Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society (BIAS)

** looks better when viewed in browser supporting current standards***

BIAS Requests for help

This facility is for members only- but anyone can reply!

Volunteer information event Know Your Bristol On the Move

Saturday 1 March at 2pm Bristol Record Office, Create Centre, Smeaton Road

We're seeking volunteers for a major new project to add thousands of Bristol postcards to Know Your Place. Could you help to research photos or update the website? The Vaughan postcard collection

'Know Your Bristol on the Move' is looking for volunteers from across Bristol to research a collection of 9,000 old postcards from the city’s archives. Can you help us to find the stories behind the pictures? Could you help us to add the images to the Know Your Place website? We have opportunities available for volunteering from home or during drop-in sessions at Bristol Record Office. Come along to our volunteer information session to find out how you could take part in this exciting project. Tea, coffee and cake will be provided!

For more information, please contact the project’s Engagement Coordinator, Dr Nick Nourse (n.nourse@bristol.ac.uk). Come to this special event to find out more.

Turntable at Avonmouth

Jan 31 2014: I am a volunteer on the GWSR, helping to rebuild Broadway station. We were recently contacted by the Bristol Port Company to look at an old turntable pit on their site at Avonmouth, with a view to recovering engineering bricks for re-use at Broadway. We made a site visit a couple of days ago, and I attach some pictures we took FYI. We think the turntable pit has been out of use for a very long time, probably since 1930. On the 1927 aerial photograph you can just make it out right of centre, by a (now demolished) shed. It is partially collapsed.

We are likely to accept the offer to recover the bricks, but we wondered if you knew about the old turntable, and whether you wanted to examine or photograph it. The area does not seem to contain any other railway artefacts. The only striking feature about the pit are three (possibly 6, the site is very overgrown) 5ft cast iron blocks marking the arrival and departure roads. These are marked ‘MR’ (Midland Railway). It would be nice to preserve these, but they are extremely heavy and access to the site is problematic as it is so overgrown. They each have 2 cut outs in the shape of a bullhead rail.

At the moment we do not have a date for the brick recovery. We are waiting for the BPC to clear the former siding site next to the pit, so that we can get a lorry in. This is expected to happen within the next month or two. If you are interested, we can give you the contact with the BPC for a visit. Note that the site is private.

If any of your members want to help us clear the pit and stack the 4-5000 blues we hope to recover to rebuild Broadway station, they are very welcome to join us. Best regards, Jo Roesen, Volunteer, GWSR, Broadway Area group Mob: 07794 906583

BIAS Gazeteer

We need help in collecting information for the BIAS survey of our industrial heritage. We want to know about every industrial site which has visible evidence of its past, within the old Avon county area.

Much effort has gone into the development of a database for holding this information and the for providing a method of submitting the information electronically by members. Once the database has been populated, then it is easy to extract the information from it for inclusion in a Gazetteer, and perhaps, later, adding the database on our web site so that it is available to a wider audience. Please collect information either about your own locality or share your knowledge about your special interest. By sharing this activity, it will become a reality. YOUR SOCETY NEEDS YOU.

Please contact Ken Kemp who is co-ordinating the gathering of information: by email on Ken or telephone on 0117 932 3512.

For those without access to computers, we still need your help in visiting sites and reporting on them.

Industrial Ruins in Hail's Wood

I have had an enquiry from Martin Bodman about some substantial remains at Hail's Wood (formerly Hill's Wood), south of Easton-in-Gordano. There is a bit of 'chatter' on the web plus the image below.

hails wood

The suggestion is that it may have been a snuff mill but it appears to me to be more likely to be connected to the quarrying industry with structures like bins for graded stone and a crusher plant. There is also a water feed shown on the OS sheets which may be significant. It appears to have been in operation into the 20th century and I suppose could have been commercially linked to a company such as United Stone Firms Ltd.

I'd be grateful if you could just identify just what went on there and point me in the direction of any literature or contacts should Martin wish to take this further.

