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Hotwells play park awarded funds for makeover

The dilapidated Charles Place Playpark has been awarded £40,000 towards refurbishment costs in a bid for funds made through our local councillors.
Hotwells only park was one of around 80 schemes bidding for a slice of the City’s £3.5m Parks capital fund. Around 40 projects were approved at a Council cabinet meeting in July. Childrens’ play facilities were given a high priority in the bidding process. The award follows another grant of £3,000 from our Neighbourhood Partnership, as reported in the last edition of ‘Hotwells News’. There is a chance that work on improving the patk could begin this Winter but we need your help in shaping the best facilities to meet the needs of the children in this community. See page 4 for details of how you can get involved.



equipment has been gradually disappearing from the Charles Place playpark after being condemned by Council play officers

Spring Garden flats plan rejected
Efforts to make this Hotwells pub a specialised music venue (Hotwells News— Autumn 2011) have not worked out and the sale of the premises by the pubco owners to a developer was inevitably followed by a controversial proposal to convert it into 9 apartments. This has been thrown out by Bristol planning department. Many grounds for rejection were cited, including loss of a community venue, overintensive and damaging extension of the building, impractical parking arrangements and loss of privacy for neighbours. It seems that any commercially viable future for the building is going to be hard to achieve. The Spring Garden had the best ‘upstairs room’ for hire in Hotwells. Should we be doing more to save it for community use? Find out more about the fascinating history of the pub on page 5.

Hotwells Summer of flower power
The summer weather may have been disappointing but the campaign to add more colour to our neighbourhood has not flagged. Amongst the many initiatives, a special thank you to Janey Robson, assisted by Helena Kowalski. They managed to get 50 new window boxes installed around the neighbourhood and Brandon Hill this year, as well as new half barrel planters on Cumberland Piazza. The picture shows planting by the car park in Dowry Place which is also Janey’s work. We now turn our attention to the winter season and a determined effort to plant new trees at Cumberland Piazza. See page 5 for ways you can help.

Published by Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association, 3,Charles Place,

Hotwells, Bristol, BS8 4QW



Community News
Swivel Bridge plans stalled
Plans to reinstate the historic Brunel structure that has been abandoned at the Entrance Lock since 1968 have, once again stalled. Reinstating it as a working cycle and pedestrian crossing of the Lock, financed by Sustrans and the Heritage Lottery seemed feasible but only one response was received to the tender for the work and this at around double the estimated cost. The Swivel Bridge Restoration Group would like to see the restoration plan reviewed but for the time being it looks like this is yet another disappointment in the long-running attempt to create a traffic-free and safe route across Cumberland Basin.

Readers Rant
I am writing after witnessing a car crash near the bottom of Clifton Vale. Cars and huge vans are parking across the entrance to Clifton Vale Close and completely blocking our view to vehicles coming up, and more worryingly, down Clifton Vale. Each morning I, and many others in my road, take a 'blind' chance to drive on to Clifton Vale. The Council came to the conclusion that there is no Parking issue. There is an issue. Vans and cars are parked dangerously across the corners of our street. Someone will get hurt in the future, or even killed. I have had a few near-misses with cyclists coming down Clifton Vale. I edge out as carefully as possible, but we cannot hear cyclists. I believe that there should be (at least) double yellow lines on the corners of Clifton Vale Close or, better still, double yellow lines between the two entrances to Clifton Vale Close. Lynda Fullerton.

Meet the mayoral candidates
Local democracy is like everything else –use it or lose it! Our Chair, Dennis Gornall has set up an opportunity for everyone to come and meet the Mayoral Candidates in an open hustings meeting on Monday 29th October, 7pm at Holy Trinity Church. We have done our best to communicate with all the candidates and hope that many of them, will be there on the night to tell us of their plans for Bristol and to answer questions from the audience. This is a very important time for Bristol and we want to encourage everyone to vote on the 15th of November. The event on Oct 29th is your opportunity to see the candidates live and help form a judgement about who can best serve us over the next 4 years. You can also find details about this election at If you think there are particular issues affecting our area which HCCA should take up with the new Mayor then please contact us and we will follow it up.

