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News Index

The changing face of Shirehampton landscape

18th Century Masonic History of Shirehampton

Army Cadet Force

Public Hall AGM

St Bernards Poo Patrol

Dr Archer Remembrance Meeting

Oral history project at the St George's

Shirehampton Primary School Fair

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Nature Notes…

Botany in the Shire

Letters to the Editor

News from a forgotten Landscape

Burst Pipes in Shire

Shire contacted Bristol Water regarding the lack of water in Shirehampton over the bank holiday weekend in May, which they responded to with the following report.

Early in the morning on 27 May 2017 Bristol Water started to receive calls from customers in the Shirehampton and Coombe Dingle areas reporting an interruption to the water supply.

In response a District Inspector was called to site, and a burst was identified on the eight inch cast iron main in Shirehampton Road. This 80 year old water main supplies water from the Durdham Down water tower into large parts of Seamills, Coombe Dingle and Shirehampton, providing water supply to a population of almost 5,000 people. Unfortunately, the repair of the main was made more difficult due to the proximity of a medium pressure gas main. Taking into account the safety of our staff and the public, the excavation and repair could only proceed after permission was received from the gas authority.

Although we deal with as many as 1,000 water mains burst ever year on our network of 4,200 miles of water mains, due to the complex nature of this repair and the population affected, an incident team was set up at our Head Office on Bedminster Down to coordinate all activities including the deployment of alternative water supply. Whilst the added complexity of the gas main delayed the repair of the water main, we immediately started investigating the options of rezoning part of the affected area, and transfer water from Avonmouth and bring customers back into water. This involves operating a number of valves on the network which has to be done in a controlled manner to avoid causing disruption to the wider network. This brought some customers back into water in the lower part of the Coombe Dingle area, although at lower pressure.

Alternative Water Supply stations were set up once we knew the repair would take longer than normal. Bottled water was delivered to those vulnerable customers registered with us in the affected area. he main focus is always on fixing the main but we kept our website, Twitter, and Facebook pages updated as much as possible during the event. We also sent proactive text messages to keep people updated.

Once the water main was repaired on Saturday evening a programme of recharging the empty mains started, this can take a number of hours in order to stop the main bursting again.

Unfortunately a valve became faulty which caused a further delay and properties in the higher parts of Shirehampton and Coombe dingle were affected for most of Sunday.

Fortunately we do not get many of these events on our supply network and certainly we are looking were we could have done things better on the day. We would however like to thank all the customer affected by this water burst main for their patience and response and apologise for the inconvenience caused on the bank holiday weekend.

The Orchards, Shirehampton

Betty Marten’s drawling shows the sheltered accommodation in Hermitage Close, Shirehampton, known as The Orchards.

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The orchards by Betty Marten

The building was completed and opened in 1988 and comprises 30 one bedroom flats. It is currently managed by Places for People Sheltered Housing Scheme. It is well placed in the centre of the village with easy access to the local shops, churches, libraries and other amenities. In 2013 the residents celebrated their 25th anniversary with an event attended by the then Lord Mayor Peter Main conducting his last official engagement. Social activities and outings are available for those wishing to participate and there is also a community garden created by the residents.

The changing face of Shirehampton landscape

Bob Pitchford captures this view of Shirehampton over a period of three years.

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Top photo 2017, middle 2016 and bottom 2015.

18th Century Masonic History of Shirehampton

The 24th June 2017 is the 300 year anniversary of Freemasonry in Bristol. The first Grand Lodge of England was held on 24th June 1717 at The Goose and Grid Iron St. Paul’s London.

In Bristol the Brotherhood of Freemasonry is the oldest fraternity and possibly the oldest unchanged organisation in the City.

In the early years Freemasons met extensively in Pubs and four still exist as hostelries from the 18th Century, including The George and the Lamplighters in Shirehampton.

The other two being The Shakespeare in Prince Street, which accommodated the Beaufort Lodge from 1784, and The Rummer Tavern, All Saints Lane which held the inaugural meeting of The Rummer Lodge on the 12th November 1735.

To celebrate our anniversary, four Bristol Blue Plaques are being erected in the City and as a Shire lad I am proud to announce that two will be put in place in Shirehampton.

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Blue Plaque the Lamplighters.
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Blue Plaque the George Inn.

Although the George as it is today was built in the 1920s the original George Inn on the same site hosted the Masonic Lodge of Jehosaphat which first met in June 1791, and met there monthly until 1795.

It was about at this time that in Freemason’s records The Lamplighters was being referred to as Brother Landridge’s Lamplighters Hall. It appears that Bristol Freemasons first held a dinner on 24th June 1795 to celebrate The Ancient Feast of St John the Baptist and continued to hold that annual feast for approximately 30 years. The Lodge of Jehosaphat in turn moved their monthly meeting place to The Lamplighters.

