Get prepared for our 7th Big Bulb Plant!
Above: A busy afternoon at the Doors Open Day at the Echo last month
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- Doors Open Day report
- Big Bulb Plant preparations
- Iron Bridge news
- More new benches
- Lost chandelier up for auction
Working Party Reminder - Big Bulb Plant, Saturday 12th October
Reminder: October's working party will be our 7th annual Big Bulb Plant and take place this Saturday 12th. This Month we meet at SHIREHAMPTON ROAD CAR PARK at 10:30am, but come along from 10am if you would like to help set up. We will be working on The Circle nearby.
Please feel free to come along any time during the day.Tasks will be digging and planting daffodil bulbs. Please come along with suitable clothing for the weather on the day, bring a spade if you have one but we will have spares, and we hope to see you there. Please keep an eye on our Facebook Page in case of any change of arrangements, or call 07811 666671 on the day to find us.
Doors Open Day report
We were blessed with fair weather for the Doors Open Day event last month. Although we weren’t advertised as part of the main weekend’s activities our fringe event at the Echo went well. Sadly we didn’t get the usual number of visitors who’ve visited us at the house in previous years, but still attracted around 200 to the exhibition.
The reproduction of the Echo statue always attracts a lot of attention and this event was no different, with many visitors admiring the cardboard cut-out as they walked up from the house believing she was real! A lot of people came across us by chance on their afternoon walk and enjoyed finding out a little more about the park as visitors.
These events are always great for hearing other people’s recollections and memories of their time here at school, university, as a police cadet, or as a local resident. One of the visitors told us about her mother, an architect in the City Council, who had worked on the restoration of the Echo in the 1980s when it had been in a dangerously decaying condition. We were able to show her the patched-in hole in the side of the building and the restored urns on the roof that her mother is likely to have been involved with.
We also took the opportunity to do a little light cleaning at the Echo, sweeping out the collected mud and litter, and leaving it in a better state than when we’d started.
Above, left, and below: Visitors enjoy KWAG's exhibition in the Echo.
Big Bulb Plant preparations
Our Big Bulb Plant is likely to be a big challenge this year and we’ll need all the help we can get. Whilst the numbers of bulbs are the same as previous years 8000 daffodil bulbs are going to be more challenging than our usual bags of smaller bluebell bulbs! KWAG volunteers were out this weekend preparing the open area of The Circle for the event which will take place on Saturday 12th. Nettles have been trimmed down and the site now open for planting.
Our plan is to start at about 10:30, though please do come along at 10 if you want to help set up. This is a great opportunity to bring the family to get involved and volunteers are free to turn up any time during the day. All we need to do now is hope for good weather or we’ll be in real trouble!
Above: the 8000 daffodil bulbs await volunteers to plant them .
Iron Bridge news
We have been reassured by a recent report of the City Council’s cabinet now being fully aware and supportive of the restoration of the Grade II Listed Iron Bridge as a matter of urgency. Just this Friday the Bristol Post reported that a question had been asked of cabinet member for highways, Kye Dudd, at the a regular public Cabinet meeting. In response to Councillor Alexander’s question cabinet Cabinet have stated that the council “needed to get this work done” and said that he had asked officers to “reprioritise the capital budget” so that funding was available for the work once planning issues had been resolved. He added: “It Is a priority to get this done and we will be putting the money forward.”
Whilst these assurances have been given before this is the first time they have been a matter of public record and have been made so high up the Council. There appears to have been no further movement on the Council’s current planning application that’ been so heavily criticised.
Below: The news headline from the Bristol Post
The feedback so far on our alternative proposals, illustrated in last months’ newsletter and on our facebook page, has been very positive. Most of the comments have been fully supportive of our designs that would restore the bridge in-situ and protect it either side with steel goalpost frames. Where there has been some discussion is on the best place that the steel structures could be erected.
There was concern that the steels needed to be sufficiently in advance of the bridge to allow for lorries to find an alternative route without having to reverse, dangerously, back up narrow roads. We agree and will be looking to make sure that this is accounted for in the developing designs. Suggestions that the steels could be located much further back into Lawrence Weston were also made, but this will not be possible; Lorries, busses and delivery trucks still need access to properties between Lawrence Weston and the Bridge. Instead we will be advocating a much more extensive system of warning signs and illumination to make sure drivers are alerted to the height restrictions much further in advance.
More new benches
Our thanks go out again to the volunteers who installed three new benches in the park, and those who have generously donated them. Jim Ellis lead a small team of volunteers reinforced by the kind services of staff at Kings Weston house to install benches at Penpole Point and around the edge of the main meadow outside the house. We’ve noticed these are already getting used, which is always rewarding return for efforts.
Bench instillation will likely take a break over the Autumn and winter, unless there are sponsors who come forward with any urgent requests. We hope to expand the programme next year to include tree planting to replace historic losses. More on this soon.
Above right : Digging the bench holes on Penpole Point
Below: Volunteers pose by one of the installed benches.
Lost chandelier up for auction
We recently discovered an auction lot of Kings Weston interest was coming up for sale shortly. It was a shock to find that Athelhampton House in Dorset was selling its entire contents, amongst which is a brass chandelier which formed the centrepiece to the main hall of Kings Weston until recent times.
The chandelier was part of the redecoration of the house in the mid-Eighteenth Century and forms part of its original interior design scheme. It disappeared from the house sometime in the 1960s or 1970s, sold-off by Bristol Technical College during their occupation of the building; it was replaced by a rather depressing and incongruous light fitting until this was replaced with a more suitable modern chandelier in about 2000.
Above: The chandelier from Kings Weston hanging at Athelhampton House.
Below: The chandelier in its original location in the hall at Kings Weston, 1927
We have known for some time that the original ended up at Athelhampton, though we’re also aware that there was never any Listed building consent for its removal. This has always led to the paradox that it was in another Listed building where it might contribute to the special interest, whilst it should still be in Kings Weston house. We assume that, as it is now being sold, that Historic England are satisfied that it’s not integral to Athelhampton’s importance as an historic property.
With the chandelier coming up for sale there are questions whether it should be returned to Kings Weston, having been removed without consent and against Listed Building legislation. For the moment the chandelier is up for sale by Duke’s auctioneers with a guide price of £2000-£4000. For anyone who might be interested in bidding on the lot and returning it to Kings Weston the auction is to be held on the 9th of this month, and it’s Lot 11 in the auction which will be held inside Athelhampton House. It’s worth noting that the lucky buyer is required to dismantle and remove the chandelier at their own cost.
Below: The interior of Kings Weston House in about 1973 about the time it was taken on by Avon & Somerset constabulary, and with the incongruous modern lantern hanging in place of the original. At this time the paintings were removed for safety.