7.30 p.m. Monday the 10th March 2008 at the Ark, Cotham Road South.

The meeting approved the agenda and appointed Tony Kerr as chair for the evening. 40 residents attended. Apologies were received for their absence from David and Penny Mellor, Carolyn Harman and Paul and Lorna Robinson.

Minutes of the 2007 general meeting were approved.

The report of the past year
The report summarised last year’s business and was circulated at the meeting and it can also be found on the Kingsdown Conservation Group’s website. The report was adopted. Next year will be very active because the University and the Hospital will continue to pursue their development plans. Peter Ferne was thanked for his continued help in running the website. The Committee thanked the 20 residents who responded to Andy King’s questionnaire about UBHT’s redevelopment proposals for its surplus land. It is vital, whenever the Committee meets third parties that it can demonstrate that it has significant local support.

The treasurer’s report
The treasurer’s report
Pauline Allen presented the Group’s accounts for the year, which showed a reserve of £6,593 split between the general fund of £3,928 and £2,665 in the “Spring Hill Restoration Fund”. During the year there was a surplus of £222.75 of income over expenditure. KCG had contributed £340 towards the fees of Richard Pedlar, who prepared a conservation architect’s report to support KCG’s objections to the proposal to build eight four-floor houses on the Somerset Street display gardens. The developer subsequently withdrew the planning application. The meeting thanked David Mellor for his professional assistance that he gave free of charge

The meeting resolved to spend £160 to restore a traditional box lantern on the cast iron lamp post at the bottom of Spring Hill. In response to members’ questions, the Committee confirmed that it planned to replace the fallen tree in the garden at the corner of St. Matthews Road. The meeting thanked Stephen and Jean Macfarlane for grinding out the stump of the old tree. The Committee will investigate whether a working lamp can be installed in the lamp holder above the Kingsdown Parade entrance to Montague Green. Since our report last year, a tree on the north side of Kingsdown Parade and the trees around Prior’s Hill Flats have been replaced. The report was adopted. The meeting thanked Pauline for her work. The Committee welcomes any ideas to invest the reserves to enhance Kingsdown.

Please check to ensure that you pay £5 and not the former £3 subscription.

Bridget Parker presented the Membership report. Seven newly arrived residents joined KCG last year. Please encourage more residents to join KCG. The more members we have, the more we are listened to. Membership forms can be downloaded from the website or paper copies obtained from Malcolm and Bridget Parker at 43 Kingsdown Parade. The meeting thanked Bridget and Malcolm for their work. They agreed to continue as membership secretaries.

The 2008/09 committee
The Committee appealed for new members. Charles Grant volunteered to rejoin the Committee and the current members agreed to stand again. Next year’s committee was elected unanimously. It will be: Pauline Allen (treasurer), John Frenkel (minutes), Charles Grant, Tony Kerr, Nick Kidwell, Andy King, Jeremy Newick (Conservation Advisory Panel representative), Helen Phillips (secretary), Ottilie Shorcott, Nigel Tasker and Mary Wright. Committee Members’ contact details appear on the website.
The committee emphasise that any member who wishes to come to a committee meeting is most welcome. If you think that you would like to become a Committee member, invite yourself as an observer to a Committee Meeting. The Group needs more committee members to share the work.
Tell us your views on local developments and what we should be doing. Please contact the secretary at se*******@di*******.net, or use the ‘contact us’ link on the website.

After the formal meeting, Mary Wright spoke about “The greatest aesthete of them all”. She gave a tour d’horizon of the life of the Bristol architect, E W Godwin. In his personal life he was a friend to James Whistler and Oscar Wilde and the father of Ellen Terry’s two children. His architectural practice brought him international recognition. All aspects of design interested him. He designed fabrics, tiles, wallpaper and furniture. In his corporate life he reformed the Bristol Society of Architects.

Mary spoke forcibly about our City’s neglect of Godwin. In his lifetime, he won the City Council’s architectural competition to build new Law Courts but the City gave the contract to its own surveyor. There was a national scandal. Godwin moved to London. Today, Godwin’s pioneering Carriage Works in Stokes Croft stands ruined and neglected by its owners and the City Council. In contrast, Northampton has restored Godwin’s town hall and renamed its Council chamber, “The Godwin Room”. Godwin’s furniture is displayed at the V & A and has appeared in international furniture exhibitions. In 1947, Godwin’s daughter made a bequest of 14 pieces of his furniture to Bristol City Museum. The Museum has exhibited the furniture once, in 1976 after which, it has remained in store. The Museum has no current plans to display it.

If you share Mary’s anger at the City’s treatment of the Godwin bequest please write to press for Godwin’s furniture to be permanently exhibited. Kate Brindley is the Director of Museums – Ka***********@Br*****.uk or Bristol Museums and Art Gallery, Queen’s Road, BS8 1RL. Councillor Rosalie Walker is the Cabinet Member for Health and Leisure – Ro************@Br*****.uk or The Council House College Green BS1 5TR.


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