Warmley & Siston – One Hundred years of history – Part 7 of 7 – 1980 – 1999
St. Ivel Way was now the most important new industrial area in the Parish. The area had, until a few years earlier, become a wildlife haven when the clay for the nearby pottery was no longer extracted.
Fish were introduced to this former clay pit and there was an abundance of newts, toads and dragonflies darting in and out of the bulrushes. In the 1970s, the clay pits were used for landfill and in time the area was used for further development.
In 1980 the Barrettine Group of Companies moved on to a 2.8 acre site at the end of St. Ivel Way. Originally, Barrettines began trading in Bristol but in the 1950s moved on to a piece of land in Tower Lane adjacent to William Champions Windmill Tower and Ice House.
The Company sold lubricating oils, solvents and allied products, either in large oil drums or small containers which had to be filled by hand. The product range increased dramatically and eventually the company needed a larger site where they could expand. At a time when the country was struggling during the recent depression, Barrettines continued to expand their market and most of the production is now done automatically.
Under the management of Colin Bailey and Alan Emery, Barrettine products are becoming a household name and are available both at home and abroad.
Over the past century, industry has played a crucial role in the parish of Siston and at various times the skyline has been broken by numerous chimney stacks, predominantly associated with the colliery and pottery trades.
There were two stacks at Haskins Pottery and four more at the Hollychrome works. The Ochre Works had the tallest, there is one remaining at Webbs Heath. There is one stack near Norman Road, belonging to the Siston Hill Colliery and three connected with Crown Colliery making a total of twelve altogether in the district.
The most prominent was the stack between the Crown Colliery and the Midland Spinner, originally called Crown Inn. For half a century, J.W. Hembroughs used this site for offices and stores. In July 1980 they received a quote from J. Dawson and Sons of Clutton for £1,489 for the demolition of the stack, which was becoming unstable in high winds.
The stack was built about 1900 by Dawsons from specially curved bricks made at the brickworks across the road. In January 1981 demolition of the stack began. The bricks were hit down inside and taken to be dumped. At that time the clay pit from the pottery opposite was used as the refuse dump for the Kingswood District and it seems fitting that these bricks were returned from the very same ground they had come from eighty years earlier.
One of the brick-makers was a local man called Jesse White. He scratched his name and the names of his children on many of the bricks before they were fired. Most of the White bricks went to the tip, but several were saved, two can be seen at Bristol Industrial Museum and ten are in the Kingswood Museum collection.
The winter of 82 saw extreme weather conditions that once again smashed all records. We became aware for the first time of the phrase Chill Factor, when low temperatures and high winds resulted in chill factors of minus 20 degrees.
Heavy snows in January and temperatures which remained below freezing point for six weeks resulted in the worst traffic conditions ever. The roads from Toghill and Kingswood became a sheet of ice, allowing articulated lorries down into the hollow but not up again.
Before the traffic was diverted, up to 150 lorries with their crews and cargoes were stranded and a continuous line of vehicles stretched from the Tenniscourt Inn to Wick. The road was now restricted to a single track with a ridge of frozen slush in the centre eighteen inches high. Pictures of this massive column of traffic were sent all around the world and a former resident of Goldney Avenue was amazed to see scenes of Warmley High Street broadcast to her home in Australia.
For nearly a week the lorry crews were entertained at the Warmley Community Centre where they were given a warm, dry place to sleep as well as plenty of hot food, all donated freely from the local community.
The Ochre Works behind Station Road was finally demolished this year. No Ochre had been produced here since the mid-war years. Parts of the site have been occupied by The Warmley Body Works, who built and repaired lorries, coaches and other commercial vehicles. Another section of the old factory was used by Arthur Turner, building contractors, during the 1950s and 1960s.
As old industries were disappearing, new ones were badly needed to employ an ever increasing number of men and women. In June 1981, the New Work Trust Co. Ltd., was founded to provide help and assistance to small firms trying to get started in many aspects of business.
