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Back to October 2015 SHIRE November 2015 Fowards to December 2015 SHIRE
News Index

Warning: Beware impersonator

Adult Learning Course - Making Paper

Women’s Fellowship, Shirehampton - programme

The riddle of the Kings Weston sphinx

Lawrence Weston Community Farm

Christmas Gifts Project

St Mary’s News

From The Registers of St. Mary's

Primary School Visit to Cattle Country

Shires BMX Champions

Tynings Field News

Kings Weston’s Amazing History

The Battle of Shirehampton

Lamplighters Marsh Needs Friends

Lamplighters Open Space

Nature Notes

St. Bernard's Church Christmas Fayre

Letters to the Editor

Botany in the Shire

Jim O’Neil Christmas Fayre

Increase In Moped & Motorbike Thefts

S H I R E    @ShireNewspaper    #ShireNewspaper

Remember Remember . . .The Firework Code!!!

p1_Fireworks.jpg, Picture of fireworks
Photo by Bob Pitchford

WE all want you to enjoy your bonfire and firework celebrations safely.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service Firefighters are asking members of the public to help them prevent unnecessary 999 calls this Bonfire Night. November 5 is traditionally a busy night for Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) with around 50% more calls than on an average night. However, many of the 999 calls turn out to be well intended false alarms, where people have spotted a fire which turns out to be a controlled bonfire in a garden.

This year AF&RS is asking people to let their neighbours know if they are having a bonfire as this may help to reduce the risk of unnecessary 999 calls and ensure firefighters are available to respond to other emergencies. Make sure you build your bonfire well away from hedges and fencing which could catch fire.

If you can, attend a properly organised display as these tend to be safer than having your own at home. However, if you are celebrating at home make sure you follow our advice to keep you and your family safe. Only buy fireworks complying with the British Standard (BS7114).

Any reputable dealer or retailer will sell fireworks that comply with this standard. If you are offered any others do not buy them and contact trading standards to let them know.

Follow the Firework Code

  1. Keep fireworks in a closed box or tin.
  2. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix, save the drinking until after the fireworks;
  3. Follow the instructions on each firework.
  4. Light fireworks at arm’s length, using a taper.
  5. Stand well back.
  6. Never go near a firework which has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, as it could still explode.
  7. Never carry fireworks in your pockets.
  8. Never throw fireworks.
  9. Keep pets indoors.
  10. Always supervise children with sparklers.

Over half of injuries every year are to children under the age of 15. The most common injuries are to the hands, wrists and eyes and most of these are caused by sparklers:

  • Teach them to hold the sparkler at arms length and wear gloves.
  • Explain to them that sparklers get very hot and will burn their skin if not held correctly.
  • Don’t give sparklers to children under 5 years of age, as they may not understand the dangers.
  • Keep a container of water nearby, large enough and deep enough to put sparklers in after use.

Warning: Beware impersonator

PEOPLE in Bristol have been warned to be on the look-out for a man falsely claiming to be a Trading Standards Officer. This person, who has been operating in the south of the city, is unknown to the Bristol City Council Trading Standards Service.

It is understood that the impersonator is asking to see documents relating to work residents may have had carried out previously by a business called Claymore Paving. Sarah Davey, Trading Standards team leader, said: “We are urging residents to be extra cautious about anyone visiting their home - and if someone does visit you, then you should always ask for identification.

“Genuine council employees will show their identification at your door as a matter of course, but you should always ask for this if it is not immediately offered. It will always be shown on request. If someone refuses to show you their ID card, or stops you from taking it from them to examine it more carefully, then do not let them in, shut the door immediately, and if you feel threatened, call the police.”

If you need advice about traders calling at your door, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or, if you feel threatened or are in immediate danger, please dial 999.

Kirsty Stilwell, Public Relations Officer, Tel: 0117 922 2650/07467 335767,

Adult Learning Course - Making Paper

Wednesdays 6.30pm to 8.30pm for 6 weeks starting 4 November.

Learn to make exquisite objects in relief and with paper pulp (recycled and plant fibre of different origins). Experiment with texture, fibre, colour and form.

Tutor: Annelies Egli, Course code: AC1040SLA , Full fee £72 / £44. Venue: Stoke Lodge Centre, Shirehampton Road, BS9 1BN

Bristol City Council - Adult Learning Enrol online at, by phone - 0117 903 8844, email, in person or by post at Stoke Lodge, Shirehampton Road, Stoke Bishop, BS9 1BN.

Shire Newspaper Needs a Treasurer!

No special qualifications required

After twenty years of service, our treasurer, David Thomas, is standing down in 2016. Shire would like to have a new treasurer in post early in the New Year. We need someone who is well-organized, comfortable with figures and attentive to detail. You do not need special accountancy qualifications.

