Welcome to KWAG's September newsletter
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A slightly shorter newsletter than usual following this weekend's flurry of activity around Doors Open day

Above: The main front of Kings Weston house 


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This month:

  • Working Party - Continuing the Echo Path  
  • Iron Bridge Update
  • Doors Open Day report
  • Last of the Miles
  • More historic entries on Know Your Place

Working Party Reminder - Saturday 16th September

Reminder:   September's working party will take place this Saturday 16th. PLEASE NOTE this Month we meet again at Kings Weston house car park at 10am. We'll continue felling laurels along the path to the Echo, close to the ponds. We will be working HERE 

Please feel free to come along any time during the day, but we do prefer to be able to do health and safety briefings as a group at 10am if possible. There will be tasks to suit most abilities. Please come along with suitable clothing for the weather on the day, bring hand-tools if you have some suitable,  and we hope to see you there. Please keep an eye on our Facebook Page in case of any change of location, or call 07811 666671 on the day to find us.

Working Party update - Continuing the Echo Path    

August’s working Party continued work taming the cherry laurels along the pleasure walk linking the woodland car park to the Echo through the woods. Unlike last month the felling of this rampant invader went extremely quickly thanks to a large team of volunteers and we even extended the working area half way through the day. As always our thanks goes to everyone who came out and lend a hand, especially as August is usually our quietest month!

Above: View looking north-west, roughly in the direction of  Kings Weston house, before and after conservation work. 

The path, originally laid out in the Georgian era , is gradually becoming an open and accessible route with views through the woodland. Our intention is to continue our programme of native bulb planting through the area in October and we will be sending out invitations to join in this annual task soon.

Below: Before and After view looking from the Georgian pleasure path in the direction of the Echo, through the woodland. 

Iron Bridge update

After a long hiatus progress on the iron bridge issue is gradually developing momentum with the City Council. We have some concrete news from the City highways department in the form of the following report which outlines work stages required and the likely timescales. For your information we’ve included it here in full :

Kingsweston Lane Footbridge was impacted by a HGV on the 4th November 2015, where substantial structural damage was suffered to the underside of this lightweight footbridge cast iron structure. There is already low headroom warning signage in place on approaches to this footbridge. The footbridge was immediately inspected on the same date and was subsequently closed to pedestrians on health and safety grounds.

As a consequence of the damage incurred the Council installed a temporary scaffolding bridge support arrangement above this footbridge to prevent the bridge itself from collapsing onto Kingsweston Road below. This support scaffolding was installed using an emergency road closure on the 5th and 6th of November 2015. The bridge remains closed to pedestrians. A signed alternative pedestrian route via Kingsweston Lane (including a temporary pedestrian crossing), is in now place. The road remains open to traffic. The alternative pedestrian route is inspected on a monthly basis

Below: The Iron Bridge in happier times before it was struck in November 2015

The Council is committed to reconstructing this listed historical footbridge and to reinstall this vital pedestrian link. However due to the listed status of the bridge and the paucity of existing information, further detailed investigation will be required to be undertaken before BCC are in a position to commence works on site. Subject obtaining the appropriate Capital Investment availability, this is provisionally programmed to be commenced on site early in the New Financial year, April 2018.

By potentially raising the headroom height of the footbridge it is hoped the mitigate the future potential for HGV bridge strikes, However this would change the appearance and would create pedestrian ramping on the approaches to the footbridge which may not be accepted by (HE) or BCC Planners. This will be investigated further by BCC and a decision made on the appropriate design accordingly.

The footbridge itself is constructed from numerous jointed cast iron elements and is also grade 2 listed, constructed circa 1800. The footbridge has received significant structural damage with the east side of the bridge sustaining major damage and loss to two arch beams which transfer the structural loadings of the bridge to the walled abutments on either side. These are the key structural members that hold the bridge in place and give it the required strength. To date we have luckily been able to find the old wooden moulds for these arch beams and have been able to source an suitable boundary and have had a replacement arch beam already recast and this is now in safe BCC storage awaiting to be installed.