On Saturday 8th July at 12 noon an official Bristol Civic Society Blue Plaque will be unveiled at The George Inn and on the 15th July 2017 again at 12 noon a Blue Plaque will be unveiled at The Lamplighters. I would encourage all Shirehamptonians to gather to witness the events. Local dignitaries and politicians will be in attendance plus the Provincial Grand Master of Bristol and Freemasons from the Province of Bristol will assemble for the unveiling.

Gary Williams

Provincial Grand Librarian and Archivist

Army Cadet Force

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Army cadets 1940.

This photograph lent by a local resident shows the Army Cadet Force, Shirehampton Unit taken in the 1940s. Can any readers put names to faces please? A response through the paper would be appreciated.

Changes to Bristol libraries

On 21 February 2017 Full Council decided to save £1.4m from the Library Service budget.

As a result we are proposing to reduce the number of council-run libraries, while meeting our statutory duty to ensure Bristol has a comprehensive and efficient library service.

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It is proposed that the central library will continue to be the city’s main library with a network of area libraries and local libraries offering library services spread across the city. We are consulting on three different options for where libraries will be located.

Please give us your views on these options to help us to decide where our area and local libraries should be located at

This survey will be open for 12 weeks, closing on Tuesday 5 September 2017.

Welcome to new Library Supervisor!

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Gordon Rudston, Library Supervisor.

My name is Gordon Rudston and I’ve been with Bristol City Council for over 13 years. I’ll be supervising the Shirehampton, Sea Mills and Avonmouth libraries. I and the team look forward to seeing you!

Public Hall AGM

The Public Hall Annual General meeting will be held on Tuesday 18th July at 7.15pm

All Welcome.

75th Anniversary of Avonmouth Sea Cadets (SAVE THE DAY!)

Sunday 27th August - join us for our birthday bash. Catchup with old friends, watch displays, and look around the stalls, at TS Enterprise, (opposite the Lamplighters).

Event open between between 11-4pm.

Stall Holder enquiries welcome - £10 per table / commercial rates negotiable. Bring your own shelter, setting up between 9 -11am.

Tynings Field news Community Agriculture

Tynings field has been around since the Doomsday book when it was a five acre field and stretching up from Woodwell to Park Road.

It was subject to the Enclosure Act and hence the name Tynings, an old word meaning enclosed hedged tied in on a tie or lease. It later became allotments and was grazed. Then in 2011, it was threatened with sale and development as part of an open spaces plan. Everyone fought to stop that. This was difficult but successful and now it is an established community agriculture group on a lease held by local resident and campaigner Caroline Penny on behalf of the members.

Now it has a 27 tree orchard, bees, veg plots, fruit plots, a natural wildlife area and domestic fowl. Many new growers have been working hard to grow vegetables, the new chicken cooperative carers have been doing a great job for their egg-share, and provisions for a compost toilet are in progress. We had a broody hen but sadly she stopped sitting to hatch 2 weeks in. Shirehampton should be proud of Tynings Field it is a little gem in a suburban landscape. This year we see the Corncockle wild plants have self-seeded in the wildflower areas as the Oxyeye daisy nods skywards the blue bugle flower scatters across the ground. All these were traditional native flowers used in country wedding bouquets. We have seen several blue butterflies, a lot of wild birds, jackdaw and magpie mainly. There is a bumble bee nest as well as honeybee carder bees and wild tree bees. (If you see a swarm of bees please contact us).

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If you would like to help out we are always looking for general volunteers to help maintain the field, strimming, cutting bramble etc and are looking to enlarge plots and create new ones.

To become a member, it is £10 per year. For this you can grow veg or help generally but you are a member of an ancient agricultural field your little part of Shirehampton steeped in mystery and history. It once had an old barn here and between the wars and early 1950s was a small farm. The first world war showed war horses being trained in Tynings field next to greenhouses that were used to grow veg. Fair to say this has always been it’s use a smallholding. It is on a footpath leading to the Buckle well, the well in Woodwell lies in the cliffs over the River Avon. Tynings fields legacy lives on today as a productive community agricultural and natural environment.

When you sit and picnic in the Orchard or taste the local honey or cultivate a veg plot here you are writing your very own Doomsday book.

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KWAG Working Party Update: Making Connections

Last month’s KWAG working party sought to continue implementing recommendations of the Conservation Management Plan by restoring visual connections between the South Walk and the Shirehampton Park portion of the estate.

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Our aims were to open up selected viewing points through the undergrowth to allow glimpsed prospects southwards across the meadowland towards the Avon, and frame views some of the majestic parkland trees below.

Our volunteers worked hard throughout the morning at a location around a recently felled cedar tree. This location took advantage of a recently opened portion of the tree canopy and also had strong potential for views beyond. Work included the removal of self-seeded saplings and the raising of the canopy in some areas. Large amounts of Old Man’s Beard were also removed from choking the canopy above.

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Before and after.

