Bristol Voice Features

Castle Street destroyed. To the right is Bristol Bridge. The ruins are now mainly Castle Park

When bombs fell on Bristol and dad shot down half an airplane

By Harry Mottram: When Britain declared war on German in 1939 the prospect of the conflict coming to the quiet streets of Bristol, Henleaze and Westbury Park seemed fanciful to some people. How wrong they were as before VE Day was declared in 1945 the city saw bombs, destruction and death on a scale not known since the siege of the English Civil War.

Bristol suffered hundreds of deaths from bombs dropped on the city with one bombing raid in 1941 lasting 12 hours of terror as 160 tons of high explosives wiped out large parts of Castle Street and Park Street. The Bristol Blitz as it was called lasted throughout the winter of 1940 and 1941 leaving some 1,300 dead and a similar number wounded and thousands of residents homeless.

It was a time when some of Bristol’s most famous buildings and streets were damaged beyond repair as the Dutch House, St Mary Le Port Church, St Peter’s Hospital and Temple Church were all gutted by subsequent fires. In St Augustine’s Reach and across the city the Home Guard manned anti-aircraft guns while above barrage balloons with their trailing cables attempted to snare low flying enemy fighters. My father Kenneth Mottram spent many a night manning one of the ‘ack-ack’ guns in Baldwin Street. His crew claimed to have downed an enemy Heinkel bomber over the docks as the bombs rained down. Sadly, the next day another anti-aircraft unit claimed the ‘kill’ and so the hit was shared as ‘half each.’ A very British compromise.

Kenneth Mottram manned an a gun in Baldwin Street and took out half an aircraft in the war

That period was the most intensive bombardment the city had undergone in history although bombs were dropped across the region from the outbreak of war until the 1944 D-Day Normandy Landings put pay to the reach of the Luftwaffe. In Henleaze bombs totally destroyed 54 and 56 Cheriton Place leaving the homes as a pile of rubble – but miraculously the residents escaped having taken to their Anderson Shelter when the air raid sirens sounded on April the 3rd, 1941.

This is Cheriton Place in Henleaze after an air raid

Henleaze Road took another hit during a daylight bombing raid when number 156 was affected by a close explosion blowing out the windows of Gill’s Hairdressers. It may well be that Henleaze on that occasion was not really the target as German bombers would jettison unused bombs on their way home – on this occasion the bombers could have been returning from Gloucester or on a raid on Filton and simply missed the Bristol Aeroplane Company in the confusion.

It wouldn’t have been the first-time bombs were dropped in such a manner, as towns in Somerset, Dorset and Devon often took hits from the Luftwaffe on their way back. Up on the Mendips the authorities constructed a dummy version of Bristol at night in order to confuse the enemy complete with lights indicating the railway yards. It’s comforting to think that the odd bomb landed on Blackdown amidst the bracken and gorse bushes rather than bringing death and destruction to Henleaze and Westbury Park.

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French food was his first love

Keith Floyd remembered: the chef, his life and his Bristol connections

An original, charismatic presenter that revolutionised how cooking was presented on television. With his bow tie, his glass of wine and enjoyably chaotic style Keith Floyd was a smash hit with viewers making him a global celebrity in the late 1980s and 1990s. Sadly there was another side to the charm brought on by too much booze.

Those with long memories may recall Keith Floyd’s restaurant in Chandos Road in Redland, not so much for his fame (as this was before his TV days) – but for the way he would come and chat with customers at the end of the evening – often with a bottle of brandy in hand.

And that was Floyd: a brilliant chef and a bubbling personality that was to make him a television ratings gold mine – and despite his untimely death at 65 the videos of his cooking continue to appear on the likes of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen years later. And few will disagree with Jamie Oliver’s opinion that he was the ‘most brilliant food presenter in history.’

Born in Berkshire in 1943, he spent his childhood and youth in Wiveliscombe near Taunton where his parents lived in a council house. Nevertheless, they saved enough to send the young Keith to Wellington School from the age of 10 to 16. Initially an outsider in the school he soon came to love life there and was devastated when his parents stopped paying the fees at the age of 16. He had seen reporters in the movies and fancied becoming one and so wrote a letter to the editor of the Bristol Evening Post. He wore a bow tie and a trilby to the interview, charming the editor Eric Price and started the following week as a reporter.

