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News Index

Avon Primary Remembers

Letters to the Editor

Tyning Field Events: The winter Equinox

Shirehampton Public Hall Newsletter

Craft Exhibition 2015

Shire Stichers 21 Challenge Winner

Christmas services in Shirehampton churches

Christmas carol celebration

Free Christmas Special to Cadbury Garden Centre

Art and craft class halloween moments

Nature Notes

St Mary’s News

From The Registers of St. Mary's

Fun team work at the fundraising quiz

The 178th Brownies have been very busy Brownies!

Botany in the SHIRE

Our Historic grade II listed bridge badly damaged

Shire Horses…By Richard Coates

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

S H I R E    @ShireNewspaper    #ShireNewspaper
Merry Christmas To All Our Readers

Carols on the Green - Christmas Eve 7.30pm

If it's raining - the Carol service will be held at St Mary's church

We Shall Never Forget

Photo by Bob Pitchford

Every year I see different people lay poppy wreaths at the Shirehampton War Memorial and Veterans stand to honour family members, friends, and colleagues who gave their lives. This year saw Lou Merrett travel all the way from Weston-Super-Mare to attend the Remembrance Service with the help of his daughter Denise. He lived in Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton for many years and he revealed to me that he is now 96 years young. His smile alone summed up how important being involved in the Remembrance Sunday Service was to him and being reunited with his old friend Norman, having been absent from the event the past three years. There was a lot of catching up to do.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

The Remembrance Service was very well attended with the local Fire Brigade, Avonmouth Sea Cadets, the Brownies, Scouts and various military organisations. A quintet of musicians attended this years event featuring on trumpet, Andy Champion who also did the Last Post solo, on tuba, Simon Derrick, trombone, Alex Stewart, euphonium, Dan Flew,and on trumpet, Thomas Champion. The Conductor was Alastair Stewart, Head of Performing Arts, Oasis Academy. They also contributed to the service in St Mary’s Church earlier in the morning.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Across the generations young and old paid their respects to the fallen and those who came back from two World Wars to end all wars. This year marked 70 years since World War II ended. “We shall remember them, we shall never forget”.

Avon Primary Remembers


Children and staff at Avon Primary in Shirehampton were honoured to receive a visit from Bristol’s Lord Mayor Councillor Claire Campion-Smith on Thursday afternoon. Her visit marked the end of what has been an extremely poignant and fascinating week of learning based on the themes of Peace and Remembrance. Projects ranged from learning about Nobel Peace Prize winners such as Malala Yousafzai to the role of women in The Great War of 1914-1918. Even the youngest children were involved with some very pertinent learning about peace at bedtime! Work also included moving Remembrance poetry and accounts of war, written from the perspective of some of the animals who played their part in the military operations of both world wars.

Children learnt about the needs for reflection and Remembrance, but also the need to look forward and consider their role in upholding values of peace and harmony in our ever-changing world. Following an idea developed by teaching staff, children shared their thoughts and pledges for peace on white poppies and had them mounted to the front gates of the school. The finished installation is something to behold- every message is different and equally as uplifting in its content.

Deputy Headteacher Anna Morris said, “The children at Avon Primary have been awe- inspiring in their fascination with what has happened in the past and the way they have used that knowledge to deepen their understanding of humanity and citizenship. The staff are so proud of their commitment to this whole project.”

The school council talked eloquently to the Lord Mayor about their learning and the striking display, before giving her a guided tour of Avon Primary’s superb and extensive facilities.

Tyrese Redgers, aged 9 said, “It was a really good experience to meet the Lord Mayor. I enjoyed doing the work on Remembrance. My Dad was in the army and he told me how tough it is. We need to remember all those soldiers who lost their lives to protect us and other countries.”

The installation will remain on the school gates in Barracks Lane as long as the weather allows it.

Letters to the Editor

Hi there Shire,

Hi there Shire,

Just wanted to thank you for the fantastic write up you did for Harvey and Bethany regarding their BMX achievements. They both loved it.