Piazza planning breakthrough
Following a lot of hard work we were finally able to submit a planning application for the landscape proposals at Cumberland Piazza in July. This has established that planning permission is not required for this part of the scheme because there is no ‘change of use’ involved. Further planning applications may follow to deal with other elements of the scheme but, for now, we are focused on finding the funds to start ‘greening’ the space (see article page 5). You can read the key proposal documents on line at: content/planning.html

Holy Trinity Church
We were sorry to hear that the vicar, Rev. Nick Crawley, is moving on to other work in the Diocese. He finishes at Holy Trinity at the end of September, and the church will then be seeking to appoint a new Vicar. How can we deal with this kind of parking behaviour? HCCA raised these concerns with our community police officer who wrote to clarify the issues: ‘Driving over the footpath is enforced by the Police. The offence is absolute and is dealt with by a fixed penalty ticket. Where a vehicle is parked such that it stops the flow of traffic then it is liable to a fixed penalty and towed away. This is enforced by the police. Vehicles which park in a position that obscures visibility are not liable to be dealt with for obstruction as it does not stop the flow of traffic. I know there is an added problem for cyclists coming down hill but they have a duty of care to proceed at a speed which will allow them to stop in a reasonable time. Vehicles parked on yellow lines are enforced by parking services.’ Nick Shaw

Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association 3 Charles Place, Hotwells, Bristol, BS8 4QW

Missing bridesmaid
Recently we received the following email: To Whom it May Concern. Greetings from Gawler South Australia. The purpose of this communication is to seek your help in locating a Lost friend. On 6th June 1959 My Wife & I Married at St. Mary’s Church, Shirehampton. Our Chief Bridesmaid was a lady by the name of PAT KING. For many, many year’s we have been searching for Pat. The only information we have is that Pat’s Parents at one time ran an Ironmongers Store somewhere in the Hotwells area. Denise-My Wife-& I Migrated here from the UK in September 1973. We were wondering if there could be someone “Out there” who may know of Pat. Keith FitzGerald If anyone can help Keith please contact the HCCA office and we’ll put you in touch.

tel: 0117 9291883

Management Committee
Dennis Gornall (Chair) Brenda McLennan (Treasurer) Rosemary Stibbon Administrator Ray Smith Communications Mike Timmins Open spaces Stephen Perry Helena Kowalski


Community News
Dowry Square road improvements (again)
In mid June HCCA discovered that Bristol Communities were being given the opportunity to bid for up to £100,000 towards local sustainable transport schemes. After discussion we decided to try and make a case for funds to improve the area around Dowry Square, broadly in line with our Traffic Strategy. Unfortunately we were only given until the end of July to make a bid for first round monies and a number of factors led us to think that a full scale scheme would not be possible in the time scale. Following discussions with Dowry Square residents it was decided to pursue an application to widen the pavement at the South end of the square and make it continuous with the pavements on Hotwell Road and Hope Chapel Hill by introducing “road tables” at the entrance and exit to the square. HCCA believes this will much improve the pedestrian access to and from Hotwells School which is frequently obstructed by parked cars and enhance the environment of the Square. Consultations on the detail will follow if we are lucky enough to be granted the required monies. We expect to hear by the end of October. HCCA intend to make a second round bid in January next year to try and get the bus stop moved onto Hotwell Road and make associated improvements to the triangle of tarmac that lies immediately to the South of the Square.
Dennis Gornall

green light
from Transition Hotwells & Cliftonwood

Campaign launched to stop house in Avon Gorge

pedestrians frequently find the route across the end of Dowry Square obstructed by cars

A surprising planning decision has allowed the development of a 5 bedroom house on a prominent site above Rock House. This house and garden are one of the most important heritage sites in Hotwells. The land is very unstable, has poor access and no services. CHIS and other groups strongly-objected to the plans and now there is a move to request a Judicial Review at the High Court because of the many irregularities in the process for granting permission. A new umbrella group called ‘Bristol Save the Avon Gorge Environment’ (BSAGE) is seeking pledges to meet the £5,000 cost of making the application, which needs to be submitted by September 20th. Ffi see: http://www.c lif tonhotwells .or / chis_planning.html

There have been some great events over the summer, including "Big Green Week" in June and the "Bristol Cycle Festival" in July. Big Green Week included an inspiring talk from Julia Davenport, founder of the renewable electricity company Good Energy. Good Energy are campaigning with Friends of the Earth to make the government's "Energy Market Reform" open the market to small independent clean local suppliers, rather than dominated by the polluting, and mainly foreign, "Big 6". You can support via clean_british_energy_switch_full_ 35921.html - only takes a few minutes - and read more about t h e c a m p a i g n a t : c a m p a i g n h u b s / MGalleryItem.php?id=484. Bristol Cycle Festival included a stimulating talk at CREATE by Cliftonwood resident John Grimshaw on 3 new routes in Bristol. Other events over the summer included the share launch for Bristol Energy Co-operative, who now have photovoltaic panels on community buildings, and preparations for the launch of the “Bristol Pound” in September.