There he worked alongside the likes of Tom Stoppard and Roger Bennett who wrote the children’s column. Roger was married to the women’s editor Paddy who would ask him to babysit their children on occasion. On his own admission he wasn’t the best reporter, but it did introduce him to worlds far beyond Wiveliscombe. He met Peter O’Toole who was at the Bristol Old Vic – remaining friends for life – and he discovered food at the Hole in the Wall restaurant in Bath. And dining there with one of the paper’s executives (as he couldn’t afford the prices on his salary) was a transforming experience. It was as he described: “…just amazing food that most British adults, let alone teenagers, would never have seen. It was exotic.”

He burnt the candle at both ends

After a short stint on the paper, he left to join the army becoming a second lieutenant, but after a nervous breakdown he decided to leave the tank regiment and become a cook taking a job in the Royal Hotel in Bristol in the 1960s. It was not quite what he expected after the experience of the Hole in the Wall. The soup for instance was all from tins and the meat was overcooked along with the vegetables. He decided to move on and took work in France to discover real cuisine.

Although not a born and bred Bristolian the bon viveur and celebrity chef (before celebrity chefs were two a penny) Keith Floyd remains inextricably linked to the city due the restaurants he opened (and then closed.) There was the one in Redland, the aforementioned Floyd’s Restaurant in Chandos Road with a second restaurant with the same name in Alma Vale Road and the celebrated Floyd’s Bistro in Clifton’s Princess Victoria Street.

The book that made his name

In 1984 his parents were living in Sea Mills in Bristol, and he had just made a pilot TV programme which when screened would make him famous. At the time he was working in Chandos Road as he explained: “It was a busy place and I was the chef, the boss, the restaurateur. At two in the morning, I was usually in the restaurant, by the kitchen’s back door, putting out the bins.”

He was married to Jesmond Ruttledge, and had a son, Patrick, but then separated, sold up and sailed in his yacht to the Mediterranean but soon returned, this time with a new squeeze in Dolores. That didn’t work out but he did open a new bistro in Bristol funded by friends. The word soon got around about the bumbling bon viveur full of good humour, great character and fabulous food. He published a book with an introduction by Leonard Rossiter and soon BBC producer David Pritchard got in touch with an idea for a blokey cookery slot on TV. The rest is history.

Married four times, with a daughter Poppy and son Patrick, it is fair to say Keith Floyd was not a good dad, not good at marriage and not good at business. But he was a brilliant chef who could improvised and make jokes as he went along live on TV.

An alcoholic who grew worse as the years went on ending with an early death brought on by too many cigarettes and too much booze. That was one side of him which he never denied in his autobiography Stirred But Not Shaken. The side we all recall is that of someone who could communicate and cook at the same time without all the props of today’s TV chefs, often on a boat or on a beach, with the most basic of equipment. And make it look fun.

Harry Mottram

For more on Harry Mottram visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/about/

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Pre-fab homes in Bristol

BRISTOL VOICE FEATURES: From Homes fit for Heroes to council flats – and when prefabs appeared in Henleaze

By Harry Mottram: If you go down to Badocks Wood in Henleaze and head up towards the Southmead Round Barrow you may notice small patches of a tarmac surface within the grass that surrounds it. For once this area of greenery and woodland was a busy housing estate of pre-fabricated homes put up to house those who lost their homes in the war. Until as late as the 1990s the estate road at Southmead Gardens was still shown on the A-to-Z maps, and the road was still complete with a bus stop despite the complete disappearance of the homes.