Many thanks

Kind regards

Ray and Audrey Johns

Dear Shire


I was so pleased to read the letter in October’s Shire from Daphne Grace. She recalled her memories of Ray and Audrey Johns. I have been lucky to know Ray for most of my life, and have recently renewed contact with him thanks to the efforts, not just of Ray, but his lovely family. Thanks to Shire they found me easily!! The photo shows Ray and me last July. What a wonderful reunion it was! Always smiling, sometimes singing, he brightened the dullest day as he went about his work as our postie. I’m looking forward to next summer when we will catch up again. P.S. Ray receives Shire at his home in London, and was pleased to read Daphne’s letter too.

Remembrance Service

Dear Editor

Two years ago I wrote a letter following the Remembrance Service at the War Memorial in Shirehampton complaining about the poor sound quality and general organisation of what is a very important and meaningful annual event. I felt that it was very much devalued by these failings.

This year I would like to say how good yesterdays service was. My wife and I were two of a large gathering at the War Memorial and we heard every word. It was still more improved by the presence of musicians -- Andrew Champion and some of his band --- to play the last post and provide music for the hymn. I really felt that we had been present at something that fully did justice to all that Remembrance Sunday is about. So --- thank you to everyone who made this years service the success that it was.

Charity Search

Dear Editor

After another year of hard work, we would like to take this opportunity of thanking all our dedicated staff and volunteers in our Avonmouth office and Shirehampton shop for keeping Charity Search active and thriving. Although a small charity, we do important work both locally and nationally and without their support, and that of our loyal customers, we would not survive.

And to all those who’ve been moved by this year’s John Lewis advert, a reminder that help for any older person is just a phone call away on 0117 9824060 or visit Don’t worry if it’s an odd request, we can cope with those!

Wishing a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas to all.

Thanks for the party!

Please can you say a big Thank you to Judy Helme, for organising such a lovely afternoon, held on Saturday 7th November, - so many memories were exchanged.

Thanks must also go to the entertainers: Tim Forder, Dick Helme, Mike Antil & his team of Guards & the scrubbers- Pat Maule & Julie Morgan.

Then a thank you to those who provided a great selection of food, including Spam & Blancmange

Lastly to the ladies who kept the teapots coming, and the girls who handed out mints as we left

Thoughtful children’s contribution

Dear Editor,

Photo by JB Morris

I was passing Avon Primary School in Barracks Lane Shire while walking our old Labrador Rescued Dog Sam.

As I passed the main gates I had to stop and take notice of the unusual and thoughtful Children’s contribution to this year’s Remembrance event.

What I read from the children, especially being an octogenarian was very thought provoking.

In fact, so much that I came home for my camera and returned to take some pictures for others to share on the internet.

I am sure that many folks in our village would like to see them as it shows that all is not lost in these troubled times.

Well done to the head teacher and staff.

(Thank you for the photos. Ed. )

Shirehampton Primary School Goes Both Back and Forward in Time!


There is never a dull moment in year 5. As the penultimate year of Primary, it can be a real opportunity for exciting learning and opportunities to lead and take responsibility.

Recently we have been enthralled by our Romans topic. It is heart-warming to see so many of the children taking such an interest in the Romans and their impact on our lives in Britain today. Visiting the Roman Baths and creating our own replica oil lamps really brought the past into the present and gave the children the opportunity to reflect and ponder on past events.

However, our work does not stop there. Our role as educators is to inspire children to go on their own voyages of discovery, where they uncover their own passions and interests. Learning about an ancient civilisation at school is just the starting point for many of these young historians who will go on to be the great archaeologists and researchers of the future.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank readers for their constant and important support of the school as part of your community.

Apple tree pruning event

Pruning Apple Tree

Saturday 5th December 10:30 - 12 noon

This is the last in our BCC Bristol 2015 Green Capital funded walks and events programme and we hope you can join us for a practical hands-on and informative apple tree pruning event in the Daisy Field Community Orchard.

Expert Pauline Markovits will provide practical; advice and instruction on pruning apple trees and looking after a variety of fruit trees.

Please bring secateurs, pruning saws, loppers if you have them.

MEET AT 10:30 am at the Daisy Field entrance (oppsite Shire train Station) Station Road, Shirehampton, BS11 9XA.

Accompanied children welcome and well-behaved dogs on leads please.

The event is FREE - but booking is essential as places are limited.

