Bristol Industrial
Archaeological Society (BIAS)
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Demolition of 17th century kiln cottages disappoints residents

Friday, June 29, 2012 (Evening Post) RESIDENTS have been left disappointed after a historic Henleaze cottage, thought to date from the 17th century, was demolished. This was the last vestige of Henleaze's industrial heritage!
Lime kiln Demolition work under way at the quarry on the junction of Eastfield Road and Henleaze Road Picture: Michael Lloyd
The Henleaze Society had tried to get the cottage and two lime kilns, which lie on the old quarry site at the junction of Henleaze Road and Eastfield Road, listed by English Heritage. But their application was turned down as the cottage and kilns were deemed to "lack sufficient national interest".Now the cottage has been demolished after its owners were granted permission to clear the quarry site by the city council. Residents' only hope now is that the lime kilns will be retained in any new development on the site. Veronica Bowerman, a historian who compiled local history book The Henleaze Book, told the Post: "The demolition gang have moved in and demolished the old historical cottage on the corner of Eastfield Road. They have exposed the lime kilns which are the only two remaining in the area and in a good state of repair. Interestingly they were not included in the list of buildings to be demolished by the applicants so I would like to think that the developers intend to preserve them. Whatever the developers propose for the site I hope that it will be a fitting memorial to John Clark, who cherished this historical part of Henleaze. He lived and worked on his site for nearly 80 years but sadly died in 2001."

The Henleaze Society, whose members believe the lime kilns and cottage are the oldest surviving relics of the area's industrial past, had only recently received a letter from English Heritage saying they could not be listed. The letter stated: "The kilns and cottage are of clear local interest, although lack sufficient interest in the national context to be recommended for listing. Shirley Phillips, secretary of the society, told the Post: "The Henleaze Society is disappointed with English Heritage's decision, but the society would like the lime kilns to be preserved, possibly as part of a new development on the site." The owners of the site, the executors of the will of Mrs D H Clark, were recently granted a demolition order by Bristol City Council, on a group of dilapidated buildings on the site. But the order did not mention the historic cottages or the lime kilns, which are though to date back to the 1700s or even the late 1600s. Alder King Planning Consultants, which is acting on behalf of the owner, said its client did not want to comment. Book site Henleaze Society

In an attempt to eliminate any future "cloak and dagger" demolitions in Henleaze the following suggestions have now swung into action: 

We understood local listing was in place, but we haven't got one and it appears that we need legislation to get one in place.  it would cover cases like this, although that does not automatically mean protection. However, something to pursue for the.  How long will it take to put legislation in place and will it really protect buildings etc.?"

Crofton Pumping Station, Crofton, Marlborough

(Special Event- June 16/17 - Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of its Boulton & Watt Engine). The World's Oldest Steam Engine Still Able to Perform its Original Function. Details of the Special Celebrations

Carriage Works

Residents and organisations in St Pauls, Kingsdown, Montpelier and Cotham are now working with the City Council to write a Community Vision for the future of the whole site including and the adjoining Westmoreland House on Stokes Croft. The Carriageworks is a Grade II* listed building on the buildings “at risk” register.– the big derelict buildings near the Ashley Road junction. Details of the Carriage Works Action Group can be found on

Metal Thefts

Nov 2011: You cannot have failed to read in the papers or seen reports on the television that there has been a staggering increase in the number of metal thefts in the last year.   I would encourage everyone to sign an online e-petition, which would cause a parliamentary debate on the subject of moving towards a cashless business model for scrap metal dealers.  You can sign the petition here: Many of these crimes would stop overnight if there was no ready market for their ill-gotten gains.   Ninety per cent of transactions in scrap metal yards are by cash.  Record-keeping is non-existant and no questions are asked.   Existing legislation is very weak and goes back to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 1964.  Maximum fines are very low.   A cashless model would be another step on the route to effective legislation.

Suspension Bridge Hangers

October 2011: The work entails replacing two of the longest hangers, which are 12 metres and 14 metres long and together weigh around a third of a tonne. They were hoisted into position using a cherry-picker. Straps with strain gauges held the strain while each rod was removed. A further eight hangers are being replaced without the need to disrupt traffic.
Suspension Bridge Hangers Suspension Bridge Hangers
Note the bridge spanner being put to good use, and the strain gauges at the base of each of the two straps used to take the strain while the rod is removed

Underfall Yard

A £4 million funding bid is being put in to turn the Underfall Yard into a "maritime centre of excellence". A feasibility study is being prepared. The Trust will have to preserve, for the benefit of the public, Underfall Yard's historic assets and unique character. It was discussed at Cabinet on 27 October The proposals whilst dependent on securing HLF funding, secure the refurbishment of property, which comprises a Scheduled Ancient Monument, with uses based around industrial activity associated with harbour and maritime operations. An outline Master plan and a Stage Report have been developed for the Underfall Yard area by the Trust to enable grant aid applications to be worked up and submitted. This also enables the Vision to be taken forward through five strategic priorities:

