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October 2019 October 2019


No. 53


We Sell and Let Property Like Yours

WIDEST CIRCULATION IN SOUTH BRISTOL – 10,000 copies of this edition

FREE EVERY MONTH in Totterdown, Knowle and Windmill Hill UoB campus consultation: residents air their views Plans for the University of Bristol’s enterprise campus, earmarked for Temple Island, were revealed to residents at a public consultation meeting in Totterdown. Dozens of meeting attendees were able to view the detailed designs for the academic buildings and surrounding public spaces, as part of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus development, and share their views about the proposals. They heard how the sevenacre site would provide teaching, research and innovation space for 3,000 students and around 800 staff members, as well as external partners, businesses and the city’s communities. Through computer generated images, residents were able to see the visibility of the six- and seven-storey glazed buildings from several aspects across Totterdown, and they were assured that the iconic view of the neighbourhood would be preserved when trains approach Temple Meads – a worry previously raised. Other concerns included

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St Catherine’s Place: CGI of indicative scheme with grey areas highlighting the height change from previous proposals


TOWER BLOCK HEIGHT REDUCED - BUT ‘CHANGES NOT EXTENSIVE ENOUGH’ Plans to develop a 22-storey tower block at the heart of Bedminster sparked much despair among residents, with more than 200 objections filed against the application online. Now, Firmstone, the developer behind the proposed St Catherine’s Place redevelopment in Bedminster Green, has made a U-turn in response to local feedback and new guidelines, and has submitted revised plans, which will see the height of the main high-rise reduced to 16 storeys. The height of the adjoining building to the rear of the tower block will also be reduced from

13 to nine storeys. The other four buildings in the scheme will remain at eight storeys or smaller. However, Dianne James, secretary of the Windmill Hill and Malago Community Planning Group (WHaM), which has been critical of the original plans, says that she anticipates that the community will “still not be happy” with the revised plans as the changes “are not extensive enough”. The decision comes just weeks after A2Dominion’s application to redevelop the former Pring and St Hill site in


Author Jane Duffus. Photo by Jon Craig

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October 2019


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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: Call 0117 953 3575 for an appointment. My councillor? Post: You can write to all councillors at City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR.

Christopher Davies Lib Dem, Knowle Email: Cllr.Christopher. Gary Hopkins Lib Dem, Knowle (Lib Dem deputy leader) Email: Phone: 07977 512159 Lucy Whittle Labour, Windmill Hill On maternity leave Jon Wellington Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108804 Email:

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UoB campus consultation From Page 1 transport access to the car-free campus from south Bristol and the impact that the new campus, which lies east of Temple Meads, would have on parking in Totterdown. UoB said that it will be working with the council to address these concerns. One resident asked how students’ mental health would be looked after. The University of Bristol said that a significant sum has been invested in wellbeing services, accommodation will be purpose-built, and spaces have been designed to allow students to “decompress” and “recover their equilibrium”. At the time South Bristol Voice went to print, the public consultation was due to finish on September 25. It follows the university’s first part of the consultation, which saw proposals put forward for 953bed student accommodation across three 21-storey high building blocks.

Outline planning permission for the campus has already been granted and the public consultation on the student residential accommodation was held in April. Work is anticipated to start on the site next year with the campus anticipated to open in 2022. Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for New Campus Development, said: “We are creating a dedicated space for collaboration and discovery where businesses, civic partners and the local community can work together with our students, academics and researchers.”

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October 2019




Revised plans for St Catherine’s submitted amid concern

From Page 1 Bedminster Green was rejected by the council’s planning committee amid concerns about the height of the eight to 12-storey development. It was also rejected on the grounds that a major transport study to determine how the area should be served as a result of the revamp has not yet been completed. The reduction in height of St Catherine’s Place will mean that there will be 66 less residential

units built, but over 200 homes will still be provided. Firmstone says that it will also be “earmarking buildings in their amended plans for affordable homes” but they will need to be delivered through public grant funding. A target has been set to deliver 20 per cent affordable housing for the scheme, although the council’s target for affordable homes is 30 per cent. Another major change includes implementing a new bus route to run along Dalby Road to “ensure the council’s emerging

Tower block plans criticised The developer behind plans to regenerate the former Pring and St Hill site in Malago Road says that it is “considering its options” after its application to develop a series of high-rises was refused last month. It would have been the first of five key sites to get under way in a huge regeneration of Bedminster Green. But development control committee members agreed with officers’ recommendation to refuse the plans amid concerns about the size of the buildings and that a major transport study to determine how the area should be served as a result of the revamp has not yet been completed. Windmill Hill councillor Jon Wellington spoke at the committee meeting on September 4. He said: “There is to be public consultation on the transport plans and we should not approve applications until this has been completed. For an application to come to committee ahead of this is irresponsible and, to quote the officer’s report, will produce ‘negative consequences for the area and future residents’.” Following the meeting, Windmill Hill and Malago Community Planning Group (WHaM) secretary Dianne James, said: “To approve the plans, the committee would have been going against newly approved council guidlines, so I am pleased a majority did the right thing and refused to accept this second rate scheme. I would like to challenge the three councillors

who voted to approve the plans to justify how they came to their decision. Would they have approved a similar scheme in their own ward? I also wonder if they had actually visited the site so they could see for themselves why the planning officer advised the committee to reject it.” WHaM chair, Nick Townsend, said: “A2Dominion call themselves a developer with a social purpose but have refused to work with the community about the Pring site. Their plan was appalling and was rightly turned down. “A local resident likened it to Trump’s wall. It would certainly feel like that for Windmill Hill residents.” Simon Potts, A2Dominion’s Director of Strategic Land and Projects, said: “We are disappointed by the planning committee’s decision to reject our proposals. “The site has been derelict for a number of years and we were keen to support the regeneration of East Street and provide much needed homes that will contribute economically and culturally to the community. “We are now considering our options for the Malago Road site.” • Includes reporting from LDRS reporter Adam Postans

Strategic Transport Assessment for the area can be delivered”. Providing homes is just one element of the proposed development – it will also include a cinema, retail space and restaurants, as part of the transformation of the existing St Catherine’s shopping arcade. At the time South Bristol Voice went to print, a date had not been set for the council’s planning committee to consider the plans but it was anticipated that a decision could made over the coming months. Francis Firmstone, director of Firmstone said: “Since we submitted our proposals last October, the new Bedminster Green Framework has been agreed and we’ve also received further feedback from local people, stakeholders and planners and so we have altered our plans to respond to these. “We have worked incredibly hard to tackle the issues raised by reducing the heights and bulk of the larger building, making provision for affordable homes


and providing land to enable a bus lane to be able run along the front of our development. With the high street facing major challenges up and down the country, it’s really important to be able to move on the regeneration of this area as soon as possible.” As part of the wider Bedminster Green development, plans have been submitted by Dandara to build 329 homes in Little Paradise, but the developer is still due to put forward its proposals for the land adjacent to Dalby Avenue. Deeley Freed, the developers earmarked for the Dalby Avenue car par, is also still to submit a planning application. Firmstone’s revised plans can be viewed and commented on, online at Firmstone is attending WHaM’s next meeting on September 30, 8.30pm at Windmill Hill Community Centre to speak with group members and hear their views. • Includes reporting from LDRS reporter Adam Postans

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October 2019


Light fantastic! Star Wars-inspired ‘saber’ combat comes to Knowle The force runs strong in Knowle – that’s because a new lightsaber combat class has launched in the area. And academy instructor Josh Rockey is hoping to encourage ADVERTISEMENT

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local people – Star Wars fanatics or not – to try out lightsaber duelling, known as LudoSport. Originating in Italy in 2006, LudoSport combines traditional sword combat, such as fencing, with the iconic weapon of George Lucas’s blockbuster movies. Thankfully, opponents remain fully intact after coming into contact with the blade, but the lights and whooshing sounds of the LED weapons remain true to those wielded in the films. Josh, who works in technical services on board the ss Great Britain, has been involved with the sport since it launched in the UK in 2014. He says that growing up, he was a “total Star Wars nerd” and when he came across the sport online, he immediately signed up

to his first class. Now, he runs the only lightsaber fencing academy in Bristol - and students travel from as far as Cardiff, Weston and Thornbury to get a buzz from the sport. Before launching in Knowle, he ran a class in Brislington. Since joining LudoSport, Josh has competed nationally and internationally, and in December, he will be competing alongside two of his students in the championships in Madrid. There is also opportunity for progression within the sport, where the colour of your tunic and blades change as you move up through the ranks. Left, Josh (right) duels with one of his students

Ready for combat. Below, students of all ages and experiences wield their sabers at the new class in Knowle

Josh said: “LudoSport is great fun and you meet lots of people – I have made friends as far away as Hawaii. “There’s also a competitive side to it as well. “It’s great for people who may not have thought of themselves as sporty and may have always felt a bit intimidated by taking part in sport. “We train people to be mindful and fight as safely as possible. I encourage people to just give it a try - you never know, you might enjoy it.” Josh runs the lightsaber academy every Thursday, 7.309.30pm at The Park in Knowle. To find out more about lightsaber combat, visit: Bristollightsabers/

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October 2019




Now things are looking up for Northern Slopes A final plan outlining a future vision for the Northern Slopes is set to be revealed during October. A consultation was launched in February by the Northern Slopes Initiative (NSI) – the volunteer community group behind the plans – where park users and residents were encouraged to share their ideas about how they envision the slopes in 10 years’ time. Spread across three sites in Knowle – the Bommie, Glyn Vale, and the Novers – the slopes have grown as a popular place for local people to walk, exercise, forage and socialise. They are a haven for wildlife and present some of the most stunning views across the city. By developing a plan, the NSI – which has worked over the years to conserve, maintain and enhance the area – hopes that by 2030, the slopes will be a ‘nature reserve for the health and

NSI secretary Len Wyatt (left) and chair Bob Franks pictured on the Bommie with the new foraging sign (designed by local illustrator Ruth Whiter) which is displayed across the slopes wellbeing of people and wildlife’. It will have remained in public hands, free from housing developments, free for the public to use. But Len Wyatt, secretary of the NSI, says that the group is

relying on support from the local community in order to make the vision a reality. He said: “We’ve got great ideas for the slopes – we just need more people about to help us. If we want the slopes to become a nature reserve, people need to work with us. We particularly want to encourage young people to get involved. “Also, if the slopes are looked after, then people will feel less inclined to litter and fly-tip.” Over the years, the group – often referred to as the ‘guardians of the slopes’ – has made great strides in tackling fly-tipping. Pedestrian entrances to the slopes have also been made more visible and welcoming, View of Clifton Suspension Bridge from the Bommie

and new signs have been placed throughout to inform users of all the fruits that can be foraged. And there are a number of activities regularly taking place on the slopes to encourage people to socialise and enjoy the outdoors, including Young Rangers, a group for 16-25 year olds to develop groundwork experience, My Wild Child toddler group, Green Gym, which runs nature conservation activities to improve physical and mental health, plus many walks. For more information, visit or join the Facebook group ‘The Northern Slopes’. The plan is due to be released at the start of October. Visit www.northern-slopes-initiative.

