The whole group of buildings form a rare example of the surface layout of a 19th century colliery, minus the removable fittings. All the main buildings now on site can be seen in the the plan that accompanied the 1900 sale catalogue. Their survival can be attributed to two things: The first is the slow decline of the site during the last 30 years of its working life as a satellite operation. The other is post-closure aquisition by the nearby Shortwood brickworks.
The Avon Industrial Buildings Trust (AIBT) has been working in partnership with Ibstock Brick, the landowners, and Historic England on the conservation of the surface buildings. The main aim of the project, which started in 2007, is to halt the deterioration in the fabric of the buildings. JH Consulting of Bath was used as the conservation architects for the first stage of the project. This comprised site and topographical surveys, and rectified photography of the surviving walls, and this was completed by the end of 2008. The second stage, which includes structural surveys, any necessary archaeological interventions, and building conservation, is in progress. The scope of any proposed work has to be approved in advance by Historic England. Information on progress, including wonderful photographs, can be found on the Brandy Bottom project progress page of the website.
More details, including work party details. Clifton Rocks Railway This prominent feature of pre-war Bristol started life as a cliff railway in 1893, but stopped running in 1934. In 1940 the tunnel was converted to war-time refuge shelters, where local residents came during the severe bombing raids experienced by the City. BBC studios were also created in the tunnel from which many popular programmes were broadcast. The tunnel also housed a barrage balloon maintenance section. It was not finally abandoned by the BBC until 1960.
Currently the adjacent hotel owns the top section while the Council is in possession of the bottom. Volunteers have cleared much rubble so that group visits can be held. The areas under the many steps and refuge ledges need to be searched to locate any remaining artefacts, but places like the barrage balloon section, the new tunnel under Sion Hill and the BBC section need to be checked by a professional archaeologists first.
We need help on open days and with guided tours, oral history, research. We are a charitable trust, and all funding is raised by donations. We have not decided on what is the best use for the tunnel either, and we need a condition survey to help this decision, so we are not really ready to apply for lottery funding