We’re glad with the effect we’ve achieved here, though it will take a little time to re-naturalise after our clearance. Now that the trunk of the dead cedar tree has become more of a focus we are considering the opportunity of getting a chainsaw artist to turn their creative skills to it and turn it into an artwork.

Our work next month will return to a similar task along the South Walk slightly further up the slope where a series of very fine, but obscured, trees will form the perfect framing for restored views southwards.

KWAG update - Penpole Planning Proposal

There has been another planning application for land adjacent to Penpole Lane, popularly known as the Karakal site, or Fairways.

A proposal has come in for 77 shipping containers to be located within the Conservation Area and within the boundary of the Kings Weston historic registered parkland. The containers will be clad to blend in with local environment, and the site will be railed off with an 8-foot high mesh security fence with gates, and the containers introduced as part of a self-storage business.

77 shipping containers

The proposals will form the backdrop to the War Memorial on Shirehampton Road, now a Grade II Listed structure in its own right, and will blight the setting of the park. The Conservation Area appraisal describes this as semi-rural, and the proposed semi-industrial use is unacceptable in principle. KWAG have been resisting a recent planning application in the parkland, and have objected to the Council.

Sophia and Maya score art success.

Talented young artists Sophie Sayer and Maya Palmer were winners in a national competition launched in support of an anti-racism campaign in football.

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The pair, who are both in Year 8 at Oasis Academy Brightstowe in Shirehampton, were among more than 20,000 entrants in the Show Racism the Red Card National School Competition.

Open to young people of all ages, the free-to-enter competition encourages participants to produce anti-racism themed artwork in any medium including creative writing, film and music.

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Sophie and Maya’s striking lino print design was judged one of the three best in the Year 7-Year 9 category, earning them the opportunity to attend an awards ceremony at the King Power Stadium, home of former Premier League Champions Leicester City. Several Leicester City players were present, alongside England coach Gareth Southgate, BBC sports presenter Manish Bhasin, former Arsenal star Paul Davis and Gordon Taylor OBE, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association. Prizes included Kindle Fires, signed England shirts and tickets to attend the recent Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley, which saw Manchester City defeat Birmingham City 4-1.

The ceremony also saw special awards handed out in memory of former England Graham Taylor, who was patron of the Show Racism the Red Card charity for many years, and Jo Cox MP, who was murdered in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.

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Rhian Iredale, subject leader in Art at Oasis Academy Brightstowe, said: Huge congratulations to Sophie and Maya for being chosen as winners in what was an extremely large field. They worked tirelessly on their design and fully deserve their success, and I’m delighted that it has provided an extra incentive to persuade them to choose Art as one of their GCSE options.

Show Racism the Red Card’s chief executive, Ged Grebby, added: The competition sees thousands of young people take part annually and it is a hard job for the judges to pick the winners from so many great entries. This year there were some wonderfully original entries and we would like to thank all of the teachers for promoting the competition in their schools.

St Bernards Poo Patrol

Year 5 pupils from St Bernards Primary School recently ran a campaign in the village.

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They were taking part in a city wide initiative, ‘Poo Patrol: The Big Spray Day’ in a bid to raise awareness of the dangers and impacts of dog fouling. The message the children wanted to spread was that, addressing dog fouling in our city is important and we want to see everyone taking personal responsibility for our city! We also want to change the behaviour of owners who do not pick up after their dogs and ultimately make our streets and parks cleaner and safer.

The children patrolled the streets of Shirehampton spotting and spraying any discoveries along their way - you may have seen their signs on a street near you! Along with other schools in the city, they sent any data they collected to the university and will once again be taking to the streets to see if their patrol made a difference to the mindset of any local culprits!

We would like to spread our message to the local community and hope to help make Shirehampton a cleaner and safer place to play!

A Silver Jubilee Celebration

School's Out Henleaze was founded 25 years ago by a group of parents in need of after school and holiday childcare.

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Today, School’s Out is still run by a committee of parents who use the after school club and holiday play-scheme. This year is a double celebration as the play-scheme co-ordinator, Liz Batt also celebrated 15 years of service with School’s Out.

Liz said I don’t know where the last 15 years have gone. The play-scheme has certainly got bigger over the years and we now have children from the St Bernard’s, Shirehampton and Avon Primary Schools, Thornbury and beyond. Some come for just the odd day whilst others book in for much of the holiday period. It seems really strange that I remember some of our younger staff when they themselves were children in the scheme when I first started.

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We rounded our year of silver jubilee activities off at Easter by producing a spring planter for each of School’s Out Henleaze’s twenty five years which were presented to the parents and the management team of our venue, Henleaze Junior School. They say time flies when you are having fun and this summer that is the theme for this summer’s holiday fun.