In 1982 the New Work Trust took over the abandoned Warmley C. of E. School in London Road as their marketing centre. The old building is used for customer presentations, exhibitions, conferences and sales training. By 1983, the school had been gutted and redecorated and began a new lease of life helping to promote these new enterprises. This was the first centre of its kind anywhere in Great Britain dedicated to serving small firms and providing professional assistance in new market opportunities and giving effective sales management.
In October this year work began in redeveloping the old railway yard and sidings behind Warmley Station. All the station buildings had been cleared in the early 1970s and had remained unoccupied since that time, except for a brief period in 1974 when a group of gypsies set up camp there.
At about the same time, Sunway Blinds, who were trading in the former Brains Flour Mill in Chapel Lane, were extending their site onto a section of the Station Yard and building several new warehouse blocks thereby almost doubling their floor space. The rest of the yard was laid out for fifteen houses and one bungalow, appropriately called Station Close.
The two remaining sections of Warmley Station have been laid out as one of the main car parks on the rail path. The other piece between the railway and dramroad has been planted with trees and links up with Warmley Forest Park on the old brickyard and clay pits to the east.
In October 1984, The Ashlands on the boundary between Bridgeyate and Warmley was put up for sale. The Ashlands was described as a substantial and imposing mansion house, standing in its own ground covering 5 acres.
The first known resident was Charles Hancock who lived in The Ashlands around the turn of the century. At this time the address is described as Bath Road not London Road as it is today. Other residents include Samuel Ludwig Elistrom, who with other Mormons established a sanctuary at The Ashlands.
In 1920, William Wilson Douglas, son of the founder of the famous motorcycle firm moved in. He had taken part in the 1911 Isle of Man T.T. Races and after the Great War was in the U.S.A and Canada promoting the firm. In 1923, at the age of 43, William Douglas tragically died and his family moved away.
One of the longest residents at The Ashlands was Albert Edward Palmer who owned a biscuit factory at Fishponds, Bristol. He is remembered locally for the fantastic orchids grown in his greenhouse. In 1953 Albert Palmers flowers were sent to London and used by Queen Elizabeth II at her Coronation.
In the 1950s, The Ashlands was divided up into a number of self-contained flats. Since the new owner moved here in 1985, a great deal of work has taken place. A massive boundary wall has been erected and the stables block has made way for a twelve car garage. In the former paddock, a lake has been dug and a helicopter pad installed.
Memories of the great flood July 1968
Before the storm abated, seven people were to lose their lives, bridges were destroyed, dams were demolished and hundreds of homes and factories were flooded. Siston Brook, which rises above St. Annes pool, very quickly burst its banks and flooding occurred near Little Brook Farm, Goose Green. More flooding occurred around the Midland Spinner. The water was so high in the lower skittle alley, a chair became lodged in the rafters of the building.
The Warmley Brook, rising beyond Carsons Factory, created a lake that reached from the bridge in Station Road, Kingswood, to well beyond the bridge in Anchor Road. The fields along Tenniscourt Road were flooded and collected debris created a further blockage to the bridge in Deanery Road, making that road impassable.
At Warmley, Crown Gardens had become a collecting point for the deluge which was unable to drain into the brook. That night the ambulance service was called out to rescue frightened elderly people from their bungalows. The village constable, P.C. Doug Hardiman, was almost swept away as he waded through waist deep water.
The two tributaries now combined by the Champions Summerhouse in Tower Road North and the caravan park, being on the bed of Champions thirteen acre lake, once again became awash. Some of the caravan dwellers had to be rescued by rowing boats as their homes were threatened.
Further downstream the rushing tide of water had picked up a massive tree trunk and, acting like a battering ram, had charged into the dam wall at Willsbridge Mill, breaching the banks and releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of muddy water. The water tore down the valley in a tidal wave, swamping cars and low lying homes to the depth of several feet.
As a permanent reminder of this occasion an inscribed brass plate was erected at the Midland Spinner by landlord, Cyril Hemmings, giving the date and flood level. The plate is opposite the door and about 5′ above the floor.
