History

image
Photo from 1909 , note the white railings and balconies, and the absent cathedral

ARCHAEOLOGICAL DESK-BASED ASSESSMENT AND SITE SURVEY REPORT ON

WORCESTER GARDENS, CLIFTON, BRISTOL, BS8 3JW

Centered on N.G.R: ST5722173542. January 2013

Author: Paul Wilson

Study submitted for the MA in Archaeology Screen Media,
University of Bristol, 2012/13

Table of Contents
1 SUMMARY
2 METHODOLOGY
2.1 REASON FOR REPORT
2.2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
2.3 SOURCES OF MATERIAL INVESTIGATED
2.4 SURVEY
3 SITE
3.1 SITE LOCATION
3.2 SITE DESCRIPTION
3.3 TOPOGRAPHY
3.4 GEOLOGY
3.5 PEDOLOGY
4 HISTORIC BACKGROUND
4.1 HISTORICAL DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE
4.1.1 Deeds and Indentures
4.1.2 Residents Association Documents
4.1.3 Listed Buildings Records
4.1.4 Orders to Requisition the Railings
4.2 HISTORIC MAPS
4.2.1 Eighteenth Century Maps
4.2.2 Nineteenth Century Maps
4.2.3 Twentieth Century Maps
5 PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORDS
5.1 ARIAL PHOTOGRAPHS
5.2 COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHS
5.3 RESIDENTS’ PHOTOGRAPHS
6 LAND USAGE
6.1 PRE-HISTORIC
6.2 ROMANO-BRITISH AND ANGLO-SAXON
6.3 MEDIEVAL
6.4 POST-MEDIEVAL TO 1850
6.5 1850 TO PRESENT
7 SURVEYS
7.1 METHODOLOGY
7.2 RESULTS
7.3 DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATION
7.4 METAL DETECTION SURVEY TO FIND CHAMBER ENTRANCE
7.5 CONTOUR SURVEY
8 FEATURES
8.1 LAYOUT OF THE GARDENS
8.2 HARD FEATURES
8.3 SUBTERRANEAN
9 RESTORATION TO PRE-WWII STATUS
9.1 BACKGROUND
9.2 THE MEMORIAL ASPECT OF THE ABSENCE
9.3 APPROACH TAKEN IN OTHER BRISTOL SPACES
9.4 IDENTIFYING THE DESIGN AND SPECIFICATION OF THE RAILINGS
10 ILLUSTRATIONS
10.1 FIGURES
10.2 PLATES
11 BIBLIOGRAPHY

1 Summary

Worcester Gardens is a privately owned Victorian ornamental communal garden in the Clifton & Hotwells Conservation Area sub-division Clifton Park, laid out in 1853. Much of the following information is taken directly from the original records of the Worcester Gardens and Lawn Tennis Association established in May 1887.

Charles Underwood designed Worcester Terrace and Gardens in 1842; the gardens are protected under policy NE9 of the Bristol Local Plan.

Prior to the development of the gardens, the land was held as part of the Manor of Clifton and was in agricultural use. The Clifton area has been in occupation from Neolithic times.

The gardens have been formally owned in trust for the benefit of residents of Worcester Terrace by the Worcester Gardens, Clifton Association since 1992, although in practice the gardens have always been held exclusively for the benefit of the residents.

The general layout of the gardens has been maintained from at least 1887 when two lawn tennis courts were established which were maintained up until 1953. The original railings and gates were removed sometime in 1942 as part of the war effort and replaced in 1950 with wire fencing.

Two bin store areas with access pavement build-outs were constructed in 2002 on the south side of the gardens. In 2009 the 1962 gates were replaced, in memory of Eileen de Crespo.

2 Methodology

2.1 Reason For Report

This study was undertaken as part of an MA exercise for the University of Bristol with reference to the criteria set out by the Institute of Field Archaeologists

2.2 Acknowledgements

I am grateful to the current Chair of the Worcester Gardens Association, David Holtum, for making all of the documents available to me for this research, Ms. Helena de Cresbo for her memories of growing up in the Terrace, Dr. Jacquline Chaill Wilson and Richard Lennie for their assistance with conducting the surveys, and Peter Insole from the Bristol Records Office has provided much assistance with research.