To book please contact Ash Bearman at SCAF: or phone (0117) 982 9963

Tyning Field Events: The winter Equinox

The first Sunday in December we operate a hedgelaying day from 11 am till 4:00 pm laying the elm hedge in the field in Woodwell Road. Bring billhooks, axes and saws to work on the elm hedge, and pack lunch, drinks and food to share.

Imbolc, or the winter equinox, one step on, sees the first chink of light with a wassail, on the second Sunday in January, all welcome, but we are also working on the hedge, so bring work gear, axes and saws, and food to share in the spirit of wassail. Wear gardening gloves and boots. Many thanks.

We are looking for people to help plant 4 apple trees.

If you can help please contact

Shirehampton Public Hall Newsletter

Merry Christmas to you all from the Trustees and Management at Shirehampton Public Hall!


Christmas with Santa

SHIREHAMPTON PUBLIC HALL Monday 21st December 2pm - 4pm

All Welcome

  • Refreshments
  • Childrens Activities
  • Raffle and presents fron Santa himself!
  • (Present from Santa £1.50)

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 , 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.

Craft Exhibition 2015

Dick Helme with horse
Photo by Bob Pitchford

Since 1986 when Bob and Helen Brandt organised a craft exhibition in the form we still see today, visitors have enjoyed the offerings of many talented people from Shirehampton and surrounding areas. Several craft classes began from those early beginnings and we are still seeing the results of some 29 years later. When Pat Davidson handed over the organisers’ baton to Ed and Gail Amphlett this year we were interested to see how their input would affect this well loved annual event. We were not disappointed. The exhibitors were as diverse in their crafts as ever, although just when you think there is nothing new that can come along, lo and behold it does! This year was the straw-craft and model chapel and farm gate - fantastic. The vast array of quilts and needlecraft, knitting, woodwork, pottery, jewellery, lacework, Christmas decorations and much more brought compliments and amazement at how talented people are. It was lovely to see the dressed dolls and ‘fiddle muffs’ being sold in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, and the little toys with comfort squares in aid of the Foodbank.

Salmon Quilts
Photo by Kathryn Courtney
Lace workers
Photo by Kathryn Courtney

We had more demonstrators this year including Alice with her machine embroidery, origami, card making, lacework, crochet, glass painting, Henna painting, patchwork and the fabulous papier mache animals. Dick Helme pulled out all the stops too, his centrepiece being a yew dining table but other ‘new’ items as well. As usual he dressed as various characters and walked the streets of Westbury, Avonmouth and Shirehampton handing out flyers to advertise the event - judging by the number of visitors, it worked.

Celtic Cross
Photo by Kathryn Courtney
Dicks work
Photo by Kathryn Courtney
Photo by Kathryn Courtney

If you heard a rumour that there were mice in the public hall, it was true but only for the few days of the exhibition as they were part of a mouse hunt for children and a great success too.

The Shire Stitchers were celebrating 21 years of existence so visitors could vote for their favourite 21 year challenge quilt. In addition there was a late night opening until 8pm which attracted people who couldn’t make the day time hours. Friday saw the Art and Craft group making Halloween crafts - very atmospheric.

As a visitor I congratulate all whose hard work as crafters and/or helpers and stewards made this such a successful exhibition. Special thanks to Chris Russell who was run off her feet in the cafe corner and to Ed and Gail for taking on the challenge of keeping this lovely ‘institution’ going. Looking forward to the 30th anniversary next year!!

Shire Stichers 21 Challenge Winner

To celebrate the 21 years of Shire Stitchers, members were set a challenge of producing a small wall hanging that depicted the number 21.


At the recent craft exhibition, we hung the 12 quilts that had been entered. We then asked those who visited the exhibition to vote for their favourite one in a popular vote. All the quilts were quite different in their style and content and provoked a lot of discussion and praise for the quilts on show.

Over the 5 days of the exhibition 150 people took part in the vote - it was a close run thing with several of the quilts in contention. The eventual winner was Sue Cowdell, with her red tessellation quilt featuring 21 different fabrics.

A big thank you to all the quilters who took part and a big thank you to all those who voted, it was great to involve so many of our local community in the challenge.

We look forward to seeing you all next year

Christmas services in Shirehampton churches

** Christmas at the Churches **

St. Mary’s:

Sunday, 20th December, 10.00 am Holy Communion Service

6.00 pm Christmas Carol Service followed by Mulled Wine & Mince Pies

Thursday 24th, Christmas Eve, 2.30 pm Adult Christmas Crib Service

4.00 pm Family Crib service

11.30 pm Midnight Mass

Christmas morning 10am Holy Communion with Carols.