Pre-fabs were initiated by Winston Churchill in March 1944, under the Housing (Temporary Accommodation) Act after thousands of people in London and elsewhere were left homeless due to Blitz and later V1 rocket attacks. Most were made out of a reinforced concrete panels, set within a steel or aluminium frame (with the metals often taken from scrap wartime aircraft). There were a number of designs with one constructed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton known as the AIROH design. The name stood for the Aircraft Industries Research Organisation on Housing – not the snappiest of titles but with 675-square-foot and a fitted kitchen table, inside toilet and a bathroom they were very popular as instant homes. They could be put up in just hours and cost around £1,600. By the late 1940s more than 150,000 had been built across the UK with around 2,700 in Bristol with the largest number in Ashton Vale.

The idea was they would last 10 years when the occupants would either buy or rent another home or move into a council house or flat. However, because many people loved their pre-fabs thousands of the homes outlasted their use-by date and were still lived in more than half a century later. In 2014 the Council finally replaced the last remaining pre-fabs with council houses which closed a chapter in their history – or so it was thought. Because once again pre-fabs now called ‘micro homes’ are being built in the city. Tiny numbers have been planned for large back gardens in Knowle West – usually for the siblings of the owners of the main house – and with 16,000 people on the housing list it’s one small solution to the housing crisis. The bulk of the new homes with some owned by the Council will be in high rise blocks of flats with many going up in Bedminster over the next couple of years.

Under the 1919 Addison Act, the first council houses were built in the phrase of ‘homes fit for heroes’ following the horrors of the First World War when some homes were destroyed by German bombs but there was a consensus that returning troops should move into new homes.

In Bristol these were sometimes known at the early parlour semis which featured an extra room on the ground floor making them popular with tenants since parlours were seen a status symbol – the best room where guests could be entertained. Around 2,000 were built in Bristol by the architect Benjamin Wakefield. Usually, semi-detached they also had three bedrooms and included bay windows at the front and had generous sized gardens. Non-parlour versions were smaller with only a kitchen and living room downstairs while there were also short council terraced houses with several homes joined in a terrace usually without a parlour which kept costs down. Today even a home like this in the general Henleaze and Horfield areas can fetch around £350,000 or more – when they would have originally been rented out by the Council for a few pounds a month.

In 1945 there was a renewed campaign to build more council houses with thousands more constructed across Bristol while the post war city saw new estates in Southmead, Hartcliffe, Kingswood and Sea Mills grow up plus council flats appearing in Ashton and Lawrence Hill.

Under the Conservative administration of the 1980s tenants had the right to buy which saw the decline in the numbers of homes owned by the council. It was followed by a period when no council homes were built in the city – although now in the 21st century it has come full circle with a huge programme of construction under way mostly south of the river.

There is an excellent booklet written by Tony Forbes and Eugene Byrne called Homes For Heroes 100, available in local libraries, which illustrates the history of council homes in the city.

Harry Mottram writes features for the Voice publications in Bristol and Bath and is a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

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Local History WG Grace Pic Irish Times

WG never lost his Gloucestershire accent, he took 11 years to pass his medical exams and scored 1,098 runs for England in a career that popularised cricket

But WG Grace, was first and last a Gloucestershire man born in Downend in 1848 in a time when along with Mangotsfield the north Bristol suburbs were country villages quite separate from the city.

With his bushy beard, MCC cap and large 6ft 2in frame William Gilbert Grace (always known as WG) is perhaps the most instantly recognisable cricketer in the history of the game. Born into a cricketing and medical family WG was the eighth of nine children to Dr Henry and Martha Grace with his older brother EM Grace, Henry Grace and younger brother Fred Grace all fine cricketers.

Not known for his academic prowess at school he eventually was enrolled at Bristol Medical School although due to his cricketing career it took him 11 years to pass the final exams and could practice as a physician. WG punished opposing cricket teams with a career average over 30 runs an innings but when practising as a GP often failed to bill his poorest patients.

Dr WG Grace 1848 –1915 Pic Wikipedia

WG was no stranger to Gloucester Road and Nevil Road where he played for Gloucester County Cricket Club from 1870 to 1899, doubling up with caps for the Marylebone cricket Club (MCC) from 1869 and turning out for London County from 1900 to 1904 after moving to the Southeast. However, it was not until 1889 that the county ground at Nevil Road became the pitch of choice. Before that WG and Gloucestershire had played at several grounds including Durdham Down and before that he and his brothers had played for various teams including the county’s emergence from the West Gloucestershire club.