To find out more about what the job entails please get in touch with David on 0117 982 2941, or email

Women’s Fellowship, Shirehampton - programme


4 NovHorse Racing Night
11 NovHardys Wine at Portbury - talk by Laura
2 DecChristmas Party Night - entertainment and shared supper, please bring your own drink
16 DecChristmas Meal


6 JanUnwanted Christmas presents + cheese and wine
27 JanHolidays Afloat - talk by Susan Marshfield
10 FebFlower Decoration with Sue assisted by Cindy
24 FebDuo - Entertaining us with songs from the 50’s & 60’s
9 MarBeetle Drive
23 MarWind in the Willows - talk with music & song by Tim Lewis
6 AprSkittle Night - venue to be arranged
27 AprAntiques Road Show - talk by Cliff White
12 MayTHURSDAY - Afternoon tea with Chippenham ladies
25 MayBingo
8 JunGoing to Blazes - talk of reminisces of Chief Fire Officer John Craig
22 JunQuiz Night with cheese & win
6 JulAGM & shared supper
20 JulEvening Trip

Thank you for your donation - Ed

Meetings are held at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road from 7.30pm - 9.30pm

Electoral Register Annual Canvass

ELECTORAL canvassers are visiting households in the city who have not yet returned their Household Enquiry Form (HEF). The aim of the HEF is to ensure the electoral register is up to date and to identify any residents who are not registered to vote.

Canvassers are calling at homes across Bristol to make sure residents are registered to vote. Many of the canvassers will have an electronic tablet, which they can use to complete the HEF on doorsteps, register electors to vote and check documentary evidence. Others will be carrying paper forms.

Over the coming weeks, canvassers will attend more than 65,000 properties. They will always carry identification and will never ask for any form of payment.

Householders are urged to join the 71% of Bristol households who have already returned their HEF, which they are required to do every year. Apart from being a legal requirement, completing the HEF is essential for anyone who wants to vote in the forthcoming elections as well as anyone wanting to apply for credit.

Thursday 5 May 2016 will be one of the busiest voting days Bristol has seen in recent years, with elections taking place for the next elected Mayor and Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, alongside all 70 ward councillors.

Nicola Yates, Electoral Registration Officer for Bristol City Council has said: “Voting is one of the central pillars of a healthy, modern democracy, and to vote people must be on the electoral register. “Since the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration in 2014, the focus is on the individual taking responsibility and it is important people respond, as others have, and do not ignore these letters. To take part and have a say at next year’s elections, I urge residents to go online today to confirm their register entry or to make a new application to be included.”

For more details contact Electoral Services on 0117 922 3400, email or Web site

The riddle of the Kings Weston sphinx

KWAG recently came back to topographical drawings held by the British Library. Many of them are pen and ink illustrations by artist Samuel Hieronymus Grimm. A detail caught their eye and may help to solve the riddle of the missing sphinx of Kings Weston.

The sphinx were an integral part of the original design of Kings Weston House and were intended to sit either side of the main steps. They were recorded in a drawing by James Stewart in 1746, but have since vanished.

KWAG believe this happened in 1766 when the architect Robert Mylne proposed reconstructing them for Edward Southwell III. One of Grimm’s paintings shows two sphinx outside Blaise Castle, which was designed in exactly the same year for Bristol merchant Thomas Farr on the adjacent estate.

Could it be that the sphinx were disposed of as unfashionable ornaments, unfit for the newly remodelled house and park at Kings Weston? Are the sphinx at Blaise Castle actually Kings Weston’s cast-offs? And what’s happened to them now? The mystery continues.

p5_Sphinx.jpg, sphinx at Kings Weston
Kings Weston by Samuel Hieronymous Grim

Lawrence Weston Community Farm

FREE projects: Weekend Farm Hands 8 - 11 Year Olds

Are you aged 8 - 11yrs and would you like to help at the farm at the weekend? Do you live in Lawrence Weston, Avonmouth, Sea Mills or Shirehampton?

Farm Hands help to look after the farm - handling and feeding the animals, gardening and also den building and cooking on a fire. There are limited places so pop into the farm to get a form, phone Kerry 01179381128 or

Christmas Gifts Project

Learn some low cost, fun, easy ways to make gifts and cards for friends and family.

Enjoy some creative time for you! Thursdays 10am to 1pm on 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th November

To book a place or for more info phone Kerry 01179381128 or

This project is particularly for adults with few or no qualifications.

St Mary’s News

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks!

Here we are - dark evenings once again, central heating systems switched on and ‘flu jabs for us golden oldies. How time flies when you are enjoying yourselves!

Thank you to all those generous folk who contributed to our Harvest Appeal for the Rainbow Centre for Children. You will be delighted to know that to date we have raised £3,407 and there are still a number of boxes yet to be handed in. Due to your generosity, it has been great fun watching the donations totals going up and up as each day passed.

