HIV Blue Plaques

HIV TrustsAled Richards Trust and Terrence Higgins Trust

Bristol Civic Society’s eighteenth plaque was unveiled on 1 December 2017 at 8 West Street, Old Market. The plaque is on the building which was, for 25 years (1992‒2017), the home of the Aled Richards Trust/Terrence Higgins Trust. In the words of the plaque, the building and the organisation was “at the heart of Bristol’s response to the HIV epidemic” and was “a place of support and friendship for people living with HIV”. Why two organisations on one plaque? Aled Richards Trust was a Bristol-based charity which merged with the national Terrence Higgins Trust in 2000.

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Being Brunel

SS GB visitSS Great Britain launches a new museum

Ahoy there! It’s Tuesday 9 January – and for around twenty-five Civic Society members, time to board the world’s first iron-hulled, ocean-going, propeller-driven ship. Well, some of us went on board the SS Great Britain at the end of the tour but the main purpose of our visit was to hear about exciting development plans well under way on the quayside.

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St Michael's

St Michael MountUpdate January 2018 The Civic Society is leading a partnership bid for ownership of this fire damaged church. The bid was lodged with agents acting for the Diocese in mid December and we have recently heard that we have been invited for interview on Monday 15th January. Our proposals seek to restore the building with a flexible performance space in the former nave area and with other accommodation being provided in order to generate a sustainable business plan in the longer term. We hope that this disposal process will lead to the church being restored and brought back into beneficial use as soon as possible.

Simon Birch

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Ashton Court Mansion

Ashton Court Update January 2018
On Friday 24th November 2017 we held the initial meeting at Ashton Court Mansion. Over 100 attended and the overall impression was of energy and enthusiasm. All present wanted to breathe new life into the Mansion and to give it a secure future. Since then we have moved forward to create an Action Group - with Business West, UWE and solicitors VWV - and plan to meet with Marvin Rees in the next few weeks in order to discuss how best to take forward our ideas for a new organisation to take over responsibility for the management and restoration of the Mansion.

Simon Birch

Concorde - the worthy star

ConcordeA BCS visit to Aerospace Bristol

1400 hours, 6 December 2017. Around fifty Civic Society members checked-in at Aerospace Bristol. We were scheduled for a conducted tour of the recently-opened £19m aviation museum. It tells the story of the contribution that the aircraft industry has made to our city.

You may recall the Industrial Museum (now M Shed) had a collection of aero engines, displayed in a row and labelled with technical descriptions. A dead assembly of objects; hardly celebratory. Fast-forward to a sensitively refurbished WWI hangar flanking the Filton runway. Those engines are here now, with explanatory graphics, alongside flimsy biplanes and a Giotto spacecraft; a Bloodhound surface-to-air rocket, menacingly in its firing position; a complete Sea Harrier jump jet. Fuselages, a tram, helicopters – and a Bristol car, ‘inspired by plans purloined in 1945 from a bombed BMW factory in Munich’, confided Oliver, our guide.

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Hardy Parsons Blue Plaque

Hardy Parsons30 June 1897 ‒ 21 August 1917

Durdham Downs, 8 November 1917: Hardy Parsons’ father was presented with his son's posthumous Victoria Cross by King George V. Exactly one hundred years later, a plaque was unveiled in Salisbury Road, Redland to honour this brave young hero of World War I.

Around 100 people attended the commemorative event, including some distinguished guests: Cllr Lesley Alexander, Lord Mayor; Colonel Andrew Flint, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant for the County and City of Bristol; The Very Revd Dr David Hoyle, Dean of Bristol; Major General Robin Grist, CB OBE; Brigadier James Daniel, Lt Col Rupert Clements and cadets of Bristol University Officer Training Corps.

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Katharine Furse Blue Plaque

Katharine FurseA Blue Plaque was unveiled on 7 September to Dame Katharine Furse. The plaque celebrates the life of this inspiring, if previously locally unknown, woman. The daughter of literary critic and poet John Addington Symonds, Katharine was born in Clifton Hill House in 1875. She joined the British Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment, becoming Commandant and leading the first VAD Unit sent to France in 1914. She resigned, frustrated that nurses did not have the power to introduce reforms that they knew from their first-hand knowledge were necessary. But her organisational capabilities were recognised by the Navy. In 1917 she was asked to lead a new women’s naval auxiliary. This became the Women’s Royal Naval Service, better known as the Wrens (WRNS). In the inter-war years she set up the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and was Director of its World Bureau.

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