2.3 Sources of Material Investigated

The review was conducted using material sourced from the bibliography.

2.4 Survey

A visual topological (Fig. 12) and a geophysical survey was conducted on 24th and 25th of November 2012 by Paul Wilson, assisted by Dr. Jacqueline Wilson. In addition a field walk survey and photographic record was made on 1st January 2013

A metal detector survey was conducted on 8 January 2013 by Richard Lennie

3 Site

3.1 Site Location

Worcester Gardens are located at N.G.R: ST5722173542, a garden bounded by Worcester Terrace, Worcester Road, Clifton Park and College Road. It bears the postcode BS8 3JW.

3.2 Site Description

The gardens are rectangular in shape comprising sides of 110m (E/W) and 30m (N/S), being approximately a third of a hectare in area. The central areas of the gardens are laid to lawn, with flower and shrubbery beds to the edges and a number of mature trees. A 2m tall chain-link wire fence supported by concrete posts has been erected approximately one meter inside the bounding wall. It is obscured by hedging and shrubbery. The garden is accessed by two sets of gates on the south side, which are adjacent to the two communal bin areas.

3.3 Topography

The gardens drop by 1.5 meters from West to East, stepping down in two soft terraces and with imperceptible slope (Fig. 12)

3.4 Geology

Clifton is situated on the Tickenham Ridge, an extensive Carboniferous Limestone Ridge running northeast from Clevedon to North Bristol

3.5 Pedology

Clifton Park sits within the Mercia Mudstone Group (Marginal Facies) known as the Triassic Keuper Marl, which produces a distinctive red clay (Fig 10) (source NERC). The Gardens are however are situated on previously enclosed and improved land and have themselves benefited from soil improvement since they were laid out and test holes suggest they are unrepresentative of the original strata.

4 Historic Background

Worcester Terrace and Gardens were designed by Charles Underwood (Gomme et al 1979). The design was promoted in 1842, however building was not commenced until 1846 by George Roots (Deeds to No 11 Worcester Terrace) and was completed in 1856 (Pevsner 1958).

The site is situated on land in the upper part of the Manor of Clifton, which was mentioned in the Doomsday book (c. 1086). In 1686 it was acquired by the Society of Merchant Venturers and appears to have been disposed of in a piecemeal fashion over time. In 1746 the Parish of Clifton was used as a dozen or so farms as set out on the De Wilstar map, which shows the fields P IX and P X upon which the Gardens were to be laid out, and which were owned by the Reverend Mr Power (Latimer 1900).

George Rooke Farnell (Deeds to 2 Worcester Terrace) was the Ground Landlord when Worcester Terrace and the pleasure gardens were laid out in 1856 and he granted use of the gardens as part of the Ground Rents payable by the properties on Worcester Terrace. Ownership of the gardens was denied in 1934 by a Mr Tripp (Minutes 27/3/34) who had acquired the ground rents to Worcester Terrace from Mr Farnell’s heirs but not, apparently, the attached costs of up-keeping the Gardens. This left the ownership of the gardens uncertain. The Worcester Gardens, Clifton Association was formed in 1969 with a view to confirming and holding beneficial ownership of the gardens for the residents and freeholders of Worcester Terrace. Adverse possession was granted to the Association in 1992 (Minutes 1992).

4.1 Historical Documentary Evidence

The source material for much of the history of Clifton comes from the records of the Society of Merchant Venturers, the De Wilstar, Ashmead, Tithe and Ordnance Survey Maps together with the deeds and indentures to the land itself. Much scholarly work has been undertaken on the history of the area and of the development of Bristol itself. In addition to this, the unpublished records of the Worcester Gardens have been investigated.