Our Harvest Supper was fully booked and we had a wonderful three course meal followed by a super slide show put on by Terry Merrett-Smith and his colleague David who kept us all amused with his humorous commentary.

On Wednesday 4th November at 1pm, we shall be holding another Lunch & Beetle Drive in the church. This time we shall be issuing tickets for this event at a cost of £5.00. These will be available from the Church Office.

Sunday 8th November is Remembrance Sunday and our morning service will commence at 10am in the church, when the Roll of Honour will be read out. These are the names of those killed in both World Wars and later wars. The choir and congregation will then walk in procession to the War Memorial at Shirehampton Park for the 11am Act of Remembrance and two minutes’ silence. At 6pm that evening, there will be a Service of Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer with the music and singing led by the Bristol Cathedral Consort Choir. A chance to enjoy listening to some wonderful singing.

The following Saturday 14th November at 3pm is our Annual Memorial Service to remember lost loved ones. Lost they may be but not forgotten! There will be an opportunity in the weeks leading up to this service to have the name of your lost loved one added to the Prayer List, which will be read out at the Memorial Service. There will also be an opportunity to complete a Prayer Card in memory of a loved one to be hung on our Tree of Light throughout Advent and Christmas.

Saturday 28th November from 10am until 12 noon is our Christmas Festive Food Fayre, when you will have the chance to purchase all those delicious goodies which add inches to our waistlines and gifts for the coming Christmas season. This is always very busy so you will need to be at the door early, so as not to miss the particular item you want before they are rapidly sold out. Tea, coffee and other refreshments will also be available.

The next day - Sunday 29th November - is Advent Sunday. There will be a baptism service at 10am and at 6pm we shall be holding an Advent Service of Light, when our Tree of Light, containing all the little Prayer Cards mentioned earlier, will be illuminated together with the floodlights for Christmas.

Before I go I will leave you with this thought, particularly for us older folk: “Every day above ground is a good one!”

‘Bye for now - C.M.E

From The Registers of St. Mary's

September 2015

Baptism ‘we welcome you’

27th Lucas Caldon White

Elise Christina Lake

Funerals ‘at rest and at peace’

4th Colin Williams

24th Edward Bristow

Primary School Visit to Cattle Country

We have had an exciting start back into Year 6, most notably our trip to Cattle Country, on the 29th September. We got to experience life on a farm and meet some of the interesting residents. Our favourites were the piglets, who were very cute and only 5 weeks old, they already enjoy eating apples! There were lots of fun activities including a giant bouncing pillow, indoor and outdoor play areas, a boating lake and a climbing wall. Luckily, it was sunny all day and we could enjoy everything.

We are really looking forward to more trips this year, especially our visit to the Roman Baths. Our topic this term has been Romans and we have looked at a range of Roman buildings, famous people and architecture. We can’t wait to be able to compare such a fascinating building to one that we are lucky to have so close to us.

Shires BMX Champions

IT’S a family affair, the Niemczyk family go out together and ride the BMX tracks in the South West, which is great exercise and great family time. The children absolutely love the sport and the competition.

photo of Harvey Niemczyk
Harvey Niemczyk

Son Harvey, age 8, joined Bristol BMX club two years ago and achieved No.1 in his age group in his first year at the age of 7. This year he achieved No.3 in the South West Championships.

Daughter Bethany, age 6, started racing in April this year, achieved No.3 in her age group for girls and boys at Bristol and, amazingly, achieved No.1 in the South West Championships and No.7 in the British championships for girls aged 6 and under. Both children have recently been selected to join a BMX team called DT Racing which they are very excited about.

p7_Bethany.jpg, photo of Bethany Niemczyk
Bethany Niemczyk

Bristol BMX club are the most welcoming and supportive club, it’s based in Patchway and racing starts in April and runs every Wednesday night until September. They do two presentation evenings per year for the riders where they all receive a trophy. All age groups can race from 3 - 30+ years.

If you are interested in finding out more about BMX racing the Bristol BMX club have a Web site and are on Facebook.

Do Your Bit To Prevent Local Flooding

WITH Autumn now in full swing, the leaves on the trees are beginning to turn shades of red and gold across Bristol. Although these look beautiful while on the trees, these leaves can cause potential flooding problems if they are left to build up on the city streets. Thankfully as part of Bristol City Council’s road maintenance programme over 42,000 road drains are cleared every year, covering all areas of the city.

The purpose is to remove any build-up of silt and debris, including leaves and mulch, to enable free flow within the drainage system.

