My first blogwalk was done without a camera - how clever is that!
I was visiting Aginoth in the Infirmary (built 1735 and desperately in need of a facelift!) In fact, there ARE no pictures on the internet of this intensely miserable building.
I turned left and strolled down Upper Maudlin Street, and the Bristol Eye Hospital caught my attention - never having been down that road.
Built into the wall is brickwork sculptures - incredibly beautiful.
This panel is 'Madonna' - and if you look carefully you can see the brickwork!
This panel is 'Birds'.
These are just two of the five panels, each 5' 7" x 12' which represent:
1. The origins of the earth
2. Seeds and flowers
3. Fish and birds
4. Animal life
Sculptor Walter Ritchie took the theme for the panels from the Romanes Lecture given by the 1st Viscount Samuel in around 1947, part of which is incorporated in the final panel.
"Disaster and crisis were always advertised, settlement and tranquillity seldom. Only in retrospect could we see things in their relations. When we passed from the years to the centuries, and from the centuries to the whole expanse of man's story - out of chaos into life, from animal life into humanity, and on into civilization; when we saw man in his cosmic setting, the latest child of the universe wedded to an eternity, his thoughts transcending matter and seeking deity - there was no room for ignoble despair: rather would our minds be filled with wonder and our hearts with thankfulness."
I LOVE that excerpt!
So, off down Maudlin Street, through some pretty grotty bits of Bristol (car hire garages and stuff) and then to the Christmas Steps - what a pretty name!
'Its medieval title was Queene Street, then it became known as Knyfesmyth Street, after those who traded there. This name may gradually have been corrupted into the ‘Christmas’ of today.
Others suggest that the name may be derived from the nativity scene found in a stained glass window of The Chapel of the Three Kings of Cologne, which lies at the top of the steps.'
At the top of the steps is a plaque recording "This streete was steppered done in 1669," with details of the event. The street is lined both sides by interesting little shops and cafes
At the very bottom of the steps lies a building thought to date back to the 13th Century, which has housed a fish and chip shop for well over 100 years which is one of the first ever ‘chippies’ to open in England:
Never liking to tread on tradition, I purchased a serving of Christmas Steps Chips :-) and walked and munched.
From there I turned into Colston Avenue:
Edward Colston (1636-1721), who was a well-known benefactor (whispers: and slavetrader!) of the city, founded schools and almshouses and established other charities. The bronze statue by John Cassidy was erected in Colston Avenue and unveiled on November 13th 1895. Subscriptions for the statue were not sufficient and the remaining balance was contributed by an "anonymous gentleman".
My chips lasted until I got to the pub - yep, this imposing edifice is a pub!!
The Commercial Rooms were built in 1810 (three years after the end of the slave trade) as a new centre for Bristol's businessmen. The site was formerly occupied by another of Bristol's famous coffee houses, Foster's Coffee House. The exterior of the building has statues representing Bristol, Commerce and Navigation, which are sometimes referred to as the three commercial graces. One carving shows Britannia checking the monies due to her from the rest of the world.
Then it was a case of meeting up with my colleagues and off we went to Jongleurs Comedy Club - more on that tomorrow!!