As usual, there is my innovative programme of themed fun activities, craft, sport, cooking and trips. Do you fancy trying getting in touch with your inner Neanderthal with some cave painting or learning archery so you can hunt a woolly mammoth? Perhaps discovering Piñatas like a Cortez conquistador or showing your sporting skills in our tribute to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 are more your thing? Whatever you are into; there will be something for you to enjoy because as the name suggests time really flies when you’re having fun.

From St. Mary’s Registers - May 2017

Baptisms ’we welcome you’

28th Martha Thomas
28th Fletcher Pearson

Funerals ‘At rest and at peace’

4th Brian Mitchel St Mary's
12th Yyvonne Buston South Bristol
15th Leslie Brown Canford
17th Steela May Bird Canford
22nd Lilian Lukins St Mary's
23rd John Bees St Mary's
25th Alan Riddick Canford
26th Raymond Arnel St Mary's
30th Judith Bush Canford

Weddings ‘To have and to hold’

20th Cindy & Christopher Tanner

St. Mary's News - June

Hi Folks!

Hopefully this edition of Shire will be published early so that you are able to read about our Patronal Festival which is on Saturday, 1st and Sunday, 2nd July, 2017.

Our Summer Fayre will be held in church from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon on the Saturday morning and during the afternoon cream teas will be available from 2.30 pm until 4.00pm. The church will be decorated with flowers - the theme being Take my hands. This, in my opinion, is when St Mary’s looks its absolute best. So pop in and take a look and enjoy a cream tea at the same time! Sunday is our Patronal Festival Day when we celebrate our Patron Saint - St Mary - the mother of Jesus. The Kids Klub Service will start as usual at 8.30 am with breakfast and will be followed by the main Service of the day our 10.00 am Holy Communion Service. All are welcome and we always have tea and coffee after the service and the chance to have some chit-chat and socialise together.

On Saturday 22nd July the Myndysslwyn Male Voice Choir will be giving a concert at 7.00 pm in the church. During the Interval there will be a buffet and you will be given a glass of wine to further satisfy your taste buds!! Tickets are available from the Church Office - price £10.00. This should be a most enjoyable evening, especially if you have any Welsh blood in your veins! With a Welsh surname like mine I am really compelled to be there, but I don’t need much persuading as I do have a love of Welsh male voice singing.

After our Annual Parochial Church Meeting we still had a vacancy for a second Churchwarden and following an Extraordinary General Meeting after a morning service in May, Richard Powell received a unanimous vote to be our second Churchwarden. On Saturday, 3rd June Richard was officially appointed to his office by Archdeacon Christine - well known to us in our church as our former Vicar.

For those who may not be aware, the Golden Oldies Singing Group, meet on the first Wednesday of each month from 10.30 am until 11.30 am in the Tithe Barn. A voluntary donation of £2.00 will give you an hour of musical memories!!

I am sure many of you will be interested to know that 5 children from St Mary’s, entered the Hilliard Society of Miniaturists Children’s Art Competition - which was organised by our own very talented artist Jennie Brooks - and all the children gained Certificates for Exceptional Performance. Congratulations are due to all for this wonderful achievement.

Now, just before I leave you, I have to ask you this question - Why did Noah not do any fishing from the ark? Answer - Because had only had two worms!!

‘Bye for now!

Chris Eynon

Bristol’s Brilliant Archaeology

Celebrate Bristol’s Brilliant Archaeology on the 29 July 2017 at Blaise Castle House Museum.

Join Bristol Culture Team’s museum archaeologists and a whole host of local societies, re-enactors and field archaeologists for a fun-packed day full of tours, demonstrations, displays and archaeological activities.

Become an archaeologist for the day and explore objects and displays from some of Bristol’s most recent archaeological sites, take a tour to archaeologist Amelia Edward’s grave or Blaise Castle, meet Anglo Saxon re-enactors, find out about the work of local societies and see a mini exhibition of paintings showing Roman Sea Mills and Bristol Castle.

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Younger archaeologists can get hands on and have a go at our ‘mini-excavation’, dressing up, Iron Age face painting, a Roman feast and find out why archaeologists get so excited when they find poo! There will also be plenty of family friendly craft sessions including Roman wreath and brooch making, creating medieval illuminated letters, medieval graffiti and decorating a prehistoric pot to take home.

Visitors will also be able to explore Blaise Castle, Blaise Community Gardens and visit stalls showcasing the work of Avon Archaeology, Bristol & Avon Archaeological Society, Bristol Cathedral, Cotswold Archaeology, Egypt Society of Bristol, A Forgotten Landscape, Historic England, The National Trust, The Portable Antiquities Scheme, The University of Bristol, Wessex Archaeology, The Young Archaeologist Club and many more.

Bristol’s Brilliant Archaeology is part of the nationwide Festival of Archaeology. During the Festival, Bristol Culture will also be running a Skeleton Spectacular (M Shed, Sat 15 July, 11am-4pm) another day of family fun with interactive talks and workshops from scientists and archaeologists, a giant skeleton on Museum Square and tour of our exciting new exhibition Skeletons: Our Buried Bones.