Brian J. Murless (Somerset Industrial Archaeological Society) brian.j.murless@btopenworld.com

Mike Taylor would also be interested to hear from you maggie.shapland@gmail.com

Iron castings

Sept 2013: Can any one identify what this iron casting is? Pictures show both faces, I found several of them close together in a wooded gully off Ironmould Lane, Brislington, leading down to the river. The location is accessible only on foot so it is not likely to be the result of casual fly tipping. Suggestions to Ken Kemp ken@ken9kemp.plus.com.
mould mould

Research Framework for the Archaeology of the Extractive Industries (Mining and Quarrying)

The work on a Research Framework for the Archaeology of the Extractive Industries (Mining and Quarrying) in England is now entering its second phase - the development of a Research Agenda. We are arranging seminars to present a summary of the findings from the Resource Assessment (phase one) and discuss the results. We want to hear your comments and we need to hear your opinions about the directions for future research.
The seminars are free to anyone wishing to attend and the dates are as follows:
Saturday 21st January 2012 at the National Coal Mining Museum, Caphouse Colliery, Wakefield, WF4 4RH. Starting at 1030 for 1100.
Saturday 11th February 2012 at Sidcot School, Winscombe, North Somerset, BS25 1PD. Starting at 1030 for 1100.
At each seminar, Jon Humble, Senior National Minerals Adviser and Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English Heritage will speak about the National context of the legacy of mineral extraction. We will also include presentations about some of the work on the Assessments. Following a buffet lunch, we will facilitate group discussions about the results of the assessments and the possible directions for future research.

WE NEED YOUR COMMENTS AND OPINIONS!
We need you to read the assessments, which are being posted to the National Association of Mining History Organisations (NAMHO) web-site www.namho.org , comment on their content and express opinions in advance of seminars. Please send any comments to Phil Newman, the Project Officer. You can also send comments by post (address in signature below). We welcome any comments, criticism, corrections and additional information.
Contacts:
Project Director Peter Claughton P.F.Claughton@exeter.ac.uk
Project Officer Phil Newman projectofficer@namho.org
Copies of this notice can be downloaded as a PDF from the website www.namho.org where a full programme for each seminar will also be made available.

Public Weighbridges

I intended contacting BIAS earlier this week regarding a photograph on www.flickr.com of a small building in Brunswick Square, Bristol which I thought might have been linked to a public weighbridge which I vaguely remembered as being located there. I have since spoken with two friends who confirmed that there was indeed a weighbridge in Brunswick Square. However, my curiosity has been roused and I wondered whether BIAS might have any information on this or other public weighbridges in Bristol. I would be most obliged if you could point me in a suitable direction to further my research.
Many thanks Steve Lewis (stevelewisster@gmail.com)

Bristol Cattle/Horse Troughs

  As part of a private, non-commercial project I'm attempting to locate all the remaining cattle/horse troughs that were originally erected by an organisation called the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association (MDFCTA). Although I started my search in London I have now extended it across the rest of the UK (and abroad).

According to my research 10 such MDFCTA troughs were erected in Bristol between 1883 and 1906, several in conjunction with the Bristol and Clifton Ladies SPCA (BSPCA). Although I have accurate dates, the original locations are mostly very imprecise.  

I have tracked down 4 extant troughs in Bristol:  

  I've also seen a photograph (from the 1950's ???) of a 9'6" trough outside the Stag and Hounds pub. This trough is no longer anywhere in that area.