4.1.1 Deeds and Indentures

Deeds and indentures to No 2 Worcester Terrace show the final phase of building of the Terrace was commenced in 1853 and that the Gardens were laid out by that time. George Roots, who built the first houses on Worcester Terrace in 1846 granted easements over the gardens to some, but not all of the purchasers of his properties (Minute 23/4/92)

4.1.2 Residents Association Documents

The Worcester Pleasure Gardens and Lawn Tennis Association commenced record keeping in May 1887 following the creation of two tennis courts in the gardens and records are available except for the period 1940 to 1947 where they fall silent. These records include a set of regulations for ‘For the Management of The Pleasure Ground’ agreed between the occupiers of Worcester Terrace and approved by the ground landlord, dated June 1863. The management was reconstituted as the Worcester Gardens, Clifton, Association in 1969 and the records continue under that body to the present day.

4.1.3 Listed Buildings Records

The Gardens are not listed however the gardens are protected under policy NE9 of the Bristol Local Plan and are situated in the Clifton & Hotwell’s Conservation Area sub-division Clifton Park

4.1.4 Orders to Requisition the Railings

Investigation of the archives at the Bristol Records Office have failed to confirm the precise dates of these orders but the Ministry of Works at Tyndall’s Avenue commenced requisition in January 1942 and the Clifton Area seems to have been completed by Autumn that year.

4.2 Historic Maps

The area was first mapped by JJ. De Wilstar and G Hammersley in 1746, with maps by Donne (1769, 1800, 1821), Hill 1789, J. Plumley and C.G. Ashmeade (1928) and Chilcott (1834). These maps pre-date the development of the gardens and show an unchanging agricultural space.

4.2.1 Eighteenth Century Maps

The Jacob De Wilstar map shows the location of the northern field boundary to be on the northern edge of the gardens, however this may be incorrect as map regression suggests there is a slight mis-registration of the field boundary’s position compared with the later tithe map (Fig.14). If this is the case then an original post-medieval field boundary may bisect the gardens East to West.

4.2.2 Nineteenth Century Maps

The Tithe maps of 1840 pre-date the development of the Gardens and Terrace, however the partly completed terrace is documented on the 1855 Ashmead Map with the outline for the southern side of the Gardens shown. This contradicts the statement in the indenture of 1853 that confirms that the Gardens were laid out by this time, however it may simply reflect the delay between surveying the ground and publishing the map in 1855. The Ordnance Survey Epoch One map shows the gardens with a path circulating around the gardens with what appears to be six entry points. The path on all but the southern side of the garden is preserved

4.2.3 Twentieth Century Maps

The Ordnance Survey maps record no changes until 2012 when the bin store build outs are recorded.

5 Photographic Records

Overhead shots of the garden reveal no specific changes.

5.1 Arial Photographs

Fig. 1 shows the satellite view of the Gardens in 2010

5.2 Commercial Photographs

A search of commercially available historic photographs did not uncover any pictures that recorded the garden railings in-situ.

5.3 Residents’ Photographs

No photographs have come to light that record the gardens or the railings.

6 Land Usage

There is evidence of inhabitation of the wider area from Neolithic times, however there is extensive evidence of cultivation and land usage from the Iron Age. Clifton was progressively developed starting in the 18th century, extending into Clifton Park by the early to mid 19th century.

6.1 Pre-Historic

Clifton sits within a landscape with a long record of pre-historic settlement dating from the Neolithic. Much Bronze Age evidence, including flint arrow-heads, have been found on Clifton Down and there is a continuous record of occupation and settlement since the Iron Age. The area is believed to have been within the territory of the influential and powerful people known from the Classical histories as the Dobunni and there are three large hillforts within the immediate environs: Clifton Camp on the Clifton side of the Avon Gorge facing Burwalls and Stokeleigh camps on the opposite side of the gorge with access gained between theses sites by way of the river, forded approximately underneath the line of the present suspension bridge.