Bristol fitness instructor and cancer patient calls on women to Race for Life

For Tara Gomes being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 27 has led her to opening a Bristol fitness studio just after being given the all clear from the disease.

Tara from Coombe Dingle has always been passionate about fitness and keeping in shape, so it came as a huge shock when told she had bowel cancer in March 2016. She knew immediately it would be her toughest challenge she had to face. I had been working as a fitness instructor and had always been interested in keeping fit and eating the right foods, so the news that I had cancer came as a huge shock, she explained.

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Tara Gomes

But now just over 12 months on, she has decided to set up her own gym and fitness studio at Old Market in the city and is aiming to get more women moving and staying in shape.

Her goal this summer is to help women train and to take part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, which takes place on Bristol Downs in July - and Tara will be flying the flag for women’s fitness. She is hoping to encourage mums, daughters, sisters and friends to unite to help beat the disease by entering Race for Life 5k, 10k or Pretty Muddy events on 1st and 2nd July.

things started to get painful in 2014…

She explained: For me things started to get painful in 2014 when I had tummy aches and pains that wouldn’t go away. After a few tests it was thought I might have IBS and after a series of scans I was beginning to think they wouldn’t find anything. After I had a colonoscopy, the nurse made me aware that I was looking at a cancer diagnosis. It was the longest week I had to wait to find out for sure. I never expected to get cancer at my age, but the good news was that it hadn’t spread and so my treatment wasn’t so invasive. She added: I had bowel surgery last year and due to the success of my operation I didn’t need chemotherapy treatment. But by keeping active and continuing with fitness I feel I’ve been able to cope with the changes and long term effects of my surgery. My experience in going through cancer has made me so determined to help others and offer them the chance to get back on track which is why I opened my fitness studio.

Tara is going to be opening Race for Life on Bristol Downs on 2 July and joining the crowds to take on the 5k event. She is inviting women to train with her at her studio, Bristfit based in Old Market and join her on the day, to walk, jog or run the course around the Downs.

Tara added: I will be taking part not just for myself but for my grandad who sadly passed away after having lung cancer in 1995, but for all the survivors and everyone going through treatment right now.

Lisa Sweeting, Cancer Research UK’s south west Events Manager, said: Life-saving research is being funded right now thanks to the women of Bristol running, jogging or walking at Race for Life. Our participants play a crucial role in helping to turn discoveries made in the lab into better treatments for patients in the south west and across the UK and we rely on their incredible commitment to the cause. Race for Life isn’t about being the fittest, fastest or first over the finish line. We need women of all ages and abilities to sign up. It’s the taking part that counts whatever women raise. Just £10 could make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life, in partnership with Tesco, is an inspiring women-only series of 5k, 10k, Pretty Muddy and Marathon events which raises millions of pounds every year to find new ways to tackle cancer.

Angus Management Summer Reading Scheme

Each year the Summer Reading Challenge to children is simple.

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They’re encouraged to read six or more library books of their choice - fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books just as long as they are borrowed from the library - during the holidays. There are smelly stickers to collect, plus a certificate & medal for every child who completes the Challenge! Children can sign up at their local library from mid-June onwards and all materials are absolutely free!

To mark this year’s National Reading Challenge - Animal Agents - Bristol Libraries have invited local author Kirsten Hemingway to visit libraries across the region and share her stories about an animal detective called Angus Management. Fictional detective, Angus, is an owl who lives in the Mendips near Bristol and solves puzzles and problems with his friends on Hellenge Hill. The stories are beautifully illustrated by Upfest artist Lilly Nicholls of Southmead and songs and audio versions of the book are written and produced by Joe Mitchell.

Lilly, Joe and Kirsten will be visiting the libraries throughout the summer to perform stories for children aged from 4 to 8. Children will be encouraged to join in and help to solve the puzzles and mysteries. First editions of Angus Management Series One will be available to buy.

A book can be a wonderful shared experience, said Kirsten Hemingway. Performing the characters, with all their different accents and personalities, helps the children feel like the characters are real. Each of the stories has a moral and they are designed to help children develop problem-solving skills. The idea came from me giving voices to our pets for my own children. We wanted to launch our locally-based stories in a way that benefits the community in and around the Bristol area. Children at the libraries will be invited to make masks of the characters and then act out the stories while Kirsten reads them.

Every Library in Bristol will get a visit from the team, local venues listed below;

  • 25th July Tuesday 3:30pm-4:30pm Avonmouth
  • 1st August Tuesday 10:30am-11:30am Sea Mills
  • 9th August Wednesday 3.30pm-4.30pm Shirehampton

Dr Archer Remembrance Meeting

On Saturday May 27th there was warm celebration of the life of Dr Peter Archer with photographs and history of his life.

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Thank you to all who attended from the Archer boys as it was splendid day had by all.

