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Bristol’s famous southern suburb is explored in great depth by the same team which produced the very popular DVD ‘Bedminster: Pride Of South Bristol’ in 1998. Eminent historian Anton Bantock MBE once more joins forces with 1st Take, specialist producers of films celebrating Britain’s rich heritage, to cast new light on the Bedminster story.
Some of the earliest origins of human occupation in the area are examined with stunning features at Stanton Drew, Maes Knoll and Gatcombe Court, revealing a thriving community in Bedminster when the site of Bristol was still a swamp. Then, the medieval era is explored at Bishopsworth Manor House and what remains of Bedminster Manor House, just off St John’s Lane, which came under the ownership of the Smyths around the year 1600. The dramatic story of these once-powerful landlords, who owned great swathes of the Bristol and North Somerset area, is told at their former home, the majestic Ashton Court.
The building of the New Cut in the early 1800s transformed Bedminster, bringing widespread industry to the area and helping to trigger a massive population growth. Anton shares some fascinating stories of this period, such as the Australian town which was built on the banks of the New Cut, the building of the Church of the Vow and the theft of some silver teaspoons from Clift House, with an amusing modern post-script. As Bedminster expanded, hardship inevitably followed, and well-known local historian Mike Hooper examines the area where the poorest people lived, in the crowded tenements off East Street.
The story of Bedminster in the 20th century is largely told by three wonderful local characters, including Alfie Giles, who was born at the end of the First World War. His memories of the area reflect the humour and spirit of this very special part of Bristol.