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News Index

Annual Craft Exhibution at The Public Hall

Craft Fayre Success at the Tithe Barn

Sea Cadets Launch Poppy Appeal

Remembrance Sunday - We Shall Not Forget

Letters to the Editor

St. Mary's News

Tynings Field News

Conservation Efforts Press Ahead

Botanical Gardens Trip for the local Gardening Class

Cultural Shirehampton?

Does Anyone Remember...

The Hotelier's Tale

Annual Craft Exhibution at The Public Hall

This year’s exhibition was full of beautiful exhibits all made by local enthusiasts.

Photo by Bob Pitchford

Photo by Bob Pitchford

The displays were artistically arranged by Jenny Winfield and Shire Stitchers with help from Dick Helme and many others. More items were offered for sale than in previous years and I spotted quite a few people getting ahead with their Christmas shopping. There were many beautiful decorative pieces in wood, wooden toys, soft toys (sock monkeys, even sock dragons seem to be all the rage this year), quilts, scarves, jewellery and ceramics. Some lucky people will be getting lovely presents. If all that shopping was too exhausting Christine Russell’s tea and cakes went down a treat.

A range of crafts was demonstrated so that anyone could try their hand at something new, creative and fulfilling. Don’t forget that some of these crafts are available at regular groups running at the hall. Look at our website to see what is happening

The organisers would like to thank all the exhibitors for their generosity in sharing their skills, and all the helpers, stewards and demonstrators who helped to make the event such a success.

To see a slide show of the exhibition go to: www.digitalphotos4u/photos4u/Albums/Pages/Shirehampton_Craft_Fayre/html. Thanks to Bob Pitchford for taking the pictures.


3rd Shirehampton Christmas Fayre

Friday 7th December 5:00pm - 9:00pm Station Road

Helpers needed to put up and man the barriers and there is still room for stalls. If you can volunteer to help or if you’d like to book a stall, contact Lizzie Tucker at PJ’s Barber Shop 0117 9381123 or

Avonmouth Rugby Club Christmas Bazaar

Sunday 2nd December 12:00 onwards

Craft Fayre Success at the Tithe Barn

ON Sunday, 1st October the first independent Craft Fayre was held at the Tithe Barn in Shirehampton.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

There were many stalls from cards, jewellery, bags, T-Shirt and signage design, to framed pictures, woodwork, glassware, cakes, unusual wind chimes and knitwear. Being a first event it attracted a steady stream of people through the door. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and cakes were also available. A huge thank you to the organisers of this event.

The next event known as the Christmas Fayre takes place on Saturday 15th December 2012 at The Tithe Barn. It’s a fantastic event for the community and stalls will be available for hire. For further information please contact Claudia Tuttiet on: 07557 104045 or send an e-mail to:

Kathryn Courtney

Shirehampton Primary Opens New Library

Shirehampton Primary is re-opening its library on Friday, 7th December 2012. The library has had an extreme makeover, with a new mural, fresh paintwork, and a brand new fiction section amongst other radical changes.

On the day, Shirkat Ahmed, a local professional storyteller, will be running workshops in the new library with two lucky classes.

Please let Edward Powe, Head of years 5 and 6, know if you would like to come and visit the new library.

The Co-Operative Unveils its £22M State-Of-The-Art Distribution Centre

New depot will create more than 200 new jobs and employ 900

THE Co-operative Group officially opened its new state-of-the-art distribution centre in Avonmouth on 9 November. The centre will create more than 200 new jobs and employ 900 people.

The Co-operative Food’s Chief Executive, Steve Murrells, joined Sean Toal, Chief Operating Officer, Mark Hale, Director of Food IS and Supply Chain, David Mockford, Food Stores and Logistics Director, and Adrian Buxton, Distribution General Manager, to unveil a plaque at the new depot following an investment of £22 million.

Special guests included Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West; Graham Sims, Chief Executive of Bristol City Council; and Dr Doug Naysmith, Avonmouth Ward Councillor. Pupils from St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School in Shirehampton buried a time capsule to commemorate the official launch of the depot.

The 435,750sq ft multi-temperature depot is now ramping up and will be fully operational by May 2013, when it will employ around 900 staff and will service the South West and Wales.It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to serve almost 500 Co-operative food stores in the Bristol, north Somerset and South Wales area, and will deliver around 1.2 million cases per week.