Brandy Bottom Colliery

Working parties details

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Trust are starting the process of applying to build a visitor centre in their works yard on the Leigh Woods side. An exhibition was unveiled on Thursday 17 november at Burwalls, and thereafter be on display at the existing visitor centre outside Burwalls until 30 November. The proposals will also be online from 17 November at

MShed opened

June 17 2011: A momentous day. Who could fail to be impressed by the opening? An acrobatic performance by circus outfit, Cirque Bijou. Performers swung off cranes, dived off structures and abseiled onto steam boats. Just look how much larger the crane hook is than the man's head!
suspended from crane at M Shed

Avonside plaque

18 March 2011: The Bristol company chosen by Brunel to build his first locomotives for the opening of the Great Western Railway has finally been honoured with a commemorative blue plaque. Approximately 1475 locomotives were made on this site between 1840 and 1905. The firm clinched an order for two broad gauge Firefly Class express passenger locomotives, Arrow and Dart. The company was originally known as Henry Stothert and Co, locomotive steam engine manufacturers, and later the Avonside Engine Company which moved to Fishponds in 1905 (and went into voluntary liquidation in 1935).

Bristol Railway Circle proposed the plaque and it was unveiled yesterday at the Ibis Hotel, in Avon Street, St Philip's, close to the site of the original works, by Bristol's Lord Mayor, Colin Smith who said: "It's important that we mark the people's history with plaques like this otherwise their legacy, and memory, will be swept aside and lost for ever."

Gerry Nichols, the president of Bristol Railway Circle, said: "Henry, who had provided pumping machinery for the building of the Box tunnel, realised that there was a market opportunity providing locomotives for the new railway. He chose this site, which later became known as the Avonside Works, as it was well placed next to the river. The area had already begun to become industrialised with the construction of glass cones and a gas works."

The Portbury saddle tank engine that can be seen on the Harbour Railway was built in 1917 by the Avonside Locomotives Company

Avonside plaque Avonside plaque unveiling
Colin Smith and Gerry Nichols

"Flight- 100 years of the Bristol Aeroplane Company" exhibition

17 September 2010: Duke of Kent visits the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery to help Sir George White open the exhibition. Open 18 September to 28 November
Flight Exhibition
Duke of Kent, Councillors, and Sir George White
Sir George White
Sir George White and Lady White standing by Bristol Babe

Port and Pier Railway Tunnel 2

3 August 2010: Repairs on Bridge Valley Road started in March and were only meant to last a month, however they could now stretch until March 2011. The retaining wall bowed out an unacceptable amount and now tenders will have to go out to specialist engineers to stitch the rocks, fill in part of the Port and Pier Railway tunnel number 2. Expenditure will have to be approved at Cabinet in September when detailed design has been received. The Gorge also has rare flora here. It is likely to cost £2.2 million to reopen, or £2.05 just to make safe. Maggie was privileged to go into the tunnel (as an industrial archaeologist) for a feature on the news along with Gary Hopkins the councillor in charge of transport, and Phil Lloyd who has looked after the Gorge for the last 30 years
Bridge Valley Road
Gary being interviewed on Points west inside the tunnel
Bridge Valley Road
End of tunnel 2. Same profile as Clifton Rocks Railway but only about 15' wide
There are two tunnels between the Suspension Bridge- built in 1863, the Port and Pier Railway was closed in 1921 to build the Portway. The Hotwells station was north of the Suspension Bridge.
Tunnel 1 is 73 yards long and after closure of the railway was used to store Council records and Museum and Art gallery treasures during WWII
Tunnel 2 only about 30 yards away is 175 yards long and used as a WWII shelter. This was the tunnel that the BBC wanted to use but refused- which is why they ended up in Clifton Rocks Railway

Bristol vehicles rally

Sunday 13 June 2010 On Sunday 13 June there was a gathering of the greatest collection of Bristol cars, lorries, buses, aero-engines and aircraft memorabilia in a static display at the Rolls-Royce site at Filton.

Some of the vehicles in the display will form a parade to honour the memory of Sir George White, the founder of Bristol Aeroplane Company (BAC), and the work he did to gather funds for the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). We are delighted that Lady White, the wife of the current Sir George, will be there to officially start the parade when it departs Rolls-Royce at 1.30pm.
The vehicles travelled down the Gloucester Road, past the BRI, back up through Cotham, where Sir George lived, past the original aircraft factory, Filton House (both old and new) and, finally, the airfield before returning to Rolls-Royce.