Councillor Daniella Radice Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods, said: “Without cleansing, the build-up of surface water can lead to localised flooding. A major cause of blockages can be leaves blocking road drains, preventing the passage of water to the drainage system. This is more likely to occur during the Autumn when leaves fall. As part of our commitment to encouraging active citizenship, we would like to ask the people of Bristol to help us, by clearing blockages near their property - but only when it is safe to do so. This could be done with a brush or garden wire rake, rather than by hand, to allow the passage of water.”

To refine the cleansing process a risk-based approach has been developed which is informed by asset data collected by our sub-contractors, and reports from the public. The result of this approach is to prioritise gullies more prone to blockage and in areas at greater risk of surface water flooding. This may mean the frequency with which a gully is cleansed may increase or decrease, depending on the assessment of risk. The implementation of residents parking zones has aided access for the cleansing of gullies in densely parked areas.

It is worth noting that Bristol City Council is required to respond to notification of a blockage if subsequent surface water flooding is likely to flood a property or if it is covering over 50% of the highway. This can be reported by phone on the following numbers: 8.30am - 6.00pm Monday to Friday - 0117 922 2100. All other times - 0117 922 2050. Information about the gully cleansing programme followed is available via the following link:

Shirehampton School children speak their minds about the world

Love The Future is a community-interest company that’s challenging Bristol to be the best it can be, by making social and environmental change. Launched on 1 October, with a video from eight year olds, explaining their thoughts on the environment clearly sends the message Love The Future want you to hear - it’s no good skirting round the issues when primary school kids can see the truth.

We spoke to pupils from Shirehampton Primary about the world and its environmental troubles, to show how easy it is to understand the problems our planet faces. These straight-talking primary school children put environmental issues into perspective when asked “ Why are people not kind to the environment?” It’s a simple question that rarely gets a straight answer, their new video stars eight year olds from Shirehampton. “Some people are not nice so they chuck things wherever they want to - and not in the bin” is one response. “Because they don’t care about the environment. They don’t care if the grass dies, they don’t care if the trees die” is another. When eight year olds put it in such a straightforward way, it’s clear to see where adults - the ones with the power to make a difference, are going wrong.

You can watch the full video at

Love The Future wants us to put on our eight year old hats and think about the environment in these simple terms. Launching today, it aims to make green easy, protecting and regenerating our world for generations to come, and proving that it is possible for us all to prosper.

Love The Future Director, Darren Hall, adds: “We’re so excited to kick-start Love The Future. Bristol is the perfect place for collective change on a large scale, and we’re already seeing some incredible things happening from our autumn line-up. We believe that together, we can make a difference to our communities and the environment - and we’re looking forward to individuals, communities and businesses joining us in making this commitment to love the future.”

The Bristol Bike Ride to Paris, on 27-29th November will see cyclists make the 350 mile journey from Bristol to deliver a manifesto to COP21 in December, demanding action on climate change on behalf of Bristol.

Love the Future is a not-for-profit community-interest company based in Bristol. Borne of the success of Bristol’s Big Green Week, the UK’s leading festival of sustainability is about helping the local community protect and regenerate the environment for the benefit of all.

As part of the of Bristol’s legacy to ‘European Green Capital 2015’, we will continue to champion year-round events designed to promote green initiatives and community projects delivering environmental and social change to the city.

More details available from

Shires New Methodist Minister

p8_Minister.jpeg, photo of Patrick Stonekewer
Patrick Stonekewer. photo by Bob Pitchford

Methodist minister, Patrick Stonehewer, has recently moved in the area to take up his post at Shirehampton Methodist Church, alongside responsibility for sister churches in Horfield and Bishopston. He moved from Reading with his family over the summer, and from employment in the John Lewis Partnership where he most recently worked in the supply chain for Waitrose.

He’s looking forward to getting to know the local community over the coming weeks and months and discover how all the local churches are able to serve God for those who live and work in Shire.

The Methodist church community in Shire will be pleased to welcome you at any of their activities - please come and visit the church which is on the High Street (corner of Penpole Avenue) or see for more information

Tynings Field News

“Thank you Asda”

Tynings field want to thank the people from Asda, at Cribbs Causeway, for their massively generous donation of wooden planks. These were installed in the orchard making a boundary and raised beds it makes such a difference to our helpers and enables more trees to be planted.

Hedgelaying Day

Saturday 5th December, starts 10 am. All welcome! Please bring tools and a packed lunch, we are laying the Elm hedge in Woodwell Road.

