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southbristolvoice October 2017 No. 29

We Sell and Let Property Like Yours

“It’s not bad, for free”

FREE EVERY MONTH in Totterdown, Knowle and Windmill Hill WIN!

WORTH YEAR’S EVE MEAL MORE GREAT WIN! AatNEW £150! the Canteen Page 20


PRIZES, WIN! A NEW YEAR’S PARTY at the Thunderbolt Page 25 ONLY IN PLUS free tea and coffee at Kate’s Kitchen Page 20 YOUR VOICE!

Daniel’s song melts Cowell’s heart A SHOP assistant who works in Iceland in Knowle’s Broadwalk centre is through to the bootcamp stage of the X Factor after wowing all four judges at the auditions. Daniel Quick, 18, got the thumbs-up from each one of the ITV show’s celebrity judges after a soulful version of Elton John’s Your Song. He was due to be seen in the next stage of the ITV show on Saturday September 30. It’s already been recorded, though of course Daniel can’t reveal the result. “I’ve had so many messages Continued on page 3

Knowle shop assistant Daniel Quick sings Your Song on X Factor. “I’ve had so many messages saying that I am representing Bristol,” he said.

• Why this bus lane plan is wrong Page 3 • Waste centre anger at late hours Page 4 • Boycott threat over parking fines Page 5 • SPECIAL REPORT: Drug gangs take over residents’ homes Pages 12-13

PHOTO: Syco/ Thames TV

Towers galore THIS is the view from Wells Road if Bristol university builds high-rises of 25, 18 and 11 storeys on Arena Island. Meanwhile, a council boss has told the Voice he’d like to see yet another tower on Bath Road. STORY: Page 11

• Your hedgehog tales Pages 14-15 • HISTORY: The coal mines 3,000ft under your feet Pages 38-41

“absolutely fantastic from start to finish.” E Matthews – Knowle



2 Paul Breeden Editor & publisher 07811 766072 Ruth Drury Sales executive 07590 527664 Editorial team: Beccy Golding, Alex Morss & The Wicked Witch. Deliveries: Greg Champion


A WORD ABOUT OUR SPONSORS THE SOUTH Bristol Voice makes its money from advertising. It’s only the support of so many local businesses that enables us to deliver almost 10,000 copies of the magazine to Knowle, Windmill HIll and Totterdown every month, and a similar number in Bedminster. Increasingly these days, advertising masquerades as news, with vloggers raving about products they’ve secretly been paid to promote. Some newspapers, sadly, choose to print advertorials – basically a promotion for a company – without labelling it as such. What does the Voice do? We

You can find South Bristol Voice on Facebook and Twitter southbristolvoice Twitter: @sbristolvoice Co. no. 09522608 | VAT no. 211 0801 76

Next month’s deadline for editorial and advertising is October 18th

do run advertising features, where the companies pay to be featured. We always make that clear – and, as in the case of our food feature in this issue, we only take adverts from companies we believe to be reputable. What should you make, then, of the story we’ve written about Bristol Energy, the council-owned energy company, on page 23? The firm is also an advertiser. Are we doing their bidding? No, we’re not. Bristol Energy had no knowledge of what we wrote about them. It happened that several customers took to Facebook to praise the firm; and as it’s a local enterprise that will plough any profits back into the community, we thought that was worth reporting. We hope you agree.




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October 2017

n BRIEFLY n A PLANNING application for nine flats on the corner of Goolden Street and Bathwell Road, Totterdown, has been withdrawn. The proposal by Bath developer Crossman attracted fierce opposition for being too bulky and blocking views of Holy Nativity church. n THE LONG-EMPTY site on the corner of Redcatch Road and Wells Road is being redeveloped into a shop and flats and is not for sale, the Voice has been told. Work has been under way for some months, and rumours have circulated that it would be sold uncompleted. Contractor Helm told the Voice it expects to finish the work in about 10 months. n THE WINNER of our Lost & Grounded competition for a pack of six beers from the South Bristol brewery is Abi Smith of Totterdown. The winner of the This Mum Runs course is Fiona Thorn. Congratulations both! n MEMBERS of Windmill Hill City Farm are invited to the AGM at 5.30pm on Monday October

16 in the farm café. Members get a free autumn stew plus refreshments while discussing future plans and electing trustees. • about-us/agm/ n AN ART exhibition and sale of work by the members of the Redcatch Art Club will be held on Saturday October 14 at Knowle’s Redcatch community centre, Redcatch Road. Entrance is free, from 11am-4pm. Refreshments will be available. For details call 0117 971 3629 or  email penny.docker@btinternet. com n THERE’S free prosecco for the first 50 visitors to the Arnos Vale wedding fair, held at the cemetery on Bath Road from 11am-3pm on Sunday October 8. Entry is free to meet a selection of local wedding suppliers. The Arnos Vale wedding coordinator, Kat, will be on hand to show off the cemetery’s outdoor woodland wedding venue and its Victorian chapels. Kate’s Kitchen will be open for refreshments.

How do I get in touch with ... My MP? Karin Smyth MP By email: By post: Karin Smyth MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA By phone: 0117 953 3575 In person: Surgeries will be held on Friday October 13 and 27. Call 0117 953 3575 for an appointment. My councillor? Post: You can write to all councillors at Brunel House, St George’s Road, Bristol BS1 5UY Christopher Davies Lib Dem, Knowle

Email: Cllr.Christopher.Davies@ Gary Hopkins Lib Dem, Knowle (Lib Dem leader) Email: Phone: 0117 985 1491 or 07977 512159 Lucy Whittle Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108805 Email: Jon Wellington Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108804 Email:

USEFUL NUMBERS Bristol City Council   0117 922 2000 Waste, roads 0117 922 2100 Pest control and dog wardens 0117 922 2500 Council tax 0117 922 2900 Housing benefit 0117 922 2300 Social services  0117 922 2900

Police Inquiries 101 Emergency 999 Fire   Emergency 999 Inquiries  0117 926 2061 NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUMS NOTE: These meetings are on hold due to council cutbacks but may resume in the New Year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: South Bristol Voice is independent. We cannot take responsibility for content or accuracy of adverts, and it is advertisers’ responsibility to conform to all relevant legislation. We strive to conform to the NUJ Code of Conduct for journalists: • Feedback is welcomed: call editor Paul Breeden on 07811 766072 or email All stories and pictures are copyright of South Bristol Voice and may not be reproduced without permission in this or any other plane of the multiverse. South Bristol Voice Ltd | 18 Lilymead Avenue, Bristol BS4 2BX Co. no. 09522608 | VAT no. 211 0801 76

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

October 2017




‘This bus lane would ruin us’ Traders united against making bus lane 24 hours A STORM of protest has blown up at changes to bus lanes on Wells Road – with a group of Totterdown traders saying it would put them out of business. Bristol city council has started informal consultation on a plan to change the bus lane between the St John’s Lane junction to and just past Knowle Road from morning peak hours to 24-hours. This could mean that nine businesses on Wells Road between Lilymead Avenue and Knowle Road lose dozens of parking spaces their customers have been using for years. It would also cause hold-ups as traffic turning left into St John’s Lane will only be able to use the left hand lane close to the traffic lights. “If this happens it could easily halve our trade,” said Bex Wardle, who runs the Totterdown Canteen café with husband Aaron (pictured on the front page). “It would do quite a lot of damage.” The café attracts many customers who know they can pull up and park outside the bus lane hours of 7-10am. Other firms to benefit include the Al Waha café, which is popular with taxi drivers from all over the city, the Beaux Beauty salon, Keith Redding’s shoe shop and The Gents barbers. All believe there is no need for any change, because traffic flows freely down Wells Road for most

ALSO PROPOSED ON WELLS ROAD: • A yellow box junction across the exit from St John’s Lane into Wells Road next to Tesco. Loading restrictions removed on the lay-by there. Bus lane will be extended to run alongside the loading bay. • Possible changes to the parking and loading bay outside the Co-op – no mention of what these are. • Yellow lines to prevent parking on the corners of Highgrove Street and Bathwell, Haverstock, Brecknock and Crowndale Roads. • Further up Wells Road, loading restrictions on sections up to Airport Road will start at 4pm instead of 4.30-6.30pm. This makes them the same as bus lane times. of the day. Most of the shops are gathering signatures on a petition against the proposal. James Grimsted, managing director of Greenwoods estate agents opposite the Canteen, believes the move would put the recent revival of Wells Road as a commercial centre at risk – including the renovation of the Totterdown Centre (page 7). “I think it’s just bonkers. Everything is getting back on its feet round here. It’s really short sighted,” he said. Cllr Jon Wellington, Labour member for Windmill Hill, said he did not see the rationale for the 24-hour bus lane. “I will be objecting to it and making a case based on the local businesses’ objections,” he said. Tresa, the Totterdown community group, also filed an

Appeal for hurricane aid A TOTTERDOWN family who don’t know if relatives on the Caribbean island of Dominica are alive or dead after the passing of Hurricane Maria are urging people to contribute to an appeal. Cai Meek does not know if members of his father’s family, including aunts and cousins, survived after the category four storm struck on September 18. Phone lines and electricity are down, and 98 per cent of the island’s buildings are damaged. Only those with satellite phones

can communicate. Relatives of Dominicans all over Bristol are collecting toiletries, towels, sheets, medicines like Calpol and paracetamol, and dried food. Cai’s mum Kelly said: “My inbox has been full of messages from lovely people offering support. Someone with a removal company offered the use of a vehicle.” You can find out where to take donations by contacting Kelly Meek on Facebook through BS4 Connect, or call 07471 797800.

• Bus lane from Calcott Road to Lilymead Avenue will take effect in the evening peak, from 4-6.30pm, as well as morning from 7-10am. •The bus lane either side of Crossways Road will start at 4pm instead of 4.30pm. This bus lane will be shortened by 20m near Broad Walk to allow more space for traffic to merge.

MAKE THE BUS LANE HOURS CONSISTENT Councillors in Knowle and Windmill Hill have united to call on the council to make bus lane hours the same across the city. Many drivers avoid using the peak-hour-only bus lane near Crossways Road because they think it operates all the time. objection. The detailed plans produced by the council make it unclear how parking restrictions would change outside the shops. Part of the peak-hour bus lane would be removed entirely, from Lilymead Avenue down to roughly opposite Bathwell Road. The 24-hour section starts further down. A Bristol city council spokesperson said the aim is to improve bus journey times and reliability, and stressed consultation is at an early stage. Other upgrades will benefit all road users, including better signage, lining and loading restrictions, funded by a government grant. Formal consultation begins early next year, the council said. Comments can be emailed to by October 6.

Daniel triumphs at auditions for the X Factor Continued from Page 1 saying that I am representing Bristol,” he told the Voice. Everyone’s really rooting for me, which is nice!” Daniel admitted on air that he was a home-loving figure, with lots of pets at home in Whitchurch, and a bit of a mummy’s boy. But he surprised the judges and the audience at the auditions when his shy demeanour gave way to a powerful and soulful voice. Afterwards host Simon Cowell teased Daniel that he was like his pet tortoise – he had come out of his shell. That’s not to say that Daniel has never been heard by the public. He performed at Filwood community centre at the recent Knowle West Fest. Organisers are now asking if he is the most famous person ever to have graced the Filwood stage! And his colleagues at Iceland all know his passion for singing. “When it’s Christmas they all ask me to sing over the Christmas songs!” he told the TV audience. Daniel told the Voice: “I would really love to make music that people relate to. I love singing at charity events because that helps people.” He’s already had one booking, for a show in aid of Macmillan cancer care, in Mangotsfield on September 30 – with more to follow, no doubt. Daniel has already made a couple of music videos: Facebook: @danielquickmusic

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n NEWS Bike crash plea RESIDENTS of Marston Road, Knowle, have pleaded for safety measures at the junction with Wells Road after they helped care for a motorcyclist knocked off his bike. It’s thought the crash, on

Flying the flag: Mattie Reynolds, 15, at the games in Guelph, Canada

Mattie brings back gold KNOWLE teenage all-round athlete Mattie Reynolds is back from the World Dwarf Games in Canada with a big clutch of medals. Mattie won six golds, five silvers and a bronze in no fewer than seven sports – despite the fact that his luggage with all his sports kit was lost by the airline. He competed in badminton, one of his top sports, without his racket or the rest of his kit – but still managed to win silver. Mattie’s trip was financed by the generosity of local people and businesses in South Bristol who raised £3,500 in a few weeks. He decided he had to make the trip to Guelph, Canada, because he has a genetic growthrestricting condition called SEDC. He will need an operation on his spine next year which may mean that his mobility becomes more restricted. Mattie said: “It was really

great to have an opportunity to play on an equal playing field. I am happy with my swimming success as I was in some open events. It was also nice to meet people from all over the world and to make new friendships.” Mattie’s Medals Gold Swimming Freestyle 25m Gold Swimming Breaststroke 25m Gold Swimming Freestyle 50m Gold Swimming Ind. Medley 100m Gold Swimming Relay 4x50m Gold Javelin Silver Discus Silver Badminton (despite not having any of his kit or racket!) Silver 60m Track Silver 100m Track Silver Table Tennis Bronze Floor Hockey He also took part in Boccia, New Age Curling, Basketball and Football. • You can read the impressions of Mattie’s mum, Marilyn, about the games on the Voice website.

October 2017

September 21, is at least the third there this year. It happened when a car turned right into Marston Road through a queue of traffic as the biker came up the bus lane. Similar accidents have occurred elsewhere on Wells Road. The biker was not badly injured.

Anger at plea for 11pm working at Bristol Waste plant PLANS to extend the hours of operation at the refuse recycling centre in Albert Road, St Philip’s, have met a tide of opposition from Totterdown. Bristol Waste, the councilowned firm which runs the site, wants to be able to operate at weekends and bank holidays – until 11pm if necessary. Officials have met members of Tresa, the Totterdown community group, to explain that the firm does not want to work late every day. But it says that it sometimes gets backlogs of waste which need clearing, and longer operating hours would make the plant work more smoothly. Tresa is to file an objection to the planning application. “A lot of people have complained in the past about the noise of smashing glass at the centre,” said Tresa chair Simon Hobeck. “It’s quite a piercing noise.” Tresa argued that the firm

should be given a few extra days each year on which it can work late. It fears that if a blanket extension in hours is granted, the firm will use them, and it will also set a precedent to the other waste firms in St Philips. Several Totterdown residents have already made objections to the plan. One woman from Hawthorne Street wrote: “The noise from the recycling facility is already horrendous. The sound wakes me up through a closed window. “They are already allowed to operate very long hours. They seem to start at 6am. But my main objection is that the noise prevents my quiet enjoyment of my garden. I’m about to retire and would have liked to sit in my garden in peace, but the noise is too much.” Cllr Jon Wellington said he wanted the facility to be able to deal with large amounts of waste, but he did not want the firm working until 11pm every night.

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October 2017




Boycott threat to Broadwalk centre over parking fines SOME shoppers given parking tickets after leaving their cars in the multi-storey at the Broadwalk shopping centre are threatening to boycott the centre if it doesn’t change its policy. But the manager of the Knowle centre is unapologetic and said the fines were brought in because too many drivers were abusing the car park. Drivers are being hit with a £100 fine – reduced to £60 if paid within two weeks. The car park is free to use, but drivers are now getting tickets if they park over the line at the edge of their space, or if they park for more than two hours. Many parents are particularly angry – because they say the wider parent spaces are often full, and the other spaces are too narrow to get children out safely. The multi-storey is an old one, built in the 1970s when cars were smaller, and its spaces are notoriously narrow. Many drivers have taken to Facebook. One angry mum, faced with a £62.50 fine after she parked over a line to let her children out safely, wrote: “I won’t be ever using or going to this shopping centre again.” Others wrote that they had appealed against their fines, but been rejected. Some said they would not pay. Knowle resident Tony Coll, a media consultant, has appealled against his penalty. He can’t believe he was fined for straying

THE BROADWALK CENTRE RESPONDS TIM Moloney, manager of the Broadwalk shopping centre, said the crackdown was due to complaints that too many drivers were taking up two spaces. “Unfortunately a lot of people aren’t keeping within the bays,” he said. “A lot of customers are talking to me about it. “We got a company in, Anchor, to patrol the car park for us. At first they were putting warning notices on cars for two or three months.” Mr Moloney accepts that the spaces in the car park are small, but he says the car park remains free,

BROADWALK IS BOOMING – WANT TO BUY IT? REGARDLESS of the parking row, the Broadwalk shopping centre is booming – and it is shortly to be put up for sale. It has a higher proportion of shops filled than either Cribbs Causeway or the Mall. Only three units are vacant, and one of those – the former Store 21 clothing shop, which shut in July – is set to be replaced by another fashion outlet. Two other stores, electrical outlets Pink Planet and Brighthouse, closed in June, and those units are on the market for tenants. “For an out-of-town shopping centre, we are doing extremely well,” said manager Tim Moloney. “The centre serves the

community extremely well.” The centre is for sale after a row between its former owner, property firm Frogmore, and its bankers. It’s being managed by administrators Moorfields. Mr Moloney does not expect the eventual new owner will want to change a winning formula. Some think the major supermarkets won’t come to the Broadwalk because they can’t match the prices charged by its many independent stores, and branches of national value outlets such as Iceland and B&M. If you want to buy the centre, your pockets had better be deep. In 2004, an arm of HSBC paid £22 million for the centre. In 2006 it was bought by Frogmore, it’s thought for about the same sum.

over the line on a bank holiday when the car park was mostly empty. “Yes, I was over the line, but who cares?” he said. “Laws are supposed to be in the public interest, and to be proportional to the offence. Just following a rule because it’s a rule is stupid.” If his fine is upheld, Tony said he will consider whether to carry on visiting the Broadwalk centre. “Why put myself at risk of losing £100 just to hop out and buy a packet of stamps?” he said. Meanwhile, mum Nicola Elles is furious that she was fined for parking over a line – also on the roof level – which she did just so that she could leave room for her

son to get out of the car. She couldn’t use the larger parentand-child spaces because they were all occupied – including one driver who didn’t have children, and gave her verbal abuse when she asked him to park somewhere else. “I spoke with the parking warden who agreed it was unfair I received the fine,” she said. “My car is clearly marked that I have children, and the child seats in the back are a bit of a giveaway. “The spaces are very small. They have two floors not in use in that car park so surely they could make more parent and child spaces?”

Somewhere the carers get looked after

Cookery class for the carers CARERS who look after a loved one but could do with some time off now and then are invited to join a South Bristol group. Space4carers is run by carers for carers. They meet to chat, have coffee and to try an activity they have chosen. To date they have enjoyed cookery sessions, arts and crafts, and stress busting techniques. They’ve also had speakers from Avon Wildlife Trust, dieticians, and a mindfulness expert. The group meets on the second Monday of each month from 10am-12noon at Bristol Community Links centre, just off Novers Lane, at Langhill Avenue BS14 1TN. The next meeting is on October 9. For details call Mandy Panes 07872 543661, mandypanes@ or Kelly Meek on 07471 797800.

and is never full – there are always spaces to be found on a higher level. On the roof there are no pillars, making it easier to park. “If a car is on the line we don’t worry about it,” he said. “If it’s blatantly over the line then that’s a breach of our terms and conditions. “I can’t understand why people know about it, and still park over two bays.” Some people have expressed doubt whether fines for parking on private premises are enforceable. Mr Moloney said that the car park had met all the regulations. Anchor will employ a debt collection agency to get a court order against drivers if necessary, he said.