6.2 Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon

Whatever the primary purpose of these hillforts, whether seasonal or more permanent occupation, it is clear that they remained a focus of occupation throughout the Roman period with much evidence from Roman coins and pottery found at all of these sites. Although Bristol itself was founded during the later Anglo-Saxon period as Brigstowe, we know from archaeological investigations and local finds that there was considerable military and civilian settlement at Seamills, known as Abonae, and that part of the Roman road the via Julia (Seyer 1821) which would have linked this port into the wider Roman infrastructure, is still extant and its agger clearly visible on Clifton Down, running parallel to modern day Stoke Road. It is possible that this road is part of the same one recorded as part of a boundary charter between Stoke Bishop and the Downs in AD984 (Sivier 2002:32). Roman coins were also unearthed in the building of Gloucester Row near Clifton Camp in the 1780s (Russell 1999:73)

6.3 Medieval

The Clifton Downs are open common land and commence about 800 meters north of the Gardens and exhibit evidence of open field systems and ridge and furrow farming. The fields that underlay the present Gardens may have been part of this system prior to enclosure

6.4 Post-Medieval to 1850

The land was part of an enclosed field system made up of small paddocks of a few acres each (Latimer 1900) as can be seen in the Hemmings map at Fig. 11

6.5 1850 to Present

The land has been in use as an urban garden within a built environment for the enjoyment of the residents of Worcester Terrace as a pleasure ground.

The general layout of the gardens has been maintained from at least 1887 when two lawn tennis courts were established. These were retained up until 1953 (Minutes 15/5/53). The railings and gates were removed during 1942 as part of the war effort and the use of the gardens continued unchanged throughout the war, save for the introduction of a 12,000 gallon static water tank, erected to provide a reserve to combat fire in the event of a bomb raid. (Minutes 21/5/1948). The water tank was removed on 21st May 1948.

There has been some speculation that there were six entrances to the gardens based on the configuration of the paths in the gardens and as recorded on various maps however, site survey and inspection together with a review of war reparations records has shown there were always just four entrances (Minutes 30/5/1948). The residents maintained a hedged boundary from 1942, and installed a chain-link fence camouflaged by shrubbery in 1950 with three gates, replacing all again in 1962 at a cost of £364.13.0 with two gates at the current entrance sites. The boundary walls have survived, however only two entrance gates are provided to the gardens today.

7 Surveys

A survey was undertaken to establish the whereabouts of the lost underground chamber. Due to saturated conditions no conclusive results were obtained and ground conditions had not improved during the period this report was being produced.

7.1 Methodology

Two 20 meter grids were laid out from the baseline and geophysical readings were obtained a 1 m intervals using a Geoscan RM15 Resistance Meter

7.2 Results

No useful results were obtained due to ground saturation caused by unusually high seasonal rainfall.

7.3 Discussion and Recommendation

A geophysical survey should be undertaken when weather and ground conditions are more favourable.

7.4 Metal Detection Survey to find Chamber entrance

Using information gathered from a former resident, Ms. Helen DeCresbo, we were able to establish the general area the entrance to the underground chamber had been found in. We were able to locate the manhole cover which had also had angle iron buried above it. The location is at NGR ST 571633 735699. It is mapped on Fig 14

7.5 Contour Survey

A contour map of the Gardens was made using a 100 meter base line and a Dumpy level. These are shown in Fig 12

8 Features

The gardens are ephemeral in nature however some of the hardwood trees such as the beech and cedar of Lebanon date from the original laying out of the gardens. None of the hard landscape features are original other than the boundary walls, although the paths follow the same contours as the earliest maps available.

8.1 Layout of the gardens

An OS Arial map shows the satellite view of the Gardens in 2010 (Fig. 1). The plan of the gardens from the current survey (Fig. 12) show that the general layout is unchanged since the Epoch one map of 1880 (Fig. 5). The position of the Tennis courts has been lost but they are believed to have been in the central flat area of the gardens.