Oral history project at the St George's

St George's Bristol is one of the country’s most revered concert halls, but the venue on Great George Street once had a very different life.

For over 160 years it was a Church, originally serving as a ‘Chapel of Ease’ to the nearby (and long-since demolished) St Augustine-the-Less, and then a Parish Church in its own right.

As St George’s embarks on an exciting new chapter in its story - indeed foundations are already laid for the venue’s new two-storey extension - staff at the venue are keen to know more about the building’s past. As such, an oral history project is in the works and the team is on the hunt for former Parishioners who have memories of their visits to the church, or were around when its doors finally closed in 1984. Leading the project is the venue’s Content & Engagement Manager, Michael Beek, and he is convinced there could be plenty to learn from Bristol residents, ‘We’re fascinated by this building, the way it looks and the things it has likely been witness to. Bricks, mortar and the odd photograph can only go so far in telling the story, though, so voices are key to humanising its past. Of course we can’t speak to anyone who was here in 1823 when the church was first opened, but there will surely be people in the city - and perhaps beyond - who knew the Church of St George Brandon Hill in its later years. It’s those people we want to find, and speak to.’

The oral history project forms part of a larger Heritage Interpretation initiative, which will see the creation of a permanent space for visitors to learn about the story of the building, and a public programme of events, lectures and tours. The visitor space is set to open in late February 2018, alongside the new extension.

Shirehampton Primary School Fair

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Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Giant Jurassic beast goes on display Pliosaurus! Face to face with a Jurassic beast

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

17 June 2017 - 7 January 2018

Travel back in time 150 million years at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and meet a fearsome Jurassic beast - the pliosaur. Bristol was a very different place 150 million years ago. Warm seas covered the land where the city stands today and while dinosaurs walked the land and pterosaurs were flying in the skies, marine reptiles dominated the seas. One of the biggest and fiercest of all was the pliosaur. The length of a bus with sharp teeth the size of bananas, four huge flippers and crushingly powerful jaws, the pliosaur was the ultimate underwater predator.

There is nothing like them alive today.

Isla Gladstone, Senior Curator of Natural Science at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery said: We have recreated a full sized interactive model of an eight metre long pliosaur. After a public vote, we named her Doris and visitors will be able to touch her skin, listen to her heartbeat, and smell her disgusting breath! Meeting Doris will be an inspiring and memorable experience for all our visitors and although it’s aimed at children, we’re certain that adults are going to enjoy it in equal measure!

After meeting the beast, visitors will be transported back to the present day to see one of the world’s most complete pliosaur fossils. Bristol Museum’s specimen is the world’s only known fossil of a species of pliosaur called the Pliosaurus carpenteri. Discovered in Westbury, Wiltshire in 1994, it took ten years to prepare all the fossils that were found.

Nature Notes…

A huge thank you to Rob Parker for sharing his photo of a beautiful kestrel at Lamplighters Marsh! What an opportunity to get such a perfect study of this superb hunter.

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Kestrel, photographed by Rob Parker

On a similar note, the Red Kite is still being spotted in our area too, so keep looking skyward as I am!

The goldfinch chicks appeared at our feeder a few weeks back, which pleased me very much, and in the last few days I have seen evidence of young sparrows visiting with their parents.

In fact one of them almost ended up coming through an open window into the conservatory yesterday, just managing a scrambled exit at the last moment! A quick treat from mum on the garden wall helped with the shock I think!

We are still having regular visits from a hedgehog. I have run out of dried meal worms at present, so dry cat food is on the menu for a while, and plenty of fresh water every night, as the rescue centre did mention that they do drink quite a lot of water.

On a recent holiday to Scotland I was blessed with the sound of a cuckoo whilst out for an early morning walk with Jamie the terrier. What a glorious sound it was too! It’s many years since I last heard one. Well worth the long trip! More stories to come I’m sure at this busy time of year, but, for now, happy nature watching.

Botany in the Shire

The Wild Plants of the Shirehampton area.

Towards the end of May, I had arranged a meeting of the Botanical Section of the Bristol Naturalists’ Society in Avonmouth.

We were going to have a walk through the industrial area looking at the non-native plants and then hop over a stile and walk towards the Shirehampton Rhine (yes, the ditch is still there although I wouldn’t recommend the Water-cress) and Ballast Lane where I have seen the delightful Grass-leaved Vetchling.

I’ve done the same thing myself - it is as though a botanist is subconsciously drawn to the rare plants - and two of the group reported that they had parked in First Way, underneath a very special native tree, the True Black Poplar. This is not to be confused with the narrow spire-like Lombardy Poplars or the hybrid Black Poplars with spreading branches which often support balls of Mistletoe.

The True Black Poplar is easily recognised by the burred and often leaning trunk and wedge-based leaves with a long point at the tip. It is strongly associated with river, stream or ditch sides and was evidently often planted in hedgerows or beside field or farmyard gateways. There is a fine specimen beside the green at Frampton-on-Severn. More recently it has been something of a fashion tree.