To the north of Crane Close was a small piece of land recently used by the local council. Originally this plot was the village pound where animals were impounded for straying on Siston Common. The Keeper of the Pound was Jimmy Sandford who lived near the railway arch on the common.
When this archaic form of policing was no longer needed Warmley Council took over the site and built a high arched building to house their steam roller. In 1939, the Warmley Fire Auxiliary Service kept their equipment there and after the war the land was used once more solely by Warmley R.D.C.
After council reorganisation in 1974, the Stanley Road Depot was no longer needed and the old steam roller building stood unused for much of the time. In 1985, Caple Close was extended over the Warmley Brook and a council housing development was soon springing up.
As part of the development, the site of the Stanley Road Depot was needed and in 1986 the old engine shed was demolished. The site of the old village pound is now home for many of the pensioners living in bungalows at Crane Close.
St. Barnabas Church, Warmley, celebrated its centenary in 1951 and will be looking forward to marking 150 years of religious leadership in the area in the year 2001.
The ecclesiastic boundaries of St. Barnabas were set out in 1851 and received the consent of Queen Victoria on the 23rd October 1851. The parish was formed out of the parishes of Siston and Bitton.
The boundary follows the small brook east of Cann Lane as far as Cowhorn Hill Bridge. From there it followed a foot path to the southern end of Wraxall Lane and proceeded up the middle of that road and down Grimsbury Road until it reached the main road.
The boundary then continued along Made-For-Ever Lane, now Tenniscourt Road, until it reached the crossroads at Fisher Road and thence along Anchor Road to Station Road. From here it goes to the railway bridge and over Goose Green Common as far as Brook Farm, where the boundary follows the brook downstream almost as far as the main road and then easterly between property boundaries towards Webbs Heath and eventually back to the starting point at Bridgeyate.
In the 143 years since the church was consecrated there have been thirteen vicars at St. Barnabas, they are:
1851 C.J. Stillingfleet-Bowles
1857 James Turner
1860 Thomas Henry Howard
1886 William Augustus Scott
1906 Frederick Rogers
1924 George Henry Dymock
1926 Henry John Say (Hon.Canon)
1944 Ronald Harry Down
1951 Cyril Winch Francis (Prebendary)
1961 Ronald Edgar
1966 John Pearce
1968 William George Parsons MA
1972 John Chilton Poarch BA (Hon.Canon)
1987 George Mitchell (Canon).
With the growing population surrounding Siston Parish and with greater emphasis on the private motor car, a solution to congested roads was desperately sought. For over a decade, plans for a new East Bristol by-ass have been discussed to provide a connection from Keynsham north to the M4 motorway.
There was even a scheme to have an East Bristol Radial Road, which would have been bulit behind the houses in New Cheltenham Road and then on a raised flyover to join the by-pass on Siston Common above Fisher Road. However, this last scheme was abandoned in the 1970s.
The first section of the ring road, as the by-pass was to be known, was already under way in the Bromley Heath and Downend areas. In 1988 the section from Deanery Road to Wraxall Road had begun, gouging deep cuttings through the fields of Grimsbury Farm.
This exposed thick seams of surface coal left behind by the colliers of the 18th and 19th centuries. Near the Wraxall Road roundabout other important relics from the long forgotten coal industry were unearthed.
At Stone Hill a Romano-British settlement was discovered and it will be exciting to see the archaeological finds in 1995 when the final link of the ring road is cut across Siston Common.
To connect the ringroad with the A420 at Deanery Road, an 80 metre diameter roundabout was constructed. On the 17th April this work began, including the blocking off of Baden Road, building two underpasses and the demolition of four houses opposite Brook Road, formerly known as Cider Mill Farm.
The earlier plan included the demolition of the Community Centre but due to local pressure the roundabout was realigned and the Centre saved.
Baden Road has now become a cul-de-sac. When Mr. Shepherd of Cider Mill Farm was building the house in Baden Road, he had planned that it should be called Baynton Road, after the 19th century owners of the land but the local authority decided on Baden Road. The underpass near Brook Road comes out almost exactly where Cider Mill Farm stood. In the 19th century, there were many orchards in the district and it would seem logical that the farm was where the apples were processed.