First Hovercraft under Suspension Bridge

On 22 May, 10 light hovercraft and the Portishead Lifeboat went in convoy up the Avon from Shirehampton to Bath Road Bridge with the Lord Mayor on board. This was in aid of the Portishead Lifeboard Trust This was the first time a hovercraft had ever passed under the Suspension bridge
Just past the bridge
hovering on the bank

New Cumberland basin lock gates

The repair and replacement project at the docks consists of three phases, costing about £11m.
28 March 10:
New flood defence gates weighing 50 tonnes each are due to be installed at Bristol's historic docks in the next few days. The steel back-up lock gates, known as leaves, travelled 1,000 miles from the Deest shipyard in the Netherlands. They arrived in Cumberland Basin this evening. The gates will replace 140-year-old Victorian wooden lock gates at Junction Lock. They were specially built by Dutch shipyard and construction company Ravestein. They will be taken into Junction Lock by pontoon barge before being lifted into place by a 500-tonne crane. Work is expected to finish on Wednesday.
lock gates
Being towed by New Ross
lock gates
New Ross
lock gates
Bristol City Council vessel Dourdreck nudging the gates
lock gates
Passing the Brunel Swivel bridge and the open Cumberland Basin bridge

18 March 09:
Two specially built 50-tonne steel gates travelled by pontoon up the River Avon at morning high tide. They replace the 140- year-old Victorian pitch-pine wooden gates, which were removed in December. The new gates – or ‘leaves’ – are made of steel and made by Dutch company, Ravestein. They weigh 50 tonnes each and replace the wooden gates, which weigh a staggering 80 tonnes each. A 500-tonne crane at the dockside on Brunel Lock Road lifted the gates from the pontoon and transferring them to a floating crane barge in the docks.
The crane barge lifted each gate into their final position at North Junction Lock, with the help of divers to slot them into place. The gates hold the water in the docks, and also protect the city from flooding in case the entrance gates closer to the River Avon ever fail. It was the latest stage in an £11-million scheme to secure the effective working of the historic docks and safeguard the city from flood risks. Pictures.

Plimsoll commemoration

The statue of a Bristol-born campaigner for safety at sea has been returned to Hotwells after spending five years in storage. Samuel Plimsoll invented the Plimsoll line, a mark which appears on every seafaring ship in the world. He was born in at 9 Colston Parade, St Mary Redcliffe, in 1824 and was later commemorated with a bust. It was placed on Hotwell Road in the 1960s, beyond the Cumberland Lock having languished in the City Museum and Art Gallery since the 1940s. Wessex Water moved the statue to carry out work in 2005, and it was then placed in storage. The bust was unveiled at Capricorn Quay- its new home, opposite the ss Great Britain, with a plaque celebrating Plimsoll's achievements. The Lord Mayor, Barbara Janke, Mark Horton and Pauline Barnes of the Hotwells and Cliftonwood Association who spearheaded the campaign to return it all helped to unveil it.

SS Great Britain coming home 40 years ago

The ss Great Britain Trust would like to hear from anyone who remembers the ss Great Britain coming home to Bris­tol in July 1970. We are working with Ashton Gate School and with Hotwells, Clifton and Cliftonwood Local History Society to record local peoples' memories.
If you can spare up to four hours, and are happy to be interviewed about your memories please contact us. You can call Kate Rambridge on 01 17 9260680 or send an e-mail to

Industrial Museum sheds

Frog Lane Colliery

The Frog Lane Exhibition is now on at Thornbury Museum. If you haven't already seen the 14 large exhibition panels that SGMRG have compiled in conjunction with Yate & District Heritage Centre they are now on display at Thornbury Museum - until 10 September 2009. Do make the effort to look at the exhibition to see how SGMRG are "promoting awareness, appreciation and conservation of the mining heritage of South Gloucestershire" (one of their aims).
The panels have a wealth of information on them as well as a lot of the stunning images from SGMRG's recent publication "Frog Lane Colliery - 60 Years On". It costs £12.
The book can be obtained from Roger Gosling at the SGMRG meetings or by post. 51 Greenhill Road, Alveston, Bristol, BS35 3NA; make cheques payable to SGMRG and add £2 for part p&p. Do you have any photographs, artefacts or documents linked to the history of Frog Lane Colliery or Coalpit Heath? Or any memories of the pit and the area?
For more details contact the Mines Research group Andy Brander (01454 882867), David Hardill (01454) 862200 or Steve Grudgings (07768 381502).

This year, 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the closure of the pit at Frog Lane, and South Glos Mines Research Group, Yate & District Heritage Centre and local community and heritage groups are joining forces for "Frog Lane 1949-2009" to mark the closure of Frog Lane Colliery, the last major coal mining concern in the Yate/Coalpit Heath area.

200th anniversary of the opening of the floating harbour.