Shirehampton Methodist Church:

Sunday 20th December 3:30 pm Carols by Candlelight

Christmas Day - December 25th 10:30 am Rev. James and Sandra Heap

Christmas carol celebration

St Bernard's Catholic church

Sunday December 13th 4:00 pm

Refreshments afterwards in the school hall

Everyone is welcome

This is a family friendly event, feel free to dress up as a character from the Nativity

Free Christmas Special to Cadbury Garden Centre





For BOOKINGS contact LWCT: 0117 907 3074


This trip is organized by SCAF and is especially for Shire Residents Aged 60 +

Lawrence Weston Community Transport (LWCT) are providing this door to door service in a fully accessible minibus

Booking on first come first served basis

Art and craft class halloween moments

Photo by Kathryn Courtney

The local Art and Craft Class moved to the Public Hall in Shirehampton for one session only. Friday morning at the Craft Exhibition was a little different so people could see a sample of the class at work. They were making witches, ghosts and Halloween lanterns to decorate their homes ‘for one night only’. Members of the class also got dressed up or wore masks and witches hats. There was a trick or treat sweet bucket and some cakes for the class to eat with their tea and coffee. The table of activity drew interest from visitors and everyone seemed to be having fun. Even local pirate Captain Dick Sparrow made a valid attempt to cause a mutiny with the class but no-one can get the upper hand of our Halloween Cat, our very own Tracy!

Photo by Kathryn Courtney
Photo by Kathryn Courtney

Art and Craft classes take place every Friday from 10:30am - 12:30pm at the Penpole Community Centre, Oaktree Court, The Ridge, Shirehampton, Bristol. All welcome. Cost: £3.50 per person.

Photo by Kathryn Courtney
Photo by Kathryn Courtney
Photo by Kathryn Courtney
Photo by Kathryn Courtney
Photo by Kathryn Courtney
For further information please contact Laura Burchette at LinkAge on 0117 3533042 or 07930559293

Nature Notes


Another neighbour’s garden treasure to share with you. Perfect for our Christmas issue I thought! Lots to report too, so here goes.

Sadly, I have to tell you that one of the Cotswolds lovely hedgehogs lost its life on Nibley Rd recently. I would ask that drivers please take care at night, and just give these little guys a chance. Surely in a 20 mph zone it should be easy to avoid them, and let them go on their way? I think it was injured, and died a little later which is awful to contemplate.

A better outcome I’ve noticed is the pruning of the majestic oak tree near the Woodwell Rd. bridge. I was worried when Jeff told me the tree surgeons were there, but when I walked by the other day I was thrilled to see what a great job they had done. It looked so nicely shaped and healthy. That tree was part of my childhood memories from growing up on the estate, so it’s great to see it surviving so well.

On the bird front, winter arrivals to our garden and neighbourhood include pied wagtails, lapwings, collared doves, starlings, and, perhaps most exciting of all, (don’t tell the others) the greater spotted woodpecker! However, dear reader, I can’t yet match the visitor to some old friends of mine in another part of the village. I have it on very good authority that they have a yellow, yes yellow, wagtail!! Guess who’s going to get a visit from me quite soon!? Well, it’s time to check the feeders and see how the foraging magpies are getting on remembering where they left their secret stash! Very entertaining.

Happy nature watching.

St Mary’s News

St. Mary's Notes

Hi Folks!

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy and Blessed Christmas. A very busy time of the year in the Christian Calendar as you will see from these notes.

Our Christmas Gift Fayre back in October raised the sum of £1500 for which we were extremely grateful. I must thank you all for giving us your support.