Community Plant Collection

Tynings Field, as well as others in Shirehampton, have participated in growing calendula for Bristol Zoo this year as part of the Community Plant Collection. It was great to see that a silver award was given to the zoo for the Community Plant Collection, at Hampton Court this year, for the work that various communities in Bristol have put into their project. We grow Calendula Triptocarpa since the project started four years ago. Each community group meets with the zoo’s horticultural department each year and is given a different variety to grow from seed. The one we grow is most suited to a Mediterranean Climate. When the plants are established the zoo collect and plant them out. It was good to see the calendula in bloom at the zoo and on display although it goes over earlier due to our climate here, the seeds can be harvested for next year and so on thus keeping the species going. We went to the zoo with other groups, had a glass of wine and met the deputy Lord Mayor, who thanked all the people involved. If you are a community group who would like to be doing this next year and do your bit for conservation, then please contact Emma Moore at Bristol Zoo.

Kings Weston’s Amazing History

New view of Kings Weston discovered at the V&A Museum

p9_Penpole.jpg, Penpole
Kings Weston Tree Meadow - Victoria and Albert Museum

Recent discoveries by Kings Weston Action Group (KWAG) have illuminated a previously unknown picture of the Kings Weston estate in the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The watercolour shows the view from Penpole Point, looking back past Penpole Lodge towards Kings Weston House. You can also see Blaise Castle in the very far distance. It is a rare record of the tree-studded meadows below the house, and of particular interest is the earlier avenue connecting the house with The Tump - a hill in the park that remains undeveloped even today. It was painted in September 1781 by gifted amateur artist Copleston Warre Bampfylde. He was the owner of Hestercombe House in Somerset, where he laid out the extensive landscaped gardens incorporating many ornamental temples, mausoleum, and rustic structures, as well as carefully designed views of the sweeping Somerset landscape. It is interesting to speculate what he might have been thinking when he visited Kings Weston and recorded the view here.

KWAG Nominated for Heritage Angel Awards

WE would like to thank everyone who supported us with their vote in the National Historic England Heritage Awards. The ceremony was held in the Palace Theatre in London but we’re sorry to say we didn’t return with an honour this year.

Congratulations are due to all of the remarkable projects and people who were short listed for the awards, and all those who won one.

We should come away in the knowledge that we did extremely well to get into the short-list of four in our category “The Best Rescue of Any Other Type of Historic Building or Site”

We discovered that over sixty national sites and organizations had been nominated just in the ‘other sites’ and to have got into the final four was a huge recognition of our efforts so far. We were even more delighted to discover at the after-show reception that the winner only narrowly beat us after some very intense debate amongst the judges!

The annual Angel Awards, founded by Andrew Lloyd Webber and supported by the Telegraph, celebrate the efforts of local people who have saved historic buildings and places. More details available at

Thanks again for your fantastic support, we couldn’t have got this far without you.

The Battle of Shirehampton

Have you ever heard of The Battle of Shirehampton? Possibly not. But KWAG recently discovered an article in ‘The Navy and Army Illustrated’, published on 8th November 1902, which records military action on the Kings Weston estate.

The ‘battle’ was in fact an annual training manoeuvre for the Public School Cadet Corps of Clifton, Cheltenham, Malvern, and Marlborough Colleges. The schools took it in turns to host the event, and 1902 was Clifton’s year. They chose to hold it in Shirehampton Park, no doubt with the consent of the owner, Philip Napier Miles. The schools were split into two teams: one was to represent an invading force approaching from Avonmouth, the other was instructed to seize the high ground in the park and repel the enemy.

The report of the exercise suggests that all did not go smoothly. We can assume that no live ammunition was used, but the battle descended into something of a mess with ‘the bulk of the fighting taking place at absurdly short ranges’ and ‘some instances of flagrant stupidity’. The report says ‘a lamentable disregard for cover in general was displayed’. Despite these shortcomings, the Umpire in Chief declared himself satisfied with the result.

Lamplighters Marsh Needs Friends

Could you be a Friend of Lamplighters Marsh?

Photo by Bob Pitchford

You may know that Lamplighters Marsh has recently been designated a Local Nature Reserve with all the protection that status brings. There are thirteen Local Nature Reserves in Bristol and all the other twelve have “Friends” groups to look after them. Friends are groups of local people who help maintain their Reserve by practical conservation works, organize educational and social activities on their Reserve, and encourage other local people to use and enjoy this natural resource.

Many people in Shirehampton and Avonmouth know and love the Daisy Field and the Yellow Brick Road. If you are one of them perhaps you’d be interested in joining a Friends group. There will be two start-up meetings in the snug at Lamplighters Pub to give anyone who would like to become a Friend a chance to meet like-minded others. You can come to either one, whichever is most convenient for you. The meetings will be on Saturday 21st November at 11:00 am and on Thursday 26th November at 7:00 pm. Hope to see you there.


Lamplighters Open Space

We have received a small number of comments from residents of Nibley Road, expressing concerns about the proposed tree planting in the gaps between existing trees along the north boundary of the site. We have considered these comments and as a result we will not pursue these proposals at this time. We will delete these trees from the final plan. We will also reduce the number of trees in one group around the play area from 5 to 3 trees to allow better casual surveillance of the play area from the Nibley Road properties.