Seven ways to support the Slopes 1) Visit the Slopes 2) Get involved in one of the activities on the Slopes 3) Post your support for NSI’s work on your social media 4) Make a financial contribution to NSI’s work, if you are able 5) Invite NSI to talk to your group or organisation 6) Join the Facebook group ‘The Northern Slopes’ 7) Subscribe to NSI’s free newsletter by emailing

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Could the community save popular local pub? It’s a much-loved pub at the “social heart” of the local community but the future of The Windmill is hanging in the balance as its owners still struggle to find a buyer. If the pub is not sold, then it could be converted into flats – but Mike Cranney, director of Bar Wars Ltd, which owns The Windmill, says that this is a “last resort”. In a statement issued to the local community by Mr Cranney, he says he is “still hopeful” that a buyer will be found for The Windmill which has now been on the market for some time. The price of the pub has recently been reduced to encourage a sale, but Mr Cranney says that it cannot continue running at a loss. On social media, much sadness has been expressed about the potential closure – some people have even suggested the idea of the community clubbing together to purchase

the pub. Mr Cranney said in a statement: “It is with deep regret that we have to announce the forthcoming closure of The Windmill Pub. As many on the Hill will be aware the pub has been for sale for many months. Unfortunately we have not been able to find a buyer. The sad fact is that the pub has been running at a loss for some time. “We are extremely sensitive to the needs of the community and have always done our best to position ourselves at the social heart of Windmill Hill. “We hope that the remaining establishments on the hill continue to benefit from the patronage of local residents and are stronger as a result of our closure. “The price of the pub has recently been reduced and we are still hopeful that we will find a buyer, but we cannot continue to run at a loss.

“Therefore, if we are not able to secure a buyer, we are exploring the option of putting in a planning application for change of use to convert the pub into flats. “We can assure you that if we do need to pursue this

route, any redevelopment would retain and preserve the facade, retain the footprint and leave a development in place of the pub that will be well-liked and appreciated.”

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October 2019



n NEWS n ART ON THE HILL: ARTIST PROFILE Let there be light! Huge local How art helped me cope support for 9th lantern parade South Bristol’s largest community project - The Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade - is at last under way for its 9th year due to overwhelming support from the local community, schools and businesses. There is no public money for three months of lanternmaking workshops followed by the spectacular Winter Lantern Parade - it happens because BS3 wants it! This year there has been greater support from businesses along the route. They will receive public recognition with specially made BWL 2019 window stickers. People in BS3 have also made contributions and come up with novel fundraising ideas. Lime Road donated proceeds from their street party in September. Organisers say community support for ‘Bemmy Lanterns’

has exceeded all expectations and it has also brought about a decision to move the actual Parade date to the new year. Saturday, January 11, from 4pm will be the climax of the project, when thousands of people will turn up on the main streets of BS3 to watch the spectacular parade. Organisers say they are seeking volunteers.Spokesman Malcolm Brammar said: “Behind the scenes the major operational effort to ensure the smooth running and safety of the project has begun: and now the drive for 70 volunteer road stewards begins. “Without stewards, the parade won’t happen: if you can put your name on the list even at this early stage, please contact “You’ll need to be available between 3 and 7 pm on January 11, 2020.”

during my darker times

For Windmill Hill artist, Danielle Greenwood, creating Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) art has been a way of therapy. It has helped her cope with the heartbreak of losing loved

ones, and the annual Mexican celebration – held in November – offers her an opportunity to celebrate, rather than mourn, the lives of those lost. Her artwork – which will be exhibited on the Art on the Hill trail in Windmill Hill on October 5-6 – has also helped others deal with grief. Danielle, left, said: “I lost a brother at 11 and have since lost many family members over the years, including my father, but Day of the Dead is a good way to keep talking about them and remembering them every year.” Danielle’s fascination with Day of the Dead and its related artwork, which includes brightly decorated sugar skulls and crosses, was inspired by growing up in El Paso, Texas – a city heavily influenced by Mexican culture and tradition.


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October 2019



n ART ON THE HILL: ARTIST PROFILE Danielle says that she hopes that through her art, she can educate people about the meaning of the annual holiday, which honours loved ones who have passed on. “Day of the Dead is nothing to do with Halloween, neither is it a fashion statement,” Danielle added. “There is so much more to it – it’s beautiful, not scary – it’s all about remembrance and celebrating, rather than mourning.” The majority of Danielle’s artwork is created using upcycled materials, for example, she finds old and unused frames and makes them ornate and beautiful again. Besides skulls, heart pieces and crosses, Danielle also creates cushions and earrings. Each piece she produces is unique. Danielle regularly returns to Texas to see her family and uses the opportunity to source authentic Mexican trinkets for her art pieces. It is the fourth year that Danielle, who also teaches ukulele, has exhibited on the Art

on the Hill trail. She said: “It’s such a great and cheap way for people to exhibit, and it’s also a great opportunity for people to get to know the true artist by going into their homes. Artists can express themselves more in a comfortable zone. “The first time I ever exhibited, I was so nervous and scared, but I sold loads of stuff –

I couldn’t believe people wanted to buy it. It’s definitely a good way to encourage confidence in artists.” Danielle has lived in the UK for 23 years but moved to Bristol six years ago. She said that she was “very excited” to live in a neighbourhood where she could join a trail. As well as exhibiting, Danielle also runs authentic sugar skull workshops throughout the year. She will also be creating a Dia de los Muertos ‘ofrenda’ – an alter to leave photos and offerings to lost loved one – in the crypt at Arnos Vale Cemetery. For more information about Danielle, her artwork and events, visit: www. or vivalosmuertosuk More information about Art of the Hill trail and the trail map, can be found at:


The charity, Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP) is looking for volunteers to listen to pupils read in primary schools in South Bristol, to help them become fluent and confident readers and above all to enjoy books. Volunteers usually work on a one to one basis with pupils and feel a sense of reward from knowing that by giving up some time they are making a difference to their futures. ‘Read on: Get on’, recently published by Save the Children, highlights the vital importance of reading as crucial to children’s life chances. A quarter of all children leave primary school unable to read well with 45% of low-income white British boys faring particularly badly. You can download a membership form at www. or contact Sue Andresen, at sue.andresen@ or phone on 01275 394134/07817848290.

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October 2019




Comedy imitates life for Stuart as he brings ‘End Of’ show to south Bristol Totterdown’s very own stand-up Stuart Goldsmith is set to return to the Comedy Box at the Hen and Chicken next month. The comedian will be performing the second leg of his latest show ‘End Of’, which Stuart says offers “whimsical observations” about his life as a new father and husband, and relationships between friends of varying ages, and makes them relatable. “It’s intelligent comedy for everyone – but of particular interest to people in their thirties who’ve lost touch with all their old friends and can’t seem to eat just the one pain au chocolat,” Stuart says. Stuart, a former street performer, was born in Bristol but grew up in the Midlands before moving to London to develop his career as a comic. Stuart says that he is excited to be back at the Comedy Box

– he refers to the North Street venue as his “spiritual home from home” as he would regularly perform there when returning to Bristol to visit his godchildren. Now, he is a permanent Totterdown resident, living with his wife, toddler and baby – and is a regular reader of the South Bristol Voice! Beyond performing standup, Stuart is highly regarded on the comedy circuit for his ‘Comedian’s Comedian’ podcast, which sees him interview and explore the mindsets of both world-famous and emerging comics and what makes them tick. And the weekly podcast has gained quite a following, attracting over 10 million downloads since 2012. Stuart has been performing stand-up since 2004 when he landed his first gig at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – he had previously been frequenting

the festival as a headline street performer, but when he took to the stage as a comedian, he said, “I finally knew who I was”. He’s since performed his stand-up at international festivals and says he has become a somewhat “professor with tenure” within the comedy industry. “It’s never been that important to me to be a star – I just love being able to write and create,” Stuart says. Stuart will be performing ‘End Of’ at the Hen and Chicken’s Comedy Box on November 8. For tickets, visit: For other tour dates, visit: www.comedianscomedian. com/tour. To listen to the weekly Comedian’s Comedian podcast, visit: www.

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October 2019




Rich heritage and a bright future for ‘Constitutional’ A heap of historical documents has been discovered at Knowle Constitutional Club which provide an intriguing insight into the local institution’s past. They were found by club committee members while clearing out the snooker hall, ready for now completed repair works to the ceiling. Among the documents there are detailed designs for a beer store that never materialised, a subscription book dating back to the 1930s and an inaugural dinner programme, dated December 7, 1904 – the year the club was founded. Dishes listed in the dinner programme include thick mock turtle soup and ox tongue – meals you would be hard-pressed to find in any local restaurant these days. Committee members are now calling on residents, with an interest in local history, to help trawl through the documents and start piecing together the club’s story over the past century. The club – in Wells Road – has come a long way since 1904, and as previously reported in the South Bristol Voice, membership was only open to respectable businessmen of south Bristol. There was a waiting list and prospective members had to be nominated and then interviewed by the committee before being allowed to frequent the club. Although exclusively for men, women were occasionally invited as guests – according to club secretary Helen Featherstone, who has spent some time studying the club’s archives. However, rules applied – women were confined to the front room and they were unable to purchase their own drinks. The men had to buy them for the women. These days, membership is open to all – at £25 a year – and the club currently boasts a healthy 90 members on its books.

Above, Helen Featherstone serving members at the Knowle Constitutional Club; left, The programme for the club’s inaugural dinner on December 7, 1904 - the year the club was founded; and below, the repaired ceiling in the snooker hall - now all it needs is redecorating Four years ago, the picture was looking bleak for the club as financial difficulties threatened its future. Major restoration work was needed and membership was dwindling. But, thanks to countless fundraising events and a drive to increase membership, the club is

venue in the annual Front Room Art Trail (November 15-17) where residents can get their hands on the latest club calendar, featuring vintage photos of Totterdown and Knowle, and in December it will host a Christmas cocktail night on December 13 and a raffle on December 21. In the new year, an exciting new event will take place at the club – the Totterdown Film Festival. Details are still to be confirmed but locals will be able to enjoy a weekend programme of family friendly and cult classic films. For more information about the club, or if you would like PROPERTY MAINTENANCE to help organise the club’s documents, email INTERIORhistorical & EXTERIOR PAINTING knowleconstitutionalclub@ FENCING • PATIOS • LANDSCAPING or like ‘Knowle Constitutional Club’ on LOG STORES • GUTTERING • FASCIAS Facebook.

now on an upward trajectory. The club continues to fundraise – weekly and monthly events are organised, including pop-up food nights, quiz nights and bingo – and the club’s next project is to raise enough funds to renovate the toilet. Next month, the club will be a



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If you would like to put your child’s name on our waiting list, would like more information or would love to come and have a look around please contact us: 01179144471 or 07398990180 email: Wick Road, Brislington BS4 4HB


Nurturing the independent thinkers of tomorrow We have been part of the community for over 25 years and based in a classroom with access to outside play in Holymead Primary school on Wick Road. (We are separate from the school but have a wonderful partnership with them) We offer children from the age of 3 years the government funded hours and the extended hours for working parents.


We believe that children learn through play in a safe and welcoming environment that allows children to become independent thinkers with opportunities to explore, investigate, show curiosity and achieve challenges with the use of open ended natural resources.


Children get year round opportunities to create amazing structures using real tools and wood. This also supports children’s understanding of the importance of safety in the environment


We love exploring our local woodland and wildlife and the children take part in lots of forest themed activities.