  • Saturday, 5th December, is our annual Gift Day. From 9.30 am until 12.30 pm you will be able to give your Christmas offering towards the upkeep of St Mary’s. This year all money will be used to refurbish the toilets & kitchen which are now 12 years old. Both places receive very heavy use - the kitchen with all the functions involving the consumption of food, and the toilets, as the church is open most days for tea & coffee and is used by many members of the community. Any gift of money, large or small will be very gratefully received,
  • Sunday, 6th December the Shirehampton Area Choir perform their Christmas Concert in church. The concert will start at 2.00 pm and a Festive Buffet with a glass of wine will be served during the interval. Tickets are £5.00 and all the money will go to support our Gift Day project to refurbish the kitchen and toilets. Tickets will be available from the Church Office. The church is desperately in need of money as we are also being encouraged to contribute much more to the Diocese of Bristol because of the increased costs of keeping churches open and paying their staff.
  • At 11.45am on Saturday, 12th December our Christmas Raffle will be drawn.
  • Sunday, 13th December, our children will be performing a Nativity play called “Straw and Order” at 4.00 pm. Please come along and support them after all the hard work they have put in on this production. They will be delighted to see you.
  • Wednesday, 16th December from 2.00 pm we will have a Festive Afternoon with Afternoon Tea and entertainment by the Clevedon School Choir.Tickets are £5.00.
  • Thursday morning 17th December we are delighted to welcome Shirehampton Primary School for their Christmas services. Foundation and Key Stage 1 will hold their service at 9.15am and Keystage 2 at 10.00am.
  • Thursday 17th December 3:30 pm Christmas Messy Church session - crafts, refreshments and more. All accompanied children are welcome.
  • Saturday 19th December 10.30 am Christian Aid Carols in the churchyard.
  • Sunday, 20th December, 10.00 am Holy Communion Service
    • 6.00 pm traditional Christmas Carol Service followed by Mulled Wine & Mince Pies. All are welcome!
  • Thursday 24th, Christmas Eve, 2.30 pmAdult Christmas Crib service followed at 4.00 pm by the Family Crib service when your children (and you!) are encouraged to dress up as a Nativity characters.
    • 11.30 pm first Holy Communion for Christmas, often referred to as Midnight Mass
  • Christmas morning there will be Holy Communion at 10.00 am with Carols.
  • On the following Sunday 27th December the ONLY SERVICE will be at 10.00 am.
    • Please note there will be NO KIDS KLUB service on this day.

During the month of December you may find the church periodically closed for Tea & Coffee. Please bear with us as we shall be holding special Christmas Services for people with a range of different disabilities. Closure times will be published in “The Link” each week, so pop in and pick up a copy to keep you up to date.

Finally, seen outside a church in the north of England - Under the same management for over 2000 year

‘Bye for now - C.M.E

From The Registers of St. Mary's

October 2015

Baptism ‘we welcome you’

25th Ella Jane Mills

Micheal James Sutherland

Funerals ‘at rest and at peace’

20th Frances Bull, St Mary’s

28th Maureen Sansom, Canford

Fun team work at the fundraising quiz

Photo by Laura Burchett

On the 22nd October LinkAge held their fundraising quiz at the Tithe Barn in Shirehampton. Tea and coffee was over flowing and there were plenty of cakes and biscuits to choose from. There was also a raffle with some wonderful prizes too. Ricky Bush was the quiz master and kept the teams under control and ensured no cheating went on. Each round saw the cobwebs being cleared away and memories and knowledge stretched. Guessing the venue in the photography round out-foxed one or two people. With seven teams battling for the quiz team crown the winners were ‘Our Monicals Mauranders’ and the winning prize of chocolates was presented. They’ll be back to defend their title next year. The wooden spoon prize went to ‘The Barn Owls’ who are, as we speak, brushing up on their knowledge for the next quiz challenge. Team member Monica Symons said “We came along, we entered the challenge, we failed ....... we will be back”. That’s determination for you.

“We are over the moon with the success of the LinkAge Fundraising Quiz and had a fantastic afternoon. We raised a grand total of £179.78 from quiz entries, raffle and tea and cake donations! We would like to say a huge thank you to all the support from local people, especially the fab chair aerobics team, advisory group, quiz master and attendees. Without their help the Fundraiser couldn’t have happened. We would like to thank Kathie from the Lamplighters for her kind donation of a 3 course family meal for 4, Cox & Baloney for their Afternoon Tea for 2 , Bobbetts for the yummy veg box, Nails Etc for the lovely manicure, Paul at Woods Family Butchers for the tasty meat vouchers, Elite Hair & Beauty for the fab Shampoo & Conditioner and Kerry at The Original Factory Shop for the delicious chocolates!” said Laura Burchett of LinkAge.

