The first community stakeholder meeting of the Multi-Story Water project fell on a beautiful summers’ evening last week and it was great to see an equally warm enthusiasm for the river and its sites, sights and stories.
This meeting – which brought together members of the community with the project team and representatives from the Environment Agency and Bristol City Council amongst others – was designed to get preliminary input on a series of events and activities throughout the summer connected with water. The project will explore how people in the area around the Frome live with the river, and we will be led by local people as to the kinds of events and places residents would enjoy.
We are sharing the outputs of this first event so that it inspires local residents to think about their own ideas for events, venues, stories and groups to involve over the summer to make a series of activities that you would like to be part of. We want your thoughts, so please let us know – by leaving a comment or sending us an email – if you have any other suggestions or if you would like to be part of anything mentioned!
After the introductions to the team and project, the first task of the evening was to ‘pin the tale on the map’ – annotating a giant map of the river as it flows from Eastville Park to the sluices at IKEA – with the answers to five different prompts:
- What makes you happy about the river?
- Where do you like to be by/on/in the river,
- Where do you notice or look our for changes in the river water? (e.g. low water, cleanliness, flooding)
- Where are the places you’d like to make or see performances or events that celebrate the river and its stories?
- …And a final ‘freestyle’, adding in any dreams, thoughts, wishes and desires for the river, the community and its future too.
As you can see, the map was too big for us to photograph in just one image to display properly here…
and still be able to read the brilliant annotations, a few of which you can see below…
So, currently the results from this mapping exercise are all being captured electronically through notes and linking the annotations to an electronic illustration of the river, though ways of also linking the results with an online map are also being investigated. But in the meantime, these maps will also be coming along to as many future events as possible to capture as many different community perspectives on the river – so there will plenty more chances to add your own tale to the map. Watch this space!
Next had a group carousel exercise, where we asked a series of other questions. The first was around groups in the community -who are the local groups and who could or should be involved in this project? The suggestions were:
- Bristol Permaculture Group
- Snuff Mills Action Group
- Stapleton Conservation Society
- Friends of the River Frome
- Eastville Park Action Group
- M32/Napier Rd Mosque, Eastville Mosque
Sports and activity groups
- “Wheelers” (in-line skaters etc)
- Easton Cowboys/Girls (football and netball)
- Glenfrome School
- Eastville Club (in car park of IKEA)
- RSA Concrete and Flowers project
- Easton Energy Group
- Neighbourhood Watch
- Cameo – Women’s Group
- Bristol Radical History Group
Then we asked, what are the local spaces and places that might be good for arts activities, performances, walks, meetings and parties?
Very local spaces – indoor
- Glenfrome School (Summer Fair 30 June 12-4)
- New Friends Hall, Purdown
- Stapleton Church Hall
- Merchants Arms Pub – including the cellars for scary arts events!
Very local spaces – outdoor
- Environment Agency Eastville Depot – maybe have an open day?
- The site by the sub-station opposeite the Hungry Horse (Merchants Arms) pub
- Under the M32
- Allotments – would be interesting – for walks, birdwatching, arts events
- Glenfrome School outdoor classroom
- Bridge Farm (need to ask)
- Miki’s Garden
- Lin’s Garden
- Wendy’s Garden
Slightly out of the project area
- IKEA Café? They have a community worker
- Transition Easton, Grofun, Eastside Roots
- Colston’s School (funding from Merchant Venturers?)
- Purdown Detachments – Army Cadets
- Frome Valley Walkway
- Stapleton Village Hall
Next we asked what do you like doing – dance, walks, boating, art, making things…?
- Cottrell Road Street Party – haven’t had one for ages and they are memorable! Used to put notes round to people and then come round and visit to see in what way they could participate – make food, make bunting, put up bunting, do dressing up etc
- Street Coffee Mornings during the day
- Like to find about water quality and diversity of life in the Frome – how do we get maximum diversity in the river? Could include the Water Framework Directive
- Workshop on pest control
- Transition Eastville
- History of the Frome – natural history, migratory trout, fossils etc.
- Guided trails by local experts
- Geocaching trails along the river – with GPS? (could link to GreenMapping)
- GreenMapping the river
- Art project using all the trash collected by the Environment Agency at the Easville Depot
- Singing – old songs – for older people to teach younger people and vice versa – could be pre M32 – et 1950s theme.
- Open air Open mic – retro/jazz/acoustic/
- Yoga/Tai Chi in tranquil spots
- Dragon boat racing!
- Recreating a boating party on the lake – bring a boat Wrap the M32 pillars with IKEA fabric (IKEA has a community liaison officer)
And finally, we asked where are the stories? Do you have any? Who might? Can you suggest books or materials that might be of use?
- M-shed – extant oral histories – a starting point
- Eastville library, Muller Road – photos, stories, pre/post M32, Stapleton Gasworks
- Is there a history of Eastville? Yes – a book.
- Glenside Hospital Museum
Other sources of stories
- Heath House Priory Hospital
- Glenfrome Primary Schools is the thread in this community – it is celebrating 60th Jubilee this year!
- Bishops Palace (Colston’s School)
- Sikh Temple, Stapleton Road
- Bridge Farm
- Individuals – who was flooded? Especially in 1968
- Facebook site for Eastville in the 1900s
Water stories about…
- Boiling Wells St Werburghs spring used as a supply of fresh water to ships in the harbour
- Pack Bridge
- Wickham Court – Roundheads and Cavaliers stopped before the truce where Robert the royalist walked out of Bristol with no arms drawn
- Canoe explorations!
- Friends of the Frome
- Loss of the Frome Valley Walkway
- Stories of ley lines
Other stories – wider than water
- 13 Arches gone, M32 came!
- The story of the stolen lampposts (1890s lampposts were taken to Cotham!) and St Werburghs gas lamp
- Eastville Market
- Football Ground
- Football Club – Purdown Predators?
- Fairground in winter and Rovers Ground
- Rovers Supporters Club
- Eastville Stadium (Rovers) dog track. The underpass from Stapleton Rd was built to serve the football ground and dog track.
- Cottrell Road street parties
- Wesley’s speech at Baptist Mill
This is a really great starting point to help us carry the project forward together – in terms of both the gathering of stories and narratives and the arts and creative work that we hope will now start to unfold. So, a huge thank you to everyone who came and shared ideas and energy at this meeting. Please do leave any thoughts or additional suggestions as comments to this blog posting or email [email protected]. We look forward to seeing you again and meeting more of you at the next project event which will be our first arts day on Saturday 16th June at Glenfrome School – more details to follow in the next blog!