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

October 2017




NEARLY 100 people asked for help from Bristol money experts on claiming their money entitlements at the latest of MP Karin’s Smyth’s one-stop shop events. The Labour MP brought together staff and

Advice on claiming what’s due

Cycle hangar vote is in favour

NHS merger threatens cash for South Bristol hospital: MP

A MAJORITY of people responding to consultation in and around Somerset Road, Knowle, are in favour of installing bike hangars. It means the council is likely to look at installing two hangars for a total of 12 cycles in Copse Road, which is considered a safer location than Somerset Road. In all, 26 out of 46 households backed the idea, with 18 opposed and two undecided. Of the 60 people who responded, 34 approved, 21 objected, three voiced both support and objections, and two were unsure. However, in Copse Road, the five objectors outnumbered the three in support. The council said those living closest to the proposed location had not objected. Together, the hangars would take less space than two cars. The council acknowledged protests from residents who felt they hadn’t had a voice in the discussions, and said it will look at how it handles future proposals. The idea is to encourage cycling by providing a lockable store so people don’t have to lug cycles into their terraced homes. • News of the consultation arrived just as the Voice was going to press. We’ll have more on the subject next month.

volunteers from organisations including Bristol Citizens Advice, South Bristol Advice Services, Department for Work and

THE NHS body which pays for South Bristol hospital is quietly being merged with two neighbouring bodies which have massive deficits – without the public being consulted. Bristol South MP Karin Smyth has called for a public conversation about the merger of Bristol’s NHS clinical commissioning group, or CCG, with the CCGs in North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. The NHS says merging the three bodies makes sense because they work closely together, and patients won’t be affected. But Ms Smyth points out that while the Bristol CCG has a balanced budget, its two neighbours have some of the worst deficits in the health service – £29.9 million in South Gloucestershire, according to figures published in July, and £25.3m in North Somerset. “Nobody has asked Bristol taxpayers what they think,” said the Labour MP. Ms Smyth praised the Bristol CCG, which holds the purse strings for the BRI as well as South Bristol hospital, for running a balanced budget.

Pensions, Royal British Legion, Bristol City Council and WE Care and Repair at the September 15 event at the Withywood centre.

“They have kept the ship afloat in really difficult circumstances,” she said. She warned that the region will have to find £300m in cuts within five years, and the proposed merger is a distraction from dealing with this. “There is a large task to be done and I would rather have an upfront conversation with the public about that, rather than doing it behind closed doors,” she told the Voice. She said the other two areas have different health priorities from Bristol: North Somerset has a much larger elderly population, for example, and there have been long-running problems at Weston hospital. “If they are spending money shoring up deficits in North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, how does Bristol get its say?” she asked. Ms Smyth fears the lack of cash could inhibit plans to expand services at South Bristol’s community hospital, which include cancer screening and a range of outpatient clinics. In an article in the Huffington Post, she wrote of South Bristol hospital: “We have made some

Ms Smyth said: “It’s clear that people are often unaware of what they are entitled to receive, and that changes to rules and regulations make it hard to keep on top of things. There was lots of really positive feedback.”

progress, but more needs to be done. Worryingly this merger threatens the funding needed to bring about those changes.” The MP’s plea for public consultation appears to have fallen on deaf ears, however. A meeting of the three CCGs has backed the merger, and only “stakeholders” – meaning GPs and other professionals – were consulted. The move is awaiting approval from NHS England. A spokesperson for Bristol CCG said: “All three CCGs are financially challenged and it is important that we work together, through a strong single commissioner plan, to restore financial balance to the local health system and ensure sustainable, high-quality health services for the long term. “We already operate largely as one organisation and the merger is a logical next step that will allow us to remove the duplication of maintaining three separate administrative systems and free up resources that can be invested in improving services.” Ms Smyth’s article in the Huffington Post: •



ABBITS are considered docile and passive creatures. However, it is not uncommon to see aggressive behaviour that can be surprising, or even alarming, to a new owner. Dominance is probably the most common cause of aggression. Rabbits can fight to establish dominance within a group or to keep newcomers out. Neutering can reduce this but may not eliminate the aggressive behaviour. Rabbits can also fight over resources like favourite snacks, food bowls and water bottles. A

good rule of thumb is to provide extra – so provide for as many pets as you own, plus one more. Rabbits may also be aggressive towards people. Again the rabbit may be trying to establish dominance, but it could also be the result of pain or illness, or even learned behaviour. For example, children can be over-enthusiastic with pets and may inadvertently create a certain behaviour. Another cause of aggression towards people could be improper socialisation, or even a previous trauma that may create an aversive

behaviour. Every rabbit is different and management of aggression can vary widely depending on its cause. It is important to try to read a rabbit’s body language as rabbits may try to communicate some clues. It is also extremely important to rule out medical reasons. When a rabbit is showing an aggressive behaviour for no apparent reason, this should warrant a trip to the vet who will perform a complete evaluation. If you have concerns about your pet rabbit, and would like further

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October 2017




A top restaurant is the aim for the Totterdown Centre THE LONG-empty Chinese takeaway in the Totterdown Centre on Wells Road has new owners, who have an ambition to turn it into a top-rate restaurant. Jon and Mary Ross, who live nearby in Knowle, have bought the ground floor at 142 and 144 Wells Road – the old takeaway and the empty shop next door. Their intervention has probably prevented a developer trying to turn it into flats. It also allows hope of a new future for the eyesore building, because the Rosses are working in cooperation with Bristol Women’s Workshop and Beks Vera Harhat of Floriography, who between them control most of the rest of the building. The Voice has been reporting for several months how Beks has brought together the different parties to find a shared vision for the building. It used to be a hub for community projects and its complicated ownership has prevented any progress for years. Jon and Mary hope to have their part of the building cleaned and made safe in time to open it for Totterdown’s Front Room art trail on November 18 and 19. The ground floor used to be Harris & Tozers, a drapers and clothiers that was a Totterdown institution between 1901 and the 1970s. Famously, it sold corsets which it allowed customers to try at home on approval. Jon and Mary have uncovered many mementoes from the store, including mannequins, a printed notice of the firm’s opening in 1901, fabric samples and more. The restoration will be a slow

HEALING COURTYARD MASSAGE, storytelling and all kinds of events are scheduled for the Healing Courtyard, the area behind the old takeaway (it’s also home to Floriography). Knitting and crochet sessions run twice a month, there’s a monthly open mic for all kinds of performers, and storytelling and poetry twice a week. October 27 sees a Flower Fun and Autumn Picnic, while on October 31 there are scary ghost stories for children and adults. Bristol Women’s Workshop is also running courses in woodwork. • process, said Jon. “It has been majorly neglected so it’s a matter of taking it back to the floor, walls and ceiling joists.” The roof has been leaking for years, causing a lot of damaged timbers and rot. “The majority of the building is sound,” said Jon, “and we have been clearing out the cellar, which has flagstones, and they didn’t do that unless they were building to a high specification.” The work will take some months, but eventually Jon and Mary want to let out 144 as a restaurant. They want something which will not compete too much with other local businesses. “We want something that would bring people into Totterdown for a restaurant experience,” said Jon. They are big fans of Birch, the much-acclaimed restaurant in Raleigh Road, Southville. They would like to emulate

the glory days of Glasnost, the restaurant in William Street, Totterdown (now the Thali). In the 1990s and 2000s, Glasnost won rave reviews and tables had to be booked weeks in advance. Jon and Mary are pursuing their own leads to find the right team to take on the restaurant. At 142, they hope to create two rooms which can be rented out for community use, for yoga or art classes, for example. But they aim to do this in concert with the work by Beks and the Women’s Workshop team. The rest of the centre has space which could be opened up as an indoor market and meeting rooms. • The Voice hears that a new use may soon be revealed for the old Floriography shop at 152 Wells Road – possibly involving both furniture and food. Watch this space, as no one says any more.

Boys brigade is open to girls THE JUNIOR section of the Boys Brigade for 8-11 year-olds is 100 years old this year, and it’s been celebrating with events including sleep-overs, activity weeks and charity events. The Windmill Hill group caters for girls as well as boys. It’s a Christian group, with other centres across Bristol including Hengrove and Hanham. There are also groups for ages 5–8, 11–15 and 15–18 years. To find out more, call Mark Fuller on 07984 983454. • Facebook: @AvonBoysBrigade

Festive runners SANTAS on the Run is a 2k fun run around the harbourside and city centre raising money for Children’s Hospice South West. It’s on December 10 – last year more than 2,200 Santas took part to raise £60,000 for the hospice at Wraxall. • •

Premiere for new musical A NEW musical with a gospel message gets its premiere in Knowle during October. Promise of Power is written by Rev Alister Palmer, the former priest at St Barnabas in Knowle West, and will be performed by singers from churches in Knowle, Totterdown, and Knowle West. Martin Turnbull from St Martin’s church in Knowle is directing the music. With a

strong social gospel message, it tells how the early church was open to people marginalised by race, class and ability. The first show is on Friday October 6 at 7pm at the Oasis Academy on Melvin Square in Knowle West. It’s also performed at 6pm on October 15 at St Martin’s church, Wells Road, Knowle. Entry is free, with donations to Filwood Hope, a drop-in centre in Knowle West.

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October 2017


Quick-exit chief exec’s recruitment was ‘shambolic’ THE council has been accused of using a shambolic process to appoint its chief executive – who left the council in early September, saying she needs to care for her elderly parents. The council’s Lib Dems and Conservatives have attacked the way in which Anna Klonowsksi was appointed to the £160,000 a year role in February. Knowle councillor and Lib Dem party leader Gary Hopkins said: “It was obvious that most of the [selection] committee had received no training in the procedures, and the process was shambolic.” Mayor Marvin Rees is now deciding whether to recruit what

would be the city’s fourth chief executive in 16 months. The previous title holder, Nicola Yates, quit in January amid protest at her £200,000 payoff. Ms Klonowski is not thought to have had such generous payout terms. But the council has given only partial answers to the Voice’s questions on Ms Klonowski. The council refused comment on the size of any payoff. It said that Ms Klonowski was still working for the council until the end of September, but did not say if she was attending her office. And it did not explain allegations about the selection panel which appointed her. The

n POLICING in Avon & Somerset is at a tipping point because of cuts, according to police and crime commissioner Sue Mountstevens, and Chief Constable Andy Marsh. The force has 655 fewer officers than

in 2010 after making savings of £65 million; it is being asked to cut £17m more by 2022. “We cannot sustain further funding cuts without extremely serious consequences,” the pair wrote to ministers.

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Voice has been told that on its first meeting, the panel of councillors did not take a vote, but instead emailed their choice of candidate to an official. Cllr Hopkins said: “No proper records were kept and it was obvious that whatever advice that came in from whatever source, the mayor was determined that Ms Klonowski should get the job.” When Cllr Hopkins and Cllr Richard Eddy, a Tory member, insisted on an open vote, another meeting was arranged. It is unclear what happened at that meeting – and the council has not explained what it decided. The Voice understands that a third meeting of the panel voted

in favour of Ms Klonowski. The council said in a statement: “The process for recruiting senior management was followed and a recommendation was made by the selection committee to full council at its meeting on February 21. Full council voted in favour of accepting this recommendation with 44 votes in favour and none against. Anna Klonowski was duly appointed as chief executive.” The council also declined to say whether Ms Klonowski was paid through the PAYE system or via a private company. Being paid though a company can have tax advantages.

‘Use volunteers to help save all our branch libraries’ USING volunteers to help run libraries could save most of the threatened branches and still save £1 million, claim the city’s Liberal Democrats. Consultation had now closed on plans put forward by Bristol’s ruling Labour group that would lead to the closure of several South Bristol libraries. Labour would save £1.4m by closing Marksbury Road, Wick Road, Bishopsworth and Whitchurch libraries. Knowle library would be closed in two of the three options in the consultation, as would the Stockwood branch. Cllr Gary Hopkins, Knowle councillor and Lib Dem leader, said volunteers would come forward if they thought it could save Knowle library. The Lib Dem plan is to set up an independent trust to run libraries, using professional librarians to supervise the volunteers. A trust could bring in private enterprise, grants and sponsorship, said Cllr Tim Kent. He said councils in Devon, York and Suffolk have reduced costs, protected branches and found extra income for their libraries by


putting them into a charitable trust. “Over the last few weeks hundreds of people have signed our petition to save our local library in Wick Road, from these we have many people willing to regularly donate time to help keep their library open,” said Brislington West Cllr Jos Clark. Deputy mayor Asher Craig, who is overseeing the cuts to the wider neighbourhoods budget, has said she is willing to meet residents at Wick Road and Marksbury Road to look at the options. The Friends of Marksbury Road library, however, have previously said that they don’t want the building run by volunteers. “We would like to see Marksbury Road library remain open as a council-run, properlystaffed, properly-resourced library service,” Sarah Murch, secretary of the Friends, said in July. “The area is one with few amenities and increasing numbers of new houses and flats, and it includes pockets of high deprivation. The library is a greatly valued resource.”

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October 2017



n NEWS COUNCIL CUTS IN FOCUS Mayor takes case for cities to Whitehall

Saving Ashton Court could put parks plan in jeopardy THE council appears no closer to meeting its much-derided target of running the city’s parks on a zero budget. Concerns are likely to increase when a campaign gets under way next month under the banner Save Ashton Court. The aim of the campaign, to be launched by Bristol Civic Society, is uncontroversial – to preserve the historic Grade I listed Ashton Court mansion and its much-loved 860-acre grounds. But the Civic Society is likely to call for the estate to be handed to a charitable trust. That would appear to conflict with the council’s idea to transfer all parks – including Ashton Court – to a different trust. The council needs a big hike in income from Ashton Court to help pay for its other open spaces. It is considering a Go Ape adventure centre in the grounds, the possibility of other paid-for attractions, and wants to hike up parking charges. It may decide to charge the Balloon Fiesta for use of the site, or request that visitors to the Fiesta pay to enter. If the estate is passed to a separate trust, the council would presumably lose all these potential sources of income. Bristol Civic Society is expected to launch its campaign for Ashton Court during October. At a meeting in Southville on September 7, the society’s chair, Simon Birch, said there were

Ashton Court: Council to stop wedding hire, leading to closure fears concerns that the council doesn’t have the resources to look after the mansion, and it could fall in to disrepair. Members fear the house, parts of which date from the 15th century, will be boarded up. The council is to stop hiring out the mansion for weddings and other events at the end of the year because it is losing money. In a statement, the council said it will consult on the parks savings from October. It is “committed to free access to quality parks across the city”. Ashton Court will be offered for hire in the hope that the building can be kept open “while we work alongside the Civic Society and other partners and citizens to develop the long-term plans for the building.” But neither the council nor Cllr Asher Craig, the deputy mayor in charge of parks, would comment on the loss of income if the estate is given to a trust.

Bristol Parks Forum believes the council is £2m short of its £4.5m parks savings target. “Unless the council finds some other source of income or the Government releases more money, we are looking at a catastrophic impact on parks from April 2019,” the forum told its volunteer members. The National Trust is believed to have told the council that transferring all the parks into a charitable trust is feasible – but would take several years and could not be done by 2019. • The council has confirmed that £294,000 will now be spent on parks in Windmill Hill and Knowle after it was frozen during cutbacks late last year. The cash came from the sale of council land for housing at Salcombe Road, Knowle. It will pay for improvements at Salcombe Road and parks including Victoria Park, Northern Slopes and Redcatch Park.

MAYOR Marvin Rees encouraged Bristolians to march in protest on September 9 at the cuts he is making across the council, urging them to turn their anger towards the Government. Billed as Bristol’s biggest ever march, thousands joined the city centre protest and heard rousing speeches from speakers including left-wing journalist Owen Jones. Three days later, Mr Rees was in Whitehall to present a green paper calling for more investment in British cities. Written with the leaders of Britain’s nine other core cities, the paper said releasing new powers, including tax-raising, to cities would boost the economy. But Mr Rees did not get to meet any representatives of the Government – instead he met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Bristol’s Labour MPs. The journey to London meant the cancellation of a full council meeting due that day. “Many residents planning to protest about their libraries or school crossing patrols were annoyed,” said Bristol Lib Dem leader Gary Hopkins, especially when it emerged Mr Rees didn’t meet any ministers. Consultation has now closed on cuts to libraries, public toilets, school crossing patrols, community care and neighbourhood meetings. The next full council meeting, where residents can file questions, is on November 14. • The Mayor: Page 31

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

October 2017



n NEWS Diverse events to celebrate every culture A SOUTH Bristol community venue is planning a month of events to celebrate different cultures in the face of what it calls “ an alarming rise in the number of hate crime incidents, both locally and globally”. Diversity Month at Zion community space, in Bishopsworth Road, includes children’s story time with a drag queen, comedy from Britain’s oldest working stand-up, aged 83, and a Filipino food and music night. “We hope our Diversity Month programme will add to the continuing celebration of cultures in our city and show that we believe Bristol is a home for everyone,” said the organisers. Throughout the month, play sessions run by BraveBold Drama will have activities from different cultures, every Thursday from 10-11.30am. The Filipino music and food night is on October 13, while there’s an Across India Supper Club on October 26. Poet Liz Mytton talks about her life’s journey of navigating mental illness in an evening called OCD (Optimistic Creative Deluge) on October 25. There’s a workshop on dealing with disability hate crime on October 18, while training to help defuse anti-social behaviour and hate crime is on October 11. More on the comedy night and some of the other events during Diversity Month on our What’s On pages.


‘High density is needed to meet our housing targets’ DEVELOPERS at Bedminster Green can apply for grants to help pay for affordable housing, according to Nicola Beech, council cabinet member for urban design. A £12m grant from the Homes and Communities Agency helped pay for social housing at Wapping Wharf, a six-storey development on the harbourside, seen as an acceptable alternative to tower blocks by Windmill Hill pressure group WHaM. The HCA still has grants available, said Cllr Beech, and the council can also make grants towards social housing. However, it’s unclear whether any grants would stop developers at the Green building higher. Any extra cash could provide more social housing, but might not coax developers to build lower. On the Green’s Plot 5, for example, 30 per cent affordable housing is promised by developer Urbis, but only if it is allowed to build an 18-storey tower. Cllr Beech told the Voice that Bristol’s need for housing is huge, and the council is working hard to get developers to plan high-density homes that are also attractive places to live. “We want a great design and affordable housing. Is it reasonable to want all these things? We think it is, but clearly the development industry doesn’t always think it is.” She has weekly conversations with council housing boss Cllr

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ROLLO’S ‘THREAT’ OVER AFFORDABLE HOMES WOULD-BE Bedminster Green developer Rollo Homes has threatened the council that if its plan for 207 flats in 10 storeys at Malago Road isn’t dealt with quickly, it will withdraw its offer of affordable housing. Rollo is offering 20 affordable homes, or 10 per cent – much less than the council’s 30 per cent target. It says even 20 homes is not required according to planning rules – though it hasn’t published the viability study which justifies this view. A statement made in August by Rollo’s planning agent Stokes Morgan said: “If the developer has to suffer the considerable delay of an appeal, this offer would be retracted and zero per cent affordable housing would be offered.” Rollo is also disputing whether any kind of framework exists for

the rest of Bedminster Green, where further plans from other developers could provide 1,000 homes and facilities such as a revamped railway station. However, rival developer Urbis, which came up with the idea of a framework two years ago, says it is co-ordinating studies on transport and on flood risks with the other developers involved. Bristol firm Deeley Freed is drawing up plans for Plot 3 – the NCP car park; a firm called Dandara has completed a pre-application study for Plot 4, around Stafford Street; and Urbis has plans for Plot 5, around the station. Consultation on Plot 5 is expected this autumn, and a planning application for Urbis’s energy centre, to supply heat and power to the Green area, at the end of October. The framework idea is not dead, said Urbis managing director Richard Clarke, but the council is now holding the reins.