Watch out for a further fundraiser next year. Get brushing up on your knowledge now.

Kathryn Courtney (Photo Credit: Laura Burchett)

The 178th Brownies have been very busy Brownies!

They have completed their Crime Prevention badge which included a visit from local PCSO’s Ellie & Toby. They got to go inside the police van which they all enjoyed, including hearing the sirens and watching the lights. Falcon was locked in the van much to the girl’s amusement.

We’re now working towards our Toymaker badge, just in time for Christmas. We are also working towards the Brownies Skill badge too!

We’ve got our Christmas party coming up soon, where we’ll have a lot of dancing, games and fun which is what Brownies is all about!

We’ve had a number of new Brownies start this term, and always welcome more.

Botany in the SHIRE

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area

I’ve recently had a couple of letters - well one was actually an email - which have reminded me that I haven’t yet written about two special trees found close to the River Avon at Horseshoe Bend. To get there you have to cross the National Trust-owned Shirehampton Park meadow beside the Portway opposite Sylvan Way. At the right time of year you can find a profusion of a hybrid St John’s Wort with tall stems bearing starry yellow flowers. The distinctly uncommon Wild Liquorice also grows there, a scrambling perennial with annual shoots that produces blue pea-flowers.

Once down at the River you turn right; it is possible to walk along the riverside for quite a distance, but take care of the tides. One summer evening I took a botanist friend there and we ended up on a narrow path between the cliffs and the lapping water.

The true Service Tree, which has leaves like Mountain Ash (Rowan) is a mysterious species. For many years its claim to be a British plant rested entirely on a single tree in the Wyre Forest in Worcestershire - and that was cut down and the stump burnt in Victorian times. More recently an association with crumbling cliffs above tidal estuaries became apparent after it was found by the Severn and Wye. In 1996 several of my friends (I was thousands of miles away at the time) had just visited the Canford Cemetery grave of a Victorian botanist on the 150th anniversary of his birth, and as if guided by an invisible hand went off and discovered the tree at Horseshoe Bend.

The letter I mentioned came from the former Superintendent of the Cambridge Botanic Gardens who has been studying Lime trees all his life. There is a single wild specimen of Large-leaved Lime by a rocky outcrop by the river at Horseshoe Bend. Both of these species have an aura of an ancient landscape about them and there is good evidence that the Service Tree was revered in Celtic times.

Our Historic grade II listed bridge badly damaged

The Iron Bridge has been struck by a lorry

Readying scaffolding to inspection of the Iron Bridge

On Thursday 12th November a lorry hit and badly damaged the Iron bridge over Kings Weston Road close to the old inn. Bob Pitchford took these photos showing the damage. Although the damage could have been worse the bridge is now in a serious condition.

As a Grade II listed structure the bridge is protected from removal. It was built by the engineer John Loudon McAdam (from whom tarmac derives its name) and installed as part of his road improvements for the Bristol Turnpike Trust. The cutting where the road now runs was dug through the hill to avoid the steep gradient, and the bridge was installed to ensure that visitors were still able to cross from the historic inn into the landscaped parkland. McAdam wrote of it that he was “Lowering Hill and building walls at Kingsweston Hill” in 1821, and the bridge dates to these works - making it a venerable 194 years old. (KWAG November newsletter.)

Shire Horses…By Richard Coates

Where could you get petrol and an MOT before you had a car? Before the internal combustion engine took over life completely you would have had a horse, or your employer would have had one, or your deliveryman would have used one for you if you didn’t collect your own goods. So how did you keep your four-legged friend on the road?

If you weren’t a toff employing your own man, you would have needed a public farrier or shoeing-smith, as well as a plentiful supply of water and hay. Where could you have found these in Shire? The oldest local maps show that there was a smithy in Park Road in the 1880s, close to where the swimming baths used to be, in what is now the plot of number 37. This was run by Somerset man Eliel Warry, who had been bankrupt in 1867, but by 1891 he had prospered and moved his trade to Pembroke Road, on the site now occupied by Stenner and Hill the undertakers. There must have been plenty of business in 1891, since no less than four smiths lived in the adjacent house, including sons of Eliel! And his yard might have had a really fancy entrance (proposed in 1889, see picture), but sadly this never happened. His successor Thomas Gould diversified into being a wheelwright and undertaker, selling on to Stenner and Hill.

