Skip to content

All posts by Discover North Somerset Team

North Somerset Heritage Forum

The North Somerset Heritage Forum was established on Thursday 16th November, with representatives from 22 different heritage interest groups from across the district in attendance. This was run by the Council’s Archaeologist, Conservation & Heritage Officer and HER Officer, along with the Heritage Champion, Councillor Robert Cleland at the Old Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare. These groups included a wide range of heritage interests such as archaeology, local history and civic societies.

Discussions took place around a number of topics including Know Your Place, heritage promotion, training opportunities and national heritage events, as well as regional research frameworks, current projects and enhancement of the Historic Environment Record.

Some great ideas for future collaborations between the groups themselves, and also with the Council’s heritage officers, were presented, and we’re very excited to move forward and put these thoughts into action!

These forums will be taking place every six months, in different locations across the district, highlighting the rich and varied heritage that North Somerset has to offer.

If you are a member of a local history, archaeology or heritage interest group and would like to attend future events, please contact the heritage officers at DM.Archaeology@n-somerset.gov.uk

History and Archaeology Walk in Weston

Join the first walk on 12 November, led by professional field archaeologist Shuan McConnachie, BA, pgCerts (Landscape archaeology, Classics) and member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.

Easy walk from Birnbeck, along the front and ending at the Museum.Dog friendly and good access for people with mobility issues on this one.

Looking at the history and some of the archaeology, of Weston. From the ancient geological past (Weston was once a rain-forest), to the builders of Worlebury Hill Fort and the Roman shrine on Brean Down. 
Also looking at the Regency beginnings of Weston and the town we recognise today. There’s so much more…and learn about the secret of Rusty, the Iron Age dog you can see in the museum….

No fee, as such, but contributions welcome (£3 suggested minimum). Carers and helpers for people with mobility issues free, as do children under 12.   See more details here.

 

Friends of the Museum talks

The Friends of Weston Museum host regular talks on topics of local historical interest. Two talks are planned in October and November: 


Friends of Weston Museum

On 18 October,  Stuart Burroughs (Director of the Museum of Bath at Work) will present ‘They Took to the Sea’ – a film made in 1962 about a group of children from Birmingham brought to Weston by train for a day’s outing; some had never seen the sea before. The film shows many places in 1960s Weston and may bring back some wonderful memories for any visitors who came here in decades past. 

The Friends welcome Amal Khreisheh, Assistant Curator from the South West Heritage Trust on 15 November to talk about ‘Bringing Weston Museum to Life: how we made the new displays’.  Amal