Camp in My Garden!
If you happened to be passing our house in Hotwell Road over the weekend of the Balloon Fiesta, you may well have seen some strange globular shapes looming from the garden – don’t worry though, they weren’t crashed balloons, they were tents! A serendipitous internet search a few weeks earlier had turned up: a great website where people can offer up their gardens as micro-campsites, thus providing accommodation in all sorts of unusual places, or perhaps just places that don’t have many camping facilities, like Bristol. We signed up and were immediately inundated with requests to stay over the Balloon Fiesta weekend. It was great fun, for us and the campers alike, and the experience leant the whole weekend a wonderfully festive atmosphere. We are looking forward to welcoming more campers to our garden, and to Hotwells, in the near future and we highly recommend the website to others too!
Jayne Marshall

author of ‘green light’ column Richard Hancock with solar thermal panel

If you would like to learn more, or keep in touch with with other sustainability activities in Bristol, contact Richard: rjt_hancock .to join the the Transition Hotwells and Cliftonwood mailing list, or come to one of the "Lion" meetings - dates listed on the HCCA website.


Charles Place Playpark—help with the makeover!
You will have noticed that the play equipment has been gradually disappearing. This is because it has been condemned as unsafe after regular inspection. The equipment is 18 years old. The Council has recently awarded £40,000 to refurbish the park but we need your help to get it right. Are you a parent or guardian or grandparent with children who use the park? (or might do if it could be improved)? We need your ideas for developing the site. We would like to form a support group to maintain an interest in Charles Place, now and after it is refurbished so we can devise the best possible scheme and make sure it is looked after and improved in the future.

Work could start to improve the park early next year (2013). So it is important to know what users would like to see there: Can you take a couple of minutes to complete our online survey? LBWWRHG

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What age group do we see as being the main users? What kind of play experience do we want to provide? (eg. climbing, swinging, bouncing –rather than proposing specific pieces of equipment at this stage). Should the fenced corridor that runs through the site be retained? (this marks a public footpath but there is no legal necessity for it to be there. It is likely that the current wooden fence would not last as long as the new play equipment. Do we retain the current landscaping/planting on the site or should this be modified?

Please register your interest in the park and find out more about the plans as they develop. Contact Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association, 3 Charles Place, BS8 4QW. Tel: 0117 9291883. Email: Facebook: Charles Place playground or go to

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What kind of surface should be used? The current ‘bouncy’ tarmac would need to be replaced. Bark chips (like Greville Smyth play park) would be cheaper to install but need more maintenance. Should the equipment be wood, steel or plastic? Wood generally lasts about 10 years as compared with 15 for plastic or steel.


Is this Hotwells’ oldest building?
Whilst not one of the grandest houses in Clifton or Hotwells the building known as the Spring Garden has an interesting history. It almost certainly dates from the late 17th century and parts of it may be the oldest in Hotwells Deeds that link to the late 1600’s can be found in the Bristol Record Office. Dated October 1732 is a document from ‘James Baskerville to Elizabeth Taylor, widow for messuage, garden & stable called Spring Garden’. A reference in the lease links to previous owners, including John Hooke, brewer, and in his will, dated 24 August 1688, he left the house and land to his mother. It was then passed on to Charles Saunders and Hugh Williams, cooper. James Baskerville purchased the Spring Garden on 26 May 1709. There is clear evidence of continuous occupation of the house and property from at least 1688. A fascinating plan for a garden for the house was drawn up around1730-40, and shows a terraced garden, with house and summer house, designed by John Jacob de Wilstar. This house had ground planted with vines and trees behind it (previously mentioned in the leases). There is, however no evidence that the garden was actually constructed although the current building does have a terraced garden. John Jacob de Wilstar’s 1746 survey of the manor of Clifton is one of the earliest maps to show a building on the site of the Spring Gardens. This map was part of the survey completed for the Merchant Venturers. Plans available in the Bristol Records Office also show that the building remained largely unaltered until 1929 when a new frontage was put on, the courtyard covered and incorporated into the new façade. Throughout its history the Spring has appeared in many newspaper articles for various reasons. In 1757 the London Chronicle recorded in October of that year: ‘Monday, died at his house at Spring Gardens, leading to the Hotwells, the celebrated Mr. Lee, remarkable for his skill in mathematics.’ He was clearly a man who came to take the waters in the hope of a cure and died at his lodgings in Bristol. In the 19th century it was regularly used for meetings of political groups, ex-pat Irishmen and even coroner’s courts were held there. It truly was a community venue. The future of the Spring Garden is uncertain but as a community venue for around 300 years it must be worth preserving. Finally; how did it get its name? Almost certainly according a document of 1775 it was named after those ‘hanging gardens so remarkable for their early produce’ of fruit trees and vines that flowered every spring.
Christopher Morris