Paul Smith on the subject, she said. “We don’t want Bedminster Green to become a miniManhattan,” she added. But she warned that providing the number of homes needed will mean tough choices. “We cannot say no to things just because we don’t like them. It would be draconian if you were to stop people proposing tall buildings. The Government is positively encouraging this sort

of [high density] development. “We have a phenomenal housing crisis, we have a need for 30,000 affordable homes in the next 20 years.” She suggested that people who have their own home might want to think about “the thousands of people in this city in poor accommodation, or still living with their parents because they cannot get a foot on the housing ladder”.

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October 2017



n NEWS UNIVERSITY LISTENING TO CONCERNS BRISTOL University has revealed more views of its proposed £300 million campus at Temple Meads – including how a 25-storey block of student accommodation will look from various viewpoints. At a consultation event held at the Engine Shed in Temple Meads in September, Patrick Finch, university bursar, said: “We know there are concerns from local residents and this gives us the SOUTH Bristolians can expect more tower blocks on their doorstep – starting on Bath Road, it seems. The council’s housing chief, cabinet member Paul Smith, says he is keen on the idea of another high-rise on Bath Road to mirror the 16-storey building proposed by London developer Hadley next to Totterdown bridge. Community group Tresa and Windmill Hill councillor Jon Wellington have voiced opposition to the Hadley scheme – partly because of its bulk and appearance, but also because of the extra pressure it will put on parking and local amenities. With other developments planned or on the cards at Paintworks, Bath Road studios, Arnos Manor and elsewhere, there could be 3,000 extra residents in the area within a few years. Now Cllr Smith has revealed he is in favour of another tower block, also on Bath Road but the other side of Totterdown bridge, towards the Three Lamps junction. This strip of land – currently lined by small trees along the riverbank – is council-owned but has long been earmarked for housing. “Is that a good location for a tower? Yes, I think it is,” Cllr Smith told the Voice, “but of course it will be up to the planning committee to decide.” The council will first ask housing associations if they want

opportunity to hear what people think. I won’t pretend those aren’t visible buildings but we have tried to break them up so that they aren’t big slabs.” The campus has virtually no parking, which is likely to add pressure for a residents’ parking zone in Totterdown and nearby. Community group Tresa criticised a lack of detail in the plans and the “poor quality” of the display. A university team will explain the plans further at a Tresa public meeting on November 15

(no venue is yet announced). Mr Finch said the university is open to suggestions about how it could fund community benefits – such as a parking zone. In Stoke Bishop, the university helped pay for a residents parking scheme – but Mr Finch warned it had been difficult there to get residents to agree what was needed. An outline planning application for the campus is expected to be made in October. The timetable is tight for the hi-tech “future learning” campus as


it needs to open in 2021. Bristol city council is to start demolishing the old Royal Mail sorting office in October and November and has to clear asbestos contamination as well as investigate a cholera burial pit dating from the 1830s-1850s. Another difficulty is that part of the sorting office and its deep foundations must be removed without disturbing the railway. If the site can be cleared in time, the university will make detailed planning applications next summer and start to build in 2019.

Bath Road ripe for another skyscraper says council boss

Views of the university’s proposed buildings from Wells Road, left, and Zone A, near Firfield Street, right to develop the site for social housing. Cllr Smith thinks they will, but if not, the council may turn to a private developer such as Hadley. At a consultation event held by Hadley in July, the firm suggested that its tower would be the only one on that stretch of Bath Road. If they were able to build on the other side of Totterdown bridge, it would be at a height of five or six storeys, they suggested. Cllr Smith has a different view. If towers are built, “it makes sense to do something that puts them [together] in clutches, rather than having them scattered randomly across the city,” he said. He said the pressure on the A4, one of the busiest roads in

Bristol, will be addressed as part of a study by the new West of England authority, which is drawing up a transport plan for the region (see page 18). The council will soon reveal new proposals on tall buildings, expected to suggest new housing densities for different areas of the city. Cllr Smith signalled that he sees both Bedminster Green and Bath Road as suitable for high densities.


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Any high-rises need to suit their surroundings and make a welcoming environment at ground level, he said – unlike the concrete canyons built in Nelson Street and elsewhere in the city centre in the 1960s and 70s. “We won’t suddenly start building towers in Knowle,” he said. In Knowle West, new housing is more likely to consist of making terraces by filling in gaps between existing homes.

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October 2017





All over the city, pitiless drug dealers are A cuckoo in the nest isn’t just something suffered by birds. It’s also one of the nasty side effects of drug dealing RIGHT now, somewhere in South Bristol, someone is being cuckooed. It might sound like a light-hearted term, but it isn’t. It means that someone is a virtual prisoner in their own home. Cuckooing is when criminals – often dealers in Class A drugs – have taken over someone’s home. It’s always someone vulnerable and easily exploited, perhaps because of their age, or a disability, or because of addiction. Often they have no family or close friends who might notice what’s going on. Whatever the situation,

cuckooing always results in misery for residents who find they have no say in what goes on in their house or flat. It will be constantly open to potentially violent drug dealers, and their customers, who may call at any time of day. You may have heard about cuckooing, and assume it’s a rare event, or it only happens in the most deprived areas. Well, it’s not – there have been at least four cases known to police in South Bristol in the last six months. One was in Hartcliffe, while the others were in Wells Road, Knowle; Sandholme Road, Brislington, and Bedminster. PC Ben Jefferies is deeply involved in South Bristol police’s Baseline anti-drugs programme, set up last year by Sgt Dan Ashfield and PC Rich Jeffery to combat increasingly brazen drug dealing which was then taking place openly on the streets of

Major haul: One of many local cannabis factories raided in the last year. This one, in Crossways Road, Knowle, was in an outbuilding South Bristol. PC Jefferies explained that, to drug dealers, selling illegal substances is a business – and cuckooing is just one way to make their business work better. “Drug dealers are trying to make the most money possible. If they can do things that distance themselves from the product,

they will do that. If they can find a property they can use that they are not linked to, it’s a good business model,” he told the Voice. Nothing could illustrate better the pitiless calculations made by those who run the drugs trade. “People are coerced, through fear, intimidation or violence, into doing things they don’t want

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depriving people of their own homes CANNABIS AND SPICE: NOT SUCH SOFT DRUGS

Taking action: Poice say their raids on drug houses are often welcomed by neighbours to do”, said PC Jefferies. “Sometimes they are compensated, but most of the time it’s on a false promise – ‘If you let us use your loft for a grow we will give you a grand’ – but if you have a couple of heavies at your door and the grand doesn’t appear, what are you going to do?” PC Jefferies said: “We had a case in Hengrove about nine months ago where a man had his flat taken over. “He was an alcoholic and they forced their way in whether he liked it or not. “They were storing drugs there to a point where he couldn’t live there any more, and he presented himself as homeless. “He had an excellent support worker, and they reported it to us.” The man was unwilling to talk to police, but he trusted his support worker and, using the information he supplied, the council and the police were able to stop the illegal use of the man’s flat, and find him a new home. Sadly, no arrests were made on that occasion. But there have been plenty of others. At the cuckooed home in Brislington, a woman was cutting up Class A drugs as officers went through the door. Four arrests were made. The cuckooed Hartcliffe flat has been boarded up after weapons were found there. And arrests for dealing on the streets are happening every week. All the activity since Operation Baseline began 18 months ago has had a real effect, police believe, bringing in more intelligence from the public, and restricting – though not removing – the supply of drugs. When they see officers breaking

CUCKOOING is often linked to the sale of the hardest, Class A drugs like heroin or crack cocaine. But supposedly less harmful substances like cannabis or spice are also causing real harm on the streets of South Bristol. Cannabis is now commonly grown in the community, in houses or flats taken over by growers who install insulation and high-powered lighting, and bypass the mains to get free electricity. It’s a big-money drug, with a single mature plant capable of producing up to £1,000 worth of cannabis a year. Average sized homes can produce a harvest worth tens or even hundreds of thousands. A house raided in Filton recently had more than 100 electrical sockets installed to light a crop worth £600,000. The recent trend is for smaller

factories where detection is less likely. The new LED lights create less heat, making it more difficult for thermal imaging equipment to identify a grow site. This home-grown cannabis is stronger than foreign supplies. Users frequently describe themselves as addicted to it, said PC Jefferies. It’s usually the first drug people will try: “We are finding a lot of young kids smoking it at 13 or 14, bowing to peer pressure,” said PC Jefferies. The new, stronger cannabis can cause mental health problems. It can affect performance at school, at work and driving. Effects are greater on teenage users, whose brains are still developing. Those who start taking cannabis before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop psychosis and five times more likely to be depressed or anxious. A French study found cannabis users are more than twice as likely

to be the cause of a fatal car crash. Then there is spice – one of the former “legal highs” which, until they were banned in April 2016, were sold in some South Bristol shops. Spice, known by many names such as K2 and black mamba, is a synthetic cannabis, but its effects can be much more unpredictable. The dose in some batches is much higher than in others, and in any case the ingredients are often not what is stated on the label. Users can become agitated or violent, or collapse. Their behaviour can be very hard to handle. All authorities agree that spice is much stronger than cannabis. The NHS says it can cause paranoia, coma, seizures and even death. Health effects of cannabis, by the Royal College of Psychiatry: • problemsdisorders/ cannabismentalhealthkey.aspx Health effects of spice: •

down a door to tackle drug dealers, people gain confidence that things can change, which makes them more likely to report other crimes, said PC Jefferies. “We have people coming up to us when we do these operations saying, ‘Thank you very much.’ “We are not going to make the problem go away. But we want to make South Bristol a better place to live, where drug dealing is not impacting on people’s everyday lives. Talking to drug users, they have noticed it’s more difficult to buy drugs.” Even people involved in drug taking are sometimes happy to see the police intervene. “I have dealt with lots of users and most of them do not want to be addicted,” said PC Jefferies. “They are not stupid. They see how it has ruined their life. It leads to unemployment and massive health problems, but often they cannot work to fund their habit because they are so unreliable. “They will end up committing crime to fund their habit, and they end up in prison.” Shoplifting and small-scale drug dealing are the usual routes to fund a habit. But drug users are not the ones who make real profit out of drugs. “Very, very few people make money out of drugs,” said PC Jefferies. “It just destroys lives.”

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

October 2017





Your tales of the secret visitors on night Lots of you are looking out for hedghogs after our appeal in the last issue, it seems, writes Alex Morss


HE SECRET antics of night wildlife in local gardens has prompted a flood of funny stories and DIY detective work from Voice readers. Lots of you have been in touch to share your stories of nocturnal visitors, after our hedgehog appeal last issue. Some of you came to share your stories with us at our wildlife corner at the Victoria Park fun day on September 16, where we gave information on the appeal, which asked people to make Hedgehog Highways and report sightings. I’ve been thrilled to hear

about all the efforts so many of you are going to. Readers have been in touch to share stories about what they are doing to help hedgehogs and other wildlife. There is also some impressive nature detective work going on by lots of people. Thank you. Madhu Anhes and Achalavira Rose of Haverstock Road, Knowle, said: “We had a delightful visit from a hedgehog in July. We think the hedgehog walked into our kitchen and fell down a hole in the floorboards. We thought we had rats! But when we took up the floorboard to investigate, out popped a hedgehog. We fed her up a bit for a couple of days and then released her into the garden where she happily snuffled and moved on to the next garden. “There is ample natural space for a hedgehog in our garden without a special house. We now

Family affair: See this hog family in Ashton on YouTube – link right have a permanent gap under our back gate which leads into a gated alleyway, so that hedgehogs can come and go.” John on Frayne Road, Ashton, sent us a beautiful video of a mother hedgehog with her young family of hoglets. John said: “A number of us in our road

had a spell of regular visits from hedgehogs over 20 years ago. Our children were young at the time and we made a hedgehog house in which a couple of hogs successfully hibernated. “Years passed until my wife spotted an adult hog crossing our lawn, early one evening a few weeks ago. There was even better news a day or two later when we found a nest – a mound of leaves and other dried matter in a flowerbed – and realised that a mother was looking after a litter of five hoglets!” John set up a night vision camera: “Only the mother was active, spending a long time out of the nest feeding on the meal worms and dried cat food we’d put down. She was completely oblivious of the cats which prowled around!” He added: “On a warm Sunday in mid-August, we were lucky enough to watch the young hogs venture from the nest for

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October 2017





patrol through our gardens the first time, and later that day, we realised that the whole family had gone. We have a gap under our back gate, which opens onto an alleyway, and a friend along our road spotted the young hogs on her lawn a few evenings later – and fed them by hand! “We’ve put food out every evening and have a regular visitor. One of the young hogs is almost certainly living in the undergrowth at the bottom of our garden. “We have two young grandchildren and they enjoy putting out the food each evening!” You can see the video here: • Roc and Ruth Walker on Redcatch Road, Knowle, have gone to great lengths to unravel the mystery of their night visitors. A gap under the fence to a back alley is a wildlife gateway for a variety of creatures, but also an irresistible naturalist’s challenge: “We have suspected for some time that a hedgehog has been coming into the garden but had not seen it,” said Roc. Determined to find out, Roc and his wife Ruth put out cat food, sunflower hearts and chopped apple, and made nightly stakeouts, but without luck. Each night they offered food, which vanished, but they assumed cats, slugs or birds were eating it. After a few nights, they finally saw a hedgehog visitor. Then followed elaborate attempts to build a fox-proof and cat-proof hedgehog feeding tunnel, with a night light on top. “The following morning we found the light some 4 metres away and most of the food still there! We reasoned that a fox must have

MAKE A HIGHWAY FOR A HEDGEHOG ALEX has free Hedgehog Highway plaques, donated by Avon Wildlife Trust, to give to anyone in South Bristol who makes their garden accessible for hedgehogs. Alex said: “Even small garden spaces can help if they are made accessible and provide some shelter and food for hogs to visit on their nightly wanderings. Together they form a vital patchwork of habitats.” Get in touch at

Special facilities: The Walker family of Knowle have built their hogs a house and feeding tunnel

removed the light,” said Roc. “I rigged up a security light with PIR detector. There were two visits by hedgehogs, also a fox actually on top of the hog house! Hay has been moved and piled up along one side of the house. We wondered if hogs are thinking of making a nest to over-winter. We’re both pretty excited about the results so far.”  Phil on Sylvia Avenue revealed: “We have been feeding ours for about six years. We have seen one or two come and go in that time but get visits from three to four every night. I have made a tunnel feeding station and wooden hibernation boxes under logs. I have cut a hole in the fence that backs on to a lane to encourage them to mobilise!” Emma Smith on Highbury Road, Bedminster, sent us photos of her hedgehog’s night time strolls and said: “In the last few months we’ve had a hedgehog make a few visits at night. I’ve not seen him but my husband has watched him. We’ve left food out, but I’m not sure if he’s eaten any. Hopefully he’ll keep coming back and one day I might actually see him, and any friends he might bring!” Sarah on Windmill Hill has offered to foster rescue hedgehogs during rehabilitation, via a local charity, after getting in touch with the Voice. Like many people, she has walls which mean hogs can’t get into her garden, but this is another way to help. “I’ll help any way I can for all wildlife,” Sarah said. “We don’t use any pesticides and we have a wild patch of garden so hedgehogs would feel right at home.” Yvonne Cox at Bristol-based

Hedgehog Rescue said the response to the Voice appeal was “amazing”. She said Sarah’s offer was generous: “We often need totally enclosed gardens for overwintering hedgehogs, or as a permanent garden for a disabled hedgehog that can’t be released back into the wild. But they do need to be completely enclosed. Hogs can get under fences, climb horizontally-slatted fences and dry stone walls. Thank you.” •

Go bats and celebrate the dark side A CELEBRATION of bats and all things Gothic comes to Arnos Vale cemetery on November 2. It’s hosted by Dan Flew, who has studied the bats at Arnos Vale for more than six years and is a former grave digger and lover of all things dark. It features an after-dark tour and a spooky reading in the outdoors Underwood Centre from a Gothic novel. Dark visions from artist Beautiful Lunatic will be on show, along with works by other local artists. There will be the chance to have Angel card readings, a photographer will take photos of those who’ve dressed Gothicstyle, and there will be Gothic rock playing later for those who want to dance. It starts at 7.30pm and a bar is open until 11pm. •



Visit our campus, see what’s on offer and meet our teachers and students on:

Thursday 14th September 6-8pm Saturday 7th October 10am - 12noon For more information visit or call 0117 353 2800 Bedminster Down School, Donald Road, Bedminster BS13 7DQ


Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

October 2017




No need to fear the rise of the robots A KNOWLE expert in robotics has rejected claims that jobs are at risk of computerisation. Philip Graves, of GWS Robotics in Queen Charlotte Street, believes it could in fact lead to new opportunities. Philip, who has been computer programming since the 1980s, and studied economics in Sweden, said: “There is something of a panic about the risk of human jobs being taken by robots in the future. “But history shows us that when advances in technology take away jobs in some areas, it creates opportunities elsewhere. “Robots will always be most useful doing the most boring, repetitive, mechanical and dangerous jobs. “The workers will probably go on to find nicer employment

In the long run technology creates work, says South Bristol expert elsewhere. Robots will need development, programming, servicing and monitoring, all of which have to be done by people.” A study by researchers at Oxford University and Deloitte said about 35 per cent of current jobs in the UK are at high risk of computerisation over the next 20 years, with retail and transport sectors most vulnerable. But while technology has potentially contributed to the loss of over 800,000 lowerskilled jobs, there is evidence it helped create nearly 3.5 million

Philip Graves, left, and Pepper, a robot which can recognise emotions higher-skilled ones. Deloitte said that each of the new jobs paid, on average, around £10,000 more per annum than the one lost. Philip, a father-of-one who lives in Upper Knowle, is a digital copywriter and marketer with GWS Robotics and its sister design and digital marketing

company GWS Media. Both firms are run with his father, Richard, and brother, David. Philip added: “Automated technology has been under continual development since the dawn of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. “But when jobs are lost to machinery they are often replaced with new ones in other sectors, mainly the service economy.” Where the Luddites once feared weaving machines, today cashiers may be worried about their jobs with the introduction of self-service check-outs. In 1841, 36 per cent of jobs were in manufacturing, 22 per cent in agriculture and fishing and 33 per cent in services. By 2011, only nine per cent of jobs were in manufacturing, one per cent in agriculture – but a whopping 81 per cent in services. But Philip warns there could be job cuts in the short term. He said: “It’s important that social policy supports [those] affected by employment loss and invests in retraining schemes and economic regeneration.”