Ofsted inspection in October 2018

October 2019




Message from the Lord Mayor

This year I have the great honour of serving the people of Bristol as the Lord Mayor. The post is always given to a serving member of the council and I continue to represent my ward of Brislington West as well as carrying out my official mayoral duties. The role is for one year and rotates around the political groups. There is of course a distinct difference between the Lord Mayor and the directly elected Mayor. The directly elected Mayor is a political position dating from 2012 and the Lord Mayor is a ceremonial one and dates back to 1216! I am the 12th female in that time. The title of Lord Mayor was bestowed on the Mayor by Queen Victoria in 1899. I attended 70 engagements in the first month and expect to carry out around 800 over the course of the year. These engagements range from small gatherings to a function which has visitors from across the country and beyond. But when people ask me what the best thing has been so far, I always say that it is visiting groups and charities that I would never have had the chance to meet. If you would like to attend my next ‘at home’, a chance to meet the Lord Mayor and explore the Mansion House, I am holding it on 6th October at 3pm. To book a place please contact Cllr Jos Clark

Boomtown organisers set to run up to 24 events with capacity of 3,500 people The organisers behind one of the south’s most popular festivals, Boomtown, will be launching a new event space a few hundred yards from homes in Totterdown and Brislington early next month. The former Trimite building in Albert Road, St Philip’s will be primarily used as the headquarters for the Winchesterbased festival, but the team behind Boomtown has also secured a license to host a maximum of 24 events a year. The permanent five-room event space, which has a capacity of 3,500, is called AREA 404 and will launch for the first time on November 1 for a series of

Halloween events – all of which are now sold out. In fitting with the type of music played at Boomtown festival, revellers can expect to hear a wide genre of live music played at the venue, from reggae to techno. Organisers said: “We are so pleased to be able to finally announce this venue, it feels like a proper homecoming for us. “We’re unbelievably excited to be able to showcase everything we’ve grown into since we started putting on gigs in Bristol over a decade ago. “To be able to bring our unique mix of interactive and immersive theatre, the

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October 2019




20 years of short mat bowls in Knowle Congratulations to the Redcatch Rollers Group, based at the Redcatch Community Centre. They celebrate 20 years of short mat bowling in Knowle where they have met regularly every Thursday afternoon, 2-4pm. When the group was started by the Redcatch Community Association, it was gifted balls from the YMCA in Totterdown when they closed, and spare mats from the SMB group in Winterbourne. New Members are always welcome. For more information, visit:

‘Bring your grandparent’ for planting day at Maze

Photo, Google Maps beautifully hand-crafted intricate set designs and to represent a huge amount of music genres all under one roof, is going to be something incredibly special.” In the past, local residents have been critical of the noise from nearby nightclub Motion and have objected to plans to develop other nightclubs in the area. However, organisers of Boomtown have agreed to establish a working group with residents who may be most affected by the events and have ensured locals that noise from the venue is restricted to the levels set out in the license. Carolyn Magson, founder of Arnos Vale residents’ association, lives nearby the new venue. She said: “We welcome nightlife and events to the area, especially

those that bring culture and arts, but Boomtown must remember that there are people living only 150 metres away – it is still a residential area with families with young children. “We’re relying on Boomtown to make sure that there’s no negative impact with noise pollution. “It’s really exciting that this area has been chosen for such a venue – I’m quite positive about it. We have to give them a chance.” A spokesperson from the Totterdown Residents Environmental and Social Action group (TRESA) said: “If it is well managed, it could lead to some interesting events. “If it is not well managed, then problems may arise. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

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Young and old will come together next month for a special day of planting at the Berry Maze in Malago Greenway, thanks to a grant from the Bedminster Secret Garden team. The event will be held on October 5, 10am-12.30pm and organisers are inviting grandparents and grandchildren along to plant herbs and flowers, such as rosemary and lavender, throughout the maze. Young families or elderly residents who are unable to bring along grandparents or grandchildren are welcome along too. Organisers will pair up children and their parents with local elders, so that no one feels left out. Organisers at the Berry Maze say that they are delighted with the £208 grant, which has been used to buy the plants. They will be used to create ground coverage for the plots of berries – an ingenious solution for the maze’s weeding woes, organisers say. Raluca, one of the organisers at Berry Maze, said: “The maze has always been a place where everyone is welcome, but now we decided to make this crystal

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clear with our first targeted intergenerational event: Bring your grandparent planting day. “The hope is that people who will team up at the maze will keep in touch. In the end, this is a community project. The community is made up from neighbours, and too many neighbours don’t know each other, too many people live alone, thinking that no one is interested in them. “We think this is wrong and that planting offers a great opportunity of easing one’s nerves about speaking to someone they don’t know and getting the conversation flowing. Also, children can benefit a lot from their interactions with elders. “The whole idea of the intergenerational event came to us when we heard about Bedminster’s Secret Gardens grant. Thanks to their generosity, we are now able to provide good quality plants for our event.” On the day, there will be cake and lots of friendships to be made. For further information, you can contact the organisers at our.berry.

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October 2019



n YOUR COUNCILLORS Tennis in Redcatch Park any will remember that a few years back local voluntary Gary organisations got Hopkins together and Lib Dem attracted a large Knowle grant to upgrade the neglected tennis courts in Redcatch Park. They have since been a free facility that many enjoy and compliment the Knowle Tennis Club which is for more committed players. Not long after the locally funded refurbishment, council officers attempted to pull Redcatch into a pay-to -play scheme that was being used in other parks in Bristol. In a number of them, money was needed to rescue the dilapidated courts so the scheme was accepted, but here in Knowle we, with public support, objected, as people would be paying for something they already had for free.



We did say though, if a better scheme came along which produced some real local benefits we would consult locally to test reaction. We have recently had a meeting with sports officers and the Lawn Tennis Association about a modified suggestion. Full details will be distributed when worked up for consultation, but in advance of that the bones would be: installation of floodlights and a surface maintenance programme and some free coaching sessions. Access could be free for much of the time and access through a combination of pre-booking and turn-up-on-chance. Use under the floodlights would be charged. Because the courts are in comparatively good shape the need for income would be less than elsewhere. If this is to proceed work would be done in the spring so we will consult over the winter, once we have the full figures and details.

How to contact your councillor: p2

Jubilee Pool ary and I have, with huge local support, fought off two attempts by the council to close Chris Jubilee pool. As well Davies as local sentiment Lib Dem we argued that the Knowle pool was sustainable with huge numbers arriving on foot or bike, and that it has a unique character that many users value greatly. That is not to say that the likes of Hengrove are inferior, but it is very different and choice is important. In addition, closing Jubilee would have led to a very expensive demolition and a development site of limited value. Over the years a small gym has been installed and management has been improved. It is good to see there seems to be a recognition that our arguments were soundly based. The council is undertaking an examination of swimming


provision, and sensible investment in Jubilee to secure its long term future seems to be part of the plan. We have suggested a look at the changing rooms, and a new boiler to reduce running costs and avoid breakdowns. Jubilee is not perfect but it has a good atmosphere and friendly staff, and as a regular user I value the community feel. With a little TLC it will serve our community very well for years to come. Any suggestions for cost effective improvements are welcome. It has now been agreed that more pool capacity is needed in Bristol and it is accepted that Jubilee is well situated and does not cost a fortune. The previous plans for a new pool at Speedwell may be revived and that seems a sensible addition. Those who previously proposed a new pool there could only be with the closure of Jubilee were much mistaken. Increased capacity has been recognised and we will always campaign to keep our pool open.


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October 2019




his month saw a significant victory for the community as the council’s planning committee, on the Jon recommendation of Wellington planning officers, Labour refused the first Windmill Hill application to come forward for the Bedminster Green site between the railway line and East Street in Bedminster. Regular readers of this column will perhaps be tiring of me writing about this issue but this really is a significant moment and vindicates residents and of local planning group WHaM who have been campaigning against tower blocks and poor developments on this site for several years. The developers of the old Pring and St Hill site brought an application for a series of 8-12 storey tower blocks for student accommodation that were higher than the guidelines set out in their own framework which they themselves wrote, and were

Windmill Hill

submitted to planning committee ahead of the strategic transport plan that has yet to be published or consulted on with the public. It also drew criticism from the council’s design team for its over-intensive height and massing, as well as an objection from the Environment Agency for flood risk. This was an irresponsible application, given these faults and the fact that a successful application could put at risk the cohesion of the whole site. I understand that the developers are considering appealing, though given that several material considerations were ignored and there were firm objections from the Environment Agency, I don’t see what their grounds would be. Nevertheless, it highlights the power that developers have over councils, who can incur significant costs if the appeal goes in the developer’s favour. I am very pleased that the council has stood up to the developers who are threatening poor quality buildings against the will of local residents and the city.



17 How to contact your councillor: p2

have just come out of Area committee 5 decision making meeting where the councillors for several wards got Lucy Whittle together and Labour decided on our Windmill Hill spending priorities. “Area 5” sounds a bit like it’s out of dystopian science fiction but it’s just that the city has been divided into six areas, and Windmill Hill and Knowle are in Area 5 along with Bedminster Brislington East, Brislington West, and Southville. You can find minutes of our meetings here: So the twelve councillors who represent the six wards in Area 5 get together and decide how to spend CIL money, which is money given to the council by developers. CIL stands for Community Infrastructure Levy, and can be used by the council towards any kind of developments or projects that would help the community. Community groups can put

projects together and submit them to the council every year. If you have an idea you would like to put forward you can attend one of our Windmill Hill network meetings. In the meeting we agreed to fund all six of the highest priority projects, one from each ward. So we will be getting funding for work on the Victoria Park skate park, and then we agreed to part fund all of the secondary priority projects including work to the front of Marksbury Library. I am pleased to report the ward councillors all worked really well together, exploring ideas, supporting each other and eventually coming to an agreement that we were all happy with. I was particularly pleased that we have two projects in Windmill Hill getting full funding in our ward. Thanks are due to Victoria Park Action Group (VPAG) and Friends of Marksbury Library for their hard work putting the proposals together, and to Cllr Jon Wellington for championing their projects.

