The first year of the project seems to have flown by, so much has happened and there is still so much we could do! Remind yourself of the last year by watching our video.
We are continuing to record oral histories, collect photographs and create displays in the museum. We are in the process of collating information to upload here and also to the Bristol Know Your Place website which is a fantastic resource for Bristol’s heritage. We will also be running some more events in the new year, they’ll be a short book and a radio programme produced so watch this space!
If you would like to help or have memories or photographs to share please get in touch.
You have until the end of this month to see our Remembrance display at the museum.
On Remembrance Sunday around 40 local people gathered at the museum to hear the last post and to remember all those affected by war.
WW2 veteran Stan Tozer who has lived in Sea Mills for more than 90 years gave the Exhortation:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. We will remember them.
Several people then spoke to remember relatives and also people they had found in their research during the Sea Mills 100 project, this including remembrances of an 18 year old who was one of the first people to be born in Sea Mills who died on a convoy ship during WW2, an American solider billeted in Failand Crescent and a Jewish family who escaped the nazis and found safety in Sylvan Way.
The Remembrances will be on display in the museum until the end of November. After that we will upload them here for everyone to see.
Addison’s Oak featured highly in our resident-led walks for Bristol Open Doors and is an important feature of our local landscape. Don’t forget it’s shortlisted for Woodland Trust “Tree of the Year 2019”. Voting closes at 12 noon, 27th September so vote now!
On Sunday 15th September we welcomed several hundred people to Sea Mills as part of Sea Mills 100’s activities for Bristol Open Doors day. Our Methodist church was open to host a “Snack, Chat and Reminisce” event along with a ‘minimal walking’ version of the heritage trail we presented in June. Two resident-led walks were conducted which were supported by the Bristol Architecture Centre, plus vintage buses visited the square and took visitors on short tours.
Addison’s Oak in Sea Mills Square has been shortlisted in the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year competition for 2019. Voting closes on 27th September 2019 so vote now.
Described by Eugene Byrne (in Bristol and the First World War, 2014) as “in its way” “one of Bristol’s most
important monuments”, Addison’s Oak in Sea Mills, north-west Bristol, has been shortlisted as one of 10
trees nominated for the Woodland’s Trust Tree of the Year 2019 (England) award.
Addison’s Oak, a fine young (in oak tree terms) centenarian, recently celebrated its 100th birthday when
residents, dignitaries and invited guests sang “Happy Birthday” to the tree and cut a cake specially baked
for the occasion.
Planted on 4th July 1919, it commemorates the cutting, by Dr. Christopher Addison M.P., of the first sod of
Bristol’s city-wide public housing scheme that was to provide “Homes Fit for Heroes” returning from the
First World War.
Christopher Addison was the minister responsible for the 1919 Housing and Town Planning Act. The
Addison Act was a watershed moment for council housing provision in Bristol and nationally. For the first
time, government subsidies to local authorities provided new housing for working people. The scheme
became known as the Addison Scheme, the houses Addison Houses.
Prior to World War One, high density, often slum, dwellings, crowded into highly polluted cities, were a
major cause of ill-health and social malaise. As Addison said in his speech at Bristol, they could not “deal
adequately with the health problem of the country unless they were at the same time competent to deal
with the dwellings the people inhabited”.
Consequently, the new houses would be built in low density estates laid out in accordance with the
principles of the garden city movement, with houses designed to be open to light and fresh air. Gardens
and allotments would provide physical exercise, fresh garden produce, and social interaction. Dedicated
play areas would provide fresh air and physical exercise for the children.
Addison’s Oak is situated on Sea Mills Square at the heart of the Sea Mills estate, now a conservation area
and recognised as Bristol’s finest example of planned post-WW1 municipal housing with its distinctive
garden suburb layout.
In 1937, John Betjeman described Sea Mills as having “a surprising beauty showing off in the evening
sunlight; and vistas of trees and fields and pleasant cottages that that magic estate has managed to
With its direct link to the man whose name is most strongly associated with the Addison Scheme,
Addison’s Oak is a fitting symbol of the new enlightened approach to public housing in green healthy
surroundings which began in 1919. It stands as a testament to the value of living in green, healthy
surroundings, open to light and fresh air, and the importance of giving that opportunity to all people.
We believe it is a fitting candidate for Tree of the Year 2019 and invite you to please vote for it.
We will be changing much of the display and audio at the museum in time for our events on the 15th September, so if you have not yet managed to visit, get down there soon to check it out before it changes. The museum is open 9am – 5pm Sunday-Friday and 10am-5pm on Saturdays. There’s a children’s trail and you can also pic up a free “Homes for Heroes” comic.
The new display will reflect the content of our resident led walks which are being run in association with Bristol Open Doors this year.
The weekend of 8th / 9th June 2019 was a special one for Sea Mills as we celebrated our centenary. Our mini-museum was complete, gift wrapped and ready to be opened by Lord Mayor Jos Clark and local writer and Sea Mills boy Derek Robinson.
There was a great turn out of local people, and it was fantastic to see how many people where interested in celebrating the heritage of their local area, including our local councillors and MP. The museum proved to be very popular with the audio clips inside being played over 300 times over the weekend. It’s a vert long time since any of us had seen a queue at a phone box!
As part of the weekend local people had research the history of their homes and put the information outside their houses as part of a heritage trail. One of the most amazing things for us was seeing people going around the trail with their maps ticking off the ones they had seen. It worked! People were doing it! It was also brilliant to meet people who had come from all over the country to see the trail, many of them previous residents, some of whom had contributed information for the trail.
Today was an important day for the project. We started work on the phone box in the Square and also held our first session at Bristol Archives where we leaned about how to start researching our homes.
We think that the phone box will need three more sessions to complete the preparation for renewing the red paint. We do need a few more volunteers for this part of the project, particularly to help interact with the public, make sure no one trips on our equipment and look after the volunteers doing the sanding.
Here’s some pictures from today’s work, we even got a visit from our MP Darren Jones.
One of the most exciting and visible parts of the Sea Mills 100 project is the renovation of the phone box in Sea Mills Square on the junction of Shirehampton Road with St Edyth’s Road to turn it into our mini-museum in time for the 100th anniversary in June.
After the phone in the kiosk was disconnected by BT the box was officially “adopted” by Sea Mills Community Initiatives in order to put it to community use. It’s already housed our christmas tree and lights and now it’s time to get started on turning it into our museum. This is as the title suggests a “series of small challenges”. Our box currently is without most of its glass, the door doesn’t close properly, a transom bar is missing and it’s slightly the wrong colour. Also we don’t have the power supply we need to light it or to power the audio interpretation we would like to put in our museum.
All phone boxes have some sort of power supply, apparently a few rural ones ran on batteries but most have an unmetered mains supply, ours did but we adopted it as disconnected, without the supply. We have been looking into getting this reconnected, the alternative would be some sort of solar power arrangement. To cut a long story short, after speaking to Western Power this weeks small challenge is to get into the fusebox area of the phone box to see if the wiring is still connected. Challenge one – identify the tool needed to remove the security panel. Challenge two – find and order said tool. I’m sure the there will be further challenges but at the moment we await the removal of the panel!
We will keep you posted but if you can help, please get in touch. We’ll be looking very soon for an electrician to help us with our installation, it could be your quickest “whole building rewire” ever!