There turned out to be five of them and a sixth around the corner. They looked older than the industrial units and we wondered if they were a relic of the former field boundaries. They do seem close to the ditches and footpath leading to the oddly-named T. Farm shown on early 20th Century Ordnance Survey maps. Other Black Poplars have been found in the Avonmouth industrial area including close to the Poplar Roundabout on Poplar Way! The name seems to come from Poplar Farm, which was nearby, and perhaps the farm was named after the tree.

Sing & Smile

In the UK there are millions of people living in isolation and missing out on regular contact with their family and friends.

Now in its 10th year the Golden-Oldies Charity, fondly referred to just as Goldies, which has Sir Cliff Richard as its patron, is bringing its ethos that singing popular music can take people back to happy times and bring joy and friendship to their lives through our monthly sing-along sessions in Shirehampton.

The Golden-Oldies Charity is based on the well documented fact that singing is good for you, it encourages good breathing and brightens up your day and gives you a chance to meet other people. It puts a smile on your face too! The songs are carefully chosen and based on the popular sing-along hits from the 50s onwards. They encourage people to clap in rhythm to the music, tap their feet, smile and, if they want to, get up and dance!

Grenville Jones, Founder and Chief Officer for Goldies said, “In ten short years we have come a long way and now run over 150 Sing & Smile sessions across the South of England, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Wales.

Goldies sessions are open to everybody but in the main those attending are older people, and people who are socially isolated, as well as people with learning difficulties and dementia. For many Goldies is their lifeline and we hear this at every session from the people who attend.”

Grenville continued, We run a monthly session in Shirehampton at The Tithe Barn, St Mary’s Church on the High Street on the First Wednesday of each month from 10.30am-11.30am. At Shirehampton Goldies we are a very friendly group and would love to see and welcome in some new faces. The next sessions take place on July 5th, August 2nd, September 6th, October 4th.

Grenville concluded, There’s always a friendly welcome and a cup of tea afterwards, so do come along; Goldies is a very good reason get out and be with others. We ask that everyone who attends a Goldies sessions makes a minimum £2 donation to our charity.

Letters to the Editor

border line anarchy…

Dear Editor,

Problems in Shirehampton are border line anarchy. Our house was hit by over 6 eggs on Friday night and this hasn’t been the first time! At around 8:21 on Friday the 12th of May, four young males decided to egg our house and scare my wife and two year old son who was falling asleep.

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Due to all the problems we have been having in the area we had CCTV fitted to see if this would deter the offenders. I went about putting a very neutral post to face-book that was subsequently shared over 300 times with numerous comments. The replies that came back were of people having similar experiences in Shirehampton and having spoken to the Police it seems somewhat of a recurring theme in the area.

I wanted to highlight the issue so that everyone is fully aware of what is happening.


looking for a Cousin, Patricia Clevely. Lorraine Major

Dear Editor,

My father Mr Anthony Charles Phillips of Shirehampton is looking for a Cousin, Patricia Clevely, last know to live in Church Lease, Shirehampton around 2005. Patricia would be around 78/79 now.

Some information found from Ancestry has suggested that Patricia was born in Bristol around April/May/June 1934. Her mothers maiden name was Phillips. Which would be my Fathers, Fathers Sister. Also from records we have discovered that Patricia married 3 times; 1958 to Harold H Black, 1966 to Christopher J Longney, and 1974 to Raymond C Jones. We believe Patricia had a Daughter.

My Father is also looking for, Jeff Hodges, Aunt Jess, and John and Jack Phillips of Hotwells, Bristol.

If any of your readers have information we’d be delighted to get in touch.

Lorraine Major (email address supplied)

Mr David Hunt, a tanker driver for Butler Oils question

Dear Editor,

I am writing this on behalf of my Nan Mrs Di Austin, in response to the letter of Mr David Hunt, a tanker driver for Butler Oils.

Mr Hunt wanted to know which of the Dr Archers lived at 3 Middleton Road. My Nan tells me that it was Dr Archer’s father who lived there prior to my grandparents purchasing the house around 1970. She also tells me that Mr and Mrs Browning lived in 5 Middleton Road.

Kind regards Anon

Shire newspaper AGM

Shire Newspaper will hold its Annual General Meeting on Monday 31st July 2017 at 5:30pm in the Tithe Barn, High Street, Shirehampton.

The meeting is open to all members of the public and we would urge anyone who might be interested in joining the editorial team or contributing to any part of the production process to come along and find out more.

News from a forgotten Landscape

Severn Festival

A Forgotten Landscape is having a festival with Severn Beach Village Hall on Sat 8 July, 11-4pm.