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive, The Co-operative Food, said: "Our new composite distribution centre is a major investment, which will provide significant employment locally and will boost the local economy. Avonmouth is in the perfect location to serve our stores across the South West and South Wales, and is the latest major investment in our logistics network. The new depot is vital in ensuring our food stores throughout the region continue to give Co-operative customers the high level of product availability and service they expect."

The Co-operative Group’s distribution centre in Avonmouth is part of a major overhaul of its food logistics network following its acquisition of Somerfield in 2009. The overhaul aims to upgrade the existing facilities, improve supply chain performance and help create a platform for a superior store service.

Avonmouth features several energy-saving and recycling initiatives, including rainwater harvesting to reduce water demand on site and energy-saving lighting, which will provide a 60% decrease in energy costs while increasing lamp life.

Avonmouth has also achieved the BRE Environmental Assessment Method rating of Excellent and Energy Performance Certificate rating of A - the highest ratings currently awarded in the industry.

Steve Murrells added: "The Co-operative Group’s logistics service has undergone a major overhaul in recent years to keep pace with the significant growth of the food business. This investment will mean we have an efficient and modern logistics network, while also allowing for further growth."

Support for Carers at Shirehampton Group Practice

Do You Look After Someone Who Depends on You - A Spouse, Elderly Relative or Disabled Child?

Jill Cooper, a volunteer from The Carers Support Centre, now comes to Shirehampton Health Centre on a regular basis. She is available to speak to in the waiting room on the: 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month between 9.30am and 11.30am

If you have any questions, would like advice and information or just a listening ear, then please come along. No appointment is required, just turn up. Jill will be around in the waiting room but a private room is available for discussions if necessary.

Sea Cadets Launch Poppy Appeal

Sea Cadets from TS Enterprise (Bristol-Avonmouth) took part in the official launch of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal for 2012.

Petty Officer Batt from TS Enterprise said "The Poppy Appeal is a really important part of the British Legion’s annual fund-raising drive. The appeal is as much about the present as the past.

It is a sad fact that since 1945 there has been only one year where a member of HM Armed Forces has not been killed on active duty (in fact I spoke to several cadets, cadet adult volunteers and school children who had been directly affected).

The Legion’s support is vital for the family left behind and for those service personnel who are injured or in need of welfare support. Please give generously!"

The event took place on the cold but sunny Weston’s Beach Lawns and included the making of a giant poppy out of cadets, school children and local dignatories holding umbrellas, a balloon release and a teddy bear parachute drop.

Petty Officer Batt added "We are grateful to The Grand Pier and Regent Street McDonalds who offered discounts to the cadets that took part and to Weston College for the loan of their minibus which enabled us to transport the cadets from Bristol. The whole day was enjoyed by us all and made a great start to our Remembrance Parades."

Remembrance Sunday - We Shall Not Forget

The 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour formally marks the end of hostilities of World War I in 1918. The following year the day was specifically dedicated by King George V as a day of Remembrance for the armed forces who were killed during World War I.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Today it’s known as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Remembrance Sunday (when the date falls on Sunday for memorial services) and Poppy Day. It also marks Remembrance for those who fought in World War II and other conflicts to the present day and lost their lives for the freedom of others.

The red poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day as poppies bloomed across many of the battle fields of Flanders in World War I. There is also a reference to poppies in the famous poem "In Flanders Fields" written by John McCrae in 1915.

Shirehampton residents paid their respects to the fallen and to those who safely returned home but where memories remained. I’m sure we’ve all had family members or friends that have served in the armed forces, including present day. The Sea Cadets, Scouts and Brownies attended the service at the War Memorial in Shirehampton and although young did themselves proud presenting poppy wreaths. Three war veterans were also at the service and wore their medals with pride.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Those that have fought so valiantly for freedom, peace and liberty. We shall not forget.

Kathryn Courtney

Letters to the Editor

Sally Knowlson

Dear Editor,

My friend Sally Knowlson has been busy for the last couple of months crocheting poppies & selling them to family & friends! She has so far raised more than £120 for the British Legion! She has now agreed to make them all year round so she has plenty to sell ready for next year as they have proved very popular this year. Just goes to show that Remembrance Day remains as important to us now as it has ever been! Well done Sally!!

Sandra Saunders

Reading an old message part copy/pasted below, from 2001!!!