8.2 Hard features

Within the gardens there are four hard over-ground features.
• An electricity substation installed in 1971 (Minutes 1/5/1971) (plate 1.35)
• A font, relocated from the garden of 7 Worcester Terrace in 1995 (Minutes 16/8/1995) (Plate 1.26)
• A concrete garden shed, 1969 (Minutes 5/1/1969)
• Two Bin Enclosures, gates and build out, 2001 (Plates 1.22, 1.23, 1.30, 1.31)

8.3 Subterranean

A chamber of 30 foot square, built of brick with an eight foot ceiling height and accessed down a 10-14 foot deep shaft was uncovered in 1966. The University of Bristol Speleologists Society considered this to be part of the storm drainage system however, this is a second hand report (Minutes 29/5/67) as the original cannot be located. Wessex Water have no record of its existence. The entrance was capped with a manhole cover (Minutes 6/4/66) and this was located using a metal detector during our survey at 8 January 2012, the location is at NGR St 571633 735699 and is marked on (fig 14). This should be reopened to investigate what it is and its current condition.

9 Restoration to Pre-WWII Status

9.1 Background

The garden railings were requisitioned during 1942 by the Ministry of Works and Planning under Sections 50 and 53 of the Defense (General) Regulations 1939.

In 1950 the Ministry of Works compensated the residents of Worcester Terrace for the loss of their railings at the rate of 25 shillings per ton, being the scrap value of the 925 linear foot of railings lost. The total compensation was £47.10.0. It was estimated that it would cost £130 to erect a wire fence at that time (Minutes 24/1/50). In 1962 a quote for replacement railings and gates was obtained for £900. There was a temporary third gate at the NE point (Plate 1.24, 1.33). Due to lack of funds the residents opted instead to accept a quote for £364.13.0 to erect a chain link fence with two gates (Minutes 10/4/62).

Worcester Gardens, and the streets fronting it were fire bombed a number of times during WW2. The former H.H. Wills family home St Vincent’s Hall at the East end of the gardens was destroyed in one such raid and the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Clifton now occupies that site. This enemy action undoubtedly encouraged local support of the requisition of the railings to the war effort. The ornate railings to Badminton House at the end of the Terrace survived the purge as they were ornate and therefore exempted.

9.2 The Memorial Aspect Of The Absence

The current cost of replacement would exceed £100,000, however, public attitudes to the remembrance of the war dead has shifted in recent years and an argument is presented that the absence of railings is an appropriate memorial for that generation that is also absent as a result of war.

9.3 Approach taken in other Bristol Spaces

Canynge Square and Vivian Gardens have replaced their lost railings. Victoria Square has not. The principle consideration has been cost and the availability of benefactors. The residents of Fremantle Square, Kingsdown abandoned their efforts to restore the railings to their square in 1999 due to lack of funding. In the current climate it seems unlikely public funding will be prioritised for such restorations.

9.4 Identifying the design and specification of the railings

By taking measurements of the railing stubs remaining in the boundary wall and measuring a single remaining stump, combined with a comparison of the railings n Worcester Terrace it seems likely the railings were to that same size and specification as the railings on the boundary wall between numbers 12 and 13 Worcester Terrace.

10 Illustrations

10.1 Figures

Fig. 1 Aerial Photograph of Worcester Gardens and environs 2010

Fig. 2 OS Map Worcester Gardens and environs

Fig. 3 OS Map Worcester Gardens and environs 1949

Fig. 4 OS Map Worcester Gardens and environs 1900’s Epoch 2

Fig. 5 OS Map Worcester Gardens and environs 1880’s Epoch 1

Fig. 6 Ashmead Map Worcester Gardens and environs 1874

Fig. 7 Ashmead Map Worcester Gardens and environs 1855

Fig. 8 Ashmead Map. Site of Worcester Gardens and environs 1828

Fig. 9 De-Wilstar map 1748 Georeferenced over 2012 OS Map With HER points

Fig. 10 Pedology Map of Clifton, Bristol, NERC 2012

Fig. 11 Hemmings Survey of The Manor of Clifton 1746.8

Fig. 12 Hachured contour survey and Chamber entrance location by author overlaying OS Map 2012

Fig. 13 Key to positions from which the Photographs in the Plates section were taken

Fig. 14 Position of access manhole to the underground chamber


Fig 16 General Location Map

10.2 Plates

The green and white Scale Bar in all photographs is 40 cm wide in 10cm bands and 15cm high. Refer to Fig. 12 for key to picture locations.