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October 2019




Circus Zambia wows local primary kids Knowle Park Primary children raised over £2,000 to help pay for a minibus for Circus Zambia - and two of its performers were presented with the money when they took time out of their UK tour to visit the school. Circus Zambia is led by Gift Chansa, who told pupils about his life as a “street child” in Lusaka, and his amazing progress to found the circus of acrobats, jugglers, and musicians. They now help to rescue other children from the streets in Zambia by enthusing them with performance and then getting them into education and on a path to a safer life. Teachers at Knowle Park, led by Nicola Chaplin, have been in communication with Gift and his colleagues

who have sent videos of their work and performances to the school. When they visited, the children were thrilled by the acrobatic skills of Gift and Bernard (pictured), and some pupils who had never attempted performance skills in the past were inspired to try them out. The minibus will be used by

Circus Zambia to visit parts of the country which are normally inaccessible, and also to take children to new experiences. Nicola Chaplin said: “It was a magical moment seeing Gift and Bernard arrive in the playground, they certainly have celebrity status in our school. It was wonderful to see the children respond to their enthusiasm and talents, it was one of the highlights of my career.” Contact with Circus Zambia will continue with a linked reading project, between Year 5 children here and children in Lusaka. Headteacher Helen Bailey said: “This is a unique experience for us and one where we can learn much from Gift and his colleagues. “It would be wonderful to think we could visit them one day in Lusaka.”

n IN BRIEF n Representatives from Venturers Trust were delighted to attend the official turf-cutting ceremony to mark the first phase of construction of the new school buildings for Venturers’ Academy and Merchants’ Academy Primary, to be built adjacent to Merchants’ Academy Secondary in Withywood. They were joined by a strong contingent from the school community, including the Principals of Venturers’ Academy, Merchants’ Academy Secondary and Primary, as well as students and parents, along with Governors and Trustees and representatives from the Trust’s sponsors. Also in attendance were members of Galliford Try’s South West team, who will be leading the construction of this £12.5m project. n Merchants’ Academy Primary in Withywood launched their Walk to School challenge this term, in association with the charity Living Streets Walk to School scheme and promoting cleaner air around their school and Bristol as a whole. @MA16_SixthForm 0117 301 5000

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October 2019




Author Jane Duffus. Photo by Jon Craig

Setting the record straight for women Anyone who has had the enjoyment of reading Windmill Hill author Jane Duffus’ ‘The Women Who Built Bristol’ will be delighted to know that more captivating stories about the city’s inspiring, yet overlooked, females are on their way. Volume two will be launching later this month, so we caught up with Jane to find out more … What motivated you to publish a second book about The Women Who Built Bristol? The Women Who Built Bristol was originally intended to be a oneoff, standalone book. But at the launch party for Volume One, my proofreader Kim told me to give her a nod when I was ready to get started on volume two. I looked at her in exhausted horror and said ‘not a chance!’ But once Volume One was out there, and I’d tidied away all the piles of research, I started to really miss all the old dead women who had come to populate my life… Once you start looking for interesting dead women, you can’t stop finding them! Before I knew it, Volume Two was writing itself. There are still so many stories to share about these

wonderful women who, on the whole, are unknown to most of us. We can’t move for men’s history but women’s history is largely ignored. So I’m on a mission to try and set the record straight. What can readers expect from the second volume? In Volume Two, there are 250 brand new women to read about. They range from actors to zoologists and everything in between. To be included in either book, the woman needs to be dead, but one big difference is that in Volume One I only included women who had had a positive influence on Bristol. However, for Volume Two I’ve widened that out to include a few bad eggs - so there are about 15 women who certainly didn’t do

good things (one was a serial killer, another was a highway robber, another helped bury her husband under the floorboards) but whose stories nonetheless have helped to shape Bristol and are still important. I think it is important not to edit history in a false light - while almost all of the women in Bristol’s past contributed good things, it’s certainly not true to say that every single woman had a good heart because a tiny handful definitely didn’t. How did you discover these women’s stories? The women come from all sorts of places. I qualified as a journalist back in 2001 and worked in London for lots of newsstand magazines for a decade or so, and my journalistic

background has certainly come in handy when playing detective with the dead. Some of the women I found as a throwaway mention in existing history books, and I then did more hunting in the newspaper archives, census reports and so on. Some I found in cemetery records or cathedral plaques. I also trawl secondhand and junk shops looking for old booklets and pamphlets about Bristol that might lead to clues. One advantage for Volume Two is that people began to get in touch having seen Volume One, saying, for instance, “Did you know about Edith Gilliard? She was my old piano teacher and, oh, the stories I could tell you!”

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October 2019



n Q&A WITH JANE DUFFUS than a faceless online retailer. However, I also sell copies direct via mail order from my website and can sign messages to people in the books if they leave me a note with their order (janeduffus.bigcartel. com/). Similarly, I do a lot of talks and sell and sign copies after the talks. If people buy direct from me, it actually means I get more money, so I’d encourage anyone to do that! Details of my talks are on my

Nothing makes my email inbox brighter than an email from a reader recommending their own wonderful woman for the book. We’d love to hear about some of the local women included … could you give us an overview of some of their stories (without giving too much away, of course!)? Because I’ve lived in Windmill Hill for eight years, I’ve got my own bias towards this area so there are quite a few entries of women from Bedminster, Southville and so on. • Lillian Allen of 22 St John’s Lane was one of the very first female motorcyclists in Bristol. • Eliza Stokes was just 15 when she married Captain James Gardner in 1830: they became the matron and governor of Bristol New Gaol on Cumberland Road • Suffragist Mabel Cross prioritised working-class women by becoming the Superintendent of the Bedminster Maternity Centre and School for Mothers in December 1914.

website ( The Women Who Built Bristol: Volume Two, published by Tangent, is out from October 21. If anyone wants to get in touch to suggest their own wonderful woman with a Bristol connection, please email janeduffusbooks@ The full Q&A with Jane can be read online at

Low-cost toenail cutting you can trust Where will people be able to pick up the book locally? Storysmith on North Street will be stocking it, so please do support them. But all the Bristol bookshops will have it, and I would strongly urge anyone who is interested to please buy it from a physical bookshop rather


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October 2019




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Step inside Bristol’s sixth form As the summer draws to a close, students and staff at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College are settling in well to another year of post-16 life. As the only Sixth Form College in the region, St Brendan’s is a popular choice for learners who are ready to embrace the next step and this year the college welcomed a record number of new students to their campus. With over 1000 16-17 year olds enrolling at St Brendan’s this September, it would seem it’s becoming ‘the place to be’ for young adults across Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire and beyond. With state of the art facilities and an impressive choice of A-level and Applied General subjects to choose from, the Brislington-based college is attracting students from far and wide and looks set to continue its growth into the new year. In the midst of educational funding cuts across the country, St Brendan’s is proud to have been able to manage its curriculum and boasts a huge range of courses which are

not available to students elsewhere. Amongst its large provision of over 60 different subjects, the college provides students with a fantastic choice of languages and appears to be consistently adding courses for linguists. St Brendan’s also offers a full choice of music courses to post-16 learners; an unusual find in today’s educational landscape. In addition to an ever-growing choice of courses, St Brendan’s also has its sights set firmly on developing its state-of-the-art facilities further, for students to enjoy a first-class education. After their summer break, students returned to college to find a new suite of Mac computers and a transformed library space which now includes a university-style silent study zone. St Brendan’s Sixth Form College will be opening its doors to Year 11 students and their families on Saturday 5th October (10am – 2:30pm) for their first Open Day of the academic year. Visit www.stbrn. for further details. @MerchantsAc 0117 301 5000

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October 2019

n NEWS A week-long festival celebrating the wonderful world of children’s books is coming to Southville and beyond. Storytale is an exciting new festival founded by local residents Ellie Freeman and author Kate Frost. Taking place in various venues around the city as well as Southville, it is accessible and affordable with organisers saying there will be something for everyone, from interactive and sensory storytelling for tots to inspiring talks and workshops for teens. Chapter 1 of the Storytale Festival begins on Friday, October 25, with prequel events leading up to it. Youngsters can go on adventures with storytellers as they bring words and pictures to life, and journey through the pages with Bristol’s talented children’s book authors and illustrators as they give you exclusive access to the tales behind their books. Storytale’s flagship event, Wild Writing with Anna Wilson, Chris Vick and Mimi Thebo



Read all about it! Festival of children’s books for half term Co-founders Ellie (second, right) and Kate (third, right) at the festival’s launch event

will open the main festival on Saturday, October 26 at the Victoria Rooms with a wildly fun session featuring huge cardboard animals! On the same day, more wild and wonderful creatures can be discovered during BBC producer Justin Anderson’s Secrets of Snow Leopards event happening at Stanfords, Corn Street while children will love


being immersed in stories and creating their own characters with illustrators Paula Bowles and Nicola Colton during their events, Superkitty at the Elephant House, Dean Street, Southville on November 2 and Smart Kitties and Mucky Pups at Storysmith, North Street on November 1. Festival highlights will

include The Picture Book Process with illustrator Sean Julian hosted by PIP at the Tobacco Factory on October 28. With dozens of events for all ages taking place in various venues throughout Bristol, there’ll be something for everyone. Storytale Festival runs over October half term from October 26 to November 3. The full programme of events and more information can be found at Facebook: Twitter: Instagram:

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October 2019




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October 2019



n HISTORY Avon Gorge PART 1 The Gorge conquered: Clifton Suspension Bridge spans 700 feet of the Avon Gorge. From Lippincott’s Magazine, 1878

OK, so it’s not strictly speaking in South Bristol. But many of us can see it from our windows, and the Suspension Bridge is one of the most famous views in the nation. The Avon Gorge almost defines Bristol: it carries the River Avon, the very reason for the city’s success. But as well as a natural wonder, and a historic trade route, it has always been a place of danger. From speedboat racing to pilots who couldn’t resist a thrill, it has attracted risk-takers, some of whom paid with their lives. And there have been other tragedies and near-misses too many to mention. Here we select just a few stories from the incident-packed life of the Avon Gorge …

Steam power RESIDENTS living near the Gorge thought they were in the midst of an earthquake when their homes shook beneath them and chimneys tumbled down on November 2, 1866. But it wasn’t a natural disaster. The boiler on a steam tug, the Black Eagle, which was passing St Vincent’s Parade, Hotwells, exploded without warning, killing all seven men on board. It was a miracle that no one was killed on shore. People in Hotwells Road saw huge pieces of iron shot higher in the air than the deck of the recently-completed suspension bridge. Many windows of the houses in St Vincent’s Parade were broken, and the roof of No 7 shattered. One piece of the boiler, thought to weigh a ton, fell through the roof of the home of the manager of the Port & Pier

Strange tales of the Avon Gorge

Our view of the Avon Gorge, the iconic setting for Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge could be about to change if controversial plans for the Cumberland Basin are approved. But the Gorge is more than picturesque: it’s proved a deadly hazard and a temptation too far for everyone from seafarers to daredevil pilots, writes Paul Breeden


HE CLIFTON Suspension Bridge looks to us like a part of the landscape. It fits so naturally and gracefully into the Avon Gorge that it seems as if it has always been there. But building it was a feat of unimaginable expense and

complexity and it took 111 years from the first plan to the eventual opening in 1864. Dozens of experienced engineers were convinced no bridge could span the 700ft divide, yet Isambard Kingdom Brunel had faith in his calculations and pressed for his

design to be chosen out of 22 entries in a competition in 1831. Even his father, Marc, did not believe such a large suspension bridge could be built, but Brunel ignored him. He was influenced by his close Continued overleaf

Railway, while a much larger piece, 15ft long and about three tons in weight, smashed through another roof and demolished chimney stacks. The tug’s owner, a Mr Strong of Cardiff, said that both ship and boiler were only a few years old and in good condition. But an inquest heard that the tug’s engineer had previously been threatened with dismissal for putting the boiler under too much strain. Expert witnesses said that the water level in the boiler had been allowed to drop too low, making the plates red hot, meaning that when more water was pumped in it turned to steam instantly – causing an immediate explosion. Blown to bits: Boats cluster around the wreckage of the Black Eagle in 1866 after her boiler blew up, killing all seven men on board. PHOTO: Bristol Reference Library

