A walk around Sea Mills Garden Suburb – The Library and Community Centre

Take West Parade to the Sea Mills Library and Community Centre (4). From the junction with The Crescent onwards, you will be passing a few of the more than 400 CNA2 type three-bedroom, non-parlour homes designed by the City Engineer’s Department that were built in Bristol’s inter-war estates. Alternating with these along West Parade are W H Watkins’ WSB2s, a three-bedroom, non-parlour home. (The significance of parlours is explained in the Hillfields walk.)

The library is another landmark building on the estate. It was designed by C F Dawson, Chief Architect in the City Engineer’s Department, and opened in 1934. This is one of Sea Mills’ secondary centres and is located at the convergence of six roads with a clear line of vision in each direction.

The Community Centre is behind the library. (To reach it, go up Sunny Hill, to the left of the library entrance when facing the building.) The Sea Mills Community Association was founded in September 1945 and led a long grass-roots campaign to build a community facility for tenants. Residents were invited to purchase shares in the project for £1 each and enough money had been raised to begin construction by the late 1950s. Work was carried out over a period of five years by volunteers. The Centre closed it’s door for the final time just before Christmas 2019. Until then it was open for a variety of events each day including regular meetings of Sea Mills Amateur Dramatics. It also hosted the Sea Mills Flower Show, which dates back to the estate’s early days.

During the Spring and Summer of 2021 the centre is being used as a location for filming, graffiti on its walls, extra fencing and the rubbish around the outside is part of the set dressing for the film.

Local people are awaiting a consultation with Bristol City Council about provision of a replacement community building.

Building the Community Centre in the 1950’s
The rear of the Community Centre in March 2021 – made to look messy for the filming of The Offenders

Methodist Church / Hallen Drive (directions to next stop)

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