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Come and join us for activities, entertainment and fun. There will be a music stage with a full programme of live acts hosted by Bradley Stoke Radio who will be broadcasting live, plus stalls, nature walks, storytelling, crazy bikes to try to ride and much, much more. The Scouts will be firing up their big barbeque, the schools will be involved and so will every local group that wants to be.

Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area (ASEA)

Ecology Mitigation and Flood Defence Project Public Exhibitions

South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and the Environment Agency are working together to improve flood defences and create new habitats for important wildlife species in the Avonmouth Severnside area.

This project will help to support new jobs and ensure that economic development can continue within the Local Enterprise Partnership’s designated Enterprise Area whilst increasing flood protection to existing properties and improving biodiversity.

The project is looking at a 17km stretch of coastline between Avonmouth and Aust. The proposals include new flood walls and raised embankments, in places up to 2m higher than the existing flood defences. In addition the project aims to create a minimum of 80 hectares of new wet grassland habitat for birds in the Hallen Marsh and Northwick areas.

The construction work required to deliver these improvements will be phased from 2018/19 onwards with efforts made to minimise the impact on the local community and wildlife.

The project team will be publishing information explaining the proposals towards the end of June. This information can be accessed via (Enterprise Areas - Avonmouth Severnside - Flood and Ecology).

A series of public exhibitions has also been organised to provide more information. Everyone is welcome to come along to find out more, talk to the project team and ask questions.

  • Tuesday 4th July, 4pm - 8pm
  • Avonmouth Community Centre, 257 Avonmouth Road, BS11 9EN
  • Tuesday 18th July, 5:30pm - 8pm Severn Beach Primary School, Ableton Lane, BS35 4PP

Avonmouth Bowling Club

May has come and gone with a couple of games cancelled by the opposition.

Several clubs are struggling to get the number of rivals needed. Into June, in house competitions are well underway. Men’s league doing very well; very close game on the 1st June against Henleaze ‘B’ but we won. Also, the guys got through to the next round of the Lloyd Trophy and played on the 6th June, unfortunately they lost. President’s day on the 4th June was delayed because of torrential rain but got underway with brilliant sunshine for the rest of the day. Ann Taylor (president) was very pleased with the money we made, (so was our treasurer!). Everyone was very generous with the raffle prizes and food for the American supper.

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After April’s issue, a previous member returned to us, welcome back to Tony Badman! New player, Hannah Douglas, will soon be playing in the matches, following several lots of tuition, also a new couple called Bob and Kathy came to meet us and ‘had a go’. Bob is very keen!

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Containers and hanging baskets are looking lovely thanks to Derek Rooke, Linda Pratt and Julie Sheppard. They should be well established by our invitation day on 22nd July. This is a very exciting day and well worth entering a team. Breakfast rolls, coffee, 2 course lunch and homemade cakes for tea! Any clubs wishing to enter, time is running out, cash prizes at the end. Folks wishing to come and watch would be most welcome!

City and Port of Bristol Bowling Club

There was a notable success for the City and Port Ladies on Saturday May 27th when they beat Page Park in the first round of the Inter Club Competition.

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Having lost to Page Park in the Top Club Competition earlier in the month this win was particularly pleasing. The inter club competition is played on one rink home and one rink away simultaneously with the winners being the side with the highest aggregate score over 21 ends. City and Port were victorious on both greens and won overall by 28 shots, a very good result. The next round will be against Ardagh on June 20th.

The men’s league team has progressed to the second round of the Gloucester Two Rink Competition after round one opponent Dowty Staverton A conceded prior to the game. Round two opponents will be Cotswold away, in Stroud, on June 10th.

The club now has thirteen qualified and certificated markers following two markers courses during May. The courses were run at the City and Port of Bristol Green by qualified trainers Don Nunn, Gill Razey and Pat Hayes. Markers are required whenever a singles game is played at the club and now the club has thirteen bowlers qualified to carry out this important duty.

This seasons Open Day, on Saturday June 3rd was re-named Bring a Friend Day, and a few friends of bowlers did come along to try the game of bowls on a glorious sunny afternoon. Amongst them Leon Franklin and Tom Murray who may join later, Jan Skelton and Natalie Looker who both did very well and may hopefully be bowlers in the future. There was plenty of bowling on offer through the afternoon including Australian Pairs, lots of walking and a spider when the wood closest to the jack in the middle of the green is all that matters. This year’s winner was Ken Davies. The afternoon ended with a barbeque expertly presented by Brian Crawley with a little help from Dee and Flo.

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If there is one name in bowling circles synonymous with success in bowling it has to be David Bryant. He has played bowls in many countries and won many things but a lesser known fact about him is that he came to play at the City and Port of Bristol green not long after it opened in 1974. Paul Bywater recalls playing the great man in those early days at the club, he offered an apology to Mr.Bryant because the green wasn’t in great shape. The reply, it’s the same for both of us!!

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Paul cannot recall which competition they played or the result but he does remember being impressed by the apology offered by David Bryant, a great bowler but an even greater gentleman.

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