The Bristol Blitz – A walk in the past

The Bristol Blitz – A walk in the Past

I was a child of the baby boom generation born just after the war.  Growing up I remember large bomb sites in the centre of Bristol in particular the area around Castle Park  which was covered with grass and purple buddleia.  My husband who is older than me can even remember going into air raid shelters to escape the blitz and the big street parties which marked V.E. day in 1945.

However when I saw a walk advertised on the “Walk in the past” website “the Bristol Blitz,”  I realised I did not know very much about the actual details of the blitz itself.  My mother who was a teacher had taken evacuees to Cornwall and my father lived near Bath so they had not experienced it directly.

The Bristol Blitz memorial

Many people know St. Peter’s church which is in the centre of Castle Park close to Cabot Circus shopping centre and the galleries.  It was  destroyed during the blitz and only the shell remains.  It is kept as a memorial to the 1,299 civilians killed in Bristol whose names are listed on a board outside.  The area round Castle park had been filled with narrow bustling streets and small shops before the war.  St. Peter’s Church

The shell of St. Peter's chuch in Castle Park
St. Peter’s church was destroyed during the Blitz. The shell has been left as a memorial.

 

Before the war the government did not think Bristol was  a major target so did not make much effort  to protect the city.  The Germans however disagreed.  There was a large aircraft  factory in Filton and Avonmouth was an important transatlantic port.  Bristol was also a vital railway hub for South Wales and the South West.  Pilots could easily find the city at night by simply following the rivers Avon and Severn.

1941-1942 Blitz

There were several major air raids in 1941 and 1942 in which thousands of houses were completely or partially destroyed and many civilians were killed or injured.  Many eyewitness accounts exist.  People recalled how at first they watched the flares and bombs and thought it was   a rather grand Guy Fawkes celebration.  However they quickly realised the horror of the destruction and how the centre of Bristol would be changed for ever.

Our walk

We met by St. Peter’s church and looked at the names on the war memorial

This picture was given to my parents as a wedding present in 1947.We explo

and then explored  the area round Castle Park and the site of another ruined church St. Mary Le port .   We also looked  at pictures of the rather beautiful

This rail was embedded into the grass just feet away from St. Mary Redcliffe Church. It has been left to show how narrowly the church escaped damage

old Dutch house (right)which was destroyedduring the blitz and other photos of the pre war city.   we then headed  to St. Mary Redcliffe church and saw  a section of tram track which narrowly missed the church.  We next  looked at the ruins of Temple church, close to Temple Meads railway station which was originally a round temple owned by the Knights Templar.  Temple Church

We then climbed to Beckinghamham Road in Knowle where a large unexploded bomb nicknamed Satan lay undiscovered under the road for two years.  It  was estimated to weigh 1800 kgs and was one of the largest bombs to have been dropped in England.  It would have caused considerable damage if it had gone off  but instead was paraded through London for V.E. day.

Reflections

This walk was very different from previous walks looking at the medieval city or for Tudor   architecture as many of the walkers could remember being told stories by their parents or grandparents who had lived in Bristol during the blitz .  Some knew   the people who used to live in the houses that had been damaged or destroyed.  We also talked to some of the current occupants of Beckingham Road .  It was a real experience of living history  which brought the past vividly to life.

If you enjoyed this post you might like Roman Londinium A walk in the past

A cruise around the British Isles.

A cruise around the British Isles

I  have been lucky enough to have travelled quite a lot in Europe but there are still many places in the British Isles that I have not visited yet.

So when my husband saw an advertisement for a cruise going right round the British Isles departing from Avonmouth, our local port we thought it was too good to miss.   We booked with CMV, cruise and Maritime Voyages.  The ship used was the Marco Polo.  This liner has an interesting history having been built sixty years ago for the Soviet Union.  I had never been on an ocean cruise before and was not sure what to expect.

We were very lucky to be given a cabin high up on the 11th floor well away from the noise of the entertainment and the bars.  I had wondered whether I would be bored being on a boat for a week as I normally enjoy walking but in fact there was plenty to do with lectures and shows. Some of the entertainment reflected the age of the passengers who were mainly elderly with games like throw the bean bag and rock and roll evenings.

I had booked walking tours at our various ports as I thought I would get cabin fever but instead I found I was surprisingly tired when I came home.  This might have been something to do with the amount we ate.  There was a lot of good food provided.  If you wanted you could have six meals a day, breakfast, eleven o’clock snacks, lunch, four o’clock tea and cake, dinner and even a midnight feast.

I certainly needed those walks.  My favourite places were the Scottish Isles which I had never visited before particularly Tobermory with its colourful houses instantly recognisable from the children’s television show, Balamory and Kirkwall in Orkney with its whitewashed stone houses.

A photo of the womble Tobermory outside a shop in Tobemory
Tobermory in Tobermory wombling free.

I also enjoyed my first visit to Dunfermline where we saw the birth place of Carnegie and learnt something of his life story:  How he went from Weaver’s son to one of the richest men in America.  He did not forget his native city and endowed it with a concert hall, library, park, swimming pool and technical college.

