On September 2nd at 11.00 a.m. the Indian Summer sun came out for the ceremonial dedication by the Lord Lieutenant of a CHIS green plaque commemorating Victoria Cross hero Ferdinand Simeon Le Quesne, VC, RAMC, at 6 Victoria Square. A substantial number of military personnel, clergy, two descendants and many CHIS members gathered. Full details in an article written by Paul Main, who brilliantly organized the procedure, may be found on a later page. It was pointed out that we have now commemorated two VC winners, the other being Edward StJ. Daniel at 1 Windsor Terrace.
Thanks to the persistent and knowledgeable efforts by Peter Stanley over many years, the re-establishment of the Playground, with improved drainage, has been achieved. Imagine, however, his dismay at finding that only a few weeks later the new footing is thin, worn and in places liable to cause trips. He informed the councillors, who had given impetus to the scheme, and it was speedily reported by them to the relevant people. It is hoped that soon the defects will be remedied and the swings unlocked. Attention to pot holes on the way up to the Observatory is very much needed too.
An added concern is for the specially commissioned seat endowed by CHIS to be placed back there, on a stout plinth. It has been refurbished; on another page RoseMary Musgrave describes the fine and apposite carvings on the seat.
The report on a later page by Nick Sargent gives measured information about the richness of Bristol’s inheritance of handsome lamp posts (second only to London’s) and of his patient negotiations on behalf of Clifton and Hotwells with the BCC authorities.
Most members will not need telling that the installation of new, card-only, toll booths has contributed to massive congestion at peak times on the Clifton side: no coin usage, slow working of machines (just like the previous ones in being badly positioned for drivers to reach the contact point) and congestion resulting from the closure of part of Princess Victoria Street under the LTN scheme appear to be the major causes. (Please see the article about ANPR on the Suspension Bridge article later in this newsletter for some advice. — Ed.)
Happily, the THAT group has cancelled the development which CHIS and four hundred objectors had opposed by all means. In the last Newsletter I expressed the hope that all concerned groups would come together to bring about funding for a worthy, public development of this crucially positioned space. Our own scheme had proposed such a positive plan.
Gratifyingly, a new publication “Clifton Voice” headlined our statement. For the moment, removal of the ugly wood fencing (to reveal a number of buddleias and other trees but also a view of the King’s Road terraces) and such usages as a Farmers’ Market would be an acceptable stop gap. We had, however, like the Conservation Advisory Panel, to express horror at a well-intentioned plan by councillors to instal containers pro tem. At a recent meeting Christopher Jefferies discussed ways by which they and CHIS might work together on permanent possibilities for the site.
Such co-operation has been welcome in the two-year long campaign to prevent the barbarous plans so shockingly supported by the Zoo Trustees and, still worse, BCC’s Development Committee.
To no successful end: the minister responsible for a final decision, Michael Gove, although presented, paragraph by paragraph with his own statements advocating the approval only of buildings of beauty and appropriateness, refused to overset BCC’s approval of the Zoo’s plan despite its gross extent, feeble design and impact.
What a shameful contribution to the enhancement of “the handsomest suburb in Europe”, all of this in contradiction of the Zoo’s professed concern to grace the area in which their gardens have been for since 1836.
We urge members to help fund the “Save Bristol Zoo Garden” campaign planned by Tom Jones. See how you can help:
The vigilance of our Planning Group, led by Linda Edwards, continues to monitor all proposals, big or small, before deciding on support or objection, details of which are given on later pages.
Members may be noticing the intended growth of weeds on pavements, roadsides, in gullies and at the foot of walls. Drains are being covered by growth, filling already with fallen leaves and making inevitable flooding once the rains fall.
I am reminded of a startling film of the Chernobyl region; left to itself for decades after the nuclear disaster, it sports lush vegetation and thriving wildlife. Let us hope our area will not see human beings forced out in our patch.
We had hoped for a positive response (indeed any response) to the practical and imaginative plan by RoseMary Musgrave, detailed in our last Newsletter, in order that a bus route connecting Redland and Clifton should exist.
As will be noted at the AGM, our finances are healthy and membership the same. Thanks to the diligence of the new Treasurer, Stephen Bullimore, the situation is most reassuring.
We look forward to seeing you at the AGM on Tuesday 24th October at 8.00 pm at the usual venue of the Apostle Room of the Catholic Cathedral in Pembroke Road. This will be followed by a talk by Sheila Hannon on Sarah Guppy. The Suspension Bridge Trust’s advertized talk “Sarah Guppy did not design the Suspension Bridge” at the same time arouses curiosity.
Finally, the CHIS Newsletter editor often merits compliments on its contents. Our July issue has been heaped with praise for its content and appearance, on which many congratulations to RoseMary Musgrave and Laurence Penney.
Brian Worthington, October 2023