  So, my question is, do you, or any of your members/colleagues know of any other extant granite cattle/horse troughs in Bristol, or the surrounding area?  Or, could you put me in touch with another organisation who might be able to help me.   I would be very grateful for any information you can supply me with.   Regards,   Alan Underwood (info@londontroughs.co.uk)

Bristol Old Vic

Feb 09: I am a member of the design team for the refurbishment of the Bristol Old Vic and involved in the mechanical and electrical engineering design. There has been a lot of work done recently by specialists on the evolution of the theatre layout and history but little on the history of the heating, ventilation and lighting for the building.
I would like to make contact with members or others that may either known something about the history of the heating, ventilation and lighting for the building or known something about these subjects on early theatres. Please ask them to either email me on davidelliott@hoarelea.com or contact me on 01454-889-142
Thanks for your help David Elliott . Associate, HOARE LEA

Leiston Steam Museum

I am the chairman of a smalll but nationally important steam museum at Leiston in Suffolk. Please see www.longshopmuseum.co.uk and www.longshop.4free.net. .
Supported by HLF grant, our volunteer team has spent two years restoring an extraordinay hybrid steam engine, named Sirapite. The restored engine will be presented to the public for the first time at our forthcoming open day. 27th March (2010) - you would be a very welcome visitor on that occasion.. At present, we have about 30 yards of rail in the process of being laid down in the former works yard (which doubles up as our visitors' car park). I am thinking of publicising this as the shortest working rail line in Britain
However, out of the blue, we have suddenly been offered the opportunity to purchase the former route, on which Sirapite used to run, cutting behind the back gardens of the houses in two streets in Leiston, from the Museum site up to the old railway station map reference TM4462NW. We have been given first refusal until 31 st March.
We fear that if we do not buy the whole, the present owner will offer it piecemeal to the householders whose properties border the property. Any long-term opportunity to restore the track and run Sirapite on it will be lost forever. The asking price is £50 000. Needless to say, the Museum does not have available money of this sort and, if we are to meet the deadline, we have to raise funds (or promises) very rapidly. I hope that, as someone with a shared interest, you may be able to advise us on possible sources of funding that we might approach.
Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated Gathome Cranbrook, (Chairman, The Long Shop Project Trust) Great Glemham House Saxmundham IP17 1LP +44 7775 755825 lordcranbrook@greatglemhamforms.co.uk

Aerofilms Collection of air photographs 1919-1953

This was acquired by English Heritage and the Royal Commissions on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Wales and Scotland in 2007. They are developing a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to make it available by conserving it, cataloguing it and putting the images online. They are hoping volunteers can help with the images. Ultimately they are hoping to make the Collection available online allowing people to share information and memories about places in the photos.
Some of the key things they are trying to find out is if people would be interested in volunteering for their project and if so, how they might like to do so. They also want to find out what might prevent people from getting involved. The information will be used to support and inform their funding bid to the HLF.
If you would you like to be kept up-to-date with this project, please send an e-mail to aerofilms@english-heritage.org.uk asking to join the mailing list who will occasionally send you news and information by e-mail. Your e-mail address given in this way won't be used for any other purpose.
If you have any questions or are interested in finding out more about the collection and plans for making it available, please do not hesitate to contact:
Claire Hughes, Aerofilms Collection Project Development Manager English Heritage, National Monuments Record Centre, Kemble Drive, Swindon SN2 2GZ Tel: 01793 414495

SS Great Britain coming home 40 years ago

The ss Great Britain Trust would like to hear from anyone who remembers the ss Great Britain coming home to Bris­tol in July 1970. We are working with Ashton Gate School and with Hotwells, Clifton and Cliftonwood Local History Society to record local peoples' memories.
If you can spare up to four hours, and are happy to be interviewed about your memories please contact us. You can call Kate Rambridge on 01 17 9260680 or send an e-mail to salvage@ssgreatbritain.org

Radford Brewery

Sep 09: Does anyone have any photographs, other pictorial evidence or info. about the Radford Brewery est. C.1790 at Radford on the Somerset Coal Canal by the Collins family. Contact Diana Lewis Tel. 01761 472371. email rhmlewis@tiscali.co.uk.