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October 2019



n HISTORY Avon Gorge PART 1 Continued from previous page friend from South Bristol, Sarah Guppy, the pioneering female engineer who has only recently been given the prominence she deserves. Guppy made a fortune with her husband in patenting a system for protecting Royal Navy ships from rot, and lived in great style at Arnos Manor on Bath Road, where she entertained Brunel. Guppy was one of Britain’s first experts on suspension bridges and seems certain to have talked about the Clifton bridge with Brunel – although her own early design for spanning the Gorge was not submitted for the competition. The younger Brunel’s brave plan was proved right – but only after his death. Though work started on the bridge as soon as his plan was selected the winner in 1831, it was not be finished until 1864. Between those dates, Bristol was home to one of most curious tourist attractions ever seen – the subject of our first tale. THE TWO BASKETEERS Work on the new bridge had only been under way for four months when Bristol erupted in rioting, provoked by the House of Lords’ rejection of the Great Reform Bill. Brunel himself was signed up as a special constable but nothing could stop the rioters ransacking the fine houses in Queen Square. Peace was soon restored, but the confidence of investors was not. Funds for the new bridge dried up, and work did not restart until 1836. Progress was made, but only on the stone towers that were to support the bridge either side of the gorge. Even these were not as fine as Brunel had hoped. They were finished in undressed stone, and the sphinxes that Brunel had hoped to place atop each one could not be afforded. What would be our attitude to the bridge today if each side was topped with an enormous Egyptian figurehead? The towers completed, the best method of constructing the iron suspension bridge continued to be debated. The exact design and the cost could not be agreed. All that connected the two stone towers, each 85ft (26m) tall, was a single iron bar. Just 1.25 inches (32mm) thick, it was 1,000 feet

Washed up: The Demerara, one of the largest ships ever built, blocked the Avon after hitting the banks of the Avon Gorge in 1851 PHOTO: Bristol Reference Library

(305m) long and was in itself a marvel of Victorian engineering. It was used to transport materials between the two sides, in a container slung underneath. Amazingly, it was this precarious contraption which provided for many years the equivalent of the scariest of theme park rides to Victorian thrill-seekers. A basket was attached to the rod – which must have appeared as substantial as a paper clip when extended across the gorge – and the reckless adventurers pulled from one side to the other. The rod had an alarming bend in the middle, so when nearing either side of the gorge, the basket had to be pulled up towards the landing place. And one day the inevitable happened – the rope broke, by sheer luck without fatal consequences. As the Bristol Mercury reported on August 14, 1841: “Two gentlemen who had arrived by the railway on a party of pleasure, were induced to pass over the river in the basket attached to the iron rod, which passes from side to side. The party had arrived within a few feet of the landing, when the rope suddenly broke and the basket was rapidly impelled back to the centre of the rod. Considerable alarm was felt by the spectators on the shore, by the passengers in a steam-packet passing beneath at the time, and more particularly by the affrighted tenants of the basket themselves, who however, were

ultimately relieved without any personal injury.” The Mercury went on to report that “this dangerous practice of passing over” would soon be ended, “as the contractors have at last succeeded to the satisfaction of Mr Brunel, in welding iron for the chains of a proper consistency, and there is now every prospect of the work progressing as soon as the weather shall prove favourable.” But this was wishful thinking, as Brunel hadn’t got the chains right, and he was in fact to re-use the links from a bridge he had already built at Hungerford. The rod and basket contraption was reportedly still in use in the 1850s. And, amazingly, given that the workmen had to dance across the chasm every day to complete the bridge, there were only two deaths in the entire project. HAZARDS OF NAVIGATION It wasn’t only the height of the Avon Gorge that made it dangerous. The river itself has claimed countless lives. It is not only home to the second-highest tidal range in the world of 49ft (15m), but the passage to the sea is packed with bends and constantly-changing currents. Even with one an experienced pilot from Pill on board, each journey in a large vessel was a risk. It was one of the reasons why Bristol gradually lost custom to more accessible ports such as Liverpool. As vessels got bigger,

the dangers of the Avon Gorge grew too. Shipbuilder William Patterson was well-known in Bristol for his revolutionary vessels – he had built the paddle steamer Great Western for Brunel, the largest passenger ship in the world when it was launched in the Floating Harbour in 1838. Patterson went on to build Brunel’s even more famous Great Britain in 1845. Both were a tremendous success, proving the speed, reliability and carrying capacity of the new steam power. It was no surprise then that the West India Mail Steamship Company should turn to Patterson to build the Demerara, a 3,000 ton giant paddle steamer, the largest ship in the world apart from Great Britain. The Demerara’s hull was made in Bristol but her engines were to be fitted in Scotland – so on November 10, 1851, a Glasgow tug towed her out of the Cumberland basin. But the tug captain had left it late, and he piled on the speed to attempt to beat the tide. He could only manage seven or eight knots, about twice walking pace, but Patterson, who was on board his new vessel, knew it was too fast. He asked the pilot to reduce speed, but it was too late. A later inquiry blamed the tug captain for initially failing to slacken speed at Patterson’s request. It also found that the tug was twice the size of most tugs that worked in the tight confines of the Avon Gorge.

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October 2019



n HISTORY Avon Gorge PART 1 Just after Round Point, one of the pinch points in the Avon within sight of the towers of the incomplete Suspension Bridge, the Demerara struck the bank. A print published in newspapers at the time shows the huge size of the vessel, and the hopelessness of getting her out to sea on anything other than a full tide. The bow of the Demerara had struck rocks on the Bristol side, and the flowing tide pushed the stern out and across the river. Not only was the ship severely damaged, with the deck twisting and rivets popping, but the Avon was entirely blocked – shutting off the entire harbour from the sea. This was a disaster which had to be remedied as soon as possible. Thousands of people watched workmen battle through the night, by the light from blazing barrels of tar. They refloated the ship on the next tide and moored her against the bank. But as the tide ebbed away again she broke free, and once again lay across the river, suffering more damage. Eventually, after enormous efforts by an army of workers and tugs, the ship was returned to the harbour. The Demerara was insured for £48,000, equal to perhaps £180m today. The insurers thought the damage so bad they wrote her off. But she was repaired as a sailing ship – the world’s largest – and sold in July 1852, renamed the British Empire, for £5,600. It was the beginning of the end for the Patterson business, which built ships at the Great Western yard (where the ss Great Britain lies today) and at Wapping shipyard across the harbour. Even the builder of the

world’s most famous ships was not immune from risk: Patterson lost £5,900 on the Demerara and then took a loss of £21,000 by the end of the 1850s on the rapid building of a series of warships for the Crimean War. Patterson had to sell the Wapping yard in 1858, and in 1865 he moved to Liverpool, leaving his son running a mere salvage business at Dean’s Marsh, close to the modern Centre. More than a quarter of a century after the Demerara disaster it became clear that the hazards remained – and human error could make the situation worse. On May 12, 1878, the steamer Gipsy, en route with passengers from Bristol to Waterford, struck the Bristol bank near the Black Rocks – the large escarpment where the river turns left at the north-western edge of the Downs. Just like the Demerara, Gipsy swung across the river, out of control, blocking it completely. The passengers were taken off safely, but when the tide flowed out, her stern was on the Somerset bank and her bow on the Bristol side. With nothing to support her middle, the Gipsy broke in two. The navy were called in, and Lieutenant Durnford and six men of the torpedo service took great pride in methodically blowing the ship up until there was nothing left. It took three weeks and many houses had their windows blown in by the explosions. One Bedminster lad was reported to have been struck by a piece of debris while watching from a quarter of a mile away on the Downs. He was taken to the Royal Infirmary, though it’s not recorded how he

Tragic consequences IT’S well known that many people have been tempted to take their own lives in the Avon Gorge. The Clifton Suspension Bridge carries prominent notices from the Samaritans giving the number of a helpline for people considering taking their own lives. The Voice has chosen not to focus on people who have taken their lives in the Gorge. Suicide is a complex subject with many possible causes. If you or anyone you know seems at risk of taking their life, call the Samaritans on 116 123 – the helpline is open 24 hours a day. Other sources of help: Childline 0800 1111 – calls are free. Depression Alliance: charity for people with depression. Students Against Depression

fared. On June 4, Lieut Durnford spoke regretfully that the period of “fine practice” for him and his men had come to an end – but the river was cleared. Sources History: The Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol Mercury, Clifton Suspension Bridge – An accident August 14, 1841

Bristol Radical History Society: Wrecks on the River Avon, www. Bristol: Know Your Place, maps. NEXT MONTH: The magnificent men in their flying machines who braved the Avon Gorge to fly under the Suspension Bridge – not all of whom survived

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Got a story for South Bristol Voice? Call Becky on 07912 484405 or email

October 2019





Han-Noah certainly not just a kid with big hair MARTIN POWELL says one of City’s younger players has the potential to be a star of European football for many years to come


Han-Noah Massengo’s ability (and his hair) have been a big hit with team-mates and fans alike

f you want to see a future superstar of European football, get yourself down to Ashton Gate and feast your eyes on Han-Noah Massengo. For many Bristol City fans, the tension of following the team week in and week out means they can’t enjoy the moment much. So, when the club forked out good money for a lad just turned 19, those who always have an opinion in the pub – who now bore everyone else with it on social media – were quick to criticise. Why buy someone that age when we are loaning other lads that age out so they can get experience? OK, he had played one game in the Champions League but he was in a side that lost heavily. He just seemed to be a kid with big hair. I suspect he played more 90 minute games at the start of the season than manager Lee

Johnson intended, thanks to injuries to others, but he has certainly impressed and given an answer to those critics. That outrageous hair seems to have a much older player’s experienced brain hidden in it somewhere. His combination of youth and know-how indicates he is going to play at the top level one day – and let’s hope it is next season with Bristol City. The great thing about watching Championship football is that you see some of the best players before those people glued to Premier League televised games even know who they are. Tammy Abraham at Chelsea was a joy at Bristol City a couple of seasons ago and now he is among the Premier League top scorers. Teemu Pukki is fast becoming a big name in the Premier League but he shone equally in the Championship with Norwich City. Massengo is one that will be a major name in the game in a

few years’ time and here he is in BS3 right now. City have got off to a great start and let’s hope that they can compete at the top of the table all season. Massengo is one of a number of players in a strong but youthful squad which is good enough to dominate Championship games and yet have the potential to improve. The blend of youth and experience is about right this year. When Tomas Kalas, arguably the club’s best defender, suffered an injury, the club had to root around in the bargain bin for a replacement and somehow found Welsh international captain Ashley Williams without a club. He promptly put in a stirring performance against Stoke City, where he was on loan last year, to keep City’s early season unbeaten away form going. Players will come and go but the current crop are certainly worth watching.

Martin’s shorts

Bristol City Manager Lee Johnson has revealed that he spent some time with the SAS in the summer. He said that part of the discussion was over post traumatic stress that players might “suffer” after a loss. I’m not entirely convinced that losing on penalties to QPR is quite the same as weeks lying in a ditch in Afghanistan but if Lee can follow the motto of “Who Dares Wins” everyone will be happy!