Cumberland Piazza tree appeal
Our plans for a new clump of around 10 trees on the North side of Cumberland Piazza will be a significant contribution to the large-scale ‘greening’ of this difficult site that was, far and away, the most popular aspiration of people who took part in our consultation. This will be a major statement about our new vision for this space as a park and amenity for people using it or walking and cycling across it Our idea is that the trees will eventually grow above the level of the flyover, compete with it in terms of scale and soften the impact of the road system on the space below. The problem is that tree pits need to be dug through the tarmac and rubble of demolished buildings and we need big and robust trees to survive in this difficult terrain; so the work is going to be expensive. We hope to persuade the City Parks Dept. to bear some of the cost of the trees but we need another source of funds to cover the cost of planting. We are therefore launching an appeal for £10,000 to make the first permanent and positive change to Cumberland Piazza in 40 years. The timescale is tight, because the trees will need to be planted before next Spring. Even if you are unable to help finance the planting we will still need a volunteer team to take on watering and monitoring of the young trees.

help us to transform this...

You can help to make the Piazza greener
Donations to the Piazza Tree Campaign of any amount you can afford will be much appreciated. Donate at least £50 and claim a year’s free subscription to the HCCA 500 Club (worth £12) and be included in monthly draws to win prizes of £250 or 4 x £25. If you already have a 500 Club subscription you can double your chance of winning! If you, your family or your organisation can sponsor at least £500 towards the cost of establishing a tree, we can plant it with a plaque as a permanent dedication. Please make contact if you can help. Email

… into this
illustration courtesy The Landmark Practice


Events & Reviews
‘West Bristol Arts Trail Oct 13th & 14th
Doors will once again be flung open across Clifton, Hotwells and Redland for the West Bristol Arts Trail. Now in its fifth year, the Trail presents an opportunity to take a step inside the studios and homes of the many artists working in the local area, in a celebration of the creativity that for most of the year exists only behind closed doors. Douglas Henderson, Chair of the committee, describes the Trail’s aims: “We do not promote arts in the sense of having an artistic policy. Our Trail is open to all and artists are not selected in any way. The artists thus range from the pretty fulltime professionals to amateurs who ‘do’ art for fun.” Accordingly, visitors to the Trail can expect everything from 2D and 3D textile art, to sculptural pottery, figurative and abstract multi-media paintings, illustration and photography. The Trail incorporates over one hundred artists, in homes and venues throughout the area and also offers the opportunity to talk with many of the artists – professional and amateur - and to discuss their work. The Trail is a great community event, as Douglas says “It's always a thrill to see so many people streaming into our house and thronging the streets of Clifton Village, not to mention Hotwells, Cliftonwood and Redland.” The area’s cafes and bars will also be on hand to provide refreshment stops. Free site maps, with full details of all venues and artists, will be available in mid-September from libraries and local shops. The Trail’s website also has a full list of artists and venues, as well as a downloadable Trail map. There are other special events planned to coincide with the Trail too so keep an eye on the website as the date approaches. 13th and 14th Oct, 11am – 5pm Jayne Marshall

Artist Profile—Alex Rotas
Alex Rotas will be exhibiting for the West Bristol Arts Trail her arresting collection of photographs of veteran athletes competing in the Masters Games . This fascinating portfolio was collated with the aim of confronting perceptions of aging in sport. Alex describes her motivation as, “A desire to challenge some of the assumptions associated with the social construct of ageing, assumptions that link getting older with decline, passivity, increasing helplessness and physical and mental deterioration. Older athletes transgress these commonly held attitudes: they are by definition very physical and active, focused, enthusiastic, joyful, and full of life.” As a dualnational, Alex herself used to play tennis for Greece . Two years ago, she became interested in imagery in sport and began studying photography under Rachel Sokal, who she describes as having taken her, ‘from a standing start to wherever it is I’m at now.” After the London Olympics, and the upcoming Paralym pics, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Mast e r s G a m e s and Alex has been enjoying a lot of attention, including an interview on BBC Radio Four’s Women’s Hour, so catch her on the Trail this October while you still can! Alex Rotas - Photographer, Venue 16 – 5 the Polygon

