Apr 102019

This year’s AGM of the Kingsdown Conservation Group will be held on Monday 15th April in the Meeting Rooms, St James’ Priory, Whitson Street, Bristol BS1 3NZ. The doors will open at 7.30 for the AGM, with a talk starting at 8.30. This year we have Ronald Hutton, Professor of History speaking on the topic of ‘Bristol and the Civil War’

There will be refreshments and everyone is welcome. So come and meet your neighbours and keep up with local issues.

St James’ Priory is located between the Bus Station (exit) and the White Hart pub. Entrance to the Meeting Rooms is to the left of the main door.

 Posted by on April 10, 2019
Mar 232019

Is anyone interested in looking after the green spaces of Kingsdown? Maybe you would just like to get out on Sunday and meet neighbours and discuss these green things? Then meet at the Gravel Triangle, St Matthews’ Road at 10.30 on Sunday (23rd March) armed ( if possible ) with spades, scissors or secateurs. We could then move onto Montague Green after tidying up the Gravel Triangle.

 Posted by on March 23, 2019
Sep 122018

By Penny Mellor & Mary Wright
Published by Phillimore & Co

The book has 128 pages with 60 colour illustrations, and you can get it from Waterstones, the Bristol City Museum Shop, the publishers – or Amazon

Here’s an extract from the blurb: Kingsdown was built as Bristol’s first planned suburb in the 18th century. At the time it was well known locally as the site of an important Civil War fortification and appreciated as an airy, green space just beyond the crowded medieval city. The land had once belonged to the Benedictine Priory of St James but Henry VIII’s Dissolution resulted in the fragmentation of land ownership. The consequent sale of lands to wealthy entrepreneurs in the 16th and 17th centuries provides the first documented description of Kingsdown.

Crucial battles for Bristol were fought on the heights of Kingsdown during the English Civil War and a related love story still survives in local folklore. The Georgian suburb which appeared during Bristol’s golden age became increasingly fashionable, but the economic collapse that followed the outbreak of war with France at the end of the century led to the financial ruin of many of the investors and developers who were building Kingsdown. The Victorian and Edwardian periods were a time of consolidation, sanitary improvements and growing urbanisation, as Kingsdown was incorporated into the City of Bristol. Improved transport links and the attractions of the outer suburbs drew residents away from the inner areas and Kingsdown’s social status slowly declined, its physical fabric subsequently deteriorating.

A lack of maintenance, coupled with Second World War damage and the post-war zoning of the Kingsdown slopes for hospital expansion and municipal housing, resulted in the 1950s clearance of those houses deemed to be unfit. Passionate protests accompanied their destruction and are recalled in this lively illustrated account of a fascinating and singular area. The story ends on a positive note by celebrating the survival of the streets on the hilltop. The area’s architectural qualities are the subject of growing appreciation and a vibrant community makes the care for Kingsdown’s unique heritage a priority.

Penny Mellor has also written two earlier books about Kingsdown:

A Kingsdown Community” focusses on St James Place (now nos. 48-86 and 65-101 Kingsdown Parade – see the 1826 map for the location). You can get copies from Penny at 52 Kingsdown Parade, or from Bristol Architecture Centre (details can be found under the Links section of this site)

Penny’s other book – A Kingsdown Collection – is unfortunately out of print (though you can probably borrow one in the neighbourhood):

 Posted by on September 12, 2018
Sep 122018

By Maxwell Hutchinson, 2003,ISBN: 0755311477
Published by Headline Book Publishing

Channel 4’s television series in 2003 has put Kingsdown Parade on the map:

The book accompanies a prime-time six-part Channel 4 series, in the tradition of The 1940s House, in which a house is transformed to show how the way we live has changed over the last 200 years.

 Posted by on September 12, 2018
May 252018

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 Posted by on May 25, 2018
Oct 252017

I receive the following via this website:

“Thanks for this lovely website. I am interested in finding out if 57 Kingsdown Parade was lived in by my several greats grandfather, John Brittan, a very special pottery man who was manager of Champions porcelain company. I do know that his grandson Meshak Brittan, lawyer, lived in Somerset Street. Any idea if there is information or documents of interest in this matter?”

kind regards

Penny Atkinson

Alison at No.57 kindly provided the following information:

“I have checked in the book that came with the Channel 4 series about our house – Number 57, the history of a house (Maxwell Hutchinson). This lists the occupants that they were able to trace. It gives John Britton as living here from 1786 to 1791. I will send you a photo of the entry. It doesn’t give any other information specifically about him, just information about general Georgian life at that time.”

Extracts from the book:

It’s great that the website is providing a point of contact for those researching the diverse and interesting past of our area.

 Posted by on October 25, 2017
Aug 262017

I received a fascinating email from Tami Thomas in Lima, Ohio USA. The drawing she attached is marked on the back as “Kingsdown 3 Sept. 1829” and the hand written text reads:

“W Reed gave this drawing to his niece and adopted child Elizabeth Reed daughter of Capt. William Reed of Tenby in the Parish of Pembrokeshire. I Brother to [Mr or M] Wm Reed of Kingsdown St. James’ Parish Bristol My Dear and well beloved wife.
William Reed
witness M Morgan”









The the notes in pencil (written in 1922) at the top seem to be where someone else who obtained this drawing had figured out the ages of the two figures in the drawing. It reads as follows:

” yr mo d
1922 2 26
1829 9 3
92 5 23 old Feb 26/22 per Kynaston Reed-Capt Wm Reed’s great grandson”

Tami is researching her genealogy and acquired this drawing along with a great stash of pictures from the Reed and Kynaston families of Bristol. She was researching Kingsdown when I came across our webpage and also states: “It’s a bit of history that might ring a bell with one of your viewers. I’d love to gain more information about the Kingsdown connection.”

Finally, the image below shows the cover of a tiny booklet.
Book title: A Sermon Preached
Listed inside: William Reed, ESQ member of Diocesan lived on Kingsdown Parade St Kingsdown Bristol

Please either add any comments here or send directly to her at:
Tami Thomas
Lima, Ohio

 Posted by on August 26, 2017