Bulletin Summer 2021

BULLETIN 163

BRISTOL’S FUTURE: BIAS SPOTLIGHTED AS ‘KEY’ PLAYER

By Mike Bone, Acting Journal Editor

Plans for one of Bristol’s “hidden” assets have been given the go-ahead – and in proposals BIAS was officially identified as a “key” stakeholder.

BIAS, as a member of the city’s Conservation Advisory Panel, was giving opinions for plans for the designation of the new Silverthorne Lane Conservation Area in St Phillips.

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.

The designation aims 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.

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 Association for Industrial Archaeology.

The efforts of the city’s officers and councillors in promoting the designation of one of Bristol’s ’hidden’ assets are to be applauded. 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.

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 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.