The remaining trees will frame the new play area and pathway. They will also provide shade for families using the play area.

Josie Sadler - TreeBristol Officer (One Tree Per Child Bristol)Email:

Nature Notes

Autumn is slowly making an entrance on the river bank. Unfortunately the new trees that were to be planted won’t now be coming. I have been told that as there were a few objections to the trees being planted, they have been relocated. What a terrible shame. As a lover of trees, and all that they represent, not the least of which is their contribution to a healthier air for us to breathe, I am really disappointed.

On a happier note, I was walking back home with Jamie, my dog, just a couple of days ago, when I heard that unmistakable rush of noise from a swan passing overhead. The next day on the news I heard that a single mute swan had arrived at Slimbridge. I wonder if it was MY swan!

Shirehampton Public Hall Newsletter

At the September meeting of the Shirehampton Public Hall some new officers were elected. The Committee said a fond farewell to their Chair of three years, Barbara Wylde, who stepped down not only as Chair but from the Hall committee after over thirty years of overwhelming support and development of the Hall and its activities. Barbara’s steady encouragement and wonderful sense of humour will be sorely missed by all at the Hall, but we wish her a happy and restful retirement! The new officers who were duly elected are as follows:-

  • Chair - Gil Osman
  • Vice-Chair - Gerry Bessell
  • Treasurer - Janet Thomas
  • Events Committee Chair - Marilyn Gorry
  • Secretary and Manager - Amanda Parsons
  • Trustees - Rose Watkins, John Yorke, Jean Edwards, Pat Comer, Norman Sims, Lisa Curtis and Teresa Cox
  • Caretaker - Neil Robson
  • Cleaner - Sue Mason

This year the Hall is hosting its very popular Grainger Players Production on 27th and 28th November. Tickets are available on the door. The annual Santa Event will be held on Monday 21st December from 2-4pm. All are welcome for teas/coffees/mince pies, and Santa will be there with gifts for the children! Make sure you come along and tell him your Christmas wishes! The New Year will also see a much demanded quiz night being hosted at the Hall, so please keep your eyes open for that - a much needed bit of fun and a night out to break up those winter months!

The Public Hall has many events and regular activities, so please visit our website at for further details, check out our noticeboard or email: or telephone 0117 9829963. The Hall is also available for private hire, as well as two smaller meeting rooms, all of which can be tailored for individual use such as parties, conferences, dances and theatrical productions. Details of hire charges are available on the website.

St. Bernard's Church Christmas Fayre


St Bernard's Church Christmas Fayre

School Hall Saturday 14th November 10am - 1.30pm

Why not join us for bacon rolls and morning coffee?

  • Tombola
  • Bric a Brac
  • Cakes
  • Jams & Preserves
  • Raffle
  • Christmas Cards etc.

Letters to the Editor

Thanks for the flowers

Dear Editor

Shire News kindly published a small article about the death of my father Brian Gearing earlier this year and I wonder if you would be able to publish the following request.

My father often told a story about his uncles who were in a band that played at the village hall during WW2. He recalled American GI’s being there. The band seems to have been called “The Harry Western Band“ and consisted of Harold or Harry Western and Percy Western. Despite research I am unable to trace this band. My father recalled being the band mascot and being present at one of the dances, in fact this story was retold at his funeral.

I would be grateful to hear if any of your readers have any information on this band so that the family history can be completed

The Harry Western Band

Dear Editor

Thank you once again to the people responsible for the lovely flowers in our village, the Hope & Anchor, the George, the Pet Shop, the Green and to any more that I have not noticed.

Golden Wedding Celebrations

Dear Editor

On Sunday 11th October we celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary with Sunday lunch at an olde worlde Somerset pub surrounded by 3 generations of family members and there was much ‘catching up’ to be done during the rest of the afternoon for some of the family we see rarely! Many thanks go to our daughter Donna for reducing us to tears as she read aloud a poem she had written which captured the humorous (and not so humorous events!) that have happened during our 50 years of marriage. Also, her help in organizing the day was much appreciated.

We would like to say a huge ‘thankyou’ to our neighbours, friends and family for the cards, flowers and presents. You all made our day very special - many thanks to you all. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much, put October 9th in your diary and we’ll do it all again for our 60th anniversary in 2025!!!

Botany in the Shire

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area

Looking from my window as I write, I can see a fern on a chimney-stack. This is Wall-rue, so-called from the likeness of its small fronds to leaves of the cultivated herb, Rue. In 1634 it was recorded by Thomas Johnson “on the Rockes by Bathe and Bristowe”, whilst leading a botanical excursion of a dozen fellow apothecaries. At Bristol they were joined by a local man, John Price (Bristol’s first known resident botanist) who “directed our steps to the famous St Vincent’s Rocks” and thence along both sides of the Avon, suggesting that they may well have crossed from Shirehampton to Pill on the ferry.