Bridge Learning Campus

Building brilliant futures together Open evening: Tuesday 26 Sept 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Quiet open morning: Saturday 30 Sept 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Call 01173534472 or visit

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

October 2017




Come and see the fruits of our community garden

REDCATCH community garden is celebrating a summer of achievements with a launch party on October 7. And a major milestone has been reached with the opening of the park café - now named Roots, after an online campaign. “Since we started work on the garden, we’ve achieved an awful lot, although at times the progress has seemed to be painfully slow,” said spokesperson Tina Badley. “Our first polytunnel has produced copious amounts of vegetables over the summer, and we’ve been busy selling a variety of fruit, plants and eggs to boost our funds. The site has also been planted with fruit bushes, vegetables and the beginnings of a flower garden.” The Knowle community has backed the venture ever since the idea was suggested last winter of turning the former bowling green into a shared growing space. A crowdfunding campaign raised £4,000 and won the garden another £4,000 match funding from Bristol Green Capital’s Better Bristol initiative. Tina said: “That money is now

Holiday spooks CHILDREN can explore the dark side of Arnos Vale cemetery on a Creepy Kids Tour on Saturday October 21. There are two tours, at

Now open: The Roots café in Redcatch park’s former bowling green largely spent – but has paid for another polytunnel, so we can boost production throughout the winter and early next season, new gates to secure the café trailer, as well as essential gas, electricity and safety works to ensure the trailer is ready to open safely as a functioning café. It has also enabled us to have some wooden tables and benches made from reclaimed wood so we’re able to start running workshops and courses from the containers on the edge of the garden.” The café has a new coffee machine, supplied by Extract

Coffee, and is open every day from 9am-4pm. The range of sandwiches and cakes will be extended according to demand. The launch party is from 11am-5pm on October 7, and will give everyone a chance to explore the community garden and see what has been achieved. You can have a go at apple pressing, make your own bird box or learn how to weave willow. There’s also fun for kids with face painting, bug games and apple bobbing. Facebook: @redcatchcommunitygarden

3pm and 5pm, where anyone five and over can dress up as their favourite Hallowe’en creature, spook or character, and discover nocturnal creatures, hidden histories and tall tales. There will be games and a treasure hunt.

Each child requires a ticket and must be accompanied by an adult. It’s not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs. £6 per child, adults free. Lots more holiday activities at Arnos Vale on the website. •

Malago berry maze nears the final hurdles THE BERRY Maze at Malago Greenway is taking shape – despite a a last-minute discovery that almost spelled disaster. Tireless efforts by volunteers had cleared a concrete base and removed endless weeds and brambles, but when the green area off Brixham Road was ploughed, it revealed a mass of rubble, car parts and rubbish. It was six days before plans for the maze were due to be unveiled at Bristol Open Doors Day on September 9. Organiser Raluca McKett said: “We were absolutely desperate! But then I remembered that Paul Becker from Good Gym mentioned that they had a running session on Tuesdays. I messaged him right then, and in less than half an hour he confirmed they could help.” The Good Gym runners revel in jogging to community projects and then helping out, and in less than an hour the group cleared most of the rubble. Work continued throughout September and, as the Voice went to press, the maze has been marked out with posts. Wooden planters have been made by the Retired Gentleman’s Woodworking Group of Knowle. The planters were due be filled with soil on September 30. Planting the maze of soft fruit is scheduled for November 18 but more events may be announced during October. Facebook: @TheBerryMaze2017

Sixth Form Open Evening – Thursday 12 October Senior School Visiting Morning – Tuesday 17 October 0117 962 2641

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

October 2017



n NEWS New sales of children’s wear TWO Knowle mums have got together to launch Twit Twoo Nearly New, the first of what they hope will be a regular series of sales of children’s items. Kerry Long and Nina Hearn had the idea when they realised there is a lot of demand for secondhand children’s clothing, but all the sales seemed to be in North Bristol. Their first sale is on Saturday October 28 at Redcatch community centre in Redcatch Road. On offer will be used maternity wear, children’s and babies’ clothes, toys and equipment. It’s open from 10am-12noon and 20 tables are available for hire to those who want to sell unwanted items. There will also be homemade cakes on sale – more details on Facebook. • Facebook: Twit Twoo Nearly New Sales

Will we ever see a Bristol tube? MAYOR of Bristol Marvin Rees has asked for a study of whether an underground system is feasible for Bristol. He acknowledges that any scheme would cost billions, but says the city needs a mass transit system. If the roads are full, that means looking up, or down; and Mr Rees said he doesn’t want to see an elevated rail scheme. The tube study will cost £50,000, and may lead to a request for £3 million from the new West of England Authority (Weca) to examine rock samples and weigh up options for tunnels. Bristol is riddled with old mine workings (see feature, pages 38-41), and its many rock layers make tunnelling difficult. If the plan looks workable, Mr Rees said he would seek private investment. More than a quarter of the £15bn Crossrail project in London is privately funded. Mr Rees is not alone in considering radical options for

Metrobus: The first route, from Ashton Vale to Temple Meads, is due to start by the end of the year Bristol’s logjammed transport system. Mark Bradshaw, the mayor’s transport chief, until he was sacked in March, says the route to Bristol Airport can’t be handled by buses alone in the long term. The airport wants to double in size in 20 years. It means a rail link or rapid transit system – part of which could be underground – will be considered. Significantly, the council has

insisted that the developers of Bedminster Green must leave room for a new bus lane or transit link along Malago Road – a likely route to the airport. Bristol’s Conservative leader Mark Weston called the tube plan “pie-in-the-sky thinking”. Meanwhile, Weca is looking at new road links, Metrobus routes and park and ride schemes: • Metrobus along Bath Road to Keynsham; • Link road from the A4 to A37; • Opening the Callington Road link, the old rail line near Bath Road; • Metrobus orbital route; • Park and ride on the A37, possibly near Whitchurch; • Park and ride on the A38, possibly near Bedminster. More on Weca’s transport vision for the region – which includes Bath and and South Gloucestershire – will be revealed at a meeting of the authority on October 30.


ity mun Comearning L

Do you have a view about education in your community? Are you concerned about the character of your local young people?

Do you think your local schools should engage more with the local community? If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then we would love to hear from you! We are looking for local people to act as a key link between the community, our schools and parents, and to join us as members of our Academy Councils.

We can manufacture and fit your bespoke kitchen, working with you on a 1-to-1 basis.

We have Oasis Academies across Bristol Oasis Academy New Oak (primary), Connaught (primary), Marksbury Road (primary), John Williams (secondary) and Brislington (secondary).

Visit us at our workshop or call us on

If you’d like to know more, please contact or call 07977 516 552

Reliable & Friendly service 01761 490468 Pensford Hill, Pensford, BS39 4JR

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

October 2017





Time to get a flavour of some of our best eateries Desi

198 Wells Road, Totterdown Indian dishes served tapas style


HERE’S been lots of anticipation around the opening of Desi, on Wells Road Totterdown – but now the waiting is over. After several months of work, the Mall family have opened a new dining concept – Indian tapas. The word desi is derived from Sanskrit. It means “one from our country”, and in India, when it’s applied to food, it means home cooking. True to the name, Desi offers a warm, welcoming, relaxed environment where diners are elbow to elbow with each other. The corrugated iron walls and bar complement the bright fusion of Indian pictures on the wall, providing a laidback style. It is the perfect place to enjoy their Indian small plates such as homemade samosas and pakoras,

In this sponsored feature, we take a look at some of the best of our many independent eating places. Yes, they’ve all paid to advertise, but we really would recommend them all

Desi: Sweets are part of the offer

all freshly made and generously filled. The speciality is the tandoori oven, firing daily specials such as lamb kofta and succulent chicken. Many of the dishes are very good value, from around £5 or less, allowing you to sample a few at a time. The philosophy is to keep it simple, using fresh ingredients cooked daily. Equal prominence is given to

meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Warm, rich, spicy flavours are perfect for the autumn and winter months. The menu will change regularly to keep things interesting. Opening hours will be from 9am for coffee and mithai (Indian sweets) going through to lunch with a range of filled rotis (wraps), while in the evening there will be a full range of

exciting small plates waiting to be tried.

Kate’s Kitchen

Arnos Vale cemetery Woodland café with local treats S DAYS become shorter, there’s no better place   to celebrate the turning of the seasons than Arnos Vale cemetery. And once you have walked the woodland paths and admired the glow of the falling leaves, the ideal venue to refuel is on the doorstep. Kate’s Kitchen café in the middle of Arnos Vale is a family-friendly venue where all the food is made fresh, and much of the produce is local. On the menu for autumn is a hearty seasonal hotpot. There is also a delicious autumn soup, for which Kate has shared the recipe (overleaf). Plus, everyone who buys the soup during October will be entitled to a free tea or Continued overleaf


It’s the new Totterdown family restaurant that everyone’s talking about ...

desi ‘desi’ means ‘from our country’ ... it’s Indian home cooking brought to Totterdown.

Desi, 198 Wells Road, Totterdown BS4 2AX Desi tapas bar

Open from 9am for coffee and mithai (Indian sweets) through lunch and dinner until 10pm

desi specialises in declicious Indian dishes served tapas style in small plates. All cooked fresh daily – plates from £2.50.

• daily specials from Tandoori oven – meat, fish and vegetarian • small plates such as homemade pakoras and samosas • lunchtime – filled rotis (wraps) • menus change regularly

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

October 2017



n ADVERTISING FEATURE FREE TEA OR COFFEE AT KATE’S KITCHEN! KATE’S Kitchen café in Arnos Vale is offering a free tea or coffee with every autumn soup purchased – to take advantage, simply bring the advertisement below. If you’d like to try the soup at home, the recipe is here – see if you can make it as well.

Kate’s Carrot and Coriander soup – serves 4 This recipe is wheat and dairy free, and great for kids. 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 stick celery, chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 1 tsp ground coriander 1 English potato, chopped 500g English carrots, peeled and chopped 1.2l vegetable or chicken stock Handful chopped coriander

FREE CUP OF TEA/COFFEE when you buy our warming seasonal soup!

Free cup of tea or coffee. One per reader, Monday-Friday only with this advert*. Valid until October 31 * No photocopies

Family friendly café in beautiful Arnos Vale Our ethos: Our meat and eggs are free range and sourced locally; our bread is from Hobbs House award-winning bakery; our milk is organic and our coffee is roasted in Bristol from Bristol Extract. Real food is made on site with care, love and attention.

• Brunch menu • Lunch menu • Autumnal soups and specialities 0117 971 4850

Every purchase from Kate’s Kitchen at Arnos Vale helps to ensure the future of the cemetery and its grounds


1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic and celery. 2. Fry for a few mins until softened. 3. Stir in the ground coriander and potato, then cook for 1 min. 4. Add the carrots and stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. 5. Cover and cook for 20 mins until the carrots are tender. 6 Whizz with a stick or food blender until smooth. 7 Fold through the chopped coriander 8 Serve with sourdough toast, and top with natural yoghurt if desired.

coffee if they present the Kate’s Kitchen advert on this page. Kate’s Kitchen uses local produce wherever possible. Drinks include coffee by Bristol Extract and juice from Bradley’s Juice of Hewish, North Somerset. Bread comes from Hobbs House bakery. More than 20 per cent of the produce is organic, too, earning Kate’s a one star rating in the Organic Served Here awards by the Soil Association. And you don’t have to leave the dog behind – dogs are welcome at the outside tables. •

Totterdown Canteen

141 Wells Road, Totterdown “A greasy spoon with a twist!” THERE has been a café at 141 Wells Road for about 45 years, and under Aaron and Bex Wardle, owners for the last three years, the Totterdown Canteen is more popular than ever. In the catering business it’s not enough to be average any more, and the Bristol Post’s respected food writer Mark Taylor got it right when he said of the Canteen: “A greasy spoon with a modern twist.” Here the main meal is breakfast – the traditional

WIN A NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER FOR TWO! TOTTERDOWN Canteen are offering one lucky Voice reader a meal for two on New Year’s Eve – that’s two main courses from the range of steaks, omelettes and burgers, including vegetarian options. That’s worth around £30. To win just tell us: how did food writer Mark Taylor describe the Totterdown Canteen? Answers, with you name, address and phone number, to paulbreeden@southbristolvoice. or 18 Lilymead Avenue, Bristol BS4 2BX by October 17. English kind, made with free range eggs and everything from bacon to hash browns, Breakfast is served all day in a huge range of options, all cooked fresh, with prices from £4.30. On Wednesday and Thursday there’s a popular special offer of two small breakfasts for the price of one. There are many more café favourites, from children’s meals to paninis, baked potatoes and omelettes, as well as burgers, salads and main dishes from pasta to fish and chips. Every month there’s a steak night with BYO alcohol – but make sure you book because they often sell out. Check the Facebook page for dates. • Facebook: @TotterdownCanten

Windmill Hill City Farm Café

Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster Family café with farm-grown food


INDMILL Hill City Farm Cafe’s plans for expansion have finally become a reality! The new café



Now taking bookings for Steak Night on New Year’s Eve, December 31

EVERY MONTH – check our Facebook for dates

‘A greasy spoon, with a modern twist’ - Mark Taylor, Bristol Post

All tables must be booked by December 28


Free glass of bubbly

BREAKFAST SERVED ALL DAY (soft drink for youngsters) FRESH-GROUND WOGAN’S COFFEE and free dessert! To book a table go to Monday, Wednesday-Saturday 8am-3pm; Sunday 9am-3pm totterdowncanten CClosed Tuesdays & Bank Holidays

141 Wells Road, Totterdown BS4 2BU

or pop in to the Canteen

0117 908 2124

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

October 2017




Totterdown Canteen

The café at the City Farm

has twice as many indoor seats, a much larger counter and a new farm shop section where you can buy fresh farm eggs, homemade preserves and home-grown seasonal produce. They stock a wide-range of products from suppliers who reflect the ethos of the farm, so you can do your food shop at the café! The autumn menu features a range of lovely dishes using fresh, seasonal produce from the farm’s gardens, reflecting their plot-to-plate

philosophy. From warming stews made with farm-reared meat, and of course their famous sausage rolls, to gorgeous vegetarian and vegan dishes, there’s something for all tastes! The new café also offers a brilliantly flexible events space which is available for evening hire, and they are now taking bookings for Christmas parties. Contact anna.ralph@windmillhill for more info. •


n BRIEFLY n THE VOICE is sad to report the death of Betty Utting, aged 99, on September 15. Betty spent much of her life living and working at Arnos Vale cemetery. Her father Alfred Utting was superintendent of the cemetery, like his father before him, and Betty found her life’s vocation in helping to look after the huge woodland site. She cherished her encounters with visitors, and she ensured that to this day there is a memorial to all the stillborn children who were buried there – otherwise their graves would have gone unmarked. We told Betty’s story in the October 2015 issue of the Voice, available online. • n CRIME writing and women as heroines are two of the themes explored in South Bristol as part of the Bristol Literary Festival. Author and stand-up comedian Becky Walsh interviews other local writers about fictional heroines at 1pm on October 20 at the Spielman Centre in Arnos Vale cemetery. On October 22, the venue is the SouthBank

Club on Dean Lane, Southville where the Writers Unchained group meets at 7pm to read some crime stories by Bristol writers. There’s a night of stories with dark and twisted themes at 7pm on October 24 in Redcliffe Caves. And the caves are also the venue for another evening of crime tales on October 26 from 7.30pm. Other events involve South Bristol’s Tangent Books. Some have to be pre-booked: details on the website. • n SOUTH Bristol choir Break Out Voices now has a children’s choir every Wednesday at Windmill Hill Community Centre on Vivian Street. It’s run by parents Kate Fletcher and Sarah Fyson and incorporates costume, performance and movement as well as singing. The aim is to put on a glee club-style performance at the end of term. A trial kids choir performed at this year’s Totterdown Music Festival to great applause. Details from or

16th-29th OctOber ever thought about getting together with your neighbours, family or friends to do a community litter pick? Get in touch and let’s see if we can make it bigger and better than the Great bristol Spring clean weekend.

0117 304 9022 #bristolcleanStreets

• • •

200 litter picking kits loaned out 37 community groups took part 46 separate events

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email


October 2017




Due to exciting new contract, we are looking for support workers for permanent and temporary work in and around North Somerset, no experience needed! Competitive pay and can offer part time, full time hours to suit your needs! If you live in Portishead, Portbury, Congresbury, Clevedon, Weston Super Mare, Cleeve or Backwell and are looking to change your current job are looking to start a career in care, call now! Bristol 01179 758615

Support Workers Needed! Looking for a rewarding career?

Due to exciting new contract opportunities, we are looking for Support Workers for permanent and temporary work in Bristol. No experience needed, full training provided. Excellent pay rates Part-time or full-time hours to suit your needs Call us now for more information Call Sam, Iva or Katie on

01179 758 615

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

October 2017




Energy firm gets thumbs up – on social media, at least BRISTOL ENERGY, the council-owned energy company, has won plaudits from South Bristol customers online, as the firm claims city residents are spending £28 million too much every year on energy bills. The council has ploughed £15.3 million in to the business, a move which has been criticised at a time of cutbacks at City Hall. Bristol Energy is not expected to make a profit until 2021 – two years later than planned – and faces stiff competition as a tiny player in a crowded market. However, if reactions on Facebook are anything to go by, it has fans in South Bristol. A query from a resident on BS4 Connect about whether she should use the firm elicited replies from 11 customers. Most said they had saved money and had good service; only one was worried, about a late reply to an email. One response read: “Really happy with Bristol Energy. Savings on bills, great customer service, smart meter has reduced consumption and feelgood factor of knowing profits are reinvested

Comments on Bristol Energy locally.” Most of the others were equally complimentary. Another said: “I’m on Bristol Energy and have saved a lot by doing so.” The council says it has already saved Bristol customers around £1.5 million on their energy bills. It also promises to reinvest profits into the Bristol community and help combat fuel poverty. Some commentators have said the firm is over-ambitious and can’t succeed. Bristol Energy does not generate any power of its own; it resells energy bought on the wholesale market, and offers lower prices by taking lower profits. Even Ovo Energy, a Bristol-based commercial rival almost 10 times larger, has not

Climb the hill for art trail TWO DAYS of art and performance are on the way with Art on the Hill – the Windmill Hill and Victoria Park arts trail on October 7 and 8. A vibrant mix of visual arts, craftwork, performance and workshops is expected to attract hundreds of visitors. Visual arts and craftwork on display include painting, drawing, photography, printing, sculpture, ceramics, glasswork, jewellery, textiles and more. Many artists exhibit in their own homes while others show their work in the Windmill Hill community centre and other public venues. Performing arts play a major part, with music, poetry, and dance events on Saturday afternoon and evening in the community centre and on Sunday afternoon in Victoria Park – weather permitting.

made a full-year profit. Ovo has 700,000 customers to Bristol Energy’s 80,000. But Ovo did make a half-year surplus in 2016. Bristol Energy says its investment will pay off, and there are plenty of potential customers. Two thirds of all customers have never switched energy supplier, even after the Big Six all hiked prices this year. British Gas raised electricity prices by 12.5 per cent on September 15. Peter Haigh, managing director of Bristol Energy, said:  “Don’t let your energy company penalise you simply for being loyal. We save our best deals for Bristol residents, and can save people £258 a year compared to an average standard variable bill with one of the Big Six.” • Intro: Page 2

Readers pile in for health study VOICE readers have responded enthusiastically to an appeal to help one of the world’s biggest and longest-running health studies – Children of the 90s. The University of Bristol programme has been tracking the health and development of more than 14,000 families for more than 25 years. Almost 4,000 young people have taken part in the latest stage, Focus@24+, volunteering for a series of cutting-edge tests, including blood pressure, liver and lung function checks. Since we featured the appeal in September, a further 146 participants have made an appointment. Children of the 90s studies families with a child born in or near Bristol between April 1991 and December 1992. To find out more, email info@ or visit: •

REMEMBER US? BORN 1991-92? WE’D LOVE TO SEE YOU AGAIN Book a Focus@24+ visit now!