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October 2019


n PLANNING APPLICATIONS Knowle ward: Awaiting decision 100 Kingshill Road, BS4 2SN Proposed erection of 2no. bed bungalow, in rear/ side garden. 207 Wells Road, Totterdown, BS4 2DF Proposed vehicle parking area in front garden, and creation of access to Wells Road.

of rear extension and side extension. Granted subj to condition(s) 22 Stockwood Crescent, BS4 1AW Proposed two storey side extension. Granted subj to condition(s)

Knowle ward: Decision

6 Greenwood Road, BS4 2SX Demolition of conservatory and construction of two storey and single storey rear extension. Granted subj to condition(s)

3 Wingfield Road, BS3 5EF Single storey side and rear extension, with associated works to site and driveway. Granted subject to condition(s)

76 Wingfield Road, BS3 5EQ Single storey rear extension with exterior platform, a new garden decking area and associated works. Granted subj to condition(s)

Flat 14 The Old School House, 28 Maxse Road, BS4 2JS Retention of mezzanine floor to provide a bedroom within a modern flat inserted at first floor level in the former school hall. Granted subject to condition(s)

Windmill Hill ward: Awaiting decision

35 Norton Road, BS4 2EZ Extension to property comprising

132 Cotswold Road, BS3 4NS Demolition of existing external staircase and construction of raised balcony to rear of property. 30 St Johns Lane, BS3 5AD Erection of 1no. residential dwelling at second floor level and

extension of stairwell. Flat 3 The Bush, Wells Road, BS4 2BA Installation of 2 dormer windows to west elevation to facilitate subdivision of second floor apartment to 2 apartments at second and third floors. Windmill Hill ward: Decision 10 Ravenhill Avenue, BS3 5DU New raised terrace to rear. Granted subj to condition(s) 7 Park Avenue, BS3 5AH Proposed alterations to roofline of existing infill extension and associated internal works. Granted subj to condition(s) 16 Berrow Walk, BS3 5ES Single storey side and rear extension. Granted subj to condition(s) • The status of these applications may have changed since we went to press. Check for updates at


Thousands up for grabs in M&S competition Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust, Community in Partnership Knowle West, Redcatch Community Garden and Windmill Hill City Farm are four of seven local inspirational community organisations to have reached the final of the M&S Community Business Challenge. An event on October 3 will see the finalists presenting their business plans to a panel of judges for a chance to secure grant funding of up to ÂŁ10k from Power to Change, and business development support from M&S. Bristol is the third city to host the challenge, which seeks to find inspiring local businesses to support. Members of the public can show their support for each community business by visiting www. communitybusinesschallenge. and going along to the free event at The Station in Silver Street. To sign up visit: bit. ly/bristolcommunitychallenge

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n WHAT’S ON Friday October 4 n Quiz night at St Paul’s Church, Coronation Road, 7.30pm. Teams of four, £5 per person including light refreshments. All are welcome. Saturday October 5 n Coffee morning at Bedminster Methodist Church, 10.30am to noon. There will be cake, book and bric-a-brac stall, plus tea and coffee. Thursday October 17 n Knowle Library Friends group AGM, 5.30pm for a 6pm start. Please check our

YOGA with Jo **NEW CLASS**

Hatha Yoga with Jo, starting Tues, October 1, 12-1pm at Amba House, 1 William Street, Totterdown, BS3 4TU Drop in £9 or 6 classes for £42

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October 2019




Nightingale Valley Community Choir No experience necessary, no need to read music. We cover a range of lighter repertoire from folk song to gospel, Broadway and even Mozart! St Anne’s Church, Salisbury Road every Monday 7.30-9pm (except 4th Monday of the month) Taster session, free then £5 each week. Contact Anya Szreter

Facebook page ‘Friends of Knowle Library’ for details or email friendsofknowlelibrary@ Saturday October 19 n Natterbooks at Bedminster Library, 10.30-11.30am. Local author Polly Ho-Yen (author of Boy in the Tower, Fly Me Home and Where Monsters Lie) will be visiting Natterbooks to talk about her books. For children in Years 3-6. Natterbooks runs every third Saturday of the month - and is free! To sign up to Natterbooks and come to the author visit (or

AUTUMN ART EXHIBITION 11am till 4pm Redcatch Art Club Redcatch Community Centre

Saturday 12 October 2019

for more information), call 0117 903 8529. Tuesday October 22 n An evening of clairvoyance at The George, Knowle. Tickets £5 each, on sale at The George. Must be purchased before the event. Not on the evening as limited spaces.

SOUTH BRISTOL Wellbeing Choir Windmill Hill Community Centre, Vivian Street, Windmill Hill Every Thursday 7-8.30pm

A relaxed, fun choir with no need to audition. No subscription, just a suggested donation (£5).

FIRST SESSION FREE! Find us on southbristolwellbeingchoir

Regular events n Bollywood Dance Workout a new class for ladies and girls aged 8+ who want to learn empowering and beautiful Bollywood dance. £7. Mondays, 6.30-7.15pm, Windmill Hill Community Centre, Vivian St. You can drop-in or book any class on Eventbrite or MoveGB. Facebook: Farrah’s Dance Workout. T: 07800 597718 n Feel Good Fitness is a brand new fun-filled exercise and dance class for all. Toddlers and babies welcome. £7. Fridays 9.30-10.30am, Windmill Hill Community Centre, Vivian St. You can drop-in or book any class on Eventbrite or MoveGB. Facebook: Farrah’s Dance Workout. T: 07800 597718 n House Party Dance

Workout is an euphoric hiintensity workout class in the dark. £6. Tuesdays , 8-9pm, Amba House, 1 William St, Totterdown. And on Thursdays, 8-9pm, Windmill Hill Community Centre, Vivian St. You can drop-in or book any class on Eventbrite or MoveGB. Facebook: Farrah’s Dance Workout. T: 07800 597718 n Volunteers needed Come and learn where and how to volunteer in BS3. MONDAY EVENINGS @ 6.30pm and TUESDAY MORNINGS @ 10.30am at the Tobacco Factory cafe/bar. n Little Music Makers musical storytelling adventures, featuring live music and hands on activities each week. Perfect for your 18 month - 4-year-old. (Siblings under 1 can come for free!). Thursday mornings through to Christmas (closed 31/10/19). Sessions start at 9.45am or 10.50am in St Christopher’s Church Hall, Hampstead Road, BS4 3HN Get in touch to book or find out more: www.littlemusicmakers. org. n Gentle exercise sessions Seated and standing exercises,

Arnos Vocale Do you love classical vocal music, great jazz standards and beautiful international folksongs? Join Arnos Vocale! Experience of choral singing & reasonable sight-reading ability preferable but come for a free trial. Sessions are £8 each week. Knowle Methodist Church Hall (entrance in Redcatch Road) every Tuesday 7.30-9pm. Contact Anya Szreter: szreter.

Redcatch Art Club is proud to support Children’s Hospice South West

Refreshments and entertainment celebrating 25 years

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October 2019


n WHAT’S ON The George live listings - October The George, 228 Wells Road, Knowle, BS4 2AX SAT 5TH – KEVIN SHEENE SAT 12TH – DOUBLE BARREL SAT 19TH – JOE MALIK SAT 26TH – HALLOWEEN DISCO - 8.30PM START ( FANCY DRESS WELCOME) THURS31ST - HALLOWEEN TRICK OR TREAT - EVERY ONE WELCOME. WE LOVE TO SEE YOUR COSTUMES. fun and friendly classes to improve strength and balance with expert instructor Michelle Kusnierek, Wednesdays 2-3pm at Knowle Methodist church hall BS4 2EP. Cost £4, with time for tea and a chat afterwards. Sponsored by Bristol Ageing Better Community Kick Start Fund. Email timetomove5@ or call 07981 756965o. n Never too old to disco at Charles Padfield Centre, Victoria Park Baptist Church, Sylvia Avenue, 10.45 - 11.45am. Twice monthly disco class for those who still love to dance to old school

Be prepared for the show of a lifetime Review Disney’s The Lion King at The Hippodrome, Bristol The second UK and Ireland tour of Disney’s The Lion King got off to a roaring start when the hit musical arrived at Bristol Hippodrome. Rafiki – the loveable, eccentric mandrill, played by Thandazile Soni – blew the entire audience away as she (that’s right, Rafiki’s a woman in this stage show) opened the show with the powerful intro of Circle of Life, ‘Nants’ Ingonyama’. It gave me goosebumps – and I’m sure I wasn’t alone! But equally breathtaking were the costumes and the puppetry design of the animals which then paraded through the stalls before arriving on stage to welcome the new lion cub, Simba. I sat wide-eyed as I tried to take in the mechanics of it all – the towering giraffes, the grand elephants, the leaping antelopes, the prowling cheetah. I felt



disco favourites. Learn simple routines to classic tunes in a relaxed, fun, yet very groovy class. Second and fourth Saturday of the month, every month. Next class, October 26, £7/class. For more information, contact Zoe. n Memories of Bedminster at South Bristol Christian Centre, Churchlands Road, 1.30pm. The group meets every Monday, except during holiday periods. Oct 7: Mysteries and More – Elizabeth Rhodes returns to relate more interesting facts from her researches. Oct 14: A talk by Chris explaining the ‘cat2tag’ – a medical alert system. Oct 21: Chairperson Chris Hurn provides a DVD showing scenes of local interest. Oct 28: Members afternoon – letting their hair down with a Halloween Party. n Zumba classes at United Reform Church, Brislington, BS4 3LG, Monday, 10am - Zumba Gold (suitable for 50+ and Zumba beginners) £5. Monday and Thursday, 6.45pm - Zumba Fitness (Everybody welcome) £6 For more details contact Kate: zumbawithkate.bristol@gmail. com; 07988787710. n Bedminster sight-loss overwhelmed at the prospect of having another few hours of being immersed in this spectacle, created by innovative and award winning director Julie Taymor. I was absolutely buzzing about what was to come … apart from the stampede … I wasn’t looking forward to that bit. My tissues were ready! As the show progressed, we were introduced to the main stars of the show – some wearing masks that manoeuvred in sync with the cast member’s head movement and others operating puppets. Mufasa’s ‘majordomo’ Zazu (Matthew Forbes), comical duo Timon (Steve Beirnaert) and Pumbaa (Carl Sanderson), and Rafiki sparked many laughs throughout the show, but it was the stampede that stirred the most emotion (I knew it!). The dramatic and incredibly well-performed score, coupled with the clever set design, made for another breathtaking experience. There were certainly a few watery eyes in the audience. It was true to the Disney original in every way I had hoped – from the music to the witty one-liners (“The monkey’s his

clinic at Bedminster Library, 2-4pm every 2nd Friday of the month. Appointments can be made between 10am and 1pm. Sight loss advice, signposting, equipment demonstrations, tech training and more. We are here for all your sight loss needs. For more information, call 01173224885. n Baby Sensory is a learning development programme for babies 0-13 months. Classes at the Victoria Park Baptist Church Hall, Sylvia Avenue BS3 5DA on Tuesdays. For details email Sian at bristolsouth@babysensory. or visit bristol-south n BS3 Repair Cafe Repairs for a donation plus cream teas and homemade cakes. 1.304.30pm, last Saturday of every month at the United Reformed Church Hall, West Street, Bedminster. Facebook: BS3 Repair Cafe n BS3 Community runs and hosts regular activities for those aged 50+ at the Southville Centre. Zumba Gold (chair-based), every fortnight on Weds 1.30-2.30 (Ruth 0117 9231039). Yoga, 5.45-7.15pm every Mon (Caroline 07570507494).