Bristol Coalfield

Sept 09: SGMRG are planning to produce a series of books on the various areas of the Bristol Coalfield, first up are likely to be Bedminster area by Mike Taylor followed by Parkfield and Shortwood by Steve Grudgings, David Hardwick is well underway with Yate and points North. Could anyone who has or knows of any information relating to this topic please contact Mike Taylor (Maggie.shapland@bristol.ac.uk). All materials will be handled carefully, copyright respected and the provider credited
Steve Grudging would also like help on access to Matt Southways files or family (he had a daughter who Steve would love to contact. He has come across quite a lot in George Watkins files in the NMR but there must be loads more. Steve.Grudging@btinternet.com /07768 381502

BAC 100. 2010: 100 years of Aviation on the West of England

The British and Colonial Aeroplane Company and the Bristol Aeroplane Company Ltd, were registered on the same day in 1910, but the business initially only traded under the first name. Its aircraft were universally known as ‘Bristols’ and the firm adopted the latter name in 1920, becoming just ‘the BAC’ for generations of local people. BAC spawned  Bristol Cars Ltd, Bristol Aero Engines Ltd, British Aircraft Corporation, British Aerospace (Filton), Bristol Engines Division of Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Airbus, among many other ventures.
This is just the beginning of planning the celebrations. The organisers would welcome your own ideas and proposals. These will then form the basis for funding applications and approaches for sponsorship. http://www.bac2010.co.uk/ for more details

Clifton Rocks Railway

March 09: Maggie is always on the look out for information about Clifton Rocks Railway and is currently doing oral history of those with memories of sleeping or working in there, or even riding on the railway.
Please contact me if you can help. Maggie Shapland 97 Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4DD.

Cast iron lamp posts

Jan 09: Maggie has just completed a survey of all the cast iron lamp posts in Bristol BS8 (a conservation area) and found that there are many different styles and local founders who made them. The survey will be in the next BIAS journal and makes an attempt to date them. Since 500 cast iron lamp posts are being moved around Bristol from non-conservation areas to conservation areas in the near future, it would be interesting to complete the survey for the rest of Bristol before their context is lost.
Please contact me if you would like to help. Maggie Shapland 97 Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4DD. Members may also be interested in surveying their own area if they do not live in Bristol

Temple Meads Station

Feb 09: We have two people looking for information!

Yate Railway Station

8 Jan 09: George Bell of Brimsham Green School, . Broad Lane, Yate, Bristol, BS37 7LB is doing a project with Yate Museum on Yate Railway Station, and the Bristol and Gloucestershire Railway. Can you please help him. His teacher is Mrs Hoyle who can be contacted on 01454 868888

Cast iron lamp posts

8 Jan 09: Maggie has just completed a survey of all the cast iron lamp posts in Bristol BS8 (a conservation area) and found that there are many different styles and local founders who made them. The survey will be in the next BIAS journal and makes an attempt to date them. Since 500 cast iron lamp posts are being moved around Bristol from non-conservation areas to conservation areas in the near future, it would be interesting to complete the survey for the rest of Bristol before their context is lost. Please contact me if you would like to help. Maggie Shapland 97 Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4DD. Tel: 0117 9736653. Members may also be interested in surveying their own area if they do not live in Bristol

Fussell Mells Excavation

I am writing for information regarding the BIAS excavation carried out on the site of James Fussell’s ironworks at Wadbury near Mells in the 1970s. I am in the final stages of writing a book on the Fussell family for the Frome Society for Local Studies, and would like see the archive produced by the excavation. I am aware that the excavation was not written up, but assume that the photographs, drawings and notes produced at the time exist and can be viewed.
Email: robinthornes@atgmedia.com

Needham of Stockport

In the course a guided walk around the Bath suburb and village of Combe Down recently, BIAS read the name of Needham cast into the base of a lamp standard. It is a beautifully ornate specimen, even if it is not very well painted. It no doubt dates from about 1900 at which time supplies of g.as were reaching out from the Bath Gaslight and Coke Company’s works to villages around the city; the design of the post is also typical of the period. But it would seem that the firm of Needham of Stockport, although it must have supplied most of the country’s drain grids, unwritten. Does anyone out there know of any records of this foundry? Any guidance would be helpful.