Artist Stu Watkin at the 2016 trail There’s also a programme of arts and music workshops, for adults and children. No advance booking is needed. Food and drinks are on sale in the community centre, Mrs Brown’s café in the park and Windmill Hill’s pubs. A brochure and an app will be available during the weekend. • • Facebook artonthehillbristol • Twitter @Art_On_The_Hill

Phone us: 0117 331 0010 Text us: 07789 753 722 Email us: Get a shopping voucher as a thank you. All travel costs reimbursed.

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

October 2017




Club is open but needs help KNOWLE’S Constitutional Club in Wells Road has announced several events for the autumn, as well as appealing for help to renovate the building. Now run by volunteers, the club used to cater for the business folk of South Bristol, with a bar and snooker room. Unfortunately part of the ornate plaster ceiling above the snooker tables has collapsed and £15,000 is needed to repair it. Ideas on how to find the funds are welcome. Also needed are volunteers for decorating on October 7. Social events include a Hallowe’en party on October 28, and the AGM on November 17, while the club will host lots of artists during the Front Room art trail on November 18 and 19. Quiz nights are a new feature – to find out about these and other opening times visit: • Facebook: Knowle Constitutional Club

WIN The VIP treatment at Ashton Gate SPORTS fans will know that in South Bristol we now have a worldclass stadium at Ashton Gate. But not all will have seen the facilities for dining and entertainment the venue can offer, alongside the excitement on the pitch. To help Bristol Sport spread the word about the new facilities, the Voice has a very special prize. On offer is a pair of tickets to watch either a Bristol City or a Bristol Rugby game in the Heineken Lounge, the new hospitality suite in the South Stand. You’ll be given a drink on arrival and there will be a two-course buffet for you to enjoy in the lounge. You’ll have casual seating in the lounge, where there will be entertainment, and during the match you’ll have a padded seat on the balcony overlooking the pitch. The lounge will be open for your use before and after the game, and at half time. A match day programme is included. All this normally costs at least £75 per person. You can also buy VIP Seasonal

Prime location: The Heineken Lounge, where two readers can enjoy a package worth £150 Hospitality Club Seats in the Lansdown restaurant at every home City or Bristol Rugby game. The Gold package (£1,600 for football, £1,100 for rugby) includes a buffet, a padded seat in the Lansdown stand and half-time refreshments; the Diamond package (£2,050 or £1,400) adds a two-course meal and full-time refreshments; and the Platinum package (£3,050 or £1,950) adds a three-course meal with table service and pre-match drinks, plus parking if available. All prices are ex-VAT. To win, just tell us: Where in the stadium is the Heineken Lounge?

RULES 1 This prize is not available for every Bristol City or Bristol Rugby game but the club will endeavour to accommodate your choice. 2 Not open to employees of South Bristol Voice, Local Voice Network, or Bristol Sport. 3 Entries to uk or 18 Lilymead Avenue, BS4 2BX, by October 17. A winner will be chosen from the correct entries at random. 4 Entrants must supply name, address and phone number, and must live in the South Bristol Voice circulation area – BS3 and BS4. 5 The editor’s decision is final.

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October 2017



n FEATURES Over 10 years, the Thunderbolt has become a vital fixture on the Bristol music scene, discovers Beccy Golding



RIGINALLY a toll house built in 1820, the Turnpike on Bath Road in Totterdown was “a classic rundown pub” when Dave and Sophie MacDonald took it on a decade ago. “It was an ideal venue,” Dave told me, “which mirrored the demolition of the area in the 70s, and was ripe for turning around.” Dave is Bristol-born and bred “though some people think I’m a cockney!” He grew up in Frampton and has been in Totterdown for 25 years. For 20 years he managed community projects in Bristol, working in homelessness and community development, but all the while he had a love of live music. He talks fondly of his time in bands – Fear of Darkness from 1984-87, Wishing Storm, 1988-93, and Rockistas, 2000-2006. Dave was a song writer, guitarist and a great front man (I know, I’ve seen him perform!). Back in the day, Dave said, they supported bands including King, The Membranes and New Model Army, and toured the UK’s university and club circuit, with appearances at the Marquee and Mean Fiddler in London and Nottingham’s Rock City amongst others. “We made several albums, appeared on Richard Skinner’s Radio 1 programme, and had Runner Up Single of the Week in Melody Maker.” Dave also ran live nights – Undercover, a pub rock night at the Hen & Chicken in Southville

BIRTHDAY PARTY THE Thunderbolt celebrates its 10th anniversary of bringing the finest live music to Totterdown on November 17, when the great Gary Clail headlines. Gary hit fame in 1991 with the On U Sound System and their hit Human Nature. Tickets weren’t on sale as we went to press but details will be on the website. •

Stars on stage: Viv Albertine, formerly of punk band The Slits, in 2011

Lightning nights at the Thunderbolt: a decade of live acts THE KIND OF THING THAT HAPPENS AT THE THUNDERBOLT ... AMONG the highlights that stick out for owner Dave MacDonald are some that happened when the venue was hired for a party. He recalls the time Michael Eavis, founder of the Glastonbury festival, was persuaded to stand up and sing a song. Then there was the visit by Beth Gibbons of Portishead. “She came to a friend’s fancy dress

party and she did a version of Glory Box on stage, which was amazing,” said Dave. More recent was a gig by Clem Burke, drummer with Blondie, and his band The Tearaways. “It was a brilliant night and he’s an unbelievable guy,’ said Dave. “Later he was at the bar talking to some locals and I don’t think they know who he was.” Several stars were discovered by the Thunderbolt before they were famous – performance poet Kate Tempest among them.

and the Polish Club in Clifton, and Coup D-etat, for indie bands, at the Cumberland in St Luke’s Road (now the Star & Dove). Dave and Sophie bought the pub in 2007. Dave felt he “had done all I could in community development and the voluntary sector. And I wanted to do something in the Totterdown area.” They renamed the Grade 2 listed building The Thunderbolt, after Thunderbolt Steps, the steep shortcut to the top of the hill at the back of Hillcrest primary school. October 2017 will mark 10 years of the Thunderbolt as a live venue. Dave said that Sophie, who also has a background in housing and homelessness, has “kept it afloat with her financial management skills.” The pub can

also be hired as a private party venue, with PA; for kids parties on a Saturday afternoon; and the medium-sized commercial kitchen is available to rent. Since they opened there’s been a deliberate balance of local bands, showcases for new young acts, occasional spoken word nights (Will Self and John Hegley, for example) and classic performers and bands – some of Dave’s favourites include Wilko Johnson (who’s sold out here three times), John Cooper Clarke (who’s sold out five times) and The Pretty Things, and recent acts The Spitfires and The Tats. As far as awkward artists go, the only one he can think of is Michelle Shocked. “She made me go down and get her a chai latte – all the way to Victoria Street

THUNDERBOLT owners Dave and Sophie want to share their joy at the venue’s 10-year anniversary by offering a Voice reader two tickets to their legendary New Year’s Eve party – plus a bottle of prosecco! All you have to do is tell us: which member of the Specials is a regular performer at the Thunderbolt? Answers, with your name, address, and phone number, to or 18 Lilymead Avenue, BS4 2BX, by October 17. – and it had to be hot!” Otherwise, he said, “people are very good, they understand this is a small venue – the musicians who play here are brilliant to work with.” For the future, the eventual arrival of the Bristol Arena just down the road (if it happens!) “offers lots of opportunities. We might have to tweak the model a bit, but it’s always been trial and error, and we’re still here.” The Thunderbolt is now firmly on the circuit for some of Bristol’s hottest bands, and a lot of national acts passing through. Jerry Dammers, founder of the Specials and 2-Tone records, is a regular visitor who returns on October 20. On October 27 there’s a set from 90s favourites Cud, and on November 3 punk-era rockers Eddie and the Hot Rods return. There are also plenty of festive events. Local soul and ska favourites The Regz also celebrate their 10th year with a Christmas gig on December 15, while on December 22 it’s the venue’s regular tribute to the Clash, London Calling. Another celebrated local band, Natty Daps, have their bash on December 16, and The Emperials host their Xmas Ska-romp on December 23.

Venue owners: Dave and Sophie

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

LETTERS Redcatch has lots of wildlife I REALLY enjoyed reading Alex Morss’s article on butterflies and moths at the local parks in the September edition of South Bristol Voice. It’s really good to raise awareness on insectfriendly gardening. However, there are several reasons why Alex only spotted one gathering of butterflies in Redcatch Park. I am one of a large crowd of very enthusiastic volunteers that help out trying to make Redcatch one of the best parks around. I think that it does a fine job of appealing to all types of park users, be they young children, teenagers, dog walkers, football players or plant enthusiasts like me. I wanted to reassure you that even though you didn’t see many signs of butterflies and moths at Redcatch during your visit, that this is only a matter of time until this type of fauna will be thriving (if not already). The reason for this is that over the last two years I and other volunteers have planted around 180 willows each at Redcatch and Perretts. These willows cover a wide number of species with many natives and honorary natives such as Salix alba, S. purpurea and S. triandra.  After oak, willows host the largest array of insects of any tree genus in the UK. This includes

playing host to many butterfly and moth species particularly as an essential feeding habitat for numerous types of caterpillars. If you walk around the willows at Redcatch you will see quite a lot of leaf damage and chances are this will be down to caterpillars. If you spend a bit longer looking you’ll probably see some of the culprits. It’s worth the effort, as ones like the puss moth are quite incredible! I had a look around Redcatch today and noticed at least one buddleia (butterfly bush). Also in one area where we have planted willows (near the car park) there are lots of thistles – this is as a result of the council cuts but it should yield some additional feeding opportunities for butterflies and moths. Kevin Lindegaard, Knowle • AS WELL as being a contributor to South Bristol Voice I am a regular reader of the magazine. In general the articles are of great interest and the standard of journalism is much higher than other more expensive publications. I must, however, take issue with the article in September’s edition which contained in it an attack upon Redcatch Park. I have been copied in to several very annoyed responses from users. Leaving aside for a moment that the writer fails to appreciate that Redcatch is one of the busiest parks in the city, with a

Write to or to 18 Lilymead Avenue, BS4 2BX on behalf of the friends of Redcatch Park I invite her back so she can correct her previous article. Cllr Gary Hopkins, Knowle

Mint moth on catmint: Seen in Redcatch Park PHOTO: Alex Morss huge number of sports and leisure users and a thriving community garden, I will concentrate on the accuracy of her report on the subject of wildlife. She is disparaging about the car park but of course ignores the fact that many of the disabled users could not access the park or anywhere similar without it. Had she walked along the informal perimeter path from the car park she would, within a few yards, have found the wildlifefriendly plants that she complains are absent. She would have also seen several types of butterfly, as many park users do, and come across the willow plantation and new oak trees. Further on she might have found a great variety of new trees, a long, thriving native hedgerow and the popular “country path”. Ms Morss has unfortunately upset a number of park users but

POLICE REPORT Patrols have helped make the park a more peaceful place

over and have a chat. Not only does this give us the opportunity to meet you, it gives you the chance to get your views across about your local area. Alternatively, you are able to contact us via our website www. search for Your Area.

ITH the summer now behind us, I’m pleased to inform you that complaints about anti-social behaviour in Redcatch Park appear to have reduced. A number of the beat team have been actively patrolling the park and engaging with young people, to try and prevent the previous bad behaviour we have seen. If you are out and about in the park and see us, do come

ome vehicles parked on St Martin’s Road have had their windows damaged. Extensive enquiries were carried out in the area at the time of the incident being reported to us, but unfortunately we haven’t yet caught the person or people responsible. Follow these tips to stop yourself being a victim of car crime: • Park in a well-lit area.


October 2017




• Alex Morss replies: My article wasn’t meant as an attack on Redcatch Park or the volunteers who have made so many improvements there. My butterfly sampling was only a snapshot, as stated, but nevertheless appears to some extent to reflect differences in habitat quality across different sites. The summer butterfly food plants were limited at Redcatch and its surroundings by comparison to other sites – but of course this may look different at other times of the year. I did have a good look around the park, including the willows, which are a wonderful addition, especially given how many other species they support. Sadly I did not see any butterflies on them during the period I was visiting for the Big Butterfly Count – which was the focus for my piece. Some planting designs only offer seasonal wildlife value, so perhaps that partly explains the low count here in August. At other times, eg spring, the willows will be particularly valuable for pollinators, and the leaves are good food plants to moth caterpillars. Shame there are not more natives like willows, and fewer of the exotics, in my opinion.

With PCSO Richard Higbey Broadbury Road police station • Remove all valuables from your car and take them with you where possible. • If you are unable to take the valuables with you, at least aim to hide them from view. • Look into installing a car alarm, if your vehicle doesn’t have one. This could act as a deterrent to thieves.


inally, we have recently had some complaints about parking issues in our area. These have mostly been around the Kingshill Road and Wellgarth Road area, both on the junction with Broadwalk. We usually judge poor parking on the following: if your vehicle is blocking the pavement, meaning a person cannot get a double buggy or a wheelchair past, then

this could result in a ticket for unnecessary obstruction. Please ensure you leave enough room for pedestrians who need to get past parked vehicles. Also, please be mindful of how close to a junction you are parking. Some of the roads around the above area are fairly narrow, so driving on to the opposite side of the road is inevitable in order to look for passing traffic, let alone being faced by a vehicle which is blocking your path. Once again, if you need to discuss an issue with your local beat team, please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can do so via the 101 system (non-emergency) or the website. Until next time, PCSO Richard Higbey

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October 2017




While the sun shone: The Oscar Young band

High 10: Olly (left) and Bert’s best trick

Fun day saved in the nick of time

Show goes on: Free Association played through the rain

IT ALMOST didn’t happen – but Victoria Park’s fun day went ahead on September 16, and hundreds flocked to enjoy the dog show, barbecue, beer tent, live music and a host of stalls and games. The event was refused a


Matt Collis of AWT shows Keira, 3, Lyla, 4, and Jessica, 4, wildlife planting with mums Jeannette and Elizabeth

licence at one point, after the cash-strapped council introduced longer application times for public events, but was saved after Cllr Jon Wellington pleaded for a fast-track permit. It was good news for five-year-old labrador Bert from Totterdown, who swept away with four prizes at the dog show, including best in show and best trick – with his handler Olly, 9, he can do a “high 10” (that’s

twice as good as a high five). It rained in the afternoon, sadly, but plenty of fun was had. South Bristol Voice was there with Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT), encouraging everyone to take more interest in urban wildlife. It was great to meet so many readers, and get more entries for our wildlife art competition, which ends soon – details online. •


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October 2017

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October 2017



n FEATURES Beccy Golding meets a Knowle couple who made art their escape from the rat race


ANE Vellender grew up in a creative family in Devon: “My father was a stone mason and sculptor and my mother was a seamstress. Work bought me to Bristol – I’ve lived here since 1993 and love it with a passion. I first moved into Sandy Park Road, then from Somerset Road to Windsor Terrace.” Tony Roberts was born in Clifton but very quickly moved to Arnos Vale, where he lived for 28 years. After living in north Bristol for a time he moved to Windsor Terrace in 2000. “We didn’t meet there though,” Jane told me, “we were set up by a mutual friend.” “On May 25, 2001, at 9.15pm!” Tony recalled, with absolute certainty, “at the Reckless Engineer,” the pub opposite Temple Meads. They’d gone to see some live music. “My friend said ‘I’ve organised someone to walk you home,’” told Jane, and “that was that really. We had a mutual liking for artistic stuff.” “We just talked and talked,” said Tony. Jane is an artist, an art tutor, and a textile artist. “I like cycling round those three things – it keeps it interesting.” Trained as an archaeologist, later Jane became a lawyer and was a personal injury specialist for more than 20 years, becoming head of legal services for Direct Line insurance. “I worked in Bromley three times a week – me and the 6.40 knew each other really well – managing hundreds of people. It was high pressure and you were only as good as your last results. Then I was offered redundancy. It was like a bereavement.” But it was an opportunity to do something she loved, and Jane became a full-time artist in 2014. Tony joined the civil service as a sixteen-year-old, in 1977, first working for the DHSS, then Customs & Excise. In 2000 his part of the service was privatised, leading to redundancy in 2003. Eventually he found work as a security guard at Bristol airport, “working 12-hour shifts,” and later for the MoD. Finally a nine-to-five came up, near

Temple Meads. “I’ve got three and a bit years until retirement,” said Tony, “then I’m out of there.” In his other life, Tony is a prolific author, writing five books a year. In 1996 he came across Barry Sadler, American writer of The Ballad of the Green Beret, a patriotic song about the Vietnam war, and author of Casca – a series of adventures of a Roman soldier doomed to immortality. “I found out there were 22 books in all, and also that Barry had just died.” He built a website dedicated to the character and, following his redundancy, started writing fan books in the same style. Then he tracked down the new owners of the series. “They asked if I knew anyone who could continue writing them. I said ‘Yes, me!’” And the rest, you might say, is history. Tony has now written 20 Casca books. “I love exploring and developing a character, seeing how far I can go.” Tony has created three of his own long-running series. Kastania is “a dynastic family empire, told from multiple points of view and across generations. There will be seven in all, based on the seven deadly sins.” Dark Blade – “I wanted to write something lighter” – is about a half-elf girl and her pursuit of her heritage. Jane creates the covers for the Dark Blade series, and proofreads all Tony’s books. “She has to suffer five times a year!” laughed Tony. “I do feel this house is occupied by more people than just us,” Jane added. “We help each other with our respective adventures in art,” Tony told me, “and feel each other’s pain.” The final series is Sirens. “I like rock music but I am not musically gifted – I wished that I’d learnt guitar as a child – I wondered what my life would have been like if I had.” Sirens tells the story of singer songwriter Katie and her band, and the obstacles they face. A guitarist friend said “why don’t you do a song to go with it?” Together they wrote Stones – an anti-bullying anthem – available on Tony’s website. Book two features more songs, this time recorded in Dockside Studios, near the SS Great Britain. So that’s a full-time job and five books a year, written in the evenings. “We don’t do TV,”

Tony Roberts and Jane Vellender: author and artist show off their work

A partnership of creativity laughed Jane. She is probably best-known for her “super local” views in pen and ink, watercolours and acrylics. She takes commissions for portraits – of people, pets, even houses. The couple open their home on Brecknock Road for the Totterdown Front Room art trail, with a pop-up café, “I’m quite well known for my sausage rolls!” Jane also creates textiles and fabric gifts, and has an Etsy shop where she sells fabric yarn bowls which are very popular with Americans. Jane’s art classes are

something she really enjoys. “Lots of people have bad school experiences and confidence is the main issue. I help them relax, have fun and produce something quickly that they are happy with. It gives me enormous pleasure to see people blossom.” Jane clearly loves her new career. “There is always something else to sketch. I’m inspired by the beauty of small things, the overlooked - the ordinary that isn’t ordinary.” • •

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October 2017




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October 2017




MARVIN REES Mayor of Bristol

We are on track for our target for homes, but it won’t be easy


RISTOL is on track to be able to build 2,000 homes a year, 800 affordable, by 2020, which is one of the key pledges of my administration. This month, Bristol has been named in the top 10 UK cities for building new homes in a list published by 24housing magazine. This is a great sign but we are not being complacent. We realise that we still have a lot of hard work to do before we can achieve our goal. Later this month I am looking forward to unveiling new vital council homes. This will be great news for people in the city and a key part of our aim to offer more affordable accommodation in strong Bristol communities. Last month I was pleased to announce, alongside my cabinet member for housing, Paul Smith, our plans to convert

more empty properties into temporary accommodation for those who most need it within the city. While we put our long term plans to deal with this problem in place, it is also important we take steps now to offer help with an issue literally on our doorsteps. This is especially true as the temperature gets colder. By creating more temporary housing we will be able to protect as many as we can from the harsh conditions of living on the

street this winter. On top of that, at our last meeting my cabinet approved plans to provide £5 million to the National Homeless Property Fund. This will make sure that 30 one- and two-bedroom properties are bought to provide affordable rents for local homeless households. Elsewhere I am taking direct steps to tackle another key priority for Bristol – transport. Earlier this year plans were released for several schemes we are looking into, including an underground system. At this point we are just looking to see what might be possible and this is very much an initial study that will allow us to compare underground with other options, such as trams or guided buses. The region needs to develop a rapid transit system of some form – underground being just one option. I’d also like to thank everyone who came out to show their support at the rally on College Green last month. You really helped to carry a strong message to the Government about our city’s desire to find another way of dealing with our national financial problems. This is just the first part of our work alongside other Core Cities to convince the Government that cities need to play a bigger role in deciding what’s best for the economy of this country, and getting fairer funding for Bristol.


