer have been sighted, and over the past few years has had tree planting and bulb planting, most of the work done by volunteers.

The Community wanted to express how strongly they feel about the Council’s actions and how they now want the Council to leave their green spaces alone. Due to the fantastic support of everyone who came that it would be a very positive idea to hold future traditional events in the coming months.

Caroline and Jim would like to thank everyone for their support also the Co op, Bobbetss Fruit and Veg and TS Cafe for helping.

Caroline Penny

191st St Mary’s Scout Troop

On December 10, 2009, Ryan Jones and Brandon Pittard were invested into the 191st St Mary’s Scout Troop.

The Troop wish to thank everyone who donated their loose change towards the collection held outside the Co-op on Saturday December 12, thanks to Mr Garland for his support and for the hot tea to keep us all going. The amount raised was £176.63p.

Free short courses for adults with few or no qualifications:

Basic Computers, CV Writing and Job Preparation Skills, English for Speakers of Other Languages,

Want to Work in Childcare? Introduction to Health and Social Care, Confidence Building courses etc.

Please contact Suzanne (Learning Communities Team) on 9030072 or Veronique on 9030065.

Email: or

Life in Shirehampton

AS a student living in Shirehampton, you could sometimes feel at little detached from city living, the feeling that you’re leading a double life, spending the week mingling with scruffy students, stuck in a stuffy library madly typing up essays, then at the end of the day you have the tedious commute back on the over-packed buses. But on the weekends . . .

The village of Shirehampton offers a stange kind of comfort, the many little things it has to offer that fast become part of your weekly ritual. Whether it’s the welcoming Charity shops, that never leave you empty handed or the rich variety of fruit and vegetables served up by Bobbits the green grocer, there is always something that makes you feel very much at home.

I often questsion what’s really at the heart of Shirehampton, a place that has maintained its village qualities when other areas have simply become places you drive past.

The shops and cafes may change their owners or their decor but the people of Shire remain, like my nanny and grandad, who have lived in Shire longer than they care to remember. The pensioners that religiously attend the Sunday service at Shire Church no mattter how cold it is outside, the shoppers that choose to do their weekly shop locally, supporting Shire’s businesses and all the volunteers who give their spare time to work in Shire’s charity shops. It’s these people who create the Shire we live in today. Shire is a place without the beautiful bells and whistles that make up your average chocolate box village but what it lacks in overflowing flower beds or over priced art galleries is makes up for in other ways, the feeling that you’re part of a community, a place where families have made their home for generations and will hopefully continue to do so.

Charlotte Rees (aged 19)

St Mary’s Notes

Hi Folks!

As I write these notes (in January) the snow lies thickly on the ground and the weather forecasters predict the cold spell will go on and on which immediately puts the thought of Spring and Easter right on the back burner. The severe cold reminds me very much of the 1962/63 winter when I was patrolling the city streets as a young policeman. It was cold!

Last Christmas we had a goodly number at the Cotswold Ecumenical Carol Service and we remembered especially in our prayers, Brian Blandford who led the 2008 service and died only a few days later. He is sadly missed by all of us - gone he may be, but not forgotten.

The Shirehampton Area Christmas Choir Concert was a resounding success and was enjoyed by all and I am pleased to say that ticket sales made over £800 towards our Tithe Barn Appeal.

We had numerous Carol Services over the Christmas period throughout the parish. Carols were sung at Shirehampton Golf Club, the Port of Bristol Club, in Nursing and Residential Homes course, and at St Mary’s Carol Service led by Canon Christine; also we must not forget the volunteers who braved the cold to sing carols in the churchyard for Christian Aid one Saturday morning. On

Sunday 20th December we were delighted to welcome back to St Mary’s Maureen & Bill Warren, who moved to Surrey last July.

They have very generously made a gift of Bristol Blue glass candlesticks, jugs, wafer bowl and lavabo set for use at Communion Services at St Mary’s. Canon Christine blessed and dedicated these wonderful gifts, which will be used at our Holy Communion Service.

