Google+ Followers

Monday, 12 September 2016

Memorandum Monday: Searching Out Bristol

Good Morning all on yet another Monday when I am again joining our hostess Sian in Memorandum Monday. I have had the chance this weekend to explore parts of Bristol that I have never seen before. Across the country properties have opened their doors to the general public as part of Heritage Weekend. I have with friends taken up this opportunity many times in Bristol. We choose one area to explore and have visited all sorts of extraordinary places.
This year I met some friends in the centre of Bristol and we started off to our first venue. The Bristol Hippodrome is the largest theatre in Bristol and is host to many wonderful theatre companies. We were taken on a mini tour by a lady who has worked there for over 20 years. She gave a fascinating insight into the theatre's life and how they have prepared and converted the theatre for many well known shows. I learnt several new things. Firstly that the domed roof was built to open. Secondly that the house takes 2000 people but used to hold 3000! Thirdly when stood on the stage we learnt how it was converted from a sloping stage to a flat one (as it is now) to accommodate 'Les Miserables'.

We then visited St John on the Wall Church which is actually built into the city wall. I kick myself for not stepping back and taking a picture of the whole church but this shows  the gateway arch from which the church tower rises.

We had a chance to visit the tower to watch and participate in a bell ringing demonstration.

We then moved on to the old Bridewell Police Station.

This is now a series of art studios but still retains a lot of the original features. This was made more interesting by the fact that one of my companions worked there as a policewoman. Our visit to the cells included a brief demonstration from her. My friend and I stood in a cell while she slammed the heavy metal door shut leaving a resounding ringing in our ears and a definite feeling of being locked in! It was also amusing to be told by one of the artists that as well as meeting several members of the police who had worked there she had also met someone who said they had been locked up there!

Next we called into the empty old Police Headquarters where my friend showed us the room where she had been interviewed for the police force. This extraordinary window was in an upstairs room which overlooks the New Bridewell Police Station.

I have no pictures of our next stop which is the oldest building in Bristol namely St James Priory Church. This is situated opposite Primark and as well as being a beautiful tranquil church is also a very reasonable and tasty stop for lunch. Their cafe is reached around the side and is well worth a visit.
We then headed on to the Public Conveniences. Can you spot the resident rat?

You may wonder why we headed to the Gents, a new experience for me, it is because this is a small art gallery!

Next we headed to Bristol University which is presided over by the magnificent Wills Memorial Building.

We were too late to sign up for a tour up the tower which didn't bother me greatly as I have been up before. We did however get a chance to see several of the ornate rooms including the great hall. This impressive building was funded by the Wills family who owned the Wills Tobacco company. This window over the entrance, the founders window has 500sq feet of glass.

We wandered through the Law and Geology Library and sat in the Old Council Chamber. This latter room is evidently used for lectures. I am sure I would be distracted by this ornate glass toplight.

By the end of the day we were ready for a final cup of tea and sit down in the Lord Mayor's Chapel and as well as to admire this rather unusual window to reflect on a busy day of new experiences. We are already planning next year's discoveries!


  1. I really enjoy doors open day - ours is later in the month. You managed to visit lots of buildings - I admire your stamina. Such fascinating buildings and so much local and social history

  2. You know how much I enjoy pictures of Bristol. When I was about nine, my uncle wrote to me from Bristol asking me to come and stay with him and he said he would take me to the Hippodrome. My parents thought I was too young to go and stay, so I've never been to the Hippo!

    Wishing you a great week. Oh, and yes, a clothes horse was mentioned here this morning too

  3. I really enjoy open doors weekend but completely forgot about it this weekend! I am pleased to see the photographs you took on your tour in Bristol.

  4. You have certainly made the most of these opportunities and seen some great places

  5. I missed out on the heritage open doors this year - busy with band practice - but I have done a tour of the Hippodrome before. It's a fascinating place.