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October 2017



n COLUMNS In witch I am stung


HERE is so much anger out there at the moment.  I was walking in the road with Uni Girl and Scrappy Dog one sunny evening, avoiding the pavements as it was recycling day. A cyclist pedaled towards us. There was loads of room for everyone. Lycra Boy had his child strapped on the back and they were playing a word game.  “Something beginning with I” called Lycra Boy. Without waiting for an answer, he muttered “Irritating” as he weaved between us.  What? He was having a dig! By the time my brainbox clicked into gear and I had yelled “Inconsiderate Irrelevant Idiot” they were long gone, leaving us outraged, in a cloud of wheel-spun dust.  A few weeks before Cyclegate I was the designated driver on a

Who is the THE Wicked Witch? WICKED Watch out for WITCH the dog that winks at you ...


night out with friends. As I dropped one girlfriend off in Knowle, we had a little chat, then I noticed a car waiting at the end of her road flashing me. Oops. I leaned over, wrenched open the door and pushed her out mid-sentence, revving the engine to go. But Boy Racer had given up waiting and was speeding towards me. Great. I had to do the reverse of shame. Witches are rubbish at reversing, it’s a well-known fact. I proceeded to reverse half a car length then pull forward to straighten up and repeat – getting

nowhere fast. Oh Boy Racer was purple with rage.  The next day I was trying to pull out onto Wells Road from Marston Road. That junction is horrible as you have to contend with the bus lane that motorbikes love to whizz along. Anyway I am waiting patiently for a gap and Mrs BMW indicated for me to go. Aggressively.  A full on, mad index finger swipe matched by a scowling ‘hurry up’ head waggle. This instantly made me cross. So I sat there with eyebrows raised. That showed her.  Then to top it all off a neighbour shouted at me. I arrived home in the early hours after a few days away and found that nobody had brought the washing in, emptied the dishwasher or put the recycling out.  I started sorting it all out crossly as Scrappy shot down the garden doing the odd little

Down on the Farm News from Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster

Awesome autumn THE WINDMILL Hill City Farm autumn fair is on Saturday October 7 from 11am-5pm. Attractions include a mobile pottery studio, cooking demos in the outdoor kitchen, guess the weight of the marrow, mudsculpting, apple-pressing, buttermaking, campfire cooking and a market selling locally-produced and homemade goodies. There’ll be some great high energy live music, and food and

drink are covered too - with farm-reared rose veal burgers from Farmer Tim’s BBQ, the new café serving local and farm produce, and the Farmbar open for local beers, cider and wine. £3, kids free. Digital fairy October’s Freelance Mum session is with Jo Hodge, the Digital Marketing Fairy. It’s on October 20, 10am-noon, and costs £9 for members and £12 non-members (children are free). Get a wriggle on Munching Caterpillars is a butterfly conservation project inspiring children to celebrate caterpillars, moths and butterflies by growing plants that caterpillars love to chomp, and flowers that are rich in all-important nectar

woof at nothing. I did hiss at her to shut up whilst multitasking the cans, washing up and sheets but she has selective hearing and ignored my pleas. Alas my neighbour could stand no more and lost it, big time. He yelled from his bedroom window, using rather strong language, telling me exactly what he would like to do to Scrappy if I didn’t shut her up.  I think he is new, with a baby. Yes of course I deserved it but it could have been worse. Scrappy has been known to escape and get stuck in said neighbour’s garden. Picture the scene: me knocking on his door at two in the morning, whispering: “Hello, I just wanted to welcome you to the area and ask if I can have my barking dog back please?”  Oh why are folk so waspish (love that word)? Hang on, maybe I’m the cause?

Sizzling: Farmer Tim’s barbecue for butterflies. Flutter over to the farm on October 23 and 25 to pot up or sow “butterfly fuel” or “caterpillar munch” for you to take home. Free – just drop in. Sticky situation The new Stick Man activity trail opened in September. Find clues


around the farm site and help Stick Man get home to his family tree. Download a free map from the website, or it’s £2.50 for an activity pack, including craft materials to make your own Stick Man, from reception (while stocks last). Kit and caboodle Caboodle, weekly term-time sessions for working parents, provide childcare next to a workspace. Caboodle supports parents and carers who need flexible childcare – providing pop-up coworking sessions with four hours of childcare for under 5s. At lunchtime enjoy a healthy buffet lunch, informal networking and a wander around the farm. More information: •

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October 2017



33 From Bristol Dogs & Cats Home

The BIG Walkies is back, and it’s better than ever


E WILL be taking over Blaise Castle Estate for our second year of the BIG Walkies, and we’ll be back with a bang because this year we will also be hosting a dog show alongside our two fun walks. On Sunday October 15, our Event Village will be open from 10.30am. Come and enjoy the games, merchandise and other treats before setting off together with your fellow dog walkers on a mass walk. After you and your doggie friends have finished your walk, join us for our special addition to this year’s event … our dog show! Waggy tails, shiny coats and impressive tricks will all be rewarded! Registration costs £12 for you and your dog (additional dogs £5 each). This will buy you access to our Event Village, a choice of two exciting routes for you and your

There’s a chance for your pet to shine in our new dog show

doggie friends, and free entry into one class at the dog show. Have a look on our website for all the information and to buy your tickets – you won’t want to miss out on this much fun! • id/111/ In 2016, we welcomed 123 dogs and 161 of their human companions to BIG Walkies, and raised over £2,300. This year with the help of you and your doggie pals we hope to see even more four-legged friends, and

Best paw forward: The Big Walkies includes a dog show raise more vital funds to help care for Bristol’s animals in need. We would love to see you there! You can also help us spread the word by telling all your animalloving friends. Check out our website, where

PHOTO: Luke Salter

we have lots of lovely animals waiting for their new homes, or give our team a call on 0117 977 6043. Every penny raised at BIG Walkies will help the animals in our care. •


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n PLANNING APPLICATIONS 14 Eldon Terrace BS3 4NZ Demolition of single garage and erection of two and three storey 2-bed house. Pending consideration 243 Redcatch Road BS4 2HQ Conversion of former tool shop into 2-bedroom flat and construction of single storey rear extension. Pending consideration 32 Creswicke Road BS4 1UD Two storey side extension: resubmission. Pending consideration Land adjacent to 1 Margate Street BS3 4SP Two-bedroom house on site occupied by lock-up garage. Refused 29 Fitzgerald Road BS3 5DG Rear dormer roof extension and insertion of roof lights in front roof slope. Pending consideration


works and porch. Refused Fox & West, 172C Wells Road, Totterdown BS4 2AL Certificate of existing use as restaurant & cafe (Use class A3). Pending consideration 59 Somerset Terrace BS3 4LJ Demolition of pair of garages, and construction of one 2-bedroom flat and one 1-bedroom flat with garden. Pending consideration 35 Kingshill Road BS4 2SJ Demolition of outbuildings and erection of two storey, 2-bed house. Single storey rear extension to existing property with external alterations. Pending consideration 51 Stoneleigh Road BS4 2RH Erection of single storey rear extension. Pending consideration

36 Beckington Road BS3 5EB Variation of condition 2 of permission 17/00531/H: Single storey rear extension and single storey side extension. Pending consideration

58 Queensdale Crescent BS4 2TR Non-material amendment to permission 16/03826/H: Single storey side and rear extension and removal of garage; proposed reduction in size of the extension. Granted

128 Broad Walk BS4 2RZ Two storey side extension and loft conversion. Refused

75 Tavistock Road BS4 1DL Two bedroom detached house, with car parking. Refused

70 Dunkerry Road BS3 4LA Rear flat roof dormer with Juliet balcony and insertion of roof light in front roof slope. Pending consideration

Filwood Park, Hengrove Way Details of condition 12 (Travel plan) of 17/00684/M: Reserved matters following outline approval 12/00352/P for 150 homes and new park. (Major application). Granted

47 Jubilee Road Knowle BS4 2LR Part three storey, part single storey extension to rear and conversion of house into two 1-bed flats. Withdrawn 19 Rookery Road BS4 2DS Loft conversion with rear bay dormer and ground floor rear extension to extend entrance into new utility room. Pending consideration

134 Broadfield Road BS4 2UZ Two storey house attached to 134 Broadfield Road. Withdrawn 378 Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2QR Crown lift hornbeam to 3 metres and crown reduce to 1 metre from boundary wall. (TPO 1310). Granted

378 Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2QR Details of conditions 2 (Tree protection) and 3 (Tree replacement) of permission 17/02826/F: Conversion from doctors surgery (Use class D1) to four flats (Use class C3) with alterations, extensions, parking, refuse store and cycle racks. Pending consideration

93 Hawthorne Street BS4 3DA Rear single storey infill extension and replacement of lean-to extension. Granted subject to conditions

121 Glyn Vale BS3 5JE Two storey side extension with roof

Thomson Travel Agency, 1 Broadwalk Shopping Centre,

24 Withleigh Road BS4 2LQ Single storey rear extension. Granted subject to conditions

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Broad Walk BS4 2QU New signs to rebrand travel agency from Thomson to Tui: internally illuminated fascia sign and non-illuminated fascia sign plus internally illuminated hanging sign. Granted

to loft conversion. Pending consideration 48 Tyning Road BS3 5DE Attached self-contained dwelling. Pending consideration

12 Maidstone Street BS3 4SW Single storey extension to rear. Granted subject to conditions

2 Preston Walk, Knowle BS4 2TP Front porch with WC and single storey side and rear extension. Pending consideration

18 Park Avenue, Victoria Park BS3 5AH Single storey rear infill extension. Granted subject to conditions

15 The Square, Knowle BS4 2ST Two storey rear extension. Granted subject to conditions

98 & 100 Newquay Road BS4 1DS Single storey, rear extension to two adjacent properties. Granted subject to conditions

First Floor Flat, 299 Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2PP One-bedroom flat above double garage. Pending consideration

33 Alard Road BS4 1HZ Two storey side and single storey rear extension. Granted subject to conditions

35 Somerset Road BS4 2HT Two storey rear extension. Pending consideration

26 Paultow Road BS3 4PS Dormer roof extension and installation of roof lights

• The status of these applications may have changed since we went to press. Check for updates at

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October 2017



RECENTLY had a note from transport officers on the council regarding some changes that Gary they wish to make Hopkins regarding the Wells Lib Dem Road and its bus Knowle corridor. The note was the draft of what was to go out for a formal consultation. Most of the proposed changes are fairly minor. A proposal to adjust the inbound bus lane outside Knowle cricket club is overdue because of the conflict that is caused as some traffic legally going along the bus lane at off-peak hours is cut up by motorists that have avoided the lane and then need to get in the correct lane for the lights. What happens at that conflict point illustrates the problem that happens on many of the routes around Bristol. Motorists clearly understand the red 24-hour bus lanes, which are for use only by buses and


taxis at all times. But a surprising number do not know that it is perfectly legal to use the peak-hour-only lanes during the rest of the day. This is partly because the signage is not always clear or bold enough, but also because there are slightly different times on different routes. Trying to find a sign while driving to tell you if the route is evening or morning and if it starts at 4pm or 4.30pm is not great, and can be dangerous. As a result congestion is caused as nervous motorists avoid the bus lane even when they could legally be using it. I have responded to the transport officers asking for uniform times for peak-hour bus lanes across the city, as well as better signage, hopefully coloured road markings and an awareness campaign. Thank you to the Windmill Hill councillors for backing me up on this subject. Let’s see if the council’s transport department responds positively.

How to contact your councillor: p2


ANY residents have been asking about the demonstration on September 9, Chris organised by the Davies mayor and some Lib Dem Labour associates, Knowle to complain about the cuts at Bristol city council. Given that he is in charge of BCC this is a little strange. His explanation is that the cuts are caused not by him, but by the Tory government. Although I agree that government cuts to councils, while initially necessary, have gone too far, it is also the case that the mayor could do a lot better with the funding he has. It is, after all, only five years ago that the Lib Dem-run city council was coping with cuts, but still improving services and freezing council tax. We recently exposed the fact that millions are being sent back to the Government by the mayor,

because poor organisation meant that spending conditions were not met. The money was for disadvantaged children and money to insulate homes. This is shocking! After parting company with his third chief executive in a year, the mayor cancelled a full council meeting on September 12, as the cabinet were going to London to lobby the Government. Residents who had been planning to protest at the meeting about the loss of their libraries or school crossing patrols were justifiably annoyed, but even more so when it turned out Marvin and the gang were not meeting ministers but having a chat with Jeremy Corbyn and co. I hope the Bristol taxpayer is not going to be asked to pay for this Labour Party meeting. Marvin’s proposal for an underground transport system was an idea examined and thrown out years ago. It will bluntly never happen and wasting millions proving that again is wasteful. We cannot afford this mayor.


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N THE last few months further details have emerged on the large housing developments Jon near Totterdown Wellington which – if they Labour go ahead – are Windmill Hill likely to have a significant effect on our area. The main concern is the proposal for a 16 storey tower, alongside smaller blocks with around 150 units, on Bath Road next to Totterdown Bridge. With the addition of the arena plan, the ongoing development of Paintworks on Bath Road and the prospect of another development the other side of Totterdown Bridge towards Three Lamps junction, we are facing the most intensive regeneration of this part of the city in decades. As a city we need to build homes to tackle our housing crisis. The mayor of Bristol stood for election on a manifesto commitment to build thousands

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of new homes (including hundreds of affordable homes), and we must deliver on this. However, there is a risk of over-development in this area, especially given the congestion on Bath Road. Building hundreds of new homes without sufficient car parking spaces, additional infrastructure such as schools and medical facilities, or adding significant additional public transport links is likely to cause extra problems for an area that is already densely populated. Community representatives and I have met council cabinet members to discuss the overdevelopment of Bath Road. They accept that the road is one of the most congested in Bristol, and the scale of the proposals is likely to have a detrimental effect on neighbourhoods without proper mitigation. I fail to see how the plans as they stand can work for the surrounding areas, or for people living in the new flats. Let me know what you think, and I will ensure your views are heard in the council.



 How to contact your councillor: p2

HIS month Jon and I visited every flat in the Windmill Hill tower blocks, Polden House Lucy and Holroyd Whittle House, and it was Labour a pleasure to meet Windmill Hill the residents. We were pleased to find that most of the people we spoke to had read the fire safety information provided by the council, and felt safe in their homes. We took any concerns residents did have to council officers, who have been working closely with fire safety experts, and we sought answers and clarifications to the issues raised. Council officers reassured residents that the walls around the flats are made of concrete. Where residents are worried that their wall doesn’t feel solid, we have been told that it is because the walls have been dry-lined, or that plasterboard has been fixed to the walls, but all flats are

“concrete boxes” and would contain a fire for at least an hour. The council has a fire safety incident group to ensure that new concerns are acted upon. It is also launching a feasibility study into fitting sprinklers. We also listened to residents’ concerns on the upkeep of the buildings. There was unanimous praise for the caretakers. There was, however, lots of frustration about the area outside; rubbish, fly tipping and an untidy, unloved feeling. We have reported this to council officers, and will follow up to make sure everything possible has been dealt with. What struck me was how many residents not only knew their neighbours but had similar concerns about their environment. With government cuts imposed on us, lots of services have been scaled down, so I wonder if we could get together and do it ourselves? Maybe meet once a month to pick up litter and socialise? If you are interested, do contact me, I’d love to help make it happen!