The Rising Sun live listings - October Windmill Hill, BS3 4LU 4th: The Lewis Creaven Band • 5th: Will Killeen • 11th: Ruzz Guitars Blues Revue • 12th: Soul Strutters • 13th: Sam Whitlock 18th: Bandoake (karaoke with a live band) • 19th: Husky Tones 20th: Lewis Creaven & Patrick Farrell • 27th: The Wicky Wah Wahs Live music on Fri or Sat starts at 9pm and 4pm on Sun. 1st & 15th Oct: Jive Bristol 29th Oct: Jam on the Hill Every Weds: Open mic night We are also hosting for the Arts Trail, Oct 5-6, 9.30am-5.30pm with entertainment provided through the day. Pilates, 6.30-7.30pm every Mon (Rose 07748735200). Learn French, 7.30-9.30pm on Tues (Audrey 07903821655). Choir, 7.30-9.30 on Tuesday evenings (Nickomo 01749850474).

Thandazile Soni (Rafiki) in Disney’s The Lion King UK & Ireland tour ® Disney uncle?” … It gets me every time!). But it was the visual feast that really made the whole experience and had me feeling like I’d been transported to the plains of Africa. Everything else – the acting, the music, the choreography – was still completely faultless, I must add. If you plan to watch The Lion King musical, which I strongly

recommend by the way, be prepared for the show of a lifetime. The award-winning musical can be enjoyed at Bristol Hippodrome until November 23. For tickets, visit: Becky Day

Got a story for South Bristol Voice? Call Becky on 07912 484405 or email

October 2019




For serious sudoku fans For younger HOW MANY ICEreaders CREAMS?













To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664


I N B 5





31 3 2 1 2331 1 3 1 232 1 4






Cricket teams



and each column must contain all the numbers 1-4.


and each column must contain all the numbers 1-4 Each horizontal row, each 2x2 square




Each horizontal row, each 2x2 square teams ©Cricket and each column must contain all the Solutions SUDUKO EASY FOR CHILDREN numbers 1-4. Each horizontal row, each 2x2EASY square SUDOKU for children SOLUTIONS


9 7

6 9



8 5 8



6 is M, N or O 7 is P, Q, R or S 8 is T, U or V 9 is W, X, Y or Z



EASY for children


2 is A, B or C 3 is D, E or F 4 is G, H or I 5 is J, K, or L




3 is D, E or F 4 is G, H or I 5 is J, K, or L

6222263 4867 2 5. is5 A, B or(4) C 6673 (4) 42664 366. is6isD, F M,ENor or O (4) etc 77is 7227 P, Q, R or S Eg would 8 isACT T, U or V 9 is223 W, X, Y or Z be



642639(6) 88.849687 9 327 (3) 2 is A, B or C

Can you count how many ice creams there are of each shape?


1 1 1 2 2 Across Down 2 3 Across Down Across Down 6756 (5) 1.1645 2667454 14.79328 7866224 (7) 1. 67444625 1. 3 Cities TXT PERT month: The Human Body 4Thismonth: 5 This Capital 428262 2.2you 3642 46. 7546 (4) 26553 (5) 3. 54536377 2. 465 The numbers point to the letters on a phone keypad 3 4 54 6 54674272 3.34266 2272227 57.43637 (5) 5633 (4) 7. 393 4. 1 2 Across Down 1 2 3 Across Down 642639(6) 5.5333449 6222263 88.849687 4867 (4) 8. 45293 5. 6 6756 (5) 1.1 2667454 14.79328 7866224 (7) 3 4 5 9 327 (3) 6673 (4) 6.672363 42664 9. 2529 6. 428262 2.2 3642 46. 7546 (4) 26553 (5) 5 6 7 7 7227 (4) 7 7.3.33729 4 54674272 2272227 57.43637 (5) 5633 (4)



4 3 18 3 29 8 2 9 2

M H2 2A V L A E N 3A 11R 1 2 7 B SR W5 I D CA O E G A6 TI E N I A A G E N B 3 SC 4 5 7 O ST L O N M K A U KI C I N N S H O A S CA 4 83 S5 K SB I N R N 4O Y MH ITL H I O K UE N N EAS S 6 L9 EA AE R8 M H SA V N RA N C I 5A M F 6E YE 7 S I A A G E N B 7 C

sudoku fans 987 3For serious 25 19 1 54 623 87 25 19 2 7 2 1 54 7 23 9 4 35 42 5 7 7 4 575 16 63 8 6 319 4 5 36 72 46 481 4 75 6 3 8 4 9536 6 824 48 2 64 8 7 5 9 2 8 4 9 5 36 24 58 6 5 9 8 8 7 5 9 2 This month: Art TXT PERT This month: The HumanCities Body month: 58Capital 9to the lettersThis The numbers point you on a phone keypad


Each 3x3 box, every row and every column must contain the numbers 1-9, with each used only once. Can you crack it?

Can you count how many ice creams there are of each shape?

1 7Sri 6A New Zealand C K Lanka IO N U S FH O SD C AY E 8 2 England 7 Pakistan Y M U S I R AS N IT HN O N 9 8 Australia 3HOW West Indies 8MANY ICES8CREAMS? N I A M E E AYA R Z E G L 4 Bangladesh 9 India Cones: Six 5 9South Afghanistan C Lanka LAfrica A Y 10 W Zealand 1 Sri 6 New Lollies: Five

Each 3x3 box, every row and every column must contain the numbers 1-9, with each used only once. Can you crack it?

Word Wheel 2 England 7 Pakistan Scoops: Three Word scramble: Harvest, acorn, owl, 3 West Indies 8 Australia beautiful, albeit, bleat, built, fault, fetal, HOW MANY ICE CREAMS? apple, rake, squirrel, tree, pumpkin, 4 Bangladesh India filet, flute, table, bait,scarecrow beat,9belt, beta, Cones: Six wind, hedgehog, 5 South Africa 10 Afghanistan bite, fate, feat, Lollies: Fivefelt, feta, flat, left, lift, lute, tail, teal, tile, tube, tuba, ate, bat, bet, bit, Scoops: Three but, eat, fat, fit, let, tea, tie, tub, at, it, ta



October 2019


n THE WICKED WITCH OF KNOWLE In witch I get a bit sweary


peered at my ringing phone and frowned. It was my Dad. He never calls at this hour. My finger hovered over the green answer icon. I gulped and then flicked the screen, answering cheerfully whilst narrowing my eyes. It was not good. Dad had taken his car to be sold at one of those ‘we-buy-any-car’ places without me. He had sold it to them for a ridiculously low price and was now stranded. He had called my Mum asking her to sort out a taxi from the rank near their flat. No taxi had turned up and now Mum was not answering the home phone. He was stranded, my Mum was lost, and I was 50 miles away. My gorgeous Mum is away with the fairies, or the clinical term would be, she has dementia with a side order of stroke. Dad had called Mum and asked her to find a taxi to go rescue him. My Dad had called a fairy to

help him. It was always going to end badly. I imagined my mother fluttering about asking strangers to help find her husband but not knowing why. She would be smiling and laughing with stars bursting from her wand turning these helpful beings into fluffy bunnies and then the police would have arrested her. This once capable woman is not to be trusted anymore. When doing a white wash the other day she popped tea bags into the detergent dispenser ... the results were very interesting indeed. Her much-loved pot-plants are watered every day until they overflow and sit in muddy puddles, dripping sludge down the mantlepiece onto the carpet. My warm-hearted, sparkly-eyed mother is disappearing fast into a



quicksand of nothingness with my father scrabbling at her fingertips in desperate disbelief. Dad was talking to me: “I’ll give her another twenty minutes. I’ve called your brother but he’s not answering.” Of course he’s not. “I don’t know why I’ve called you, I know you can’t do anything.” I sagged under the weight of his despair. He hung up, promising to keep me updated. I rested my head on the kitchen table, breathing in its woody aroma, aware that a discarded pea was now squished against my forehead. “f***” I whispered “f***ity f***” because sometimes that naughty little word sums it all up. That word, absorbed into the woodwork, encapsulated all my emotions but especially my frustration; at myself for not sorting his car out before, at Dad for trying to be capable and failing, at Mum for turning into a fairy, at living a bit too far away to be any use and at

Who is the Wicked Witch? She’s discovered one word sums things up and it’s not polite

my brother for just being my brother. Yes, that word was perfect. I grabbed my phone and called ‘we-buy-any-car’ for a rant. How dare they leave an old man stranded? Mr ‘We-got-a-bargain’ whined his excuses: “I can assure you madam that I offered to get him a taxi but he declined. I watched him toddle off down the road”. “TODDLE OFF?” I fumed “He would never toddle. He was a Captain in the British Army. That man would march.” The pea slid off my face and I ended the call. My phone buzzed again. It was my sister in law. I’d forgotten I had one of those. My Dad had been retrieved, my Mum was found standing outside the flat and had given them a cheery wave before asking if they were going on a trip to the seaside. I was flooded with sweet relief. They were ok. For now.

THIS WITCH TWEETS: @witchyofknowle

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n THE MAYOR How we can improve food for everyone

October 2019

MARVIN REES Mayor of Bristol


ristol has an incredible reputation for food and drink, celebrated in nationally recognised annual awards and events such as Bristol Food Connections. From formal restaurants of Clifton to the containers at Wapping Wharf, the lunchtime pop-ups on the Harbourside, pizzerias popular with students, family pubs and sunny beer gardens, St Nick’s food hall to my own favourite treat, jerk chicken. The vast amount of cuisines reflects the different backgrounds and cultures represented in Bristol. Everyone should be able to experience and benefit from good food which is why we are working with Bristol’s network of growers, producers, restaurants and consumers to achieve a Gold Sustainable Food City status. Sustainable Food Cities is a national programme that celebrates communities making positive changes to their food systems. ‘Going for Gold’ is Bristol’s bid, and as one of only four cities to achieve Silver status, we’ve already shown that we have the motivation to make Good Food for everyone part of the city’s identity. There is a collective

energy calling for food that’s good for people, our city and our planet. Our Going for Gold bid will establish Bristol as both a national and an international leader in sustainable food. We want the whole city to rally together and take action – with citizens and organisations working together. In a city where 24% of children are living in income deprived households, we must tackle

this challenge. To gain Gold status, we need to take collective action in six key areas. These are: buy better; eat better; reduce food waste; grow more nature-friendly food in the city; support the food community; and reduce food inequality. The food system is so important because it matters to our health, our economy, our resilience, our environment and to our children’s future. For example the food system is responsible for some 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing food waste is ranked as the third most effective action to address global warming. So we are also aiming to become a zero food waste city by reducing and recycling our food waste and improving our catering and buying processes, as well as buying more from local food producers. We want big and lasting changes to our food system in Bristol, ones that will make a positive difference to our workplaces, our environment and our communities. If you are interested in finding out more visit

“Our Going for Gold bid will establish Bristol as both a national and an international leader in sustainable food.”