From the front of my house I can see another chimney-stack fern, a Polypody. There are three different sorts, with two, four or six sets of chromosomes and subtly different shapes of fronds and microscopic details of their spore capsules. It might even be the special one that likes lime - a plant discovered in the late 1680’s by Bristol’s second-known botanist, Richard Kaise, after whom a garden variety has been named.

Around the same time, Dr Plukenet, a botanical visitor to this part of the country remarked about the abundance of Hart’s-tongue Fern: “Millions of it about Bristol in ye Lands and Roads all over”. It is generally found in a damp atmosphere where its spores have been able to germinate. I’ve got it in my garden by the kitchen drain.

Gerarde wrote in his herbal of 1597 that he found Rustyback Fern “upon the stone wals by Bristowe as you go to Saint Vincents Rocke”. I’ve seen it on an old wall in Bradley Avenue (currently curled up and dry) and rather more attractively spreading on the wall behind the church. A few inches long, with scalloped edges, it is dark green above and (you guessed it) has rusty-coloured scales below. The Maidenhair Spleenwort has a black stalk and small round leaflets and grows in quantity on a brick wall at the front of a house behind the school. Clive Lovatt.

The Patsy Pugh Memorial Trophy

p13_Trophy.jpg, Patsy Pugh Memorial Trophy

Friday 2nd October saw a very special day materialise at Shirehampton Park Golf Club when the Patsy Pugh Memorial Trophy was played for the first time on a hot, sunny afternoon. Seven teams played in the inaugural event in memory of a fine lady called Patsy Pugh, who served as a distinguished magistrate, deputy head-teacher and also as a well loved librarian, including the suburbs of Shirehampton and Sea Mills. Many librarians were also present, together with Patsy’s mother, to see £940.80 raised for Veterans’ Welfare UK and Patsy’s favourite charity, The Moggery.

Organiser Tony Parsons would like to thank everyone who attended and competed, and hopes the people of Shirehampton will continue to celebrate Patsy’s contribution to society and support future tournaments year on year as the golf day is played. The winners of the event were Bristol Manor Farm F.C and we hope this is just the first piece of silverware they pick up as they strive to reach promotion to the Southern League for the first time in their history since being founded in 1960.

Castle Park Consultation

People in Bristol are being asked to help shape the future of Castle Park in the centre of the city. The park needs investment and Bristol City Council is looking to find out what improvements residents would like to see both now and in the future. The council is running a public consultation, which is a great opportunity to fill in a survey and help develop the priorities for the park.

Current ideas for improvement include: a new play area; boules pitch; chess tables; table tennis; new park furniture and new signage.

“Castle Park is a fantastic calm, green space in the centre of our city. It is great to have a space to go and it is used by many people who visit the city, including shoppers and office workers.

We would like to hear your thoughts on our plans to develop and improve the park so that it can continue to be enjoyed by people from across the city.” Councillor Daniella Radice, Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods.

The parks team is already making some enhancements to the park including improving access to the Castle Keep remains, enhancing the boundary of the park with Wine Street and fixing the water feature.

The team will not be able to carry out all the proposals at the present time as they only have a limited budget, but they are also keen to hear your views on improvements that could be funded in the future.

The consultation began on 1 October and runs until 24 December 2015.

To have your say online go to www

Jim O’Neil Christmas Fayre

Saturday 7th November 10 a.m - 2 p.m at Jim O’Neil House, Kilminster Road, Shirehampton. Admission 50p. Tables available for your own crafts £5

Please come and join us, all proceeds go to our residents funds for trips and activities.

Shire’s Seawall

FOR much of its history Shire was a seaside village of sorts. Its territory contained a lot of marshland, as can be seen on an 18th-century map, and that marshland was once regularly overflowed by the tides of the Severn and the Avon.

From time immemorial, a seawall had existed to reduce the area tainted by salt water, and to keep this newly saltfree land fit for farming. It was kept in order by private landowners, local taxes and a system of responsible officials. Where was this old seabank, and is there anything left of it?

First of all, remember that Avonmouth was part of Shire, and that it was right in the former marshland. In fact, old Avonmouth village was completely on the watery side of the oldest seabank, and new works were needed to protect the docks and village that grew up in the 1860s and 70s, made using the spoil from the dock excavation and incorporated into the quays.