The Floating Harbour, made up of Avon New Cut and Feeder Canal, was opened on 1 May 1809, and was created by civil engineer William Jessop. It contains 80 acres of impounded, non-tidal water At the time it was opened, it was the largest artificially-impounded area of water in the world. More than 1,000 men worked on the project The Harbour, estimated to cost £212,470 in 1802, actually cost £594,000 - the equivalent of about £34m today.
John Penny did special trips using the Bristol Ferry Boat Company as part of the 'Harbour 200' celebrations.
Pictures of the trip down the "new Cut" as part of Harbour 200 celebrations

Suspension Bridge

5 April: Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge was closed on Saturday evening after a crack was found in one of its metal hanging rods. Dorothea Restorations came to the rescue.
Suspension Bridge
undoing the 150 year old stud after supporting the chains
Suspension Bridge
the break can clearly be seen
Suspension Bridge
removing the broken rod
Suspension Bridge
David Anderson the Bridge Master looking at the stud

Save Didcot Railway

March 09: The Great Western Society might be forced out of its home, where it's been for over 40 years, one of the best if not the best preserved railways in the country. Don't let Network Rail force the closure of the GWS and Didcot and destroy a GWS as we know it.
Sign the petition by 21 November 09

The Great Western Society has held a lease for the site since the 1970s which runs until 2019; however there is a clause enabling Network Rail to give the Society six months notice to quit if it so chooses. The Society’s management has always felt that they should attempt to secure the long term future of Didcot Railway Centre by acquiring the freehold or a long term leasehold.

In 2002 the Society opened negotiations with Network Rail to achieve that aim which culminated in a letter from them in May 2007 saying they were prepared to sell the site subject to ORR approval, which would be submitted following confirmation that there would be no knock-on effects in the Didcot area from the rebuilding of Reading station. Having clarified the site would not be required in connection with either the construction of a new diesel depot (Reading was the chosen location) or, subsequently, the Inter City Express project, it was assumed the projected purchase could proceed.

However, they have now received a further letter from Network Rail saying there has been a change of policy and the offer to sell the land is withdrawn. After six years of effort to achieve long-term security for Didcot Railway Centre they appear to have gone full circle rather than progress forwards. For the moment the status quo has not changed; the security of tenure remains as it always has been but therein lies the problem, it has not been improved which is their aim. A new lease has been suggested but w ith the short notice break clause which frustrates the larger site development plans they wish to undertake. At present they are awaiting a response from their MP.

Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA)

Jan 09: English Heritage have now extended its Heritage at Risk Register to include Scheduled Monuments, Registered parks and Gardens, Registered Battlefields and Protected Wrecks. There is also a list of 212 sites found on the register deemed to be of industrial archaeological interest and therefore of concern to us all. This can be found on the AIA's website: It is up to individuals in each area to take action, rally support and make a case for the rescue and preservation of sites they believe to be important. The local sites are:
City of Bristol Bristol Carriage Works, Westmoreland House, 104 Stokes Croft, St Pauls BS6 5NP. Grade II*. Very Bad. Contact: Justin Ayton, 0117 975 0687 Carriage works, 1862. A notable Bristol Byzantine building. Large and complex site including 4 Ashley Road (grade II) also in very bad condition. Planning application 07/05763/F for mixed use development has been submitted. Part refurbishment and part demolition of existing buildings to provide 186 self-contained flats and shops at ground level with provision of a three level parking facility
North Somerset Nailsea Elms Colliery. Poor. Not listed. Contact: Mel Barge, 0117 975 1300 One of the most complete examples of a late C18 colliery remaining in England. Three standing structures and further exposed archaeological remains. All buildings unroofed, derelict and subject to neglect and vandalism. Discussions taking place for colliery to be handed over to the Nailsea Historic Monuments Trust.
Weston Super Mare Birnbeck Pier Very Bad. Grade II*. Contact: Arnold Root, 0117 975 0665 Main pier connecting Birnbeck Island to the mainland below Prince Consort Gardens. Dated 1862, opened 1867. Disused apart from the lifeboat station on the island. Ownership recently changed and positive negotiations taking place between Local Planning Authority, owner, English Heritage and others about repair of pier and development of island.
South Gloucestershire Pucklechurch Brandy Bottom Colliery Very Bad Contact: Mel Barge, 0117 975 1300 (Will Harris is also involved) Former C19 steam-powered colliery built on the site of C18 colliery. Above-ground remains include weighbridge, chimney, engine house, workshop, heapstead, boiler house and Cornish beam engine house, fan house and horizontal-winding engine house. A condition survey has been commissioned and consultation on the scope of a conservation plan is underway.

Bristol Records Office

8 Jan 09: John Penny is currently helping digitize the 245 films held by the Records Office to preserve them and to make them more accessible to the public. 100 have been done so far and there will be a trial at the end of January to view them. A booth will be set up in the Records Office.

Brunel Swivel Bridge

Horse Gin for sale

The Old Gin House Barn, Siston Common, Warmley. Was for sale by auction Wednesday 30 July 08, but did not sell. Horse gin
35' stone and tile listed building.

Suspension Bridge Resurfacing

Suspension Bridge road timbers Suspension Bridge asphalt
The existing timber kerbs and their mastic asphalt covering were removed, along with the cast iron drainage gullies and the timber splashboards. A new drainage channel was installed, with narrow glass-fibre reinforced polymer (GRP) splashboards and extruded asphalt kerbs on both sides of the roadway. The roadway was also resurfaced, and some of the timber replaced (last done 50 years ago). Work on the £650,000 project started in July 2008 and finished in December 2008.