Dear Sirs,

I see the sender was a Billie Milson. Did Billie live in the St Mary’s Rd/Old Park Rd area in 1947 perhaps? ( I think I was "persuaded" to kiss her when I was about 11yoa, and I bet she won’t remember that!! large grin. The persuader was Terry Yeeles). I’ve often remembered her myself and can see her now.

Kind regards. David.

Billie wrote,

I have kept in touch on my return trips to England with Pat Skuse (nee Taylor) and at Christmas time I heard from Brenda Williams (nee Champ). I should like to hear from Brenda Champ, Carolyn Jones, Barbara Harvey, Pam Drew, Joan Miller, Jeanette Wood, Janet Hanley, Joyce Sparrow, Irene King, Peggy Oliver, Pat Webb, Pam Chaney, Julianne Tilly, Barbara Jarvis, Annette Down and Ann Muirhead. I remember Pat Webb came down to Portway School from Hotwells.

Sincerely, Billie Burke (nee Milson).

Address: 1402 Mareno Court, Lady Lake, Florida 32159, USA .


Dear Editor

I wish to express my view on the temporary closure of Shirehampton’s only supermarket with no alternative for the weekly shop, apart from the garage, which still is a Co-op.

Having been told the store will close until mid December, this is surely major inconvenience for those who have no alternative other than to shop in the Village.

Can you explain to the readers of the "Shire" paper why we have no alternative supermarkets which could be trading in the Village or is it to be believed that the Co-op blocks any attempt from their rivals. The Coop has advertised they have a policy on "Fair Trade", but does this apply to their customers in Shirehampton when there is alternative to do a weekly shop?

There are 12 Co-op’s within a 3 mile radius from Shirehampton. They are expensive and never have enough stock when they have items on offer. R J Paviour

Thank You from Charity Search

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have helped make 2012 another successful year for Charity Search, despite the difficult times we are all going through: Our dedicated caseworkers and admin staff in Avonmouth who have dealt with calls from people throughout the UK, putting them in touch with much needed help. Our team of volunteers in the Shirehampton shop who have cheerfully coped with everything we’ve asked of them, and gone the extra mile. And, of course, our loyal customers who help us raise the necessary funds to keep the charity in action. Thank you to all and we hope you have a very peaceful and happy Christmas.

Kate Gosling - Shop Manageress, Liz Napier for the Trustees of Charity Search

Christmas with Shirehampton Baptist Church

Friday 7th December at the Christmas Street Fair Christmas Crib Pictures.

Come and be part of the Christmas story by having your photograph taken in our life sized Christmas Nativity scene.

Saturday 15th December, 3.00-5.00pm. Christmas Messy Church.

Sunday 23rd December, 10.30am. Christmas Family Celebration; 6.30 pm. Candlelit Carol Service.

Tuesday 25th December, 10.30am. Christmas Day Family Service.

Shirehampton Methodist Church Christmas Services

Sunday Dec 23rd

11am - Rev Dr David Hart (Superintendent)

4pm - Carols by Candlelight

Christmas Day

11am - Rev Dr Jacky Quarmby

Christmas Services at St. Mary's

Sunday 2nd December - 6.00pm - Advent Service of Light with the lighting of the Tree of Light

Thursday 6th December - 3.30pm - 5.00pm - Messy Church for Christmas (for children)

Sunday 16th December - 4.00pm - Christingle with a presentation by the children of ‘Hey Ewe’ followed by tea.

Sunday 23rd December - 6.00pm - Traditional Carol Service of Nine Lessons and Carols followed by mulled wine and mince pies

Monday 24th December - Christmas Eve: 2.30pm - Crib Service - quiet and reflective, mainly for adults; 4.00pm - A short Crib Service for all the family. Come dressed as a person or animal from the Nativity Story; 11.30pm - Midnight Holy Communion for Christmas

Tuesday 25th December - Christmas Day 10.00am Holy Communion for Christmas Day with Carols.

St Bernard’s Church Christmas Services

Advent Carol Service on Sunday 16th December at 4pm

The service, for the parishes of St Bernard’s and Our Lady of the Rosary, will be followed by a social gathering in the school hall with mulled wine and mince pies. All welcome!

