Mike Bone March 2014

In my last report before our AGM I am pleased to update you on the ‘big issues’ that committee identified as our main agenda items at the start of our year in office.

The small group of BIAS & AIBT members that was set up to discuss relationships with other IA groups in our area has now completed its work. I will speak more fully on this at the AGM but in summary can report that the two bodies have now agreed to set up a steering group (Avon Industrial Heritage?) to promote and support IA/IH in our region and will now sound out other local groups to see whether they wish to join us and work together more closely. With its large membership, excellent Bulletin and Journal, BIAS clearly has an important role to play in this new body. The benefits of partnership working are well illustrated by our ongoing links with our Newcomen colleagues and the conservation of Brunel’s Swivel Bridge in cooperation with AIBT and CHIS (i.e. the Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society). The ‘Brunel’s Other Bridge’ project has already awakened much-needed fresh interest in the work of our respective groups.

The re-launch of the BIAS Gazetteer is mentioned elsewhere in this bulletin. The aim is twofold:

i) to produce a BIAS publication for the Bristol City Council area, followed by one or more for those of the other unitary councils in ‘old Avon’ and

ii) to feed data into Bristol’s ‘Knowyourplace’ website so that IA sites are taken into account early in the planning process. Please help with this project!

Arguably, our last meeting attempted to tackle the most important ‘big issue’ on our list – succession planning for our committee and its officers. In addition to the sad loss of Geoff Sheppard and Gill’s subsequent retirement as membership secretary on health grounds, we are about to lose Graham Vincent (secretary) and William Pummell (treasurer), both of whom have wanted to retire for some time. We have attempted to identify replacements but urgently need members to come forward before or at the AGM as we cannot continue to function properly without a core team. Offers of help, even for a limited period of time, will be most welcome.

Our last committee before the AGM meets on 3 April, next, when we will discuss BIAS publications and ‘digitisation’ with, perhaps, an initial glance at a research agenda for the society. Any comments, views and ideas will, as always, be welcome before we meet.