Display: Cabot Circus Archaeology Display - temporary

Until November 2008 Bristol’s City Museum & Art Gallery, front hall, ground floor
Come and see the history of Broadmead and Quakers Friars unearthed! Archaeological excavations were undertaken across the site of the new Cabot Circus scheme to discover explanatory information about the origins of this part of the city before construction work began on the £500 million development. The display features a series of panels that tell the story of how Bristol has evolved since the area was founded in the 12th Century. Visitors will be able to find out about the artefacts and buildings that were uncovered on the site, and learn about medieval craftsmen, the Blackfriars, the first Quaker Meeting House, the rapid expansion of Bristol in the 18th century and the cramped and insanitary living conditions of the Victorian era

Service review of Bristol's Museums Galleries and Archives

17 Sept 08: I have been asked to circulate this letter concerning the current service review of Bristol's Museums Galleries and Archives for your urgent consideration, and for the consideration of the organisations with which you are involved. Through Renaissence in the Regions, Bristol is the Hub museum for South Gloucestershire. Should you wish to comment or act on this letter, the Unison contact details are at the bottom of the letter. You may wish to comment on this letter to officers or councillors of Bristol City Council. Officers include the


22 September 08: Goonvean engine has now been removed from the engine house, by Century Millwrights and is currently awaiting transportation to Hayle where it will be rebuilt by Century Millwrights in a new purpose built engine house. The future means of operating the engine are being considered and steam is not ruled out. Century Millwrights whilst being based at Kew bridge Steam Museum, is a seperate company. This engine was built by Harveys of Hayle in 1863 and had three locations on mines in the St, Agnes area before moving to its present location in the clay in 1910 where it worked until 1956. English Heritage have given permission for the engine to be moved so that the valuable clay beneath the site can be extracted. (Ron Plaster)
10 Sept 08: work has started on the dismantling of the Goonvean engine, one of the last in situ pumping engines in Cornwall; the work being overseen by Kew Bridge. As I understand it the intention is to put the engine in storage in the short term. Long term; rumour has it that the engine is bound for the Harvey's site at Hayle. I am not too sure what will happen with the engine once it is at Hayle, I have heard that it is intended to display the engine in dismantled form (rumour).
On the wider subject of engines in Cornwall - it does seem a shame that there is not large pumping engine in steam - especially given the County's world heritage status. (Rick Stewart)


Industrial Museum Sagaupdated 10 September 2008

Bryngwyn Engine House, Bedwas

3 July 08: Further to my last posting, I have now received a reply to my letter to Robin Smith the Technical Director of Charles Church Wales. In which he states:- "I and my fellow Directors of Charles Church Wales remain committed to the scheme to consolidate and make safe the Bryngwyn Engine House. However, I would confirm that the works shall not be commencing during 2008, as it is now too late in the year to ensure the works can be carried out in suitable weather conditions. I would confirm that it is Charles Church Wales intention to commence procurement for the works early in 2009, with an on site start anticipated May June 2009."
Graham Levins, Secretary, Welsh Mines Preservation Trust,,, 01293-510567 07880-817370

Combe Down Stone Mines

22 April 2008: The Society has learned from a planning application (08/0097) of a proposal that the approved scheme of mitigation to be applied to areas of special archaeological importance within the mines is to he abandoned and areas previously set aside for future evaluation are to be filled with foam concrete.
Our Committee and its President deplore the continuing erosion of the programme of mitigation which should have permitted further examination of the mines when more time, and more sophisticated methods, will become available to future investigators.
There is also some surprise felt that, even after so long a period of inspection as has already been accorded, additional hazards can now be discovered which were unknown to experts in many fields hitherto and which require this drastic approach.
The maintenance of some degree of access to the former mines, as provided for in the original plans, is of very great concern to us. The importance of such a facility has been readily appreciated in other comparable, and often less unusual, sites in this country and overseas. These are often exploited as modest, but significant, magnets for both specialists and tourists.
We should be failing in our responsibilities to our successors if vve were to deprive them of the possibility of exploring and interpreting such an integral feature of the physical history of Bath. For more information see Coombe Down Heritage Society
2006: An International Congress to visit underground mine at Combe Down. The importance of preserving public access and heritage is highlighted. Members of the 5th International Congress on Environmental Geotechnics will be taken underground on the 30th June

Horstmann Car Rally

Horstmann car
5 Horstmann assembled on the Bandstand Lawn, Royal Victoria Park 11am-4pm on Saturday 7 June along with a few other contemporary cars. Organised by Museum of Bath At Work to celebrate 30 years of Museum at Work

Brunel's Atmospheric Pumping House Totnes

16 Feb
16 Feb
25 feb
25 Feb

10 March 08: we won. English Heritage has now granted the building listed status, which means it can not be knoocked down
Details of the story from 16 Feb 08

For sale: The Brunel-designed building housing the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum

5 Feb 07BRISTOL'S Old Station, including the British and Empire Commonwealth Museum is on the market - and could be sold for as much as £3 million. 2 Feb 08: (Evening Post) The building, designed by Isam­bard Kingdom Brunel houses the oldest railway terminus in the world. The sale, by the trustees of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, follows their decision to move the museum to London to reach a wider audience. Situated adjacent to Bristol Tem­ple Meads station, the site will be sold on a 299 year lease and includes 88,846 sq ft of buildings on a site of approximately 1.35 acres. The grade I-listed building has enjoyed a £7 million restoration since the museum moved in in 2002, earning it a nomination as a World Heritage Site.
Property agents Knight Frank are selling the site through a sealed bid system and no official guide price has been revealed but property experts believe the site could be sold for as much as £3m. Mark Brunsdon, regional senior director at Clifton property agent GVA Grimley said: "There are lim­itations on its use as it is listed, but it is close to Temple Quay which is redeveloping rapidly "It is unlikely to get planning permission for residential use but the large open spaces would make ideal studios for BBC or ITV and it is a great location. I would expect it to fetch between £2m and £3m."
The grade-I listed buildings in­clude three elements. These include the Station Offices which were built for the staff for the administration of the Temple Meads station and the Great Western Railway and includ­ed Brunei's original drawing office and today provides mostly office ac­commodation; the Engine Shed which housed the steam engines and a turntable to rotate the trains as Bristol was a terminus and today houses the museum, the museum cafe and a nursery; and the Pas­senger Shed which is used as an exhibition and venue for events, and has a capacity of 950 people.
Martin Booth, partner at Knight Frank's Bristol office which is sell­ing the property; said: "The core office area alongside the site has already established itself as the new commercial heart for the city "The vision for Temple Quay as a whole is a vibrant high density mix of development with housing, offices, retail and leisure facilities. "The Old Station is regarded as the focal point and `Jewel in the Crown' in the Temple quarter.

Going Nuclear - and Bath Cabinet Makers

The following letter has been received from BIAS member Michael Bussell of London W14 Nov 07
With nuclear power stations, there is clearly a case for listing or scheduling the more notable structures. Both Dounreay and Calder Hall at Sellafield (nd Windscale) merit consideration. The criteria for retention should focus on their technological significance rather than what is often their desperately banal `architecture' - by a well-known architect, brought in to 'cosmeticise' what doesn't easily take to wearing make-up. Alas, technical significance may not count for much...
Which, as in your essay (in the last bulletin), brings me to the former Bath Cabinet Makers' factory on Lower Bristol Road, Bath. You will know, Stuart, from when we met and I passed you the booklet commemorating the opening which I attended, that I have a personal interest to declare, in that my late father was chairman of the Yatton Furniture Group, of which BCM was part. The Mero space frame roof, of which this was the first to be used in Britain, was and probably still is the most elegant `modular' space frame system, although sadly it is being undercut by cheaper systems. They seem to be vulnerable - the first Mero roof in the Middle East, to my knowledge (1975, VIP entrance to Doha Stadium, Qatar) was recently demolished to make way for something more like the new Wembley Stadium roof If it's either survival as a Lidl store or demolition, I'm for the former! If we have to wait 50 years before such modem structures can be listed, then there might be nothing left to list. On the other hand, the decommissioning and 'cool-down' periods for nuclear facilities - often lengthier than their productive lifespan! - might leave more from which to select, although I fear they will be on cleared sites from which the `clean' buildings have been removed - as unhelpful to proper understanding as are the splendid, but empty and forsaken, .nL,ine-houses of Cornwall to an understanding of the Cornish mining industry.


Bath Chronicle, 08:00 - 06 September 2007
Vacuum cleaner billionaire Sir James Dyson has said he will not pursue plans to build a £25m design academy anywhere in Bath. Representatives of the inventor, who started his career in the city, made the announcement yesterday afternoon after Dyson lost his preferred South Quays site to Bath Spa University earlier in the week. The land, at Lower Bristol Road, was originally going to be shared between the Dyson School of Design and Innovation and the university's new arts campus But unresolved problems with flood risk at the site eventually led landowner Bath and North East Somerset Council to decide that there was only enough room to safely accommodate one of the two projects. Both schemes were subjected to a competitive tendering process and the university won.
A spokesperson for the James Dyson Foundation - the educational wing of Dyson's business empire - said: "Naturally we're disappointed by the council's decision. "Our plans for the Dyson School of Design Innovation were at an advanced stage. "We've been progressing the plans for more than two years and invested more than £3m. "The Dyson school had received a great reception from local schools, parents and children in and around Bath. "But we're still utterly committed to getting the Dyson School up and running by September 2009. "We're currently investigating other sites and are confident that the school will go ahead in the south west - but not in Bath. "Despite losing the site we'll endeavour nonetheless to involve Bath's young people in the excitement and challenge of design and invention, with the ultimate aim being to get more young people pursuing careers in science and engineering."
Political and business leaders yesterday gave a mixed reaction to the news. Cllr Chris Watt (Con, Midsomer Norton Redfield), B &NES Council's cabinet member for children's services, said: "Bath Spa University will deliver a greater number of people with qualifications with a better fit to the local economy. "So although in itself the news about the Dyson school is a disappointment, the news about Bath Spa University having the opportunity to further invest in the area more than makes up for that."
Bath's Lib Dem MP Don Foster said: "I'm very disappointed that what would have been a very exciting addition to educational provision in Bath is not going ahead. "I hope that wherever the academy is eventually sited there will still be an opportunity for students from Bath to benefit from its courses and facilities. "Nevertheless, I'm pleased that we will be having another exciting development from Bath Spa University on the site."
Colin Skellett, chairman of business leaders' group the Initiative for Bath and North East Somerset, said: "I know that both the regional development agency and the council have worked hard to try to resolve the issues. "But the basic problem was that it was not possible to get both the Dyson academy and Bath Spa University on to the same site. "It's good that the site is going to be used by Bath Spa University, but it is a great shame that this prestigious national academy isn't going to be in Bath."