Parnalls Exhibition 31st July - 13 September

Yate and District Heritage Centre is embarking on a Parnalls exhibition 31- July to 13th September. Do any BIAS members have any material or knowledge of Parnalls? Contact Davud Hardill, Community Heritage Officer, Yate Town Council Heritage Centre. Tel: 01454 862200, email: david.hardill@southglos.gov.uk. http://www.yateheritage.co.uk

Fulling Mills

Oct 07: From Trevor Dunkerley. an enquiry on his research into, and excavation of, a fulling mill. He wrote: I am currently directing an excavation and research on an early medieval fulling mill which, in the early 19th century, was converted in an attempt to pump water from the lead/silver mines at Combe Martin, North Devon.(The website can be found at at http://www.combemartinminers.co.uk/)
In order to assist our research it would be helpful to know if BIAS had conducted any work, especially excavation, on fulling mills over the years, and if there arc papers within the BIAS Journals which you feel would be helpful to us. We have now calculated that the mill-pond contained some 70,000 gallons of water, and the replacement wheel of the very early 19th century was of iron construction, 20It in diameter and aft breast. We do not know if it was an overshot or undershot wheel. It would be useful to know the water flow requirement for a wheel of these dimensions, and its water capacity requirement over an eight hour working period. Unfortunately we have been unable to find any documented record of the existence of the fulling mill. However, the majority of the finds are early medieval, including church pavement tiles which. suggest the mill was originally part of a monastic (aran_e. Any assistance you could offer would be gratefully received.
Owen responds:- "I have replied simply saying that we have not had occasion to excavate a fulling mill, nor indeed a large pump: but that Gerallt Nash at St. Fagans would be a good man to ask about fulling mills, since the museum has one (not medieval. though) which is set to work when required." Trevor Dunkerely can be contacted on: trevordunkerley@waitrose.com; a copy to hsxohw@bath.ac.uk, if you know how to do this, would be respectfully acknowledged.

Millstone quarries

From John Pickin, who originally wrote to the Mills Research Group saying: "I have started recording the millstone quarry at Colvend, Kirkudbrightshire, southwest Scotland. The quarry worked a reef of lower carboniferous conglomerate which was only accessible at low tide. Do you know if there are any other British examples of intertidal millstone quarrying?"
Again, Owen was unable to help, saying "Not surprisingly, my answer was that I knew of no similar source of millstone anywhere at all. Does anyone else? You may reach him on gerda@gpickin.wanadoo.co.uk; mention that it is a message for John Pickin, and a copy to hsxohw, as above would be lovely to have."

WELLS CATHEDRAL - WERE YOU THERE?

Aubrey Prutton, who arranged the two BIAS visits to Wells Cathedral in March 2006 wonders if anyone has photographs of the party when on the roof of the building. He can be contacted on 01749 677673. Incidentally, it was Aubrey who organised the supply of a copy of `Mendip from the Air', not Geoff Fitton as previously stated - Apologies.

DO YOU HAVE ANY MEMORABILIA?

Members of BIAS are keen to ensure that records and artefacts relating to local industry are preserved for posterity. We must ensure that material significant to the history of our own Society does not disappear from view. Do you have records, photographs or even memories which should be gathered and safeguarded? Most material can be copied readily these days. Modern storage methods allow records to be held in a safe and accessible form so that they can be made available to current and future generations of members. Please look into your personal archives and let any Committee member know if you have anything which you think may be relevant.

Ram Hill Colliery

The Friends of the Ram Hill Colliery need the help of local community as this important historical site is in need of further support.
The Ram Hill Colliery site is a fine example of early nineteenth century coal mining. Dating to around 1830 the site is located at the heart of the North Bristol Coal Field and holds the standing remains of the Steam Engine House, the Horse Gin, the Mine Shaft, the Dramway Terminus and, in all probability, the Water Reservoir and Boiler House. All of which can tangibly explain how coal was mined during the Industrial Revolution of Britain and for many local people it forms a link to their family history. English Heritage recognition and scheduling of the site In 2006 the Ram Hill Colliery site was given Ancient Monument Scheduling Status by English Heritage. This recognises the national importance of the site and protects the site for the future.
For more information on The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery contact: David Evans by e-mail david.evans@southglos.gov.uk or telephone 01454 863649