Hotwells, Cliftonwood & Clifton Local History Society 7.15pm at CREATE Wed. October 17th
Mike Taylor will talk about his new book written with Maggie Shapland

‘Ghostbusters’ packs them in at Open Air Cinema
Now an eagerly-awaited annual institution in Cliftonwood, the open-air film show in Argyle Place park attracted the largest ever audience of 350 people on a fine September evening. With sponsorship and money donated at the gate, the show made a profit of £400 for improvements to the park. Congratulations to all the organisers and volunteers who helped to make it such a brilliant event.

Bristol’s Forgotten Coalfield— Bedminster
This tells the fascinating history of the Bedminster coal mines and includes memories (some horrific) of the miners and their families.

Thomas Austin –known in Clifton as ‘Old Stick Leg’
Also latest news about the development proposal above Rock House Memories of local people and ‘treasures’ admission £3.50, including glass of wine or a soft drink


The Panto writers' group would welcome new writers to join the team. No qualifications are required, except that you need to have been to (or have taken part in) a Hotwells panto performance. Any new writer will be paired with an experienced one! The first meeting is on Sunday 7th October at 10am. If you are interested, please email our Producer, Amanda Webb on


Events Diary
Sun Sep 23rd Mon Oct 1st Sat Oct 13th Wed Oct 17th Mon Oct 22nd Mon Oct 29th Tue Nov 13th Thu Nov 15th Wed Dec 5th Sun Dec 9th 19:30 18:30 when 10:30 19:00 19:30 19:15 19:00 what Harvest Festival Service Clifton Neighbourhood Forum Barn Dance bar & snacks, tickets £7/£5 Hotwells Cliftonwood & Clifton Local History Society Clifton & Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership Local hustings meeting with Mayoral Candidates Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association AGM Election of Bristol Mayor and Commissioner of police Harlequin Singers concert Carol Service with Bristol Brass Consort where Holy Trinity Church Clifton High School Holy Trinity Church CREATE, Smeaton Rd The Pavilion Hannover Quay (above Jack’s Brasserie) Holy Trinity Church Holy Trinity Church polling station at Holy Trinity Church Holy Trinity Church Holy Trinity Church

19:00 19:30

A reminder that we have a number of large folding tables for use at community events. These are 1800 x 750mm and fold in half to fit in a car. There are also some A-boards you can use for advertising events. For further information ring Mark Tucker on 0117 9294646

The Galley cafe -a welcome new face on Hotwell Road
Romany Roman, has reopened 133 Hotwell Road, Hotwells as ‘The Galley’, a friendly café-cum-restaurant. She is putting her own stamp on it with comfy seating and an eclectic collection of old maps. There’s a great smiling welcome for all ages. Talking to Romany, it was clear that she wants to find out what her customers want to make their visit enjoyable. Her recipe certainly seems to be working: all the customers were smiling. I had an excellent cup of coffee and a piece of delicious (and generously sized) walnut and coffee gateau. Romany makes all her own cakes. There’s a mouth-watering selection to choose from at great prices too. She uses, locally grown and organic produce as much as possible in all her recipes. Even the jams and chutneys are home made.
The Galley is open from 9.30am – 2.30pm (9.30am – 6.00pm from October), serving Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch. Special functions can be catered for: Most recent was a 40th birthday party with 8 courses of fine dining. There’s a bar and a Live Music Licence if needed. see: Tel: 01173 291 606 or 07812 385 652
Rosemary Stibbon


Local Services
Celebrating 5 years!
Winner of Bristol’s best restaurant in the Bristol Good Food awards Awarded 2 AA rosettes in 2012 & featured in the Good Food Guide 2012

provides time for stillness in a busy world
Gentle Class Thursdays from Sept. 13th, 11.00-12:30 at Clifton Library, Princess Victoria Street Call Em Sawday to book a place

The Pump House, Merchants Road, Hotwells, Bristol, BS8 4PZ

0117 9272229

0117-9738213 or 07833751235

BA (Hons) DO MRO

39 Oldfield Road Hotwells BRISTOL BS8 4QQ

0117 973 7132 Tel: (0117) 927 2100

Now taking bookings for Christmas lunches