CHIS Newsletter, August 2015

Letter from the Chairman


The second year of “Green Squares and Secret Gardens”, despite cool weather, was another success, with more venues (some of them last minute enthusiasts) to be visited and a widely-based attendance by appreciative visitors. The GSSG committee (RoseMary Musgrave, Liz Golding, Adrienne Mason and Jenny Sparkes) are keen to involve more sites next year. We are immensely grateful to them.

Our interesting carved bench at the children’s playground below the Observatory will be officially dedicated in the Autumn. It is already proving to be both useful and handsome.

Another recent improvement of a green space may be seen at Clifton Cathedral: at the corner of Worcester Road and Clifton Park is a beautifully replanted garden, at its centre a finely carved slate – Lest We Forget.

We now regularly replace Summer Talks with country visits. Buscot Park, near Faringdon, has a handsome National Trust house and a dazzling array of gardens in especially good order. Preceded by a guided tour of the refurbished splendour of St John’s, Cirencester. This was a much appreciated day out.

So too was the private visit to High Glanau in Monmouthshire. An indication of the quality of the wonderfully restored Henry Avray Tipping garden and house is that Prince Charles had toured them a few days previously. (Interestingly he recently visited St John’s Cirencester too .. after CHIS!). Another garden, Wyndcliffe Court, is a different Tipping design and now displays a number of inventive sculptures, which gave an added interest to us.

Respectively RoseMary Musgrave and Linda Edwards ensured perfect arrangements in imperfect weather.


On September 22nd we resume with a topic close to home: Robert Southey, a poet as famous in the Romantic period as Coleridge and Wordsworth but now “Bristol’s Neglected Son”, the title of the lecture to be given by Stuart Andrews. A distinguished historian, he will be familiar to many members as a former Headmaster of Clifton College.

On October 20th the AGM will be the time for members to how CHIS has fared over the year and hear a talk on ?????


May was sunny for the dedication, before a sizeable gathering at Buckingham Vale, of the plaque to Dorothy Brown. Her old friend Mrs Alcock, in unveiling the plaque spoke movingly of Dorothy’s unequalled contribution to conservation in Bristol and beyond, too often in barbarous times. She was not alone in the tributes. Dorothy’s family crowned the occasion with delicious refreshments.

A great engineer, Charles Richardson, of the Severn Tunnel and other works, is unjustly neglected, as we heard at a CHIS talk. The plaque at 10 Berkeley Square (a Bristol University property) will in part remedy that situation and is adjacent to our plaque which commemorated Thomas Guppy, another notable Bristol engineer.

See later pages for a record of the Award for Excellence to the Life Sciences Building and Gardens of the University of Bristol.


Alas, there is an aspect of Town and Gown life which is less agreeable, with reference to Bristol and the University of West of England. CHIS had been approached by Richmond Area Residents Association to join with them and Oakfield Road Association to express the concerns of local residents with regard to the ever-increasing number of students living in the area. The document that had been prepared was well researched and detailed.

It was agreed at the July committee meeting that CHIS would be associated with the broad principles concerning HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) and new residential buildings.

The problems are not confined to Bristol. Over ten years ago a cross-party group of MPs from a number of cities like Manchester, Nottingham and Leeds would meet to share concerns and seek remedies. We doubt whether it still exists. A practical idea made at a meeting in Clifton at that time was that every HMO must display on a plaque the address and contact number of the owner in case of trouble.


The raised pavements at more bus stops on routes 8 and 9 are most welcome, as will be the promised electronic indicators, the seat near the busy bus stop by the WH Smith site on Clifton Down Road has been enclosed behind the new wooden fencing. We hope that the Rotary Club, who presented the seat, will arrange for it to be put back nearby.

The Residents Parking Scheme now covers all of BS8 as does the 20 m.p.h. limit on residential roads. Outside my flat the warning sign to slow down has given up the ghost, exhausted by the need to flash at motorists who speed merrily along.

All motorists will surely be relieved to know that a petrol station is to be incorporated in the new Asda store at the top of Blackboy Hill.


The libraries at Clifton and Redland have been saved after much protest from CHIS and many others, although the opening hours will be but four per day.

The above-mentioned WH Smith site is a continuing eyesore, with seemingly little prospect of a new construction in keeping with this crucial area. We will do our best.

We welcome action by Bristol City Council regarding PVC window replacements in our conservation area. Pressure from our Planning Group has resulted in the Council’s requiring the owners of one property to replace the offending material acceptably.

New Website

Over the last twenty years our website has developed in roughly three stages. After lengthy reflection a sub-committee has settled on an up to date model. Christopher Jefferies convened many searching meetings, enabling the professional designer, Laurence Penney, patiently to incorporate necessary information in a streamlined, easily navigable website. The current one, widely frequented over the years, is to be the Archive Site website. This will allow anyone to look at what CHIS has done over the past twenty years in the interest of the area. It is an interesting record of the varied concerns that have arisen during this time, a sociological record of an inner city suburb.

The thoroughness and skill of the team – Christopher Jefferies, Richard Bland, Linda Edwards, RoseMary Musgrave, Laurence Penney and Maggie Shapland (whose energetic running of the former website is greatly appreciated by members) – have been of inestimable value. We owe them great thanks.

Please judge for yourselves by going to:

The Newsletter, itself re-designed a few years ago, continues as before and will be sent to CHIS members. Only the Chairman’s Report will be put on the website.

Brian Worthington