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BIAS Blue Plaque Unveiled 2021 September

A few months after Maggie Shapland’s sad and untimely death, her husband (and fellow BIAS stalwart) Mike Taylor, approached the BIAS committee to ask if it would be OK to erect a plaque endorsed by BIAS, on the front wall of their house, commemorating Maggie. The BIAS committee agreed unanimously.

Although the original plan was to have the unveiling in the spring of 2020, Corona virus intervened. The unveiling eventually took place on Sunday September 26th 2021 at 1pm, on what would have been Maggie’s 75th birthday.

Former (on two occasions) BIAS Chairman Mike Bone gave a short but amusing and heartfelt speech about how he had known Maggie and the kind of person that she was, many points of which resonated with those present. The group of around 80 listened intently, whilst being observant of the odd motor vehicle and cyclist making their way along Princess Victoria St. Then, without further ado, Mike unveiled the plaque, accompanied by a loud round of applause.

We then departed in small groups, first for a tour of the Clifton Rocks Railway, a place that Maggie and others saved from dereliction and latterly, despite being seriously ill, Maggie was able to finish a book on the structure. We finished the afternoon with a short stroll up the hill to the Clifton Observatory, where Mike had arranged for a lovely buffet to be provided. Old acquaintances were renewed and new ones made.

I first met Maggie a few years ago when we shared a lift to visit the Silverdale drift mines near Newcastle under Lyme. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone quite like her and I do wonder if I’ll ever meet anyone again, she was so driven, tenacious and passionate about our heritage. She was a role model to us all and someone that those of us who are passionate about our heritage should strive to be.

Mark Bonson, Secretary, Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society