A statue of Andrew Carnegie
This statue is of Andrew Carnegie, the philanthropist in the park which he bought for the city after not being allowed to play in it as a child.

   The homeward leg

We then sailed south visiting Honfleur, a well preserved seaside town at the mouth of the Seine  in France and Jersey the largest of the  channel Islands.

Bronze cows wandering through St. Helier
Realistic statues of cows in St. Hellier Jersey.

 

Our last port of call was my  favourite Tresco in the Scilly Islands where we were lucky enough to be taken on a tour of the Abbey Gardens by a retired gardener.

A picture of chocolate colour succulents.
Succulents in the Abbey garden in Tresco

Two National Trust properties to visit near Bath.

Two of my favourite  National Trust properties near Bath.

My husband and I are members of the National trust.  For any one who is unfamiliar with the National Trust it is the organisation which looks after many stately homes and gardens as well as large swathes of countryside in England.  It is a charity and membership fees help pay for conservation and upkeep of the property and land.   It is also possible to pay an individual admission fee to each property.

I thought I would share two of my favourite local gardens for a relaxing afternoon walk .

Dyrham Park

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Deer relaxing in the Park.

This house was built  in the early 17th century by William Blathwayte who was a friend of William of Orange  and  had worked in the Netherlands so it has a decidedly Dutch feel.  It is particularly noted for its Delft china and Spring Tulip festival.  It is on the edge of the Cotswolds and is an ancient deer park.  The deer are quite tame and let visitors get close.  It has a good play area for children.   Dogs are not allowed in the deer park but there is a separate dog walking area.  The roof of the house was recently replaced and last year visitors were able to walk round the scaffolding and see how the house was constructed.  As well as a large park there is a lovely well maintained garden with a lake to explore.

A free shuttle bus takes people from the car park to the house or you can enjoy walking through the parkland though be warned there are steep hills.   It has a good café with out door seating and a large gift shop.

Dyrham Park  

This is a link to the National trust website with more details.  You will also find details of special events throughout the year.

Prior Park Landscape Garden

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This garden is on a hill above the city and has wonderful views over Bath.  The Bath skyline walk starts close by.

As there is not much parking nearby  we catch the number 2 bus from Bath bus station.  It is also served by the hop on hop off tourist bus.  The house was owned by Ralph Allen who was associated with the introduction of the 1d post.   The landscape garden was partly designed by Capability Brown with some suggestions from the poet Alexander Pope.  It has plenty of shady woodland and lake side walks and a small café.   The original house is now a college and not open to the public.

It is on a steep hill so not suitable for disabled visitors.  It is most famous for its Palladian Bridge which is listed on a website as one of the ten most romantic places to propose in the west country.  The last time we were there a bride and groom were having wedding photos taken.  If you plan to do this make sure you bring suitable footwear as the paths are steep and can be muddy.

Prior Park Landscape Garden click the link to find out more.

Make an extra £20.00 a month by filling in surveys

How to make an extra £20 a month

From 2017 the British government allows you to make a £1000 a year without having to declare it for tax purposes.  If you have a couple of hours a week to spare it is fairly easy to earn some extra money online.

A lot of companies like to conduct market research by getting people to fill in surveys.  This can be any thing from watching adverts to see if you have understood the message, to asking questions to find out how you shop.

Like many people I began my online money making by filling in these  surveys.         I would be the first to admit that spending 20 minutes filling in a survey for 50 pence is working well below the minimum wage however if you are time rich and money poor it is worth considering these sites as a way to earn a few pence.  Many sites also offer vouchers which can be saved for Christmas or birthday presents.   Quite a few sites also let you donate money to charity.

I look for sites that let me cash out at a low payment threshold and are easy to use.   Another important consideration is do they use the demographic information you provide to choose suitable surveys to match your profile.   I  prefer using British sites as I think they are less likely to disqualify you from surveys. Sometimes filling in surveys can lead to other opportunities. This year I was invited to a focus group to discus a well known science magazine for which I was paid £30.00 after filling in a survey and  I was also asked to keep a spending diary after another survey on a different site for which I received £15.00.   It is worth thinking about your answers and paying attention to trick questions.

My favourite site which does have a £50.00 minimum cash out is populus live.  It pays about £1.00 for five minutes and it took me about ten months to earn £50.00.

A  couple of other reliable sites.


Branded Surveys.

This site is American but seems to have plenty of surveys.  You start as a bronze member and can then pass through the ranks to become a silver or gold member which gives you a chance to get higher paying surveys and more points in the daily poll.    Be sure to do the daily poll to get at least 5 extra points a day.  You also receive a bonus if you are disqualified from a survey.

Branded surveys.

QMEE

 

QMee

we both get 50p if you use my link.   If you install the QMee app you will also earn a few pence for  searches.  This site lets you cash out any amount to paypal so it is worth giving it a try.

Yougov

This site is a slow but reliable earner.  Minimum cashout is £50.00.  Surveys are by email invitation only and once you are invited to participate in a survey you can usually complete it.  They are generally short and work well and are often on political or current topics.

YouGov

I would like to know other people’s favourites in the comments.  I know Pinecone is highly recommended but I have been unable to get on the panel.