God's Wonderful Railway on track to be world heritage site

Steven Morris Friday July 7, 2006 The Guardian
The average commuter probably doesn't particularly notice the tunnels, cuttings, bridges and stations on the London to Bristol railway line as they whizz by on the journey to the office. But English Heritage yesterday put its weight behind a campaign to have the Great Western Railway recognised as a world heritage site, alongside the likes of the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge. At a conference in Bristol, Sir Neil Cossons, chairman of English Heritage, said that the line, one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's greatest achievements, was a "breathtaking" monument to British endeavour.


08 May 2007
Owners of a derelict dockside warehouse were today assessing the damage caused by a major fire at the weekend. The McArthur's warehouse in Gas Ferry Road, behind the ss Great Britain, was set alight by arsonists on Sunday evening. A group of youths was seen running from the building, which is due to be demolished and redeveloped later this year, after the intense blaze began. Two homeless people who had been using the warehouse to sleep rough managed to get out before the fire took hold. Avon Fire and Rescue said 30 firefighters were needed to tackle the blaze, which started at about 8.30pm. They were at the scene for several hours and returned to the building yesterday to damp down and check for damage. Station manager Gary Carr-Smith said: "This was an intense fire on the second and third floors of the building. We believe it was started deliberately."
The Victorian redbrick building, which has wooden floors, has been derelict for 20 years. It stands between the Albion dockyard and the ss Great Britain heritage site and has been at the centre of a lengthy planning wrangle over proposals for its redevelopment. A £26 million scheme to demolish the warehouse and build flats, shops and offices on the site was thrown out at a planning inquiry in 2002. London-based developers Quada came up with a new scheme which was eventually given the go-ahead in March 2005, in spite of continued opposition from conservationists who feared the proposed new buildings would spoil the views of Brunel's historic ship.
Richard Bellman, of Quada (Harbourside) Ltd, said: "The McArthur's building was already in an extremely poor state and is due to be demolished towards the end of the year to make way for new development. "Our security experts are reviewing the state of the building following the fire. There had been reports that people had broken in and were using the building, and we were taking steps to deal with this. "It was not however possible for our security team to check out exactly what was going on in there at all times as the interior is very extensive and it was too dangerous to venture into some areas of the building. "Once we have had time to assess the full extent of the damage we will decide what if any action needs to be taken to secure the building."

Stothert and Pitt site, Bath

2 Feb 2007 : magnificent news that the Newark Works on Lower Bristol Road, Bath has just been awarded Grade II listing by English Heritage (The Bath Chronicle, January 25).
January 2007: James Dyson seems to have had a change of heart about demolishing the Stothert and Pitt site on the Bath Road.

Yate rail yard

Oxford Archaeology have been commissioned to undertake an assessment of the function and historical significance of a military railway site in Yate, South Gloucestershire. David Evans of South Glos Council has asked Jon to consult BIAS to obtain our views and to see if you had any relevant information.
The site is a rail transfer yard which was constructed by (or for) the Americans during World War II probably as part of Operation Bolero (the build-up to D-Day). There survives two vast storage sheds where US military equipment was presumably stored, after being shipped to Bristol Docks, and the site is linked by branch rail lines to the main line from Bristol. After the war the site passed to the Royal Navy and it is now occupied by the Highways Agency.
Would you happen to know anything about this site or do you hold any material relating to this site? The sorts of questions that they are trying to answer are: Reply to jon gill

Samuel Plimsoll bust

Christina Raddon, Building Surveyor, CSS Property, Tel 01179037457
I am the surveyor looking after the plimsoll bust on Hotwells Road which is currently boxed in. It needs to be moved in order to enable the essential maintenance works Wessex Water are carrying out. I thought this would be an opportunity to move it somewhere more accessible to the public, especially as the traffic pollution is having a detrimental effect on the stone in its current location. I have found a nice spot down by the SS Great Britain and am applying for planning permission to move it there. It would still be looking out towards the water.