We had two Crib Services which were held on Christmas Eve. The first one at 2.00pm which was well attended was a series of readings and carols during which a tableau of the nativity was presented by some members of our congregation.

The second one which was mainly for children and their parents was absolutely packed out as there were more than 400 adults and children present.

The only absentee was ‘Red’ - the horse from Kingsweston Riding School for the Disabled; known to us from a previous visit, he was unable to come because of the icy road conditions.

Sheila Bubb, a regular member of our congregation, left our shores just after Christmas to visit her son in Tasmania - so I expect she will be nice and suntanned when she returns. By the time you read these notes I hope the snow and ice will have gone and Sheila will be back home safe and sound once more.

Congratulations must go to Edith Straker, who lives in Bradley Crescent, who was 90 years young on the 30th December. We wish her health and happiness this coming year.

Thank you to all who braved the bitter weather to attend our Book and CD Sale on Saturday 9th January. Your support for this event was very much appreciated.

We all lament the death, just after Christmas, of Frank Forder, whose son Tim is our organist and Choirmaster. Well-known and respected in the village, Frank was 87 years of age and managed to beat cancer a few years ago. The last time I saw him was on Christmas Day after our Holy Communion service, waiting for Tim to transport him home.

We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Tim and the rest of his family on their sad loss and will remember them all in our prayers.

At 8.00pm on Tuesday 2nd February, we shall be holding a service of Compline for Candlemas, when we shall remember those living in the darkness of dementia. There will also be an opportunity to sponsor a candle at this special time when we think of light.

Sunday, 7th February, is the day of our Confirmation Service which is to be held at 6.00pm that evening. There will be 12 candidates from St Mary’s and probably others from neighbouring parishes. The service will be led by Bishop Mike, Bishop of Bristol. All are welcome; our usual Holy Communion service will be held at 10.00am in the morning.

Soon we shall be entering the season of Lent. Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) this year is on 16th February, so between 10.00am and 12.00 noon we shall be having our Pancake Party with races in the churchyard and a quiz in church and, of course, pancakes with your tea or coffee. This is always a very good fun day, so put this date in your diary - which Auntie Mabel gave you for Christmas!

Ash Wednesday , which follows Shrove Tuesday, is the beginning of Lent. There will be a service of Holy Communion with Imposition of Ashes at 7.00pm, followed by a simple supper.

The first of our Lent Course evenings will be on Wednesday 24th February. These will be on every Wednesday thereafter until 24th March. This year the course will be led by Professor Phil Wilby who will take us on a journey through Lent, linking the arts and our faith.

These meetings will begin with a simple supper, then the talk, and finish with Evening Prayer. All are very welcome to come and join us.

The Women’s World Day of Prayer service this year is to be held in the Methodist Church at 2.30pm on Friday 5th March, focusing on Cameroon. This is not for women only - men are most welcome.

Later that same evening (5th March) at 7.30pm St Mary’s will be hosting a concert performed by Chepstow Male Voice Choir and during the interval there will be a simple buffet. Tickets, £6 available from Gill Sawyer at the Church Office, - another date for your diary.

A Quiet Day for Lent will be held from 10.00am until 4.00pm on Saturday 6th March at Trinity College, Stoke Bishop. Lunch will be provided and the day will be led by Robin Greenwood, well known author and Priest.

Finally - two children watched their granny reading her bible. ‘Why does she do that?’ asked one. The other one replied ’I expect she’s studying for her final exams!’

