Addison’s Oak shortlisted for award – vote now!

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 create”.

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.

To vote for Addison’s Oak, go to https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/vote-tree-of-the-year-2019/england/
Voting closes on noon on 27 September 2019, so please VOTE NOW for Addison’s Oak.

For further information contact Sea Mills 100 at info@seamills100.co.uk or visit the following websites:

https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/insight/insight/sea-mills-we-visit-one-of-the-first-estates-to-benefit- from-the-addison-act-62106

https://municipaldreams.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/addison-streets-a-celebration-of-the-1919-housing- act/

For the full list of trees shortlisted in England see https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/vote- tree-of-the-year-2019/england/

All change at the museum

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.

Pick up a free Homes for Heroes 100 comic

Wow! We Celebrated…

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.

Our museum – all wrapped up, a present for Sea Mills waiting to be opened

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!

Local people came to watch, including our MP Darren Jones.

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.

Visitors on the trail

February Action!

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.

A series of small challenges…

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!

Children’s work – library exhibition

In November 2018 we ran “Snack, Chat and Reminisce”, a chance for older residents to get together over a cuppa and some cake and share memories at St Edyth’s Church.

The group were joined by a year 6 class from Sea Mills Primary School who had been learning about the area and about interviewing people. They had lots of questions to ask.


Now the children have written up the stories they were told and they are on display at Sea Mills Library along with some historic photos of the area. Pop along and have a look.

Snack, Chat and Reminisce was made possible with additional funding from Heritage Schools, LinkAge and the support of Local Learning.

Find out about your home – Sat Feb 2nd & Wed Feb 6th

Free workshops
Bristol Archives

B Bond Warehouse, Smeaton Rd, Bristol BS1 6XN

Sat 2nd February 1.30pm (FULL)
Wed 6th February 1.30pm (FULL)

(both identical 2 hour workshops)

We have arranged free workshops with Bristol Archives to show us how we can find out about our homes and the people that lived in them when they were new. A lot of our homes in Sea Mills were built in the 1920’s and would have housed returning veterans of WW1, however some houses were later, and a few have been around a lot longer. Come and find out when your home was built and start to find out who lived there. We will also be looking at public buildings and the history of the estate. We’ll be looking mainly at houses in Sea Mills Coombe Dingle, but if you don’t live in the immediate area you could still come and help as there will be lots to do.

The information we gather will form part of a heritage trail and our mini-museum which opens in the old red phone box on Sea Mills Square in June 2019.

Email us to book info@seamills100.co.uk

NEWS: New Year, new video, new you tube channel!

Happy New Year everyone, it’s time to get this project really going. In the next few weeks we will be booking visits to our local record office and getting started with researching into the estate and into our own homes. The information we find will be used in our heritage trail and our mini-museum in the phone box on the Square. The trail will take place over the weekend of 8/9 June 2019 and the mini-museum will also open that weekend and stay for a year.  Look our for news of developments here, on our social media, mailouts and on the noticeboards at the Cafe on the Square, outside the old Ironmongers and of course keep an eye on the phone box on the Square.

We have also opened a new you tube channel  for the video clips we will generate during the project. We hope you enjoy our New Year video below, it’s also on our you tube channel along with our Christmas lights switch on for those who missed it.

NEWS: Christmas lights switch on

Sea Mills Xmas Tree

Despite poor weather quite a crowd gathered last Tuesday 18th December 2018 to watch long-standing local Sea Mills resident, WW2 veteran Stan Tozer turn on possibly the most unusual Christmas lights in the country. Our lit tree is causing quite a stir as it’s INSIDE a disused phone box on Sea Mills Square – on the junction of Shirehampton Road and St Edyth’s Road in north Bristol.

The tree will be lit every evening over the Christmas period and see us into 2019 which mark 100 years of the Sea Mills estate. Selfies are definitely encouraged! #SeaMillsTree

The tree was made possible with the financial support of: Keith and Gill Bonham, Collistear Hair and Beauty, Sea Mills Together and Sea Mills Community Initiatives. The decorations were made by local school children.

Stan Tozer turns on Sea Mills Christmas lights
Photo by Dave Mallard

Sea Mills Xmas Tree
Photo: Mary Milton

Sea Mills Xmas Tree
Photo: Mary Milton