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October 2017



n HISTORY COAL: THE INDUSTRY SOUTH BRISTOL BURIED Daring, wealth and tragedies: The forgotten story of our coalmining past


OW was Bristol’s wealth founded? What made it, for most of the past two centuries and more, one of the wealthiest, most advanced cities in the nation? Shipping? Trade in wine or sugar? Heavy industry? The profits from slavery? All these played a part, and they’ve all to some extent left their footprint on our buildings and heritage. But the industry that did most to fire modern Bristol’s fortunes has left almost no visible traces: coal mining. Indeed, it’s likely that many who have moved to South Bristol in recent decades have no idea that they are living on top of a huge network of tunnels up to 3,000 feet (915m) underground. There’s little to tell us that our cherished Victorian terraces, now cosy homes to families of three or four, once housed miners and their relations four to a room, in large families always on the brink of poverty. South Bristol was at the centre of this great industry: the

There is scarcely any visible evidence of the industry that shaped Bristol and fired up its industrial prosperity scene of innovation, of daring, of technical advances from the 18th century onwards as the “black gold” began to power the city’s industrial revolution. It was also the scene of untold suffering: of hundreds of deaths and mutilations suffered by miners going about their work with scarcely any precautions to protect them. They mostly didn’t wear helmets, they had no safety lamps and they worked in constant fear of roof falls and gas

THE MINERS BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE A NEW play at Bedminster’s Acta theatre will tell the stories of the South Bristol coalmines. Called Blood on the Coal, it involves 50 actors, musicians and singers, playing out the lives of men who dug the coal, and the women who struggled beside them. The greed of the mine owners and the efforts of the union to improve pay and conditions are a central part of the tale. It draws on first-hand accounts in the Book Miners’ Memories of the South Bristol Coalfield, written in the 1980s by a group of South Street history enthusiasts, and designed by Roy Gallop and Ken

Bristol’s Forgotten Coalfield: the book which inspired this feature. The cover shows South Liberty colliery, with its square chimneys, a railway truck for hauling coal (the mine was next to the Bristol & Exeter railway) and four miners in the forground. At the rear are the winding wheels which lifted “trams” full of coal from the main shaft

New play: Blood on the Coal Griffiths, who are still active in local history today. Blood on the Coal is performed on October 12 and 13 at 7pm, and October 14 at 2pm, at the Gladstone Street theatre. Tickets are only £3, available online or by calling 0117 953 2448. •

explosions. When accidents did occur they often received no compensation – and when their colleagues died, they were docked a day’s pay if they attended the funeral. The South Bristol coal seams were often so narrow only children could squeeze in to work them. Boys of 10 or less were sent down the pits as “door boys” manning the flaps that controlled the ventilation, or “veerers”, hauling wagons underground. These dangerous labours produced 500,000 tons of coal a year by the 1890s – nothing like as much as the bigger coalfields of South Yorkshire or South Wales, but enough to fuel most of Bristol’s industries. Yet this wealth was produced not just at the price of the miners’ lives and wellbeing, but for the most meagre rates possible. Bristol miners were paid a fifth less than their colleagues nationwide, it was calculated in 1914. Much of their sweat was effectively for nothing: the mine owners would only pay for large lumps of coal, and the smaller pieces were effectively a free gift to the proprietors. The owners were constantly justifying the low wages they paid in Bristol by the smaller output

of the mines compared to the bigger coalfields elsewhere, and said they would pay more only if the men would up their output. The truth was there was no more output to be had at a profit; in Bristol, most of the coal seams were thin and began to be worked out in the 1890s. The South Bristol mines were all closed by 1925. It would be another 20 years before it was announced that UK coal mining would be nationalised, meaning improved wages, safety and conditions. By then, mining in Bristol and indeed, across the South West, had all but died out. That’s no reason, though, why it should be forgotten.


oal has been exploited by humans since antiquity, and it was probably being discovered in the Bristol area in Roman times. At first, people picked up coal that was near the surface, then started digging open pits to extract more. The Romans used it for their form of central heating, but after they left Britain in the 5th century AD coal was hardly used for about 800 years. A record of people harvesting coal near Bristol in 1223 marks the beginning of one of the earliest

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October 2017




Bright but dangerous: an acetylene lamp coal industries in Britain. Even so, for centuries wood was a much more important source of fuel. Blacksmiths used charcoal – basically, heat-dried wood – to create the high temperatures needed for making wrought iron. The advantages of coal, which burns hotter and longer, only gradually became obvious, and at first it was mainly used for heating homes. By the 16th and 17th centuries coal was being extracted from shallow workings in Kingswood and in Bedminster and Ashton. It was also dug in Brislington from the end of the 16th C. It’s reckoned that about 10,000 tons of coal a year were being mined around the city in the 16th C, rising to 100,000 tons by the end of the 17th C, as glass, china and sugar industries began to flourish and demand energy. Kingswood was much the more important coalfield at this stage. The area had once been a royal hunting ground – hence the name – but now it was squatted by mining families, a wild and lawless lot who hewed coal from a multitude of small pits and lived in isolated cottages. The Kingswood miners were at least independent; when coal mining really took hold in South Bristol it was as part of a modern industrial concern, owned and rigidly controlled by the landed classes. As Bristol’s nascent industries demanded more coal, the colliers had to look deeper. The further down they dug, the more water they found in Bristol’s clay soil. Here coal was the solution as well as the problem. The first simple steam engines were used for drawing water out of mine shafts, and could be left running

Miner’s pick and shovel, found by Roy Gallop

for hours, meaning that new, deep seams of coal could be dug. Another new field of study was geology. It was becoming understood that the rocks beneath our feet are in long, predictable layers which can be traced from one area to another. Henry Bennett, a mine surveyor from Kingswood, decided that the geology of the Long Ashton estate was very similar to the older coalfield, but the seams were likely to be further underground. He teamed up with the lord of the manor, Sir Jarrit Smyth, and together in 1745 they formed the Bedminster Coal Company. Sir Jarrit started life as plain Jarrit Smith, but he married into the wealthy Smyth family of Ashton Court. He was a Tory MP for Bristol and a successful lawyer, and he had faith in Bennett’s theory about the extent of the Bedminster coalfield. His gamble paid off – the Kingswood coal seams stretched, as predicted, right under the centre of the city and into Bedminster. In fact, the seams were more regular than they were at Kingswood, which made the great effort of pursuing them

A WALK AROUND THE COALFIELD THE REASON so many South Bristol residents know little about their mining heritage is that there’s amazingly little evidence above ground. A guided walk with Southville resident Roy Gallop, organised by Franc (Friends of Avon New Cut) on September 16, revealed much of what remains. Two pubs that


Pit stop: The Jolly Colliers on West Street is one of two original Bedminster miners’ pubs whose name survives; the other is the Miners Arms on Bedminster Down Road

underground worthwhile. The first coal struck south of the city was known as the Bedminster Top Seam, about 3ft 3in thick (1m), and found about 58 yards (60m) below Bedminster. Another 30 yards below that was the Bedminster Great Seam, up to 4ft (1.2m) thick, which produced the much-favoured larger lumps of coal. Coal from the Top Seam was used for house fires. Beneath both these layers, another 30 yards down, was the Bedminster Little Seam, only 1ft 6in (0.46m) thick in places. A further 190 yards down – now we are about 283m underground, or 930ft – is the Ashton Top Seam 2ft 6in (0.76m) thick, and under that the main prize – the Ashton Great seam, as tall as a person at 5ft 8in (1.73m). Further down still was the Ashton Little Seam, but this was only 2ft 4in (0.71m) thick and, when drilled, it tended to gush with water, so was generally left alone. There had been earlier, shallower workings. There is thought to have been a pit near Yanley Lane, Long Ashton from about 1724. The Gore’s Old Pit of 1728, survive, the Jolly Colliers in West Street and the Miners Arms on Bedminster Down Road, were watering holes for miners. A grave in the Hebron chapel cemetery is to John Smith, killed in an accident at the age of just 17 in the Dean Lane pit in 1877. In West Street, the Argus fish and chip shop recalls the Argus pit, sunk in 1874, part of Malago pit. For details of any future walks email

near South Liberty Lane, was named for Sir Jarrit Smyth’s business partner, Sir Edward Gore, of Barrow Court, a few miles south of Ashton. When surveys were made for a possible new stadium for Bristol City on Ashton Vale 10 years ago, an attempt was made to find the shafts of this pit, and the later Gore’s Pit, somewhere west of South Liberty Lane, but they could not be found. However, items from the nearby Starveall Pit, dug in about 1803 and later part of South Liberty colliery, have been turned up by historian Roy Gallop and other gardeners at the Alderman Moore’s allotments at Ashton Vale (see photos above).


ir Jarrit’s South Liberty excavations of 1748 laid the foundations of the whole coalfield. Three huge shafts were dug. Two of them were 10ft (3m) across and 1,400ft (427m) deep; the other was 6ft (2m) across and 750ft (230m) deep. (The site of the colliery and its neighbouring brickworks is now covered with the industrial units between South Liberty Lane and the railway, either side of the rail footbridge.) The small shaft was for the pumping apparatus. Sir Jarrit bought a Newcomen pumping engine – then the very height of technology, as advanced for its day as a space rocket. This vast steam engine worked up steam in a cylinder 5ft (1.5m) across – if you want to imagine its power, consider that a cylinder in a car engine will be an inch or two in diameter. Yet despite its vast power (and an even bigger appetite for Continued overleaf

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October 2017





Continued from page 39 coal) the South Liberty steam engine proved very reliable. Installed in about 1750, it worked continuously for 150 years until 1900. Sadly it was then scrapped – if it had survived it would be priceless. Similar engines are in London’s Science Museum. Before steam, water was lifted from mines in buckets, sometimes pulled up by horses treading a circular path to wind a winch, called a horse gin. Other mines used a waterwheel to pull up the buckets – there are traces of an old weir at Colliter’s Brook, Ashton Vale, which may once have served this purpose. Less well known than the Bedminster coalfield was the pit, or pits, at Brislington. This mine had a Newcomen engine installed even earlier, perhaps in 1737, and the engine house, dated 1740, is the oldest to survive. (The building is visible from Hollywood Road and has a sign outside dating it to 1790 – but it appears it’s 50 years older.) All this came at tremendous cost, and helps to explain (if not excuse) why mine owners were so anxious to scrimp on wages and safety measures. Sir Jarrit was also an investor in South Gloucestershire mines, and the bill for another Newcomen engine in Coalpit Heath came to £1,235. This is worth about £2.3 million when compared to labour costs today – but if calculated according to its “economy cost”, meaning its relative importance to the economy, the value is £24m. And that’s for just one of the 40 Newcomen engines that were at work in Gloucestershire by 1780.


he case for investing in the South Bristol coalfield had been made. Another major colliery was started at Dean Lane from early beginnings in 1745.

HOW FAR? HOW DEEP? The South Bristol coalfield stretches: • From Temple Meads to Long Ashton, east to west; • From Redcliffe to Dundry, north to south. The coal seams slope steeply, so most mine workings or tramways are not near the surface. Some depths worked: • Long Ashton: 240ft (73m) • Dundry: 900ft (274m) • Windmill Hill: 3,000ft (915m)

Pit manager’s house on the corner of West Street and Argus Road. The Malago pit was behind it. The house is made of white lias stone, mined at Dundry, and is a sign the house predates its brick-built neighbours. (Dame Emily play park now covers the shaft, capped in 1906). The heyday of the Bedminster coalfield was in the 19th C, when four major collieries were at work: South Liberty, Dean Lane, and the newer workings at Ashton Vale and Malago Vale. At least 20 other mineshafts came and went, most later absorbed into the larger collieries. Ashton Vale colliery was to the south of Ashton Vale Road. It came close to the South Liberty tunnels but a safe zone was kept clear between them. If the tunnels ran into each other, there was the danger of flooding – and also unpredictable air flow, which could lead to the dangerous build up of gas. Each pit was designed so that air was kept circulating, often aided by a steam-powered fan, as at South Liberty Lane. The other main colliery was Malago Vale, off West Street, with two shafts opened in 1844 to the north of Argus Road. It was close to the Red Cow pub – the name by which the pit was often known, as the men spent much of their wages there. There was one other South Bristol pit – from 1847 to 1857 the Great Western Colliery was worked beside Feeder Road, under where the St Philip’s causeway crosses it now. The impact of the industry, with its accompanying iron works and brickworks, was severe, even in the 18th C. John Billingsley, in his Agricultural Survey of Somerset in 1795, noted: “The countryside was black from Bedminster to Nailsea.” The growth was driven by local demand for coal. Bristol working folk may have been

poor, but at least they were warm. If they lived close to a mine, Billingsley reported that they could collect coal at two pence a bushel (or large sack); worth £16 at modern rates, it would keep a fire going for days. Demand grew steadily from the iron foundries, steam pumps, blacksmiths, brick and tile works, and other factories. These uses grew further in the 19th C: Ashton Gate brewery, for example, was steam powered from 1865. Then there were the new steamships: the SS Great Britain carried more than 1,000 tons of coal at a time. From 140,000 tons of coal in 1790, South Bristol’s output grew to 525,000 tons in 1870, doubled by 1900, and peaked during World War 1 at more than a million tons a year. In all, thousands of men, and doubtless some women, worked the pits underground. In 1896, 827 underground workers were recorded at the four big collieries, with 159 surface workers. It helps explain the growth of Bedminster from a village of 3,300 in 1801 to a town of 70,000 in 1901.


he terrible toll of injuries and fatalities across two centuries of mining around Bedminster can only be hinted at. There are too many tragedies to relate here; many before the 1840s are not even documented. In their magnificent history of the Bedminster coalfield, Mike Taylor and Maggie Shapland list 156 deaths in the pits of Bedminster and Ashton (plus one in Nailsea). The youngest recorded death was a boy of 10; the oldest a miner of 75, proving

that miners did not retire. One, at least, was not even a mine worker: an unknown small girl died in 1829 when she took hold of a rope to show her play- mates how the men were lowered down the pit. Releasing the rope, she lost her balance and fell into the shaft; it’s not known which one. The most common cause of death was a roof fall, accounting for 51 deaths. Nine men were killed falling down shafts; 14 were crushed by runaway trams – the small trucks used for transporting coal underground. Twelve were victims to an explosion caused by a naked light – until the 1890s the Bedminster pits were considered relatively free of explosive gas and miners were allowed to carry candles. Three were killed by “foul air”, and three more when ropes broke. Two were drowned, and six killed when blasting. The fatalities – and many more injuries – happened almost every year. One example will paint the picture.



edminster miners were curiously careless of their own safety, even though so many of them were killed. After an explosion at Malago Vale killed one man in 1890, the use of safety lamps was enforced. These had been invented by Bristol resident Sir Humphrey Davy way back in 1815: the light was sealed so that gases such as methane would not be ignited. But the miners hated them, saying the light they gave was much worse than a naked flame. In the early hours of Monday August 31, 1891, the Malago pit was opened up by a maintenance crew. It had been shut for the weekend while the men went to the annual miners’ gathering at Kingswood. The Friday before, a new airway had been put through in a hurry, and one man heard an overseer say, “Number Eight is nearly full of gas.” This was denied. What was certain was that a miner with a naked light went into the area with a bare flame, though he knew it was not allowed. There was loose coal above, and gas was known to be trapped there. The resulting explosion could be heard all over Bedminster, and even at Bristol Bridge, a mile away. Air doors were blown out, which wrecked the ventilation

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October 2017





A BOY’S FIRST DAY DOWN THE SOUTH LIBERTY PIT JOHN SMITH – known to all as Harry – began work as a “door boy” at South Liberty Lane pit in 1918. “I well remember my first night in the mine. The cage dropped away at breath-taking speed – you just dropped into space. Then came the sensation of rising back up the shaft as it slowed. “Here a few electric lights lit the scene. At the bottom of the shaft were the stables for the pit ponies. “Narrow roads led away in various directions. The walls and roof were supported with pit props, some bent under the stress of the weight above. “There was a danger that with the many passages in the mine, the air would take short cuts to the surface and create an accumulation of gas. To prevent this, doors and sometimes canvas sheets were placed to regulate the supply of air. “I had to stay there eight hours with only the light of the safety lamp. I think it was one of the longest nights I have ever experienced. If I had the misfortune to upset my lamp, I had system and allowed “afterdamp” or carbon monoxide to build up. Four men were killed by the blast and six suffocated from the gas. It could have been worse: only 35 men were at work that night. If the blast had hit a day shift, casualties might have topped 100, and Malago Vale might have earned national notoriety. Yet this mine was reckoned to be one of the safer ones, and much better than Dean Lane. The Wills tobacco family were among

WHY AREN’T WE ALL DOWN A HOLE? MANY people buying a home in South Bristol will have had to get a Coal Authority report to check on the nearest mine workings. Sometimes developers have to do the same. A plan for 17 houses on a disused strip of railway land off South Liberty Lane, behind Swiss Drive, has been objected to by the Coal Authority, which says there may be unmapped mine workings near the surface. (The plan has yet to be determined.) Such objections are rare, however, and even rarer are stories of houses subsiding into old mineshafts. Two reasons help

Last hope: John Smith’s father was part of the South Liberty Lane Rescue Association. They are pictured with their Fleuss rebreather sets and a casualty resuscitator, probably in the early 1900s PHOTO: Malago History Soc to stay in the dark. The door had to be kept closed as long as possible. “The danger was that, if I fell asleep, the truck would smash into the door and bring down the roof, burying me underneath. A young

boy who relieved me at the end of my shift thought he had the answer to this. He attached a cord to his leg and tied the other end to the wire rope that pulled the trucks. The idea was that when the

rope started to pull the trucks it would wake him. “Unfortunately the wire moved so suddenly that he did not have time to release himself, and he was badly injured.”

the directors, and the company donated £250 to the affected families. A public appeal raised a total of £1,100. But the fund was not generous: a widow with two children would receive 10 shillings a week (50p, or £50 at today’s wages). Her husband might have earned 27 shillings (£1.10, or £135 today) as a hewer (one who cut the coal). The inquest – held at the Red Cow on West Street – heard laughter from the miners, not

complaints about their unsafe conditions. They laughed when it was alleged some men might have been drunk after their weekend celebrations. “The pit was sparked not by beer, but by gas,” said their long-serving trade union agent, William Whitefield. They laughed when the mine overseer, asked about the ventilation in the mine, said he “heard no complaints from the men except as to wages.” And the miners laughed again, with derision, when the need for safety lamps was mentioned. In fact, the men had their reasons for resisting the safety lamps; they were not stupid or suicidal. The miners were paid by weight of coal cut, and the restricted light from safety lamps would reduce their output. Mr Whitefield demanded an extra two pence per ton, or a shilling a day, to compensate for the forced use of safety lamps. The Bristol Miners Association held a meeting in the Albert hall in West Street and decided to stand firm for the extra money. But the mine owners refused to pay; 300 miners went on strike, and stayed out for 15 months. The dispute would have cost the owners only £350 to settle

(little more than they had given to the relief fund). But cruel economics was at work, as well as the undoubted desire of the owners not to let strike action succeed. The Bedminster seams – the only ones worked at the Malago – were almost worked out. The mine was no longer profitable, and it closed in 1896. It was the first of the big South Bristol collieries to go. Dean Lane closed in 1906 and Ashton Vale the same year. South Liberty shut in 1925 and its brickworks in about 1930. • There are many more stories which could be told about South Bristol’s mining heritage, and we’ll return to the subject. Sources The Voice is indebted to Mike Taylor and Maggie Shapland for their book, Bristol’s Forgotten Coalfield: Bedminster, which is quoted by permission. The book is available for £15 from the website of South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group: • • Killed in a Coalpit, Volume III: The Bedminster Mines Doreen Lindegaard, £15, SGMRG • Secret Underground Bristol, Sally Watson, Broadcast Books

explain this. First, the Bedminster coal seams slope fairly steeply, so the mine workings are mainly far underground. Secondly, many of the tunnels have been filled in. Often, the miners used the spoil from one tunnel to fill up an old one. In any event it’s noticeable that we haven’t got any slag heaps as are found in other mining areas (there’s still one at Midsomer Norton, at the southern edge of the Bristol and Somerset coalfield). Dean Lane had a slag heap behind the colliery, and smaller heaps once lined East Street. The spoil from Dean Lane was taken to the Gore’s Marsh area to raise the ground for housing.

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October 2017




KARIN SMYTH Labour MP for Bristol

We’re the UK’s worst at sending young people to university – why?