Slag Construction Blocks in Gloucestershire

April 2007: Tim Denning (timdenning@blueyonder.co.uk)is making an image bank of slag blocks
The 2003 Journal of the Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology contains a paper by Nigel Spry entitled 'Eighteenth Century Slag Construction Blocks in Gloucestershire - A Survey'. This details the results of fieldwork by members of GSIA, the Gloucester and district Archaeological Research Group, the Forest of Dean Local History Society and the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society and others, of the locations and use of 18th. century slag blocks in the present county of Gloucestershire. It had originally been intended to record the location of such blocks in all pre-1974' Gloucestershire parishes beside the Severn and Wyc and in hinterland parishes one or two beyond the riverside ones, depending on the topography. Unfortunately it was not possible to find people willing to join in carrying out the survey in South Gloucestershire, so only the present-day county was investigated. This lack of interest was surprising, considering that many of these blocks originated from within South Gloucestershire, beside the river Avon. There is much evidence of use of slag blocks within South Gloucestershire and Will Harris of BIAS suggests that there is still scope for information to be added to the GSIA survey. This presents an ideal opportunity for BIAS members to carry out interesting field work in our immediate area, so if any members are interested, would they please contact Will Harris who will be pleased to supply them with copies of Nigel Spry's paper. This contains details of the format in which the Gloucestershire data were recorded and much useful information for anyone interested in the subject.

Steam Roller Drivers in Bristol

Mr. Martin Ubank of 93 Elm Close, Little Stoke, Bristol B534 6RJ has sent us the following:-
I am looking for any records that relate to steam rollers in Bristol around 1900. In particular, I an given to understand that a John William PIPER was one of the first (or even the first) steam roller drivers in the area. He moved to the St George area in about 1898 and made his home in Salisbury Avenue, near St Michael the Archangel's church in Two Mile Hill. In 1901 his occupation was indeed given as Steam Roller Driver.
If you can provide any information, or you can point me in the direction of records that might help. I would be very grateful.

Bristol Corn Merchants

As part of on-going research into the history of the warehouses at Gloucester Docks, Hugh Conway-Jones is looking for information about Bristol corn importers who also had links with Gloucester. Several firms operated in both ports, and Hugh is trying to establish more about the nature of the businesses and the people involved. The firms include Adams, Hosegoods, Spillers and Bakers, Turner Nott and Co, Vining, Wait and James and Weston. He has extracted information from the trade directories, and he would now like to hear from anyone who might be able to fill in additional details. He can be contacted on 01452 619679 or conway-jones@freeuk.com

The Bristol Fireclay Company

Working on a monograph on the building stones of Norfolk including brick and terracotta, one of the problems my investigation has encountered concerns an Edwardian Chapel of Ease in the parish of Stow Bardolph in west Noffolk. The chapel is not mentioned in N. Pevsner and B. Wilson, The Buildings of England. Norfolk 2: North-west and South Norfolk, London: Penguin Books, 1999.
The chapel has an external fabric that is wholly of terracota blocks. Those for the quoins and window and door dressings were specially produced. I have so far been able to establish that the blocks were supplied using the railway system by the Bristol Fireclay Company.
The Bristol Fireclay Company had its head office at 6 and 7 Castle Street, Bristol, in the centre of the city, and a works, exploiting Coal Measures shales, in Crews Hole Road, in the St George's district of east Bristol. The company went into liquidation in 1910 or 1911, a few years after the building of the chapel at Stow Badoiph.
My query is whether anyone knows anything about this company and its products. Sources in Bristol have not so far been very helpful in answering these questions. Any information members can offer would be most gratefully received and acknowledged.
Emeritus Prof JOHN ALLEN, School of Humaan and Environmental Sciences, The University of Reading, P.O. Box 227 Whiteknights, READING RG6 6AB
BIAS home | About BIAS | Events | Contact