No Mass on Christmas Eve at St Bernard’s. Mass will be at our sister church, Our Lady of the Rosary, Lawrence Weston 6.30pm

Christmas Day - Mass at 9am

Any changes to the times for Christmas Masses will be put on the noticeboard by the church door.

St Bernard’s School events

Christmas Nativity performances on 11th December at 2.30pm and 13th December at 7pm in the school hall

Carol Service 18th December at 6.30pm in the school

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Here’ s wishing you all a very Happy & Blessed Christmas and I am delighted to tell you that St. Mary’s has had an early Christmas Present in the shape of the Rev. Geoffrey Waters who has been appointed by the Bishop of Bristol to be our new Priest in Charge. The Rev. Geoffrey, who comes to us from Northampton, is married to Louise and has two young daughters aged 6 and 9 years. We all look forward to welcoming them into our church family in the very near future.

Due to editorial restrictions of 500 words for each article submitted, my format unfortunately has had to be changed to brief notes instead of my usual chatter, otherwise much news will have to be omitted.

Christmas Events at St. Mary's

Shire Sheep Hunt - Sun.3rd. To Sun 9th. Dec - a competition for children to find the names of all the sheep hiding in the shops and in St. Mary’s. Forms available in church. There is to be a Sheep Party on Thurs. 13th. from 3.30pm to 5.00pm where there will be Crafts, Refreshments, Games & Prizes for the winning entries.

Messy Church session as usual from 3.30 pm until 5.00pm on Thursday, 6th. December.

St. Mary s Gift Day - Saturday, 8th. December from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.

All proceeds will go towards the cost of extending the Memorial Garden by creating a larger enclosed area. This has become necessary by the increasing number of people wishing to have the remains of their loved ones interred in our churchyard.

Sunday, 9th. December -at 2.30 pm - Shirehampton Area Choir will perform their Christmas Concert - tickets £7.00 - in aid of the Mesothelioma Unit, Southmead Hospital. Wine & Festive nibbles during the interval.

Sunday, 16th. December - Christingle Service at 4.00 pm when the children will perform a Musical Play - Hey Ewe! This will be followed by Tea.

Sunday, 23rd. December - 10.00 am Holy Communion Service followed at 6.00 pm that evening by a Service of 9 Lessons and Carols with the opportunity to enjoy Mulled Wine & Mince Pies afterwards!

Monday, 24th. December (Christmas Eve) 2:30 - Crib Service for Adults and those who prefer a quiet reflective service. 4.00pm a Crib Service for Families and Children. Please come dressed up in a costume to represent any of the characters of Christmas. 11:30 pm - Midnight Mass

Christmas morning - 10:00 am Holy Communiom

May God bless you on this Christmastide and let us not forget all those who have no friends, homes or relatives to be with this Christmas - for many of them this will regrettably be a time of loneliness and sadness. Say a prayer for them before you tuck into your Christmas Dinner! God bless you all! Bye for now!


From the Registers at St. Mary's

October 2012

BAPTISM "We welcome you"

  • 28th Jace Clive Teakel, Suvi Lily Stone

FUNERALS "At rest and at peace"

  • 5th Linda Clayton St Mary’s
  • 8th Peter Flook Canford
  • 9th Doreen Newman St Mary’s
  • 10th Brian Eager Canford
  • 17th Robert McKeown Canford, Lisa Darlington St Mary’s
  • 18th Edna Legge Canford
  • 26th Geoffrey Stephens Canford

WEDDINGS "All that I am I give to you"

  • 20th Mathew Daley & Chloe Michael, Lee Ford & Sarah Hillberg

Tynings Field News

To mark Hallow’een, Pumpkie Night took place at Tynings Field on 30th October. It proved to be a popular event where children and adults got dressed up for the occasion. There was pumpkin pie, pumpkin curry (my personal recommendation), pumpkin soup, hot dogs from the barbecue and you could also toast large marshmallows by the fire under the watchful eye of the parents. Even Wurzel Jim made a brief appearance. If you missed the event this year then make a note in your diary for next year’s event as great fun was had by all!

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Tynings Field Community Group attended the Careers Fair at Avonmouth on the 13th November. Organised by the local job centre, this was part of an initiative encouraging people to volunteer. If you are unemployed being a volunteer can help in finding a job whether full or part-time as it shows initiative and a willingness to work in the community, plus an additional reference can be provided. Samples of produce were also available at this event.