Secret Underground Television Programme

Feb 06: Chris Serle presented a set of 4 half hour Thursday programmes on ITV 1 West 7:30 on local secret underground sites.

Feasibility Study and Working Group for Old Mills Colliery Engine

Bristol Industrial Museum are to fund a feasibility study to investigate the possible re-erection of the Old Milk Colliery winding engine. A consultancy has been appointed and a working group formed in connection with Richard Maggs of Radstock Museum which has invited local councillors and interested parties to work with them.
The engine is the single largest item in Bristol Museums and Art Galleries Service's indoor collection and spent its life at Old Mill Colliery outside Radstock. The engine was acquired when Bristol was collecting for a new museum on Castle Park which never materialised and when the service's collecting area for local history extended much further than it does today. There is almost no likelihood of its display in the city, yet there is a considerable ground swell of interest in its return to Radstock.
The engine is of some significance in coal mining history. It is believed to be the earliest colliery winding engine to survive nationally, having been built in 1861,and is very representative of the simple, robust, inefficient machines commonly used until the 1930s. It was made at the foundry at Paulton, near Radstock run by the mineowner William Evans and it is the largest product of this works to survive. The engine worked for over a century until the final days of the North Somerset coalfield hauling wagons of coal and spoil to the surface. Shortly before the pit closed British Coal commissioned a film of it at work. Bristol Museum acquired the engine in 1966.
Dismantled the engine occupies approximately 32 square metres and assembled it would measure l0m x 7m and stand 3m high. It weighs approximately 28 tons.
BIAS Chairman Stuart Burroughs has been asked to join the working group in 2006 and to represent BIAS's position on the future for this important engine.

Change of Logo

Email to let me know which you like:


Mike Bone
There is some sad news - Peter Neaverson died just before Christmas. Peter was a member of Council and a former joint editor of the AIA journal and co-author (with Marilyn Palmer) of many books and articles on IA. Their last book (on the textile trades of the south-west) was completed shortly before his death. He will be much missed by ALA members and others with an interest in IA.

From around the Region- News from our Area Representatives

Conservation in Bristol

Mike Bone
BIAS continues to keep a watching brief on developments in the city. Plans for major schemes at Wapping Wharf and the Bristol Brewery site have still to be deposited with Bristol City Council but we will continue to monitor progress. The development process now frequently involves a series of 'stakeholder' meetings prior to submission of plans. The latest of industrial interest has involved Huller House' and the 'Cheese' warehouse near Redcliffe Bridge and the WCA building. These are, I believe, the last of the old waterside warehouses to be converted. The developer is Angel Property, a firm with an excellent track record of adaptive re-use (jam factory in East London and the Dartmouth Pottery [ex brewery but originally a papermill] in Devon). The plans look good with much original fabric kept (Huller) and the 'Hennibique' pre-cast concrete frame (Cheese warehouse) kept but with new cladding. BIAS Journal 13 (1980) has an article 'Feno-Concrete' on this system by the late Roy Day. In addition to former 'industrial' sites, much is happening in Bristol and other 'stakeholder' events have featured in the redevelopment of the fonner Bristol & West tower (on the Centre) and access from here to the refurbished Queen Square, i.e. the area of the roundabout currently used for buses to turn. We can also expect some interesting reports from archaeological work on 'developing' sites at Canons Marsh (gasworks) and Avon Street (glassworks).

Serge Manufactory

Stuart Burroughs
A rare painting of the first 'serge manufactory' established on the site of Twerton Upper Mill has been donated to the Museum of Bath at Work. Presented by Mrs Armstrong, whose family took over the running of the mill in the 1930s, the painting dates from 1780.

SS Great Britain Museum

In BIAS Journal No.36, member Keith Hickman related the tale of the upper section of the No.1 funnel from the P&SS Great Eastern which had been serving as a kind of giant strainer at the Sutton Poyntz Pumping Station in Dorset. One of is illustrations shows the funnel section being removed from the spring head where it had rested for more than a century. Keith tells us that this historic artefact has been moved to the SS Great Britain Museum, now located in the Maritime Heritage Centre building on Wapping Wharf. Keith was present in the welcoming party when the funnel was delivered.

Ochre Mines and Works at Wick - An Update

Mike Breakspear
In 1998 the article entitled 'The Ochre Mines and Works at Wick, South Gloucestershire' by Ron Smith and myself was published in BIAS Journal No 31. Recently, through the internet, I.was put in touch with Mike Beavis whose father Mr C.M. Beavis was Mark- Director of Golden Valley Colours and he has added to my knowledge of the Company and its management. This is printed in Bulletin 114 as an addendum to the original article.

At the present time the site is being developed as a nature reserve and fences have been erected to keep the public away from 'dangerous' areas. These include the reservoir above the dam though apparently further work is to be carried out to make this area safe. The only structure remaining is the winding house at the top of the incline. It urgently needs some restoration work if only to the roof. The remains of a truck which was half buried next to the winding house has been moved to a safer place.

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