WG’s bowling, batting and fielding along with his dominating personality and natural charisma set him apart creating a cricketing celebrity. Whenever or wherever he played it was not unknown for the entrance ticket price to be doubled such was his pulling power. The stats said it all with 1,098 runs in 22 test matches along with 170 scored against Australia, ten wicket hauls in 66 first class matches and a top score of 344 in county games.

One aspect of WG’s career that has often been mulled over was his ability to earn cash from the sport in the era of Gentlemen (amateurs) and Players (professionals). WG was officially an amateur but amateurs could claim expenses for travel and accommodation from their clubs – something which WG did and was criticised for claiming excessive expenses which effectively meant he was paid. In his later career he was paid hundreds of pounds as the secretary and manager. Compared with the earnings of his fellow professionals it was a fortune although in today’s fully professional era perhaps not such riches.

WG Grace Pic Wisden

And that’s another point of interest. How would he have got on in today’s era. The Grace brothers and their cousins and father were all gifted cricketers which reminds modern players of the Broads, the Bairstow’s, the Butchers, the Compton’s and the Cowdrey’s to name but a few. Surely one of the Graces would have made it into the county side based on natural skill alone. Most analysts place WG in or around the top ten all time batsmen – achieved in part as he played as a teenager to 60 years of age. Fitness regimes were not as they are now and it’s well recorded, he enjoyed his food and wine – but that aside his hand-eye coordination would have ensured his inclusion in today’s England XI who have returned from defeated in recent test series against Australia and West Indies.

Harry Mottram

Harry Mottram writes features for the Voice publications in Bristol and Bath and is a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

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1947 Skating on the lake. Pic: from Henleaze Swimming Club

BRISTOL VOICE FEATURE: From quarry to fishery: the strange and unusual history of Henleaze Lake in north Bristol

It may seem strange today as you walk down Henleaze Road towards Southmead that instead of the comfortable houses and well-kept front gardens you see now, in another era this was a scene of industrial quarrying.

Limestone was being extracted from quarries to feed into five kilns in the area to produce lime for use in construction, agriculture and for chemical and industrial uses in Victorian Britain.

However, as the limestone began to run out and newer sources were found, and industrial processes changed the two quarries at Southmead and Eastfield closed leaving large scars in the landscape. Today there is little sign of Eastfield Quarry which was filled in and features a playground as part of Old Quarry Park at the bottom of Henleaze Road. The last remaining buildings associated with the quarry have been replaced by Amelia Lodge on the junction of Southmead and Eastfield Roads.

Henleaze Lake members in the 1920s. Pic: from Henleaze Swimming Club

Southmead Quarry was much larger and deeper than Eastfield and is very much still a feature although no longer a quarry and no longer called Southmead. That changed in 1912 when quarrying ended and natural springs began to fill it with water forming a lake. Major Stanley Badock leased the lake and stocked it with trout so it could be used for fishing and it was even used for swimming although this ceased after a young man drowned as reported in The Henleaze Book by Veronica Bowerman.

Following the end of World War 1 a swimming club was established in the summer of 1919 which abided by the rules of the Amateur Swimming Association. The club initially leased the lake but later bought it from Badock in 1933 heralding a flourishing period for the club with new diving boards, changing rooms and projecting rocks were removed along with the remains of the kiln.

During the freezing winter of 1947 the lake froze over allowing for skating on the surface. The 1940s and 1950s saw the lake’s popularity reach a peak – sadly it was not to last as in the 1960s membership fell away with diving competitions and water polo phased out as numbers dropped. By 1986 membership was at an all-time low of just 307 compared to today with the numbers over 2,000.

Henleaze Lake in 2022

In 1988 the lake was drained completely to remove any rubbish, to check on fish stocks and to clear away pond weed heralding a new era as the lake refilled naturally and membership increased. Today the club has a waiting list for new members such is its popularity, and many residents not only go swimming but to relax, picnic on the lawns and sun-bathe.