We will also have a stall at the Christmas Fayre in Station Road on the 7th December where much of our produce will be sold from fresh vegetables to preserves.

Don’t forget our Wassail community event will be taking place in January on the nearest weekend to the 15th of the month. Keep an eye out for posters in the shops in January.

If you wish to become a member or a volunteer of Tynings Field Community Group please contact: 0117 9090440 for further information. And don’t forget to check out our web page for regular updates:

Kathryn Courtney

Hopeful News for Kings Weston House

A planning and Listed building application has now been lodged with the City Council that hopes to see Kings Weston House back occupied and in use.

The applicant is Norman Routledge, a local businessman and company director of Bristol-based Cannon Security. Some of you will have met Norman at our working party events where he has regularly got involved and hands-on with our conservation efforts. Norman approached KWAG a number of months ago enthusiastic about purchasing the lease on the house and since then we have been working with him to make sure that his aspirations match our own. We have a great deal of confidence in Norman’s proposals and have tried to encourage and support him in taking the building on through what has proved to be a long and complicated process.

Norman has also been in lengthy discussions with the City Council and English Heritage over the future of the house and this planning application is a major milestone in securing a new future for the building. The proposals are for relatively minor additions to the second floor of the building and a change of use of that floor from office space to a large flat. It should be noted that Norman still does not own the lease on the building, and things are still by no means certain yet, but this application is a step in that process.

We are keen to support the principle of Norman’s bid for the house and believe that it offers a strong plan for the restoration of the Grade I Listed Vanbrugh Building, continued public access to it, and exciting prospects for more community use that we are eager to explore in conjunction with the historic estate. By way of introduction Norman has penned the following:

My background is that I have been a local boy since the age of 9. I worked at Rolls Royce for 12 years, ran a couple of restaurants in Bristol, and now have been involved with Cannon Security for 16 years. I want to live in the house with others, and try to make the house come alive again.

As well as weddings, functions etc which will help make the house viable, I would like everyone to feel able to come and see, and use, the house.

I definitely want the young and the old to enjoy the house, and am open to anyone willing to run activities, to help teach others, to keep minds and bodies active, or just enjoy the facilities. In the refurbishment, I am hoping to get skilled tradesmen to pass those skills on to the next generation of youngsters, maybe even starting businesses that will go on to help with other projects.

I would like KWAG to be very involved with the project, and though it is healthier for us to actually be independent, I am hoping we can work in partnership together.

The application reference is12/04865/F and further details can be found on-line here

If you have any questions about the proposals or comments and suggestions please let us know.

If I can’t answer them I can pass them on to those who can and we can get a reply back to you. I hope you will share our relief that the house might be back open soon and with a new focus.

David Martyn, KWAG

Conservation Efforts Press Ahead

Kings Weston Action Group and Bristol City Council to work together to enhance the historic landscape.

Over the last few months Kings Weston Action Group’s regular working party events have continued to thrust forward with several conservation projects on the estate, most recently tackling the Eighteenth Century Viewing Terrace overlooking Shirehampton Park. In October KWAG met with the new team in charge of running the City’s destination parks and historic estates and there is growing enthusiasm to build on what KWAG has already realised. The group has been developing their relationship with the council for some time and recently announced that this autumn sees Kings Weston recognised with its own identity separate from Blaise Castle Estate for the first time ever! Pick up one of the City’s recently published "What’s on" park guides and you’ll spot a picture of the house and park on the cover celebrating this new recognition.

KWAG are delighted that council officers are eager to re-engage with the estate and build on some of their own work helping bring the park back up to shape. Following the group’s own clearance along the Georgian viewing terrace above Shirehampton Park council officers are keen to help by removing the larger self-seeded trees that are too large for our volunteers to tackle. This would prevent their roots from damaging the historic fabric and continue to open up the once-famous views towards the Avon and over Somerset. The historic and mature specimen trees would not be affected and are likely to benefit from the reduced competition. The ambition extends to removing scrub and self-seeded saplings from below the terrace too, opening up the views again.

Another project being discussed is the removal of the brambles and scrub from below the house facing towards the Severn. These are threatening to overwhelm the area and block the important views to and from the Grade I Listed building. As with efforts at the viewing terrace the intention is to return the area to the original open species-rich grassland that it was until very recently.