During the excavations here, several culverts were identified. One fed water to the spring or level by the bridge and two others were probably links to the Isaac Smith Iron Works. This foundry is marked on a 1750 map and was situated near Kingsfield School.
The Community Centre lost much of its field but the sale of this land has enabled two new rooms to be built and opened in this Centenary Year.
This was the year of the first Kingswood Borough History Festival. The Mayor, Councillor John Lewis, started the event with the launching of The Kingswood Heritage Trail, setting off in the sidecar of a vintage Douglas motorcycle.
The Heritage Trail takes in much of which is best in Siston Parish. This, of course, starts in Siston village, with The Court and St. Annes Church. Pausing to view Webbs Heath Farmhouse which has 16th century origins, the visitor may be invited to look for one of the many ghosts that frequent our parish.
From here you pass the ruins of Webbs Heath drift mine and onto the Griffin Inn. This public house was built originally as a farmhouse back in the early 18th century. A popular Wednesday Market used to be held at the rear, selling all sorts of agricultural products as well as livestock but in the 1970s the weekly market was abandoned due to changing trends.
On now to Warmley station and signal box. The history of the station has already been told, but the signal box deserves some mention. It was built in 1870 and was in use for 100 years, finally becoming redundant when the line closed. It is a good example of that period with the interior unchanged and the control gear complete. It is now included on Kingswoods list of historic buildings.
Before leaving the parish, the trail includes Warmley Historic Gardens and Grotto. Again much has been written previously about the great William Champion and his Brassworks but his legacy was to leave behind one of the most unique industrialist gardens in the country. It has recently been included in the English Heritage National List of Historic Gardens, the only one in Kingswood Borough.
Warmley Grottoes are considered to be the largest man-made grottoes in the country and are a mysterious network of underground caves and vaulted chambers made from clinker from Champions zinc process. The gardens are the jewel in the crown of Siston and are public open space, giving access to us all.
The church of St. Anne, in the heart of Siston village, has stood on this site for nearly one thousand years and may even have been established four or five hundred years earlier as a Celtic temple.
The Doomsday Book of 1085 records the parish of Siston among the lands of the great Norman warlord, Roger de Berkeley.
The leaded font inside Siston Church has been dated to the reign of William Rufus (1087 1100), the son of William the Conqueror. The Tympanum in the South Porch depicts the Tree of Life and is thought to have been carved around 1090 A.D.
Siston Church is one of the oldest churches in the Kingswood Borough and it is clear from the above dates that some great religious activity was underway in this rural setting sandwiched between the Royal Hunting Forest of Kingswood and the Royal Palace at Pucklechurch.
The present tower of St. Annes was built in the 13th or 14th century and was topped by a parapet. This became unstable earlier this century and had to be removed.
The peal of bells that has sounded all around the parish for hundreds of years fell silent in 1929 due to rotten timbers in the belfry. For over half a century the bells remained silent. In 1991, after a great deal of fund raising, the sound of bells once more echoed around the valleys.
During preparation for the 1947 edition of the Ordinance Survey map, the survey team noticed recesses in the landscape and identified them as being part of a hitherto unknown Roman Road. The road began in Bitton village, went through Winterbourne and onto Gloucester. During excavations for the new Warmley C. of E. School in Poplar Road, part of this road was uncovered.
The course of the Roman highway then crossed the railway line at the end of St. Ivel Way, through the vicarage garden, across the field at the top of Winfield Road and then over the top of the hill next to Lodge Farm by Mangotsfield Golf Course.
Since 1989, Vizability,in association with the Kingswood Arts umbrella, have been active in promoting the Bristol and Bath Railway Path into a sculpture trail. In 1992, sculptor Gordon Young completed his Gaius Sentius, a drinking fountain in the design of a thirsty legionnaire, drinking from his flask.
The sculpture marks the intersection where the Roman Road and the Railway Path cross.