Plate 1.10 External view of the NW Corner of the gardens

Plate 1.11 External view of the SW Corner of the gardens

Plate 1.12 External view of the SE Corner of the gardens

Plate 1.13 External view of the NE Corner of the gardens

Plate 1.20 Internal view to the East

Plate 1.21 Internal view to the West

Plate 1.22 Internal view to SW bin store and gate

Plate 1.23 Internal view SE bin store and gate

Plate 1.24 Internal view of NE gate remains and the internal fence

Plate 1.25 Internal view gardens to the west

Plate 1.26 Font Feature

Plate 1.30 External view of SW gate, bin store entrance and build out

Plate 1.31 External view of SE gate, bin store entrance and build out

Plate 1.32 Remaining railing support

Plate 1.33 External view of NE gate remains

Plate 1.34 External view of NW gate remains

Plate 1.35 External view of transformer station

Plates 1.36 Finials and railings at Worcester House

11 Bibliography

Bristol City Council (1941,1942) Planning and Public Works Committee Minutes 12 Nov 1941 -2 Dec 1942, Bristol Records Office.

Bristol City Council (2010) [Clifton & Hotwells character appraisal & Management Proposals] http://www.bristol.gov.uk/sites/default/files/assets/documents/clifton-and-hotwells-character-appraisal.pdf (accessed 20 Nov 2012)

Bristol City Council (2013) [Know Your Place], http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/planning-and-building-regulations/know-your-place, (accessed 16th Jan 2013)

British Listed Buildings (2012) [Worcester House], thttp://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-380924-worcester-house-and-attached-front-area- (accessed 17/11/12)

Centurion (2012) [Great War Forum: Railings?], http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11618 (accessed 3 Dec 2012)

Deeds (1853) 11 Worcester Terrace, Clifton

Deeds (1856) 2 Worcester Terrace, Clifton

Gardens Data Services (2012), [Worcester Terrace, Clifton, Clifton, Bristol, England], http://www.parksandgardens.ac.uk/component/option,com_parksandgardens/task,site/id,3586/tab,summary/Itemid,293/ (accessed 10 Nov 2012)

Gomme, A, Jenner, M. and Little, B. (1979) Bristol: An Architectural
History, London: Lund Humphries.

IFA (2001). Institute of Field Archaeologists. Standards and Guidance for Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. 1994; revised 2001: London IFA

Latimer, J. (1900) Clifton in 1746, Proceedings of the Clifton Antiquarian Club, Vol. No 5, Pages 25-34

Latimer, J (1900) Clifton in 1746. Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society No. 23, 312-322.

Minute Books (1887-Present) Minute Books of the Worcester Gardens Associations

Parks and McGrath, P. (1975) The Merchant Venturers of Bristol : a history of the Society of Merchant Venturers of the City of Bristol from its origin to the present day, Bristol: Merchant Venturers

Pevsner, N. (1958) 1958 North Somerset and Bristol, Yale: Yale University Press

Planning Transport and Sustainable Development (2006) [Clifton and Durdham Downs: A Landscape History] http://www.bristol.gov.uk/sites/default/files/assets/documents/111%20Downs%20History%20Final%20Report%20Feb%202006%20Short%20Version.pdf (accessed 20 Dec 2012)

Russell, J., (1999) The Archaeology of the Parish of Clifton, with a Note on the 833 AD Boundary Survey of Stoke Bishop. Bristol and Avon Archaeology 16, 73-87

Sivier, D. (2002) Anglo Saxon and Norman Bristol, London: Temple Press p32.