Before any of these works are attempted KWAG and Bristol City Council would like to ask everyone their opinions on this to make sure the right approach is being supported. If you have any views or suggestions please get in touch with the Kings Weston Action Group as soon as possible so they can pass on any concerns. The work could start before the end of the year.

Botanical Gardens Trip for the local Gardening Class

Gardens for Shirehampton’s Gardening Class. Though unfortunately not everyone could make it, those who did attend thoroughly enjoyed the trip and learned something new about plants, flowers and trees. Alex, a volunteer with LinkAge, also went along.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

It may have been a cold cloudy day but the beautiful autumnal colours in the gardens more than made up for it. The Botanic Gardens are split into sections so we saw the unusual and strange from many parts of the world. One memorable plant was the squirting cucumber that Chris discovered to her cost! There was also the Chinese Garden and plants being used for medical purposes. Dan found the trip a real eye opener; he was fascinated with many of plants and trees whilst Eddie was amazed at the difference between plants that originate in the UK and those from overseas.

Other trips with the group are being organised in the future. The Gardening Class is part of LinkAge and takes place at The Tithe Barn, High Street, Shirehampton every Wednesday from 2pm - 4:30pm. Each session costs £3.50 per person and you’ll always be welcome to join in the chat, a cuppa and learning something new about plants, flowers and vegetables.

In addition to this, on Saturday 20th October Student Volunteers from Bristol University joined forces with LinkAge to help clear weeds and overgrowth from the gardens of Jim O’Neill House. They spent most of the day digging, chopping and filling bags with garden rubbish. Local resident Colin also joined in the mass clearance. Ricky Bush from LinkAge called in to see how the work was progressing. A lot was achieved that day making the garden far more attractive for all the residents at Jim O’Neill House.

You can find out more about LinkAge via their web site: or join their Facebook page: and you can e-mail: for further information. You can also contact Ricky Bush who is Intergenerational Community Development Worker for Shirehampton, Brentry and Henbury on 07807 706310 for more information.

Kathryn Courtney

Cultural Shirehampton?

While idly passing time drinking lemonade with a couple of cronies in a local pub, I wondered, as one does, if perhaps with the recent influx of young professionals buying affordable housing in Shire, the time had come for a Shirehampton Cultural Trail.

Most people in Shire are aware that William and Dorothy Wordsworth spent some time at a house in the High Street where the Co-op now stands. There is a suitable plaque behind the main tills next to the noticeboard.

But did you know that the war poet Rupert Brooke spent his last night on English soil before sailing off to a foreign field at the Royal Hotel in Avonmouth? This was 1915 and Avonmouth was part of Shirehampton parish until 1917, so it definitely must count as part of the trail

Roy Bentley lived in Meadow Grove, off the Lower High Street, as a child. Captain of Chelsea when they won the league Championship in 1955, he played for England on several occasions, including in the 1950 World Cup and the infamous 1-0 defeat to the U.S.A. Nine goals in 12 games for England, which is impressive. He is now aged 88 and lives in Chigwell in Essex. As a child of about nine, I was given a pair of his old football boots by his mother. Unfortunately, this did not make me play like him and I probably only reached the playing standard of his mother.

On Lower High Street one also passes the house where Maisie Williams was born and grew up. This girl, now aged 15, is a big star of the TV series Game of Thrones as Arya Stark and so someone with a potentially great future and worth a mention. The house is only a couple of doors away from the Hope and Anchor.

Just off the High Street you pass the terraced housing of Priory Road and a blue plaque showing where Sir Robert Stephens, the great National Theatre actor, who died in 1995, was born. He was married to Maggie Smith, of Downton fame, when she was in her prime and looking after her "Brodie Girls".

Walk on along the High Street towards the Parade by The Green and note that, before the Parade was built, there were some attractive Georgian houses there. The Nat West Bank is on the site where the great cricketer, Gibert Jessop,"The Croucher", once lived. He is often reckoned to have been the fastest run scorer ever known and was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1898. And that’s also the second, potentially historic, Georgian home on our cultural trail which was demolished in the sixties.

Around the corner in Station Road we pass The Public Hall where Vaughan Williams’ rhapsody, "The Lark Ascending", was first publically performed. In 2011 a poll of listeners chose it as Britain’s all-time favourite ‘Desert Island Disc’. And in a poll to find what music New Yorkers would like to hear on the radio for the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, The Lark Ascending came second. The Public Hall is an impressive Arts and Crafts building as well. It’s worthy of note along with the medieval Tithe Barn on the High Street and the Georgian houses on or by The Green.