To complete the setting there are two tall columns about 50 yards either side of Gaius Sentius marking the course of the road and also a pair of stone benches inscribed ‘Bath eight miles’ and ‘Bristol seven miles’. The funding for these sculptures came from J. Sainsbury plc and Wincanton Distribution.
The famous play The Ghost Train was written by Arnold Ridley after he had spent some time waiting for a train on the windswept platforms of Mangotsfield Station. Warmley Station has not had any rail traffic passing through since the line was taken up over twenty years previously.
In 1993, a set of ghostly silhouettes appeared on the platforms waiting, it would seem, for a train that would never arrive.
This was the second piece of art commissioned for the Sculpture Trail in our area. On closer inspection the figures are cleverly designed out of sheet metal and each section depicts images connected with the railway network from the railway clock to a ticket or part of an engine. This piece of modem art is entitled Brief Encounters and is by Steve Joyce working with pupils from Kingsfield School.
The latest development took place this autumn with the completion of nine new houses in Deanery Road and Deanery Close. The houses are part of a scheme by Kingswood Borough and Knightstone Housing Association to provide much needed new homes.
This small development straddles the Warmley Brook and is in both Siston and Oldland parishes.
For over a hundred years there has been a shop on this site. In the early part of this century the shop belonged to Philip Werrett who had connections with the nearby fireworks factory. Later Bill Osborn ran a hardware store here and sold anything from a screw to a box of shotgun cartridges.
The next owners were Ernie Atherton and his brother Bob. Ernie built a large extension on the side of the shop and extended the range of goods to include timber and garden products. Bob Atherton converted the front room into an estate agency.
In the 1980s, Accent Windows moved in and converted the buildings into a double glazing outlet and workshop. At the end of that decade the building was left unoccupied and fast became the target for vandalism.
In 1993 the site once more was cleared to make way for the latest residents within the parish of Siston.
And so to end this brief history. With our new neighbours we all look forward to the new millennium and the next hundred years of the Siston Parish Council.
Popular local girl Jenny King was murdered near her home in Warmley.
Carson’s chocolate factory at Mangotsfield is demolished to make way for new housing and the Ring Road’s completion.
Work to complete the Ring Road link from Warmley to Shortwood is started. We say goodbye to parts of the cycle track and after a well publicised protest, the old ABC Cleaners factory on Siston Common is demolished.
Phase 1 of the Aspects Leisure Centre opened in Longwell Green. 55 years after American GI’s first came to the area (camped near Fisher Road on Siston Common), their culture arrives in the form of McDonalds. District Councils of Warmley, Kingswood and Mangotsfield came together under the umbrella of Kingswood.
Tagged: , BS30 , chronicles , timeline , 1980 , 1999 , St. Ivel Way , pottery , Barrettine , Ice House , Bailey , 1981 , Haskins Pottery , Hollychrome works , Ochre works , Crown Colliery , Sison Hill Colliery , Webbs Heath , Crown Inn , Midland Spinner , Hembroughs , Dawson , Clutton , Jesse White , 1982 , Toghill , Tenniscourt Inn , Goldney Avenue , 1983 , Warmley Body Works , Turner , New Work Trust Co. Ltd , Warmley C. of E. School , 1984 , Warmley Station , Sunway Blinds , Brains Flour Mill , colliery stack , Station Close , dramroad , Warmley Forest Park , brickyard , clay pits , 1985 , Ashlands , Hancock , Samuel Ludwig Elistrom , Mormons , William Wilson Douglas , Albert Edward Palmer , biscuit factory , orchids , Little Brook Farm , Goose Green , Siston Brook , St Annes pool , Carsons Factory , Crown Gardens , Hardiman , Hemmings , 1986 , Crane Close , Sandford , Warmley Fire Auxiliary Service , Warmley Brook , Caple Close , 1987 , St. Barnabas Church , Cann Lane , Cowhorn Hill Bridge , Wraxall Lane , Grimsbury Road , Siston , Wick , Warmley , BS15