Since its inception the lake has become surrounded by development with Lake Road eventually linking up with Doncaster Road on one side and the development of Lakewood Road on the other side. It is a long way from more than a century ago when the lake was a quarry and rang to the sounds of machinery and Edwardian workmen working the cliff faces that still overlook one side of the lake.

For details of the lake and how to join the club visit www.henleazeswimmingclub.org

Harry Mottram

Harry Mottram writes features for the Voice publications in Bristol and Bath and is a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/harry.speed.9275/

See https://twitter.com/HarryMottram7

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UPDATE: Lantern parade set to light up Bedminster in FEBRUARY

By Harry Mottram. The Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade is perhaps more like a Somerset carnival parade – but without the light bulbs – rather than a parade of children and their parents with paper lanterns. It is a major community event through the streets of South Bristol involving thousands of onlookers, participants and performers – all blessed by every section of Bristol society.

UPDATE:

𝗔 𝗺𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗔𝗱𝗲 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗺𝘀 – 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗶𝗿 – 𝗕𝗲𝗱𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗟𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗚𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗽I am getting in touch to let you know that the Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade which as you know, was due to take place next Saturday 8th January, has been 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗦𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝟭𝟮𝘁𝗵 𝗙𝗲𝗯𝗿𝘂𝗮𝗿𝘆, subject to approval by Bristol City Council.This was a difficult decision to make but myself and members of the project steering group have looked carefully at the risks involved in running a large public outdoor event at this time, with rising numbers of Omicron infections affecting people across Bristol. Our priority has to be on keeping our Bedminster community as safe as possible at this challenging time and we therefore decided to move the event to 12th February.I’d like to thank you for all your support and hard work in getting behind the project this far and I want to reassure you that together with the project team, many volunteers, schools and businesses across BS3, we’re now focusing on putting on a splendid event in February.We will share more details about this as soon as the plans are confirmed and look forward to you being part of a delayed but just as wonderful community event.


And it all started almost by accident over ten years ago as one of the founders Malcolm Brammar explained to South Bristol Voice: “We were originally involved in a one off event run by ACTA the community theatre group who put out an appeal for volunteers to help marshal their parade in Bedminster.”
Stef Brammar explained that the parade was the closing event of an arts festival – and that was the seminal event of the current lantern parade.
She said: “We had just moved here and we thought that’s a nice thing and so we volunteered and went along to help marshal it.”
Organiser Naomi Fuller said the first parade took place in 2011 after the Brammars decided to stage a parade which they called The Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade.
Stef said they managed to raise the £9,000 required to stage it compared to the £21,000 needed for this year’s event..
Naomi said: “Some people don’t realise the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes throughout the year to make it happen.
“And also they don’t realise that it takes a lot of money to put on an event that brings so much joy, that lights up the streets and is so inclusive.
“There are workshops, materials, artists to be paid for and lots of logistical costs such as paying for the road closures, traffic management and insurance.”
Malcolm said: “The first one was a short circular walk and we didn’t even stop the traffic.
“But as it got bigger and more popular we thought we’d better have a rethink and stop the traffic to make it safer.
“At that point the business group BID was established and they said they would support it but asked us to change the route to support the traders.”
The tie up was agreed and the traders chipped in with sponsorship cash.
The parade on Saturday 8th January sees local roads closed to traffic from 3-7pm so the parade sets off along North Street, Cannon Street, British Road and part of South Street with the parade beginning at 4pm near St Francis Church.
If the weather is bad the event is moved to another Saturday with details given out to everyone.
For more details of the parade visit https://www.lanternparade.org/

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Harry Mottram is the news editor of South Bristol Voice monthly magazine and a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/harry.speed.9275/

See https://twitter.com/HarryMottram7

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A cigarette card from the 19th century

A short (and hidden) history of women’s rugby union

By Harry Mottram: Despite over 130 years of rugby union played by a wide variety of club teams in Bristol currently it is Bristol Bears Womens’ rugby team who are the most successful this season.