Below: The Iron Bridge in 2015 during shoring-up works 

We intend to use our Professional Frameworks Consultants (CH2M) to undertake the preliminary investigations, site surveys, Listed consent submission, detailed design/assessment, and Contract preparation and Tendering out to Market. The likely cost of this this commission brief would be in the region of £30,000.00 to include and cover the following phases:

Preliminary Design and Investigation Programme For Kingsweston Lane Footbridge

Phase 1: Preliminary Date: October 2017 
Undertake a full topographical survey of the bridge itself and the surrounding area of the bridge (15m either side). This will be done under a full road closure, organised by BCC. As this is a Conservation area we will need to consider the flora and fauna within the surrounding area , including bats and badgers etc.

Phase 2: Preliminary Date: November 2017
Inspect Bridge and determine the original method of original construction and connection. This will determine how the bridge is to be dismantled taken down, stored and then resembled. Undertake structural investigation and assessment as to the possibility of raising the bridge by about 400mm and look at the feasibility of this and the overall impact this would have in terms of access across the footbridge etc.

Phase 3: Preliminary Date: December 2017 
Liaise with David Martyn (BCC Historic Environment/Conservation Officer) on Listed requirements from Historic England (HE) for the dismantling, storage and re erection of the bridge. Consult with HE & Planning with regard to consents required to raise the footbridge if this is considered to be feasible.

Phase 4: Preliminary Date: January 2018
Submit required Listed Consent to HE and BCC Planning BCC and await outcome and further instruction.
Phase 5: Preliminary Dates: February to March 2018 
Detailed Design, Contract and drawing Preparation, Tendering out to Market, Assessment of returns and award of Contract.

Doors open day

Doors Open Day 2017 broke all records for the number of visitors around Kings Weston this last weekend. Over 700 people attended the annual event on Sunday 10th August which saw Vanbrugh’s mansion open to the public along with many of the city’s other historic properties. This year the event occurred on the Sunday of a four-day programme across Bristol rather than the usual Saturday, and the attendance perhaps benefited from a more relaxed programme.

Visitors were able to take tours guided by KWAG’s David Martyn for the history, and Norman Routledge who talked guests through his extensive restoration of the house over the last five years.  KWAG’s exhibition was, as always, set up in the former Drawing Room, now the Oak Room, and children’s activities were laid on by Karen in the Vanbrugh Room.

KWAG are grateful for all the interest and kind words expressed over the work of our volunteers.  In turn our thanks go to Jim, Celia, Emma and Martin who manned the exhibition and helped with its setup. Donations collected throughout the day totalled just shy of £300 and will go towards next month’s big bulb plant.

Above-right: Crowds gather ahead of a Doors Open Day tour in the grand Saloon of Kings Weston house
Below: Norman Routledge takes visitors through the Great Hall on a tour of his restoration of the house. 


Last of the Miles

KWAG was contacted recently by a well-wisher in the USA. David McGreevy had acquired a photograph from an English seller that he wanted to know more about, and thought we might share his interest.
The photo, dated 1873 is a fascinating insight into the Miles Family who lived at Kings Weston between 1834 and 1936. It shows the last two owners of the estate together as father and son. The 57-year-old Philip William Skinner Miles is seen holding the reins of Philip Napier Miles’s pony; the younger miles was just eight when the photo was taken.

After a little detective work we were able to identify the location of the photo as the yard of the stables on Napier Miles Road, and have passed this on to its new owner. In return he has happily allowed us to share it with you.

Above: Philip Napier Miles sits astride a pony and his father, Philip William Skinner Miles holds the reins. 1873

More historic entries on Know Your Place

Bristol City Council's Know Your Place website goes from strength to strength with regular new entries of historic information and images provided by volunteer contributors and public collections. Amongst the recent submissions KWAG has included on the map-based site are some Twentieth Century images including the one below of Home Farm in 1936. As published in last month's newsletter the Home Farm building, once the agricultural heart of the estate, is today for sale. This image comes from an earlier sale catalogue issued by the executors of the estate of Philip Napier Miles when the estate was split up and sold at auction.  

Whilst the building remains recognisable the attractive garden setting and outhouse in the foreground were swept away after the Second World War when Lawrence Weston Estate was laid out and the building converted for use as a new health centre. Since then is has been a Bernardo's home, and, most recently, a nursery. Although the building is now Listed Grade II there is little left inside that hints at its historic nature; much was refurbished and modernised and the fifties though the roof timbers remain preserved in the attic spaces.

You can access Know Your Place using this link, though please have patience as the page loads as there is now a huge amount of information available on it that needs to load. It may take as long as a minute.     

Above: Home Farm on Kings Weston Lane seen in 1936

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