N THE last few weeks some of our young people have been heading off to university for the new term. Good luck to them all as they look to make the most of what lies ahead. But I’m concerned these opportunities aren’t as widespread for local people as they could be. No UK Parliamentary constituency sends fewer young people to university than Bristol South. Many people are surprised at this, because ours is a city with thriving finance, hi-tech and creative sectors. But we have far too many areas of economic disadvantage. In the past 10 years or so the participation rate of young people in higher education has improved significantly – but it’s come from an extremely low base. Huge sums have been spent locally on schemes which are supposed to improve access to higher education from

groups that are traditionally underrepresented. Things still haven’t shifted as they should. Another surprise to some is figures showing nationally that the cohort of students least likely to go to university is white working class boys: something that’s particularly pertinent when we study the

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Just a normal, monstrous family unit THEATRE REVIEW The Addams Family, Bristol Hippodrome HE ADDAMS Family are just a normal American family – close-knit, sometimes bickering, but friendly to outsiders. It’s just that they’e a bit … well … monstrous, and one of their members is a disembodied hand called Thing. The family started as a US newspaper cartoon in 1932, became a TV series in 1964, and an animated series in 1973. It was the two feature films in the 1990s starring Anjelica Houston and Raul Julia that won awards and cemented their popularity as one of the funniest families of all time. This musical, which started life on Broadway, revives all their great traditions. It began and ended with the well-loved TV theme tune, and everything in between was just as enjoyable! This show is a love story twixt daughter Wednesday and a “normal” all-American guy – you know that’s not going to go smoothly. Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday had a hugely powerful


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causes of South Bristol’s low ranking. Within the next couple of months we’ll have the next annual publication of the data and may find we’ve edged up, but the substantive challenge remains. There’s been a lot of activity across our city around widening participation, and millions have been spent. It must all be joined up effectively. It’s significant that many of the existing schemes aiming to address the issue rely heavily on schools’ selection of students for programmes. I’m concerned that parents don’t feel supported and informed enough to help guide their children to make the right decisions if they’re to fulfil their potential. My recent research has indicated there’s no single place for Bristol’s young people to find out about all the different scholarships and bursary opportunities that could be available to our young people, so I’m interested in the idea of a simple guide being produced to offer appropriate advice to young people and their parents. As well as meeting government ministers to raise our specific challenges, I’m planning a summit meeting in the next few months. The aim will be to bring together organisations that are well placed to influence things and improve matters for South Bristol, and the white working class boy agenda in particular. As ever, let me know what you think.

Happy couple: Gomez, Morticia voice as she begged her relatives to have just one “normal” night when both families meet for dinner. Cameron Blakely was a brilliant Gomez, with a great voice and humour in equal measure, delighting the audience with his quips. Les Dennis was unfortunately not able to perform as Uncle Fester but his understudy Scott Paige did a fantastic job – you wouldn’t have realised it wasn’t Les. Samantha Womack had a spookily accurate portrayal of the original deadpan Morticia and a pleasant voice to accompany, while Pugsley and Grandma added some extra creepy laughs. The “normal” characters also played their roles well with strong voices, and they added to a balanced and entertaining cast. The whole show was well choreographed, beautifully set, funny and a fun night out for all. Ruth Drury

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October 2017

n WHAT’S ON Sunday October 1 n Phill Jupitus: Juplicity Comedy Box at the Tobacco Factory. Stand-up comedian, poet, improviser and TV stalwart Phill Jupitus drags laughs out of the chaos of his own life and the uncertain world that surrounds it. Ages 16+. £15.50, 8pm. • n Lee Scratch Perry Fiddlers Club, Willway Street, Bedminster. Full band live show from the reggae legend. £22.50, Doors 8pm. • Thursday October 5 n Robin Ince: Pragmatic Insanity Comedy Box at the Tobacco Factory. Ince’s first new show in three years is a clash of cultures, a romp through his favourite artists and strange scientific ideas. The Times said: “A bundle of fascinating, surprising digressions.” £14.50, 7.30pm. • Saturday October 7 n Grave Tales Arnos Vale cemetery. Storytellers from Time and Tide entertain families with stories on the theme of the underworld, connected with monuments in the cemetery, with some atmospheric ghost tales. Ages 6+, £5 each. • n Askew Sisters Saltcellar Folk Club, Totterdown Baptist Church, Wells Road. An awardwinning duo who accompany their songs on fiddle, melodeon and concertina. £5, or £3 for floor singers. Entrance off Cemetery Road. • n Stand Up For The Weekend with Alfie Brown & Co Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken. “Alfie Brown’s firebrand style of comedy has been forged from years of pushing boundaries and experimentation. A natural


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We dream of Mary Portas CD REVIEW: Glass Angel: In Dreams We Fly LASS Angel have dreams, as do most musicians, and from the staggered faux-dramatic opening of their debut album this South Bristol band show off a range of styles destined to realise them. Mainman is Windmill Hill’s Shaun McCrindle, songwriter, lead guitarist and singer, whose whimsical style and nods to influences, subconscious or otherwise, illuminate this intriguing collection of post (and pre)-punk pop mini dramas. He sounds vaguely like Lloyd Cole on the title track, the opener In Dreams We Fly, and then comes the Bryan Ferry-ish quaver we first discover on the Roxy-lite of On Or


stage presence combined with explosive material.” Plus guests. £11, 7.45pm. • Monday October 9 n Photography Project Club Arnos Vale cemetery, with Ian Coombs. Monthly sessions from 10am-12noon. Discussion of last month’s images, plus a set activity – this month it’s autumn photographs. Cost: £5, donated to the cemetery. • n Milk Poetry Tobacco Factory theatre. A new showcase of poetry and spoken word featuring Manchester poet Tony Walsh aka Longfella, Birmingham Poet Laureate finalist Jasmine Gardosi and more. Ages 14+. £8, 7.30pm. • Wednesday, October 11 n Mr Gotalot’s Pop-Up Shop Zion, Bishopsworth Road. Interactive storytelling adventures for 2 to 5 year olds at Mr Gotalot’s magical shop, which sells anything you could ever think of. With puppets, singing, dancing and games galore. 11am12noon. Adults free, children £2.50-£5 plus booking fee. • n On The Road Not Taken Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. Paul Dodgson, Eastenders writer and author of 16 plays for Radio 4, presents a kind of music memoir. It’s about a boy growing up in Kent

Good lines and a pop sensibility: South Bristol’s Glass Angel Off. There’s even a T. Rex thing going on in Burning Calvary. All this mixed up with lightly abrasive guitars and a squalling synth which unwittingly sometimes swamps the sound. The band do have a good ear for a tune, it must be said. There’s a pop sensibility here allied to quirky imaginative ideas that add something to it when they work, in the 1970s, writing songs but not performing them – a missed opportunity that the boy revisits 35 years later. 7.45pm, £7. • Thursday October 12 n Blood on the Coal Acta theatre, Gladstone Street, Bedminster. Also on October 13 and 14. “Union miners, stand together, and do not heed the owners tale.” Blood on the Coal tells the forgotten story of the coal mines of Bedminster, the men who dug the coal, and the women who struggled beside them. Live music, choir, theatre and storytelling involving 50 local people of all ages. £3, 7pm on October 12 and 13, 2pm on October 14. • Friday October 13 n Knowle and Totterdown Local History Society

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but at other times ends up a bit pop by numbers. McCrindle’s lyrics deal with the usual terrain of pop: love, life, dreams, regrets, with levity, and he’s got some good lines. ‘Mary Portas has said, She would give us the bread, So we don’t have to dread, And shop in Tesco’s instead…’ he sings on the jaunty breakfast serial of White ’n’ Red. They save the best for last, and after the mini-epic of Not Happening, the final track Never Felt So Amazed ends up almost reminding me of something The Who just might have come up with years ago: that guitar/drum combination – take a bow John French – and some fine harmonica. A good debut. Certainly no nightmare. Elfyn Griffith • CDs are available from Rise Records. It’s available online at Spotify, iTunes and Amazon, or pay what you like at • Redcatch Community Centre, Redcatch Road, Knowle. AGM followed by a dip into the archives of Knowle and Totterdown with Mike Hooper and Peter Read. 7.30pm, members £1.50, visitors £3. • knowleandtotterdownhistory. n Filipino Music and Food Night Zion, Bishopsworth Road. A night to celebrate the culture of The Philippines with a dance group and live music from alt rock-pop band Unofficial Infiniti. Filipino food to buy, plus bar. 6-10pm. All ages welcome; free but booking essential. • Saturday October 14 n Brass, Wind & Fire Concert Knowle Methodist Church. Proceeds in aid of Brace, the Bristol-based Alzheimer’s research charity, and church funds. 7.30pm. Tickets £5 including light refreshments. Details from Dave Dunford on 0117 977 2045. Monday October 16 n Jace Everett The Tunnels, Temple Meads. Jace Everett became a belated sensation when he wrote the smash hit theme to the cult TV classic Bad Blood. Support from Shannon McNally, who mixes country, blues and Southern soul. 7.30pm, £14. • Tuesday October 17 n Drag Queen Story Time Zion, Bishopsworth Road.

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October 2017



n WHAT’S ON Children are invited to join Alyssa Van Delle, the Sicilian Sensation, for Drag Queen Story Time during Diversity Month at Zion. 11am-12noon. Booking essential, £1 plus online booking fee per child, adults free. •

These bunnies are bad – but they don’t scare the real ones FILM REVIEW: Night of the Lepus, Bristol Bad Film Club at Windmill Hill City Farm HE OUTDOOR screen was situated in the farmyard, in front of the goat pen and next to the rabbits – the perfect setting for a horror movie featuring giant mutant killer bunnies. Some of the 100-strong audience had dressed for the occasion with rabbit-ear headbands. I even spotted a rabbit-onesy – very sensible – my friend and I shared a cosy blanket over our knees as there was just a whiff of autumn in the air. The farm café was open – we had chilli hot chocolate to warm our cockles (superb with a nip of

T Staged fright: Turn of the Screw Wednesday October 18 n The Turn of the Screw Arnos Vale cemetery. An appropriately creepy setting for Henry James’s classic play with its tinge of Gothic horror. Red Rope Theatre, who produced Dracula here in 2015, transform the cemetery walls into the haunted house of Bly. A new governess realises she must protect her young charges from the dead: two tortured souls who want to possess the children they once knew. But are the children somehow complicit? Do the ghosts exist at all? Dress warmly – the performance is partly outdoors. £11-£15, 7.30pm. • Saturday October 21 n Three Choirs Concert St Paul’s Church, Coronation Road, Southville, welcomes singers from Gurt Lush, People of Note, and Ponita. 7.30pm,  £5. n A Queer Salon Zion, Bishopsworth Road. A fun night of cabaret and performance with a NYC flava. Artists include Barbara Brownskirt, an anorakwearing, unlucky poet; singer Mark Johnson; seasoned drag queen Marcia D’Arc, and effervescent compere Tom Marshman. “Dress 1980s NYC style, there may be prizes.” 7.3010.30pm. Bar, food, over 18s only. £8.92 inc booking fee. • n Stand Up For The Weekend with Paul Myrehaug & Co Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken. “Canadian Paul Myrehaug tours internationally with frequent appearances on TV, radio and festivals all over the world. A sharp performer with a great stage presence.” Plus guests. £11, 7.45pm. •

Monday October 23 n Half term theatre workshops Tobacco Factory theatre. Working with a designer and theatre makers on Monday and Tuesday, children aged 7-11 explore performing, storytelling and creating. Ends with a family show on Tuesday. 10am-4pm; £25 for one day or £45 for both. • Thursday October 26 n Willie Nile: Storyteller’s Tour The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. US rock ’n’ roller Willie Nile plays songs and shares stories of four decades as a touring artist playing with acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend. £14, 7.30pm. • Thursday October 19

n Waiting For Godot Tobacco Factory theatre. Samuel Beckett’s iconic play, first performed in 1953, is the Tobacco Factory’s first major independent production.

rum from my hipflask). I teamed mine with a chilli and rosemary sausage roll – made on site with farm-bred pork (delicious), my mate went for the salted popcorn. And so we settled down for the main event. To start, Timon Singh, who runs and programmes Bristol Bad Film Club (BBFC), gave a short introduction (he’s a rubbish movies boffin!), followed by previews – just like a real cinema, but really

bad. And then the movie. There were a lot of scenes of rabbits running, or jumping over the same ditch again and again, shot from below to make them look big, or rampaging through model villages. And lots of glinting rabbit eyes in dark caves, and squealing rabbit noises (didn’t seem to bother the live rabbits in the pens beside us). And rabbits licking tomato ketchup off their chops, with victims drenched in more of the stuff. This movie was widely panned on its release and has become a cult classic for its stilted acting and attempts to make bunnies scary – it certainly made the audience guffaw. Actors include Psycho‘s Janet Leigh and Star Trek’s Dr McCoy, DeForest Kelley. BBFC has been going for four years, screening bad films to raise money for different charities. Proceeds from the £5 entrance fee were split between the city farm and Hollyhedge animal sanctuary. Truly, a very bad night indeed. Beccy Golding

Friday, October 27 n Stand Up For Diversity Zion, Bishopsworth Road. Angie Belcher comperes her regular comedy club, this month as part of Zion’s Diversity programme. Headline act Lynn Ruth Miller, 83, is the oldest performing female stand-up in the UK – she started when she was 71. Support comes from Mark Cram, a gay comedian who’s about as camp as a Die Hard box-set; Zahra Barri, who is a bit like Turkey, in that she’s a mix of Eastern and Western culture, and also she is a bird; and Rebekah Louise, an honest, self deprecating comedian. Bar, over 18s only, 7.30-10.30pm. •

Sunday October 29 n John Hegley: Peace, Love & Potatoes Comedy Box at the Tobacco Factory. “Verses spoken and sung. Hearts broken and repaired.” John Hegley’s first performance was outside a shoe shop in Hull in the late 70s. Now he is an Edinburgh Festival regular, noted for his poetic take on such topics as dog hair, potatoes and the misery of human existence. £15.50, 8pm. • n Sun Ra Arkestra Fiddlers Club, Willway Street, Bedminster. The band of the late Afrofuturist blues jazz musician Sun Ra, directed by Marshall Allen. Doors 7pm. £27.50. •

Estragon: What do we do now? Vladimir: Wait. Estragon: Yes, but while waiting? Vladimir: What about hanging ourselves? Beckett’s classic is one of the most memorable plays of the 20th century, yet almost nothing happens to two hungry, battered drifters waiting by a dead tree. They might have been here yesterday. They might well come back tomorrow. Unless Mr Godot arrives first. Which he might. If they’re lucky. Which they don’t tend to be.

It’s described as an exploration of “the struggle for purpose, the power of friendship and the hunt for a pair of decent boots.” Directed by Mark Rosenblatt, associate director at West Yorkshire Playhouse from 2013-2016, with a team of local and national artists, including clowning director Bim Mason, co-founder and artistic director of Circomedia. Preview tickets from £12, matinées £14 and £12, other shows £18 and £14. Until November 4. •

Bad film lovers at the City Farm

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October 2017





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It’s much more fun when the script gets rewritten during the match


MARTIN POWELL finds joy in the unexpected, from an apologetic toe-poke to a blistering outing from new strikers

OOTBALL is unlike any other entertainment that you might pay to watch and when you take a seat at Ashton Gate you never quite know how exciting things are going to be. In the cinema, theatre or at a rock concert a lot of planning goes into making sure that the two hours or so you are sat there unfold in a dramatic and exciting

MARTIN’S SHORTS • The Cardiff City match has been switched back to 12noon on Saturday November 4 and now won’t be on Sky TV. It was originally going to be at 5.30pm on November 4 on Sky but was switched to November 3 at 7.45pm on Sky. Now it’s changed again. Confused? Well, let’s just be grateful that the home game against Cardiff is when tolls on the Severn Bridge are £6.70. By the time we go there in February for the away game, the tolls will have been reduced to £5.60 – saving enough for a souvenir leek.

fashion. At football it could be 90 minutes of sizzling entertainment, tedious boredom in the rain or just average. City have served up just about every type of game lately. The highlight of the 0-0 draw with Millwall was a voice from the crowd bellowing after a frustrating refereeing decision: “Referee, you are ruining a very dull game.” Watford away in the Caraboa Cup saw some younger players make strong representations for inclusion by going toe-to-toe with a Premier League side and coming out 3-2 victors. Aston Villa under the floodlights showed that draws need not be boring with a cracking 1-1. Then on to Reading, where by half-time the only entertainment of any note had been kit manager and legend Scott Murray kicking footballs into the crowd before the game had got under way. But everything changed in an instant when Aden Flint toe-poked the ball towards goal and it apologetically crept into the net for victory. Even the best playwright

Turnaround: Korey Smith and Famara Diedhiou after Diedhiou justified his £5m price tag with a goal against Derby County PHOTO: Joe Meredith /JMP couldn’t have scripted the moment. Here was the popular free-scoring defender showing he is still willing to give his all after a fruitless few weeks peering through the transfer window. Now, I’m never quite sure why it is a window and not a door. Surely if you are going to buy or sell a player for millions they should have the courtesy of arriving or leaving via a door, rather than have to prove their agility by leaping in or out. Anyway, Harry Redknapp, manager at Birmingham City, failed to come up with enough money to persuade City to part with Flint and he stayed. After six straight defeats Harry was sacked – would Flint have saved his job? We shall never know. Flint weighed in with another goal at Wolves in a thriller that ended 3-3, keeping intact the club’s record of not winning at



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Wolves since 1931 – here’s to the next 86 years! I believe Nick Hornby said that the perfect Saturday afternoon at Arsenal was being 1-0 down at half-time and then winning 2-1. The perfect roller-coaster of emotions. So it was more than perfect entertainment to see City come back from 1-0 down against a strong Derby County side to win 4-1. The game had everything – two penalties; a superb free kick that the referee at first didn’t think went over the line; stout defending, and two strikers new to the club demonstrating their marksmanship. Cauley Woodrow, in for his first start in a City shirt, opening his account and Famara Diedhiou finally showing why he might be worth £5 million with a superb strike in time added on. That’s entertainment!


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October 2017




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October 2017

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Star of US television's Conan, NOW is the stunning new show from Daniel Sloss, Scotland's internationally acclaimed and award-winning stand-up. "Sloss is simply world class. Hilarious…" Herald Sun, Australia

Rhys James is a sickeningly talented young stand-up. He's a super-sharp writer, with a ton of smart, intricately-written jokes and punchline-driven stories. "Charismatic, clever and self-aware." The Guardian

SAT 21 OCTOBER 8.45PM £11 ADV/ £13 OTD*/ £14 DOOR


MYREHAUG with ADAM HESS Canadian Paul Myrehaug is a sharp performer with an effortlessly natural flair and stage presence and is an extremely fun comic to watch. "Hilarious." The Seattle Stranger

SAT 28 OCTOBER 8.45PM £11 ADV/ £13 OTD*/ £14 DOOR



FRIDAY 27 OCTOBER 8.30PM £13.50



The Irish hip-hop comedy freestyle duo take their hit show on tour. Come see the fictional autobiography that entertained over 10,000 people in a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. "Raucous, expansive and relentlessly hilarious" The Times

THUR 2 & FRI 3 NOVEMBER 8.30PM £16.50 UK T OUR





Ivo Graham's gauche charm combines insightful stories with a sharp witted presence that has rapidly gained him wide acclaim. "Posher than a Corgi working the tills at Waitrose" Chortle

Mark Thomas sets out to discover what the future has in store for us by collecting and examining his own predictions and those of his audiences before gambling on their outcome.

* ADV = Advance booking online/ OTD = On The Day online

See more / book online: THECOMEDYBOX.CO.UK

South Bristol Voice October 2017