The female side of the game has for long been in the shadows of the male fifteens partly due to sexism and partly due to historically games such as tennis and hockey were seen as the preserve of the so-called fairer sex.

This as we know is rubbish as I can testify with a female relative playing at a very high level in the women’s game.

Although women have long wanted to play the running game it wasn’t until 1984 when Clifton Ladies RFC was founded, before changing their name to Bristol Ladies and eventually Bristol Bears. Surprisingly the history of women’s rugby dates to the 19th century and due to prejudice has been ignored by mainly male sports commentators.

De Monfort University’s Professor Tony Collins said: ” The story of women and rugby has been hidden from history. Women have played a huge part in the sport, whether it is playing the game, organising it or supporting it.”

The Leicester academic said the first known female rugby player was a schoolgirl called Emily Valentine, who played in a team formed by her brothers at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, where her father was the headmaster. She is recorded as scoring a try in a match held in 1887.

Four years later there was even an international between England and Scotland women revealing that even in Victorian Britain feminists were breaking out of the social restrictions of the time.

The main drivers of female rugby were to be found In New Zealand and universities where women keen on sport tried out various sports through college clubs.

In the land of the Long White Cloud down under women were playing the game with inter club competitions taking place by the turn of the 20th century.

In the 1920s as women’s football took off rugby was making inroads as well especially in Wales and France. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s with the sexual revolution heralded by changes in attitudes, the Equalities legislation and the increase in leisure time and attendance by women in higher education that the female game began to flourish.

In 1983 the Women’s Rugby Football Union (WRFU) was founded with ten clubs including Leicester Polytechnic with home internationals starting in 1996 followed by the Six Nations in 2007.

The game has come a long way since those Victorian women picked up the oval ball and ran down to the pitch – but with the world cup set for later this year the game has come of age.

Since it began in 1991 only three teams have won it. England, New Zealand and the United States.

New Zealand will host the next Rugby World Cup for women in 2022, one year later than planned due to Covid. From 2025 the competition finals will be expanded to 16 teams, from the 12 competing in 2021.

January 2022’s issue of South Bristol Voice is out just before Christmas 2021 – free to thousands of homes plus in shops in south Bristol.

More at https://issuu.com/southbristolvoice 

and https://www.facebook.com/southbristolvoice/ 

Harry Mottram is the news editor of South Bristol Voice monthly magazine and a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/harry.speed.9275/

See https://twitter.com/HarryMottram7

https://mobile.twitter.com/harry_mottram56

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SOUTH BRISTOL VOICE FEATURE: Red Star Bedminster FC: how it all began back in 1987

Red Star in Berlin while on tour back in 2006

By Jon Stephens: They called themselves Red Star Bedminster – after Red Star Belgrade – not the Post Office.

It all started in October 1987 when myself and Mark Newman – we were friends who had recently moved to Bristol from Durham – met up to think about having a kick-about on a new artificial 5-a-side pitch at Windmill Hill City Farm.
We managed to amass six people for that first game – nobody really new each other very well.
Over the first few month’s connections were made through various social contacts and also cajoling kids form the local park and anyone else who was passing.

Slowly the attendances increased to a regular 15 and had a record turnout of 35.

The Eighties were a time of the “new man” and non-competitive sports. The first game played on the Windmill Hill pitch were parachute games. Jonny was slightly surprised at how all these new guys were so into football and he coined the team BAFC – Born Again Footballers Club.

The team on tour in Belgium in 2016

Over the years a full record was kept of all the players and in 1994 the core of these formed a 11-a-side team called Red Star Bedminster. Teacher Chris Carter from Bedminster and the news editor of this paper Harry Mottram of Henleaze Corinthians had discussed the possibility of forming a “casual league” to play friendlies. There were about six or seven teams in those early days – Easton Monday, Redland Ramblers , Poetic Champions, Cunning Stunts and Snow Hill (who had women players). This ramshackle bunch of teams became the now famous Bristol Corinthian League which now has over ten leagues and over fifty teams of over 35s over 45s and over 50s.