Incredible as it may seem now, the oldest seabank started at the junction of Lower High Street and West Town Road, at the bottom of the hill. It was shadowed by a ditch on its inner side. A nearby row of cottages along Lower High Street, high enough up not to be at risk of flooding, was known as Bank Cottages (now partly represented or replaced by 45-75 Lower High Street, up from the Hope and Anchor). The wall began in what is now the parking area of Shirehampton Motors [now Bristol Internet Motors], and hugged the south side of Avonmouth Road until the junction with Atlantic Way, when it turned off

p14_Seawall.jpg, Ordnance Survey map of 1830
The Ordnance Survey map of 1830 shows the two seabanks. The “Ancient Mere Bank” is a different matter. The whole area south of the “old sea bank” was saltmarsh at least as late as 1769. - Richard Coates

across what is now the business park. By 1880 there was then a gap, close to where the M5 sliproads join the Portway roundabout, and the bank resumed on a course now completely blotted out by housing and warehouses, but roughly parallel with Avonmouth Road and the lower end of St Andrew’s Road and about 60-100 yards to the north of them, then along the north side of Jutland Road.

At the site of the Marine Hotel, now lost forever in the docks, it struck off northwards along the river Severn, and once you are outside the dockland you will find its ancient line roughly following the present reinforced coastline, altered by docks and railways and pipelines and ditches, by which time you are in the wilds of Severnside and Chittening and in the zone of somebody else’s local paper. Shirehampton stopped at a spot called Elbury Gout, a sluicegate in the old seawall close to where St Andrew’s Road station now is.

So far as I can tell, not a trace of the old seabank is now visible, though you can see some photos of its four-foot-high last remnants in Ethel Thomas’s book Down the ’Mouth (pp. 34-35), taken a few years before it was finally bulldozed in 1972. It was marked along its length by stones, whose purpose is not known. It was made redundant by a newer wall put up even before the construction of Avonmouth docks. This one isn’t on the local map of 1769, and may have been built when the last of the marshes was enclosed by an 1822 Act of Parliament. This newer, outer, seawall started at West Town Road, pretty well under the motorway bridge, and wrapped its way around the old creek called Broad Pill before following the coast to the Marine Hotel, where it met the older bank. Its line at the eastern end is roughly followed by Victoria Road, which may be built on the stones which made up its core. The river itself was embanked later still at West Town to create a wharf for delivering coal to the West Town factories, which made even this newer wall redundant, and the seabanks, old and new, were then gradually levelled into history.

Increase In Moped & Motorbike Thefts

These have mainly been in the Lawrence Weston and Henbury area and there have been a large number stolen recently. They are then being ridden around until either we catch up with them or until they are burnt out. As most cases involve the riders not wearing helmets we are not permitted to pursue them which limits our actions.

Please could anyone owning a bike, or knowing someone that does, check they secure their bikes as best as possible to avoid being the next victim of this crime. I really don’t want these offences to move to the Avonmouth and Shirehampton area. It may only be a matter of time before they do!

We will be ‘targeting’ any bikes that we come across that are not adequately secured to offer crime prevention advice. In the meantime, until these offenders are caught, please be as vigilant as you can and report any suspicious incidents to us. PC 4059 Amanda Patterson-Avonmouth & Shirehampton Beat Manager

City And Port of Bristol Bowling Club

THE season that started in the sunshine at Wrington in April came to an end on an equally sunny date at GB Britton in Kingswood on September 27th.

During that time well over 100 friendly and competitive games of bowls were played, at home and on a wide variety of greens away including the club tour to Tenby in August.

p16_Bowlers.jpg, PBA bowlers

It was a successful and progressive season in many ways. The Men’s League Team were champions of Division Four of the Bristol and District League and the Ladies League Team finished third in their division, narrowly missing out on promotion but able to reflect on a successful campaign.

There was success too for Bill Hatherall and Charlie Maby who reached the final of the City and County Men’s Pairs. They won through several tricky rounds to reach the final which was played at the Bristol Club on September 19th against Ken Tudor and Joe Hardwick from Olveston. It was a well contested game with some good bowling on both sides but in the end the pair from Olveston came out on top.

Sunday September 13th saw the clubs first Presidents Day and the launch of the club shirts. Designed by the club and partly sponsored by The Port Company the shirts will be worn on all occasions when playing against other clubs. More than 30 bowlers and spectators came along to enjoy the day which started with a spider, had two short games of bowls and a barbeque at its mid-point.

One big success was the arrival through the season of seven new bowlers and the fact that most of them played regularly in friendly games once they had attended Tuesday evening sessions which ran for most of the season, especially for new bowlers.

Bowling is a game for people of all ages and, as proof of that, the season’s youngest bowler was 15 years old and the oldest, over 80.

There will once again be a winter bowling break at The Carlton Hotel in Torquay, at the end of January and the summer tour in 2016 will be at Eastbourne, early in September.

For more details contact David Hinksman on 0117 9082713 or visit