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October 2019




Secrets of the wild come to life in new children’s book


indmill Hill authors Sean Taylor (pictured, right) and Alex Morss (left) have teamed up to write a new children’s nature book. Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story mixes storytelling with science, in a woodland adventure exploring where all sorts of wild creatures disappear to and revealing the natural history of hidden wildlife. It is a book of contrasts: summer versus winter, feast and famine, light and darkness, warmth and chill, apparent versus hidden life and the many ways animals get through winter. Alex has written regularly for the Voice and is also an ecologist working with lots of wildlife, she said: “The trigger for Winter Sleep was a chance conversation with Sean. It’s inspired by many things - among them an adorable snoring dormouse, curious children, wild mysteries and magical memories of adventures with grandparents, and a desire to explore and share some amazing secrets from the wild.” Sean Taylor is an award winning author who has written dozens of children’s books, while this is Alex’s first one. The book is available in book shops and online now (published September 17). *Meet the authors and find out more about Winter Sleep during the Windmill Hill Arts Trail on October 5 and 6; or during Bristol’s new Storytale children’s book festival taking place down in the woods at Arnos Vale Cemetery at 11.00am on October 28; or at Storysmith book shop on North Street, at 11.00am on December 7.

BRISTOL A.R.C. UPDATE Uh-oh, did someone say the c-word?


es, that’s right, it is only a few short months away until… CHRISTMAS! To celebrate, our much-loved Festive Fair is back! So come down and enjoy some festive Christmas fun, delicious treats and pick up some gorgeous, high quality gifts for your friends and family (or even yourself!). So gather the gang and come and enjoy one of our warming mulled wines, a thick and flavourful coffee and a delicious home-bake while you browse for Christmas gifts amongst our deluxe handmade treats and charity stalls

(and if you’re lucky, you might even see Santa!). We’ve got the traditional handknits and donated goods stalls - plus a selection of local traders selling a variety of exciting new products and gifts. You can also enter our raffle to win big and exciting prizes and take part in our ever popular ‘wine or water’ game. It’s fun for all the family, parking’s free and all proceeds from this event go back into helping, healing and homing local Bristol animals in need, and supporting animal and local community outreach services delivered by Bristol A.R.C. Bristol A.R.C’s Festive Fair 2019, Sunday 24 November, 10.30am-3pm at The Barn, Bristol A.R.C, BS2 0XD

Got a story for South Bristol Voice? Call Becky on 07912 484405 or email

October 2019




Got something to say? Write to or to 111 Broadfield Rd, Knowle, Bristol, BS4 2UX

Please keep letters as short as possible, and provide your postal address.

The Voice paper’s youngest reader? Thought you might like this picture of my husband Stewart and our 3-month old baby Moses checking out the South Bristol Voice. Potentially the youngest reader at 12 weeks old? Emma Jumbe, Totterdown

More support for green policies I am very disappointed at the Lib Dem attitude to the Green New Deal. Unfortunately once again,

I feel let down by our Liberal Democrat councillors in South Bristol. I have been following the Green New Deal proposed by the Labour administration and was disappointed to see the Lib Dems did not support it on the basis that it’s too party political. It feels like they are making excuses for not supporting anything that the current council leaders propose! It is disappointing that our Liberal Democrat councillors seem unable to support sensible and much needed policies proposed by Labour councillors, that tackle climate change and the adverse economic, health and employment effects it has on the people of Bristol. Once again I feel let down and sincerely hope that this will change in the coming months. Phil Gingell Long time Knowle resident

Bris’ feature – a welcome addition I was given a copy of the South Bristol Voice this week for the Brislington spotlight which I LOVED! Have been sad that we don’t have a local paper in Brislington but didn’t realise that I would be

missing out on so much! Hadn’t even heard of the Greater Brislington Together and now I’m signed up to their social media and going to the next community meeting! Claire Kennedy

Trustees should be applauded We are responding to Mr Lightfoot’s political letter sent to defend the actions of the local Labour politicians regarding the much needed new secondary school. It’s a pity this was not put to us at the time because it is easier for everyone to see if the response if it is published beside the letter. We welcomed the decision of the Mayor and the Labour Cabinet to back the plans developed by officers, the government dept and the trustees of the park, to get in tens of millions of investment and to replace the school we lost 20 years ago. The number of children is rapidly rising year by year, and although our primary schools are good, our children suffer at secondary level. We wrote to the the cabinet members to thank them for their work and backing. Two officials of the Knowle Labour Party complained and

demanded a delay at the cabinet meeting. They also lobbied other councillors seeking a delay, but this was rejected. They later complained they did not have control of the development and attempted to cramp the trustees, who have done a great job for our area. They were handed a clapped out 40 year old school building and have provided a great home for many charities, community organisations and public services, and are now providing brand new community facilities and a brand new school through this development. A record to be applauded and welcomed, not complained about. Either Mr Lightfoot is not aware of what actually happened, or he has a very different view of negativity from the majority of our residents, and added an unnecessary and derogatory slur. Meanwhile public exhibitions of the plans have attracted many visitors and much positive comment and the formal planning applications will be submitted shortly. Cllr Chris Davies Cllr Gary Hopkins Lib Dem councillors for Knowle

n SPONSOR A PET FEATURE Helping pets find forever homes Who has a sofa for Mercy? • Staffordshire Bull Terrier • 10 years+ • Female Mercy is a lovely older girl who has been at our Centre for some time now and really wants to find her forever sofa to snuggle up on. She has great energy and is so affectionate – all she wants is to love and be loved. An ear rub, a chin scratch – she adores the company of people. Mercy loves her toys, especially playing fetch and she really enjoys her walks. She’s good on her lead and isn’t phased with noisy or busy traffic, and isn’t a vocal or

loud dog. Mercy has such a lovely temperament and is the ideal companion for someone on their own or with a family. She’s very loving and loyal and if you want to know more about her, you can visit our website rehoming or call our centre for more information on 01179 776043. In her new home, Mercy would prefer: • To be the only dog • Not to live with cats • To live in a home with children who are 13 years old+

Would you like to sponsor our monthly pet feature? Get in touch with Ruth at or call 07590 527664 To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

October 2019





with Don Cameron member of the Bristol Humanist Group

t is difficult to escape the news about Brexit nowadays and many of us wish only that a decision, any decision, could be taken so that we can get on with our lives. Our Members of Parliament have been decisive in rejecting the deal that was negotiated by Teresa May, yet they harbour wildly different views on what to put in its place.

Conservatives and Labour have vehement leavers and remainers within their ranks and this spreads further to the voters who normally support them. Only the Lib-Dems and Brexit Party seem to have clear positions. But the nation has to make that decision somehow, and the losers will have to accept it. This is the great difference

between politics and religion. In politics we need a single decision which everyone is stuck with, but in religion everyone is free to take his or her own view. As Humanists we do not believe in the supernatural claims of any religion, but we believe firmly in the right of everyone to choose their own beliefs provided these do no

harm to others. The lessons of history, and even some current affairs, have shown us that what we need is tolerance. Bristol Humanists meet on the first Monday of the month at the Unitarian Meeting Hall, Brunswick Square, Bristol BS2 8PE.

Regular Services Sunday 10.30am Sunday Service; Wednesday 6pm Kids Klub; Thursday 7pm Youth club.

1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays 10.30am Holy Communion; 2nd Sunday 9.30am Rise and Shine: informal service, breakfast; 6pm Holy Communion; 4th Sunday 10.30am Family Communion.

uk Sunday Family Worship 10.30am; 1st Sunday Sunday School.

n St Michael & All Angels Vivian

Sunday 10.30am Service with groups for all ages; coffee 11.30am. 2nd Sunday Parade Service; 3rd Sunday Communion.

n Bedminster Church of Christ

298 St John’s Lane BS3 5AY Minister: Jason Snethen 07795 560990 Sunday 10am Bible Hour for all ages; 11am Worship; 5pm Worship; Tuesday 7.30pm Bible study; Thursday 10am Coffee morning; Friday 3.45-5pm After-school; 7-9.30pm Youth group.

n Bedminster Quaker Meeting House Wedmore Vale BS3 5HX Clerk:

n Holy Nativity Church Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2AG Fr Steve Hawkins 07834 462054 Facebook: Holy Nativity Knowle Sunday 10am Parish Mass; Friday 10.30am Weekday Mass.

n Knowle Methodist Church

Chrissie Williams 0117 923 0020 Sunday Worship 10.45am; 2nd & 4th Sunday Children’s meeting; 2nd Sunday Shared lunch.

Redcatch Road, Knowle BS4 2EP Rev Sally Spencer uk Sunday 10.30am Worship and Junior Church (Minnows for pre-school children).

n Church of the Nazarene

2NG Rev Becky Waring 0117 977 6275 Facebook: stmartinschurchknowle Sunday 8.30am Holy Communion;

Broad Walk, Knowle BS4 2RD Pastor: Matthew Norris 07967 199995

n St Martin’s Wells Road, Knowle S4

Street, Windmill Hill BS3 4LW Rev Andrew Doarks 0117 977 6132 Sunday 10am Family Service; Wednesday 10am Family Communion

n Victoria Park Baptist Church Sylvia Avenue BS3 5DA 0117 977 2484

n St Gerard Majella

n Totterdown Baptist Church

Wells Road BS4 2AD Sunday 10.30am Morning Service; 2nd Sunday All-age Service; 6.30pm Evening Service (entrance Sydenham Road).

n Totterdown Methodist Church

Bushy Park, Totterdown BS4 2AD Rev Sally Spencer

Talbot Road, Knowle BS4 2NP Parish Priest Fr George Henwood 0117 983 3924 • bristol. Sunday Mass 9am & 5pm Tues, Weds, Fri Mass 10am Sat Exposition 9.30am Benediction 10.15am Mass 10.30am Confession 11am

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October 2019





Health risks


efore I became a politician, I worked in NHS management. As MP for Bristol South I’m acutely aware of the health inequality that exists here and the great need for first-rate healthcare close to home for my constituents. For these, and many other reasons, health is one of the main areas I focus on as your MP. You may have seen that I have been raising objections to the recent recommissioning of adult community health services in Bristol South and the surrounding area by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG). I spoke to local and national NHS leaders and government ministers to outline my concerns – that unidentified bidders competing for a £1bn 10-year contract behind closed doors was not in the best interests of

local people. Despite my protestations, the recommissioning took place. Last month (Sept), the local CCG revealed that from April 2020 a new provider – Sirona – would be taking over the delivery of adult community health services from the existing provider and failed bidder, Bristol Community Health – which has given notice on its other contracts and now faces an uncertain future. We still do not know which services were included in the winning bid and, perhaps more importantly, which were not. As such, we have no idea how this will affect or, as should be the case, improve the current situation. It’s an uncertain time for staff and patients alike. Adult community health services include community nurses, respiratory, cardiac and diabetes care – as well as some of the services offered at South Bristol Community Hospital (SBCH). It’s a vital part of the journey from acute care to social care and/or recovery. Delivering quality community health services relies on a huge amount of local knowledge and relationships built up over years between staff and patients.

Changing provider is a high-risk strategy by the CCG. We’re already seeing issues locally with the changeover in recent weeks of access to mental health service delivery - from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership to the Essex-based Vita Health. In this case, the option to self-refer online has been disabled during the handover. Sirona has a huge amount of work to do over the next six months before they’re in a position to be able to deliver services including staffing, IT, engaging with patients and partnering with charities. The CCG – which has recognised the greater health needs in Bristol South - says it wants to see consistent, joined-up healthcare delivered closer to home. I look forward to learning more about how services across Bristol South – including at SBCH - will improve as a result of this very costly and bureaucratic re-commissioning process. And I will continue to work with all concerned to make sure that happens. Twitter: @karinsmyth Facebook: KarinSmythMP Website:

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South Bristol Voice October 2019 - Totterdown  

South Bristol Voice October 2019 - Totterdown