Red Star Bedminster went from strength to strength and over the years boasted over 250 players, 25 different nationalities including South African, Benin, Japan, USA, India, Peru, Brazil, French, Kosovan, Georgian, Welsh, Scottish, Gibraltar, a host of Germans, Spanish, Ethiopia, Portugal, and more recently Hungarian. There were also asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, Senegal, Iran and Russia. And guys who were recently homeless and a young street kid from Columbia brought over and adopted by one of our German players.

Also, there were at least ten fathers and sons who played together. The oldest player 67 youngest 8.
Tours were made to Belgium, Berlin, Poland, Stuggart, Porto, France, Hamburg and Devon joining the international “Alternative World Cup|” which another Bristol Team – Easton Cowboys were involved in. And often hosted by the infamous “Lunatics” from Belgium.

The famous Red Star Badge which its five points became to represent.
CROSSING THE FIVE DIVIDES

  1. ABILITY – accept anyone regardless of how good they are
  2. BACKGROUND – accept anyone from any ethnic or class
  3. INTERNATIONAL – connections and players from many different nationalities
  4. YOUTH – crossing the age gap. Fathers and sons old and young
  5. GENDER – support woman’s football
    In about 2016 circumstances saw the attendance at the farm dwindle as older players stopped playing. Red Star struggled to raise eleven players and had to rely on Easton Cowboys’ recruits.
    It was about to fold but in 2018 joined up with another Red Star team – Red Star Republic – who had similar beliefs. This is called Red Star and now has a 35s 45s and 50s team who play in the Corinthians League.
    Jonny and Mark still play on in the 50s team and joined the Bristol Casuals over 60s team which play teams around the country – such as Oxford over 60s, Wales over 60s and 65s, and England over 65s.

December’s issue is out on December 1st, 2021 – free to thousands of homes plus in shops in south Bristol.

More at https://issuu.com/southbristolvoice 

and https://www.facebook.com/southbristolvoice/ 

and https://www.southbristolvoice.co.uk/…

Harry Mottram is the news editor of South Bristol Voice monthly magazine and a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

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When ‘Fatty’ Wedlock took City to the FA Cup Final

By Harry Mottram. They often say you can be fat and fit. Well that was certainly true of Bristol City’s most capped international footballer William John Wedlock.
Born in October 1880 ‘Fatty’ Wedlock as he was known remains the club’s most-capped player appearing in the England team’s line up 26 times and scoring two goals for his country.
The stout and short centre-half had a natural talent for the game as well has having that low centre of gravity possessed by players such as Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.
He was with the club in the 1905/06 season when the Bristol Babes won the Second Division title with the club and then wove his magic on the pitch the following season when City were runners up in the top flight in Edwardian England. It was a golden era for the club which has rarely been matched since although supporters live in hope that the Robins will one day rival those heady days.
In 1909 the team came close to achieving the ultimate dream of clubs when they reached the FA Cup final losing out by a single goal to Manchester United, which they lost 1-0.
In total the one time city skipper made 391 appearances for the team, bagging 17 goals. Bristol City was his only club in professional football.
He retired from the game in 1921 before running a pub near the ground at Ashton Gate which sadly has long since been demolished.
Wedlock’s name lived on after his death in 1960 with the Wedlock stand (now gone) and in the personality of humorist folk singer and entertainer Fred Wedlock.
The man behind the 1981 chart hit ‘The Oldest Swinger in Town’ was a regular fixture in venues and theatres across Bristol until his passing in 2010.
Truly two greats who blessed the city with their diverse talents.

South Bristol Monthly News Magazine is free. Thousands of copies are delivered door to door in Bedminster, Knowle, Southville, Totterdown and Ashton every month – and to shops, libraries and super markets in Bristol. More at https://issuu.com/southbristolvoice and https://www.facebook.com/southbristolvoice/ and https://www.southbristolvoice.co.uk/?fbclid=IwAR0tL-8jFGDT8r3JoSJ9fC1eD_KVwncnzijaSpHPBkhtTRZFMe7hV973LCA

Harry Mottram is the news editor of South Bristol Voice monthly magazine and a freelance journalist. Visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

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