‘Bye for now,


Jan ‘10

From the Registers at St Mary's

December 2009

Baptisms – “We welcome you” - 27th December

  • Callum Jay Edwards
  • Tristan James Edwards
  • Olivia Jane Portingale

Funerals – “At rest and at peace”

  • 2nd December - John Chilcott
  • 3rd December - Dorothy Brownjohn
  • 7th December - Pearl Baker
  • 7th December - Mary Trott
  • 10th December - Alice Dickens
  • 14th December - Betty Rycicki
  • 14th December - June Williams
  • 17th December - Victor Crocker
  • 18th December - Sheila Gibbs
  • 23rd December - Robert Gissing
  • 29th December - Jim Cook

Rev Anthony W. Wheeler, 1928 - 2010

It was with much sadness that we learned, shortly before going to press, of the death of the Rev. Anthony Wheeler, known to everybody as Tony. He died at his home in Shirehampton on Thursday, January 14th.

Tony was a much loved Priest and Gentleman known to many throughout the parish, with a kind and considerate nature. I first knew him when he worked in George’s Bookshop, Park Street, Bristol, and he was regularly seen at around 8am each morning, cycling on his drop-handled bicycle through Shirehampton village to work. He was a good and faithful servant to St. Mary’s and in his early days was a Server before becoming a Lay Reader. He also served as Secretary to St. Mary’s PCC for 6 years during the incumbency of the late Rev. John Smith. In his spare time he studied to become an ordained minister in the Church of England. He was ordained Deacon in 1976 in Bristol Cathedral, was ordained Priest the following year, and became a non-stipendiary-minister and honorary Curate at St. Mary’s. He was also Chaplain to the Missions to Seamen from 1976 until he retired in 1998.

Tony was very well-read, and he produced a Guide and history book on St. Mary’s and Shirehampton which is now sadly out of print (although I still have a copy). His research for that book revealed that monks from Corneille, in France, settled in Shirehampton and formed a small community here. Tony arranged a visit by the Abbot of Corneille to St. Mary’s, and as a gift and souvenir of the tie between our two communities, the Abbot gave our church a piece of carved stone which had fallen from his abbey, which is still on display in St. Mary’s to this day! Many of the couples who were married by Tony at St. Mary’s will rmember him for his thoughtfulness, as it was his custom after the ceremony to give a small gift from himself to the Bride and Groom. We shall miss him very much; may he now rest with God, free form the pain and discomfort which he suffered in his latter years. God bless you, Tony.

“Are you missing out on energy savings?” asks Doug Naysmith MP

Local MP Doug Naysmith warned that 6100 households in his constituency of Bristol North West could be missing out on savings of up to £250 a year on the energy bills because they are failing to claim free insulation grants.

Dr Naysmith said “I hope people will ring the Home Heat Line on 0800 33 66 99 to get a free copy of the ‘Little Book of Energy’, which gives tips on how to save money and keep warm this winter. It has tips for making our homes more energy efficient, and tells people about free grants for insulation and assistance available to help reduce heating bills.”

The launch of the Little Book of Energy comes as research shows residents could save around £150 a year on their heating bills by insulating their lofts and another £115 a year with cavity wall insulation.

The research, conducted for the Home Heat Helpline by independent think tank, the New Policy Institute (NPI), found there are 3.6 million eligible households across the country missing out on free help. The 6100 homes in Bristol North West which are missing out, account for around 13% of all local homes.

Anyone who is concerned about their fuel costs or those of a relative, neighbour or friend, should call the Home Heat Helpline free on 0800 33 66 99 to see if they are one of the Missing Millions.

Kacey O’Neill captures the problems

The snow has certainly caused problems on the roads and in local shops.

The local Co-op running low on milk supplies and attempting to stock the bread shelves but to no avail. As soon as it arrived it began it’s disappearing act again.

And the local bus service was also affected due to a car being illegally parked on The Green in Shirehampton. The bus driver made several attempts to turn his bus into The Green to reach his bus stop outside the local gym, but due to the ice and snow and holding up impatient drivers on Park Hill, he had no choice but to give up and drive up Park Hill instead. I am not sure if the bus passengers were eventually picked up but parking outside the Georgian Houses on The Green only makes life difficult for bus drivers, cheerful for Parking Attendants and unhappy for the car owner.