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Bristol - Bedminster 7

Disaster came during World War II when entire streets were bombed flat and others so badly damaged that they were demolished. The bombing that took place in Bedminster was out of all proportion to its economic and strategic signficance and is explained by the fact that it was on the flight path from the south coast to the heavily defended parts of the city such as the goods yards at Temple Meads and the aeroplane factories in Filton. Around 40 bombs landed in the densely populated area and many streets were never to be rebuilt.

Stafford Street

Stafford Street

The photograph above shows Stafford Street after being wrecked by a single bomb. The street was demolished and is now a car park and industrial units.

Satan

Satan

Satan was one of the largest bombs dropped on Bristol. It landed in Beckington Road, off of St John's Lane, on 3rd January 1941 and lay, undiscovered, until April 1943. It was 8 feet 11 inches long and contained 4,000 lbs of explosives.

One of the saddest stories I read about whilst preparing this part of the site was of an air-raid warden who saw an air raid shelter take a very near miss from a bomb. On entering the packed shelter he found every single person sat upright and with their eyes open, but dead. They had all been killed by the blast.

In more recent times, on 11th July 1968, a couple of weeks before my 10th birthday, Mum took us to a part of Knowle, where we lived, that overlooked Bedminster. To my eyes it looked as if the whole world had flooded. The night before 6.8 inches of rain had fallen and Bedminster had flooded, in some places the water had risen over 6 feet. For years afterwards you could see the tide mark on the houses in St John's Lane. Years later, I bought a house in Marksbury Road, Bedminster. My neighbours had lived there since the war and explained to me that the house I'd bought was a little newer than some of the others as it had been demolished by a bomb blast. She also explained that she and her husband, when the floods had receeded had to go and collect their belongings that had floated out of the house from the nearby playing fields.

Although well off the tourist track there are still some worthwhile sites to be seen.

Bedminster pet shop

Bedminster pet shop

The Old Police Station

The Old Police Station

This massive, old, dark building was the police station. It was opened by Mr E. S. Robinson on 24th July 1882. It has been disused since the 1970's but in 1999 there was an article in the local papers saying it had been bought by a company who wanted to turn it into a restaurant. I hope that whatever happens to it, they at least keep the outside appearance of it, as it really is remarkable. The original police and fire station that once stood here was one of the three built by Act of Parliament in 1834. The other two were at Brandon Hill and St. Philip's. In 1850, Bedminster had only one street light and one water-closet (flushing toilet) both were at the old police station.

Poet's Corner

Poet's Corner, North Street

Just up the road from The Aurora is Poet's Corner. This sadly weathered bust commemorates Alfred Daw Collard, the poet / butcher of Bedminster. The Collard's provided Bristol with four generations of butchers. They came from Spaxton in Somerset to Bristol around 1850 and at one time had shops in Bedminster, Redcliffe and Clifton. The family stopped trading in the 1980's, but the shop is still there. Alfred Daw Collard even wrote his accounts in rhyming couplets, but is remembered for the poems he wrote which he sold for 1d a copy in aid of the General Hospital. One was entitled "The Redcliffe and Bedminster Christmas Meat Show of 1885" and named the twenty-six butcher's shops between North Street and Redcliffe Hill.

Bedminster is also home to the Crystal Blue Glassworks, this little workshop / shop in Bedminster Parade makes and sells some of the most wonderful pieces of the world famous Bristol Blue Glass around. There are other manufacturers in the city but this is the one I use most. There is another manufacturer, Bristol Blue Glass Studio based in Three Queens Lane, Redcliffe.

Bristol Blue glassware was first made in Bristol in the 18th century. In the 1760's a Bristol merchant, William Cookworthy, gained the monopoly of the Saxony smalt blue used for colouring glass after the Franco Prussian war. Isaac and Lazarus Jacobs, based in Redcliffe, presented a Bristol Blue dessert set to King George IV. The blue colour is created by adding cobalt oxide to the molten glass.

Bristol | Place Names | Legends, Pre-history and the Romans | Birth of the City | 1100 Onwards | Voyages | 1450 Onwards | 1650 Onwards | 1700 Onwards | Riots | The Blitz (Page 1), (Page 2) | The Castle (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 4), (Page 5), (Page 6) | Blaise Castle (Page 1), (Page 2) | Castle Green (Page 1), (Page 2) | Union Street | Broadmead | The Old City (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 4) | Christmas Steps (Page 1), (Page 2) | St. Mary Redcliffe (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3) | College Green (Page 1), (Page 2) | King Street (Page 1), (Page 2) | Clifton (Page 1), (Page 2) | Avon Gorge (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3) | Hotwells (Page 1), (Page 2) | City Docks (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3) | Bedminster (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3), (Page 4), (Page 5), (Page 6), (Page 7) | Old Market (Page 1), (Page 2) | St. George (Page 1), (Page 2) | Temple (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3) | Arno's Vale Cemetery (Page 1), (Page 2) | Brislington | @ Bristol | Oldest House | I. K. Brunel (Page 1), (Page 2) | Ma Pugsley | Yeamans | Boundaries (Page 1), (Page 2) | Photography | Exhibition (Page 1), (Page 2) | Lead Working | Historical Perspective | Virtute et Industrial | Other Sites | Bibliography (Page 1), (Page 2) | Help Wanted (Page 1), (Page 2), (Page 3)

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created 7th March 2001, last modified 5th May 2005