Protecting Bristol’s Industrial Heritage 2021 July

Local Listing and a New Conservation Area

The past year has seen a number of threats to Bristol’s industrial heritage but also some significant progress in its protection. The final stages of preparing BIAS Journal 53 for the printer are now in hand and should be posted to members soon. Included are articles on the history of the Gardiner Haskins building, the former soap works of Christopher Thomas, which is currently awaiting development and the outcome of Phase 5 of the city council’s annual Local Listing initiative which had ‘industrial heritage’ as its theme. The following notes aim to provide a brief summary of the sites considered for listing as not all of these could be included in our journal article. Of related interest is the designation of a new ‘industrial’ conservation area in and around Silverthorne Lane in St Philips.

Local Listing: Phase 5

Some 25 sites were shortlisted for the panel’s consideration by David Martyn, the council’s Senior Conservation Architect. It was a very strong list and my recommendation was that all deserved to be added to the Local List. There have been numerous debates over the years as to the appropriate scope of IA in time and subject matter and it was reassuring to see a shortlist that included such a variety of candidates from the early eighteenth to the twentieth centuries and some that might be described as indicative of the ‘social archaeology’ of the industrial era. As such it complements the latest draft strategy published by Historic England for its recent consultation.

The following six sites are featured in his BIAS Journal article: Albert Road Corporation Garage, the Avonmouth Lighthouses, Barton Hill Engine Sheds, the Underfall Yard Electricity Substation, the Gasworks Retort House & Coal Store in Avon Street, and the Avonmouth Dock Walls.

The next 18 sites were also recommended: Allen Davies & Co Print Works and Box Factory, Knapps Lane, Clay Hill; Albert Road Relief Line Viaduct, St Philips; Ashton Gate Brewery, North Street, Bedminster; Charlton Road Pin Works, Two Mille Hill; the Jubilee Room of the Workmen’s Hall, Victoria Rd, St Philips; Hinder Brothers Boot Factory, Lawrence Hill; Easton Colliery, St Gabriel’s Rd; Bristol Garden Suburb, Springfield Ave & Passage Leaze, Shirehampton; Newcomen Engine House, Brislington; Seamen’s Mission & Institute ,Prince Street, BS1; Redcliffe Tunnel & Cutting of the Harbour Railway, Redcliffe Hill & Guinea Street; Kingsland House, Kingsland Rd, St Philips; National Scale Works, Parnall Rd, Fishponds; Royate Hill Railway Viaduct, Rose Green Rd, Eastville; Victoria Stay Factory, Roman Rd, Easton; Sparke Evans Park Bridge, Hengrove Park; Avondale Jam Factory, Woodland Way, BS15; the Epstein Building, Mivart Street, Easton.

After some discussion it was decided not to support the nomination of the Fishponds Road Tram Depot in Stapleton Rd as the remains of the complex were not sufficient to indicate what it did or how it related to the tramways system. I just failed to meet my target but was delighted that so many made it onto the list.

Links to the Local List and directions for recording your nominations for future additions are included in David’s article. Please make your suggestions for sites that need to be added.

Silverthorne Lane Conservation Area

Proposals for the designation of a new conservation area to provide a measure of protection for the buildings, boundary walls and road and pavement materials that constitute the last substantial and evocative remains of one of Bristol’s surviving nineteenth- century industrial landscapes have now been approved. The area is part of the Enterprise Zone in St Philips which is currently the focus for a number of development applications. The conservation area – identified as the land between the Feeder Canal, the elevated railway line into Temple Meads and the start of the Floating Harbour at Totterdown Basin – includes the Lysaght buildings and the remains of the Avon Street gasworks. It was also the site of Acraman’s Bristol Ironworks. BIAS was identified in the proposals as a key stakeholder and, as a member of the city’s Conservation Advisory Panel, was able to add its support, as did colleagues at the AIA. The efforts of the city’s officers and councillors in promoting the designation of one of Bristol’s ’hidden’ assets are to be applauded.

Mike Bone

July 2021