Proposed front elevation for smithy at what is now Stenner and Hill.

In the 1880s there was also a smithy in Clayton Street in Avonmouth, on the plot of ground where HMRC offices now stand, but already by 1900 it had been taken over for a library. For a while there were also the facilities of the army’s remount depot, which covered much of the lower ground in Shire from 1914-19: this housed farriers aplenty, of course, for the many thousands of horses that passed through on the way to the Western Front. There were shoeing sheds where the north sides of West Town Road, Burnham Road and Barrow Hill Road are now, and at the Portway end of Groveleaze, all of which you can see on the Know Your Place web-site, These sheds all vanished after the war, along with the farriers.

As for water, our caring Victorian ancestors used to provide stone troughs for thirsty horses at strategic places, as well as drinking fountains for their thirsty drivers. There was a trough at the junction of Avonmouth Road and St Andrew’s Road, at the corner of the park, which was removed in 1964 and apparently disposed of at the tip in Kingsweston Lane. For humans, there still is the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee fountain on the Green, a grade 2 listed building in its own right, though it’s hard to extract water from it, as you will know. (And who stole its cup on a chain, and when?) This cast-iron device was bought out of the catalogue of Walter MacFarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Possilpark, Glasgow. Another fountain was once in Gloucester Road, placed for dry dockers near the former main dock gates.

Old maps also show a wealth of wells and pumps, though some - probably most - of these would have been on private land, for example the pump at the smithy, one in what would now be the front garden of 47 Lower High Street, and one at the back of 11 Bradley Crescent. Some were public, though, like the well in Woodwell Road, and the Rush Pool in the Park would have been useful for horse-drawn traffic before it dried up.

And as for hay: now there’s another thing … finding out where there were fodder merchants would be for an article on shops and businesses. But there was plenty of fresh grazing for those who had access to the paddocks which once took up so much of the village farmland.

The proposed horseshoe arch for the former smithy at 2 Pembroke Road: photo from a document in the Bristol Record Office (about 1889), by courtesy of Anthony Beeson

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club


The outdoor bowling season may have ended in September but there is still a lot going on at the club and this will continue until the start of the new season in April.

Work on the green, essential to providing a good surface on which to bowl next season, started as soon as the 2015 season ended. Club members have supported John Swift, the greenkeeper, with the numerous jobs that need to be carried out at this time of year and work will continue throughout the close season.

The first in a series of Social Events took place on Sunday, November 1st. This was a skittles evening which was enjoyed by almost twenty members and their families. The next event will be a Quiz Night on Sunday, December 6th, and others will follow on the first Sunday of each month until it is time to commence bowling again in April. These are all at the City and Port of Bristol Club at 7:30 pm.

The Club played an indoor match against the City and County Club on October 31st at the City and County Indoor Centre. This was an enjoyable afternoon, rather different to bowling on grass and without any concerns that it might rain! The result was a win for the City and County side but, as in all friendly games, the pleasure that comes from bowling, meeting old friends and making new ones was more important than numbers on the scoreboard. The afternoon was concluded with an excellent two course meal. There will be two more indoor friendly games - one in January and the final one in March - against club sides from the Bristol area, both played at the City and County Indoor Club.

The Winter Bowling Break will once again be at the Carlton Hotel in Torquay, at the end of January for five nights. As well as bowling there will be lots of time to explore Torquay and the surrounding area. The hotel offers a range of facilities including a large indoor pool, ten pin bowling, snooker and entertainment each evening.

The 2016 Summer Tour will see a change of direction from previous years, heading this time to Eastbourne and bowling at Newhaven, Brighton, Bexhill and Eastbourne. This will be in early September.

The Club AGM took place on October 20th and saw David Hinksman re-elected as President for a further three years. Lis Davies was re-elected as Chairperson, Heather Champion as Secretary and Bill Hatherall as Treasurer. Steve Tilly will continue as Fixtures Secretary. All of these appointments are for a further year. A generally successful and progressive year was reported, with improved changing facilities, the arrival of coloured club shirts, seven new members and many happy hours of bowling!

For information about the Club and its activities please contact David Hinksman on (0117) 908 2713