Crossing the Portway to the other end of Station Road one eventually comes to the Avon and the historic "Lamplighters Inn", now sadly in a state of disrepair. Virtually all its once beautiful ironwork has disappeared. Lamplighters Hall, as it was then known, was a meeting place of privateers, including Captain John Shaw, a local man and later Haven Master of Hung Road. Captain Shaw is buried in St Mary’s churchyard. Go in via the entrance on the High Street next to the Co-op, next to where the Wordworth’s stayed. The memorial on the left is obscured by tree growth. It reads:

Sacred to the memory of John Shaw Haven Master of Hungroad, Port of Bristol and formerly captain of the LION Privateer of 44 guns and 168 men which on the night of the 6th of December 1778 engaged L’ORIENT, French Man of War of 74 guns and 800 men, the scene of action was the Bay of Biscay where after 2 hours close engagement the enemy was beaten off with the loss of 137 killed and 244 wounded, the Lion had 22 killed and 19 wounded, this gallant commander died December 20 1796 Aged 80 years’

Paleolithic Man had settlements here; there was probably a Roman Road linking Gloucester to Ilchester; this was the logical landing place for Harold’s sons in their ill-fated attempt to take Bristol in 1068; William of Orange landed here first after the Battle of the Boyne when he wanted to visit his friend at Kingsweston House.

There is much more fascinating history in the Shirehampton area; I have only skimmed the surface. A History Trail ? A Cultural Trail. ? Well, maybe. One day.

Does Anyone Remember...

‘Harry Hard Apple’ (Davis) pushing his wooden wheel barrow over the Green, past Joe Howes butcher shop on the corner and down Park Road, past Young’s and on to his allotment, either next to the Baths or over the Portway. Catch him on the Green where he could regularly be seen telling stories to anyone with the time to listen. Did you know he cleaned his teeth by putting his hand into the chimney and grabbing a handful of soot? On a rare stay in hospital he was asked how he kept his teeth so white and that was his answer.

Long’s Ice Cream Parlour and the disappointment felt when you arrived at the little window to find it closed. My most painful memory is being sent to Long’s for two cones one early and very warm Saturday evening. Clutched in either hand were one for me and one for my sister Ann. It wasn’t a long walk round the corner to 34 Park Road but as I strolled home the cones started to melt and I had to stop the ice cream dripping on to my hands so I licked away. I don’t know why one melted quicker than the other because the sun would have been right in front of me but it happened that on arrival home there was considerably less in one cone than the other. That would have been fine but I insisted that the lesser of the two was my sister’s, NOT mine. Oh the trouble I was in!

The bonus of being friendly with Mr and Mrs Long’s daughter Paddy, was being allowed to take the near empty ice cream tin into the orchard to ‘finish it off’. Can you picture Mr Long serving us with the cone tucked into what had been left of one arm? What a life Paddy had for 2 or 3 years lying on her back, having broken it in a fall in the orchard. That would certainly not have been the case these days.

Now here is a puzzle. Park Hill Farm House lived in for many years by the Buxbaums (?).Our house and those of the immediate neighbours were built in the orchard of the farm house and Ann and I often played in their garden. It has long since been converted into three flats and Ann has recently bought the middle floor. Can you remember the well in the front garden, fairly near the road with a laburnum tree hanging over it? It’s long gone of course, but I’m sure I can stand in the spot where was. It would form a rather unique feature of the property if it could be ‘restored’ wouldn’t it?

And here is the puzzle; there don’t appear to be an records of this house anywhere. Why? Did it originally have another name? If anyone can throw any light on the history of this it would be great to hear about it. I’ve searched the Shirehampton History on the website, looked at the Bristol Records for the area but nothing can be found. Can anyone throw any light on it?

The long summer evening walks along the Park, over the Iron Bridge and across the Kingsweston Downs, which seemed to go on for miles. Down into Bluebell Wood and Echo Gate, on down the path to the house and up to the folly.

Bored in the long summer holidays? Not a chance. A bottle of water, a bag of flour and some jam if we could scrounge some, a box of matches and we were off to the ‘Scouts Woods’ on Penpole.

I hasten to add that we were members of the 120th Guides so we knew everything about the lighting and correct putting out of campfires, or so we thought. Oh boy, could we make dampers! We knew all the best trees to climb, dens to hide in and if we ran fast it was only 5 minutes back home.

In late summer it was a short walk to the bottom of the golf links to throw ourselves in the long dry cut grass and what a thrill to see enough snow to toboggan down that slope. If the snow was good enough there was a much better toboggan run on the other side near to Sylvan Way, but why did it only last a day? Sorry golfers!

Just last week I was in Shirehampton with grandchildren Sam, 10 and Zoe 4 and the conversation centred on my childhood so I drove ‘up the lane’ and showed them my ‘playground’.

Living opposite the baths was a bonus too. We simply put our swimsuits on at home, crossed the road to spend what seems like hours in the pool, and went home wet.

Did you go to Thursday evening Youth Club in the Old School, parts of which were ‘out of bounds’, and why was Eddie Thomas so strict about not letting the girls touch the precious green billiard table? He scared me to death!

Did you enjoy being entertained by Viv Stokes and/or Mike Tregonning playing Jesus Joy of Man’s Desiring on that rather old piano and help cook the snacks in the ‘kitchen’.

What about Sunday evening youth club after church with a variety of speakers. St Mary’s curate Jeff didn’t come to youth club if Shirehampton were playing cricket at home. On those occasions you could sometimes spot the ‘whites’ under his cassock and his sermon was kept quite short.

What about hockey practice in the depths of winter, walking from school along the Portway to our pitches, dressed in dreadful PE kit and having to ignore the wolf whistles from lorry drivers. On one occasion I remember being whacked with a hockey stick and it wasn’t until I took my gloves off back at school that I found the tip of my finger missing. It was so cold I hadn’t felt a thing!

All this was circ. 1945-1950 and a year or two either side but if anyone can expand or add to these memories I (and the Shire) would love to hear from you.

Mollie Young (Brearley) (Address supplied, Editor)

The Hotelier's Tale

IT was dark and really cold that night. The town was full to overflowing, what with the census and all. Don’t get me wrong it was good for business, but on the other hand there were actually some folk who couldn’t get any bed for the night.

Take the young couple who turned up really late; it was around 11.30pm I reckon. Fancy expecting me to open the door at that time let alone showing them in to one of my rooms for the night, and anyway as I said there were so many people looking for accommodation that we were full. Actually as I said to them I was more than full. ‘We’re so full we’ve got three camels sleeping in the bath’ I said just to lighten the mood, but they didn’t seem to think it was very funny! Then the girl said something to the man, something about a baby being on its way, and that made me look at her more closely. She was only young, she couldn’t have been more than 16 at the most, and she was VERY pregnant. I wasn’t surprised when the man said ‘Keep breathing’ to her, and then desperately to me ‘Any room, we’ll take any space you have’. Well what could I do? I literally had no rooms to spare; I even had Roman soldiers doubling up with Gladiators, a real recipe for disaster. But then I thought again about the camels. I didn’t really have them in the bath, of course, even I’m not that desperate for business, but there was the stable…not for the camels but for this young couple; at least it was warm and dry. ‘You can use my stable if you want’ I said, not really thinking that they would take me up on the offer. But then the girl gave a little cry, and to be honest I think the guy realised that they had literally no time to spare. So that was it. Their baby was born in my stable. They had to put the little one in the animals feeding trough because we didn’t even have a cradle or a cot in the house.

Then later that night a right bunch of ruffians turned up saying that they wanted to see the baby that had just been born. They looked to me as if they had been sleeping out on the hillside. They certainly smelled as if they hadn’t washed for days! I felt a bit guilty then, that I hadn’t turned someone else out of their room for the youngsters. Well there was no privacy in the stable, and you couldn’t lock the door, at least not from the inside, so these shepherds (I had worked out that that’s who they were what with the smell, and one of them looked as if he was cradling a lamb in his arms), so these shepherds were able to walk right into the stable. And do you know what was really strange? It may have been a trick of the light, what light there was from the candles we had set up, but when they went in I could swear that they knelt down. Yes, right there in front of the child in the manger.

I often think about that homeless couple and their new baby, especially on cold winter nights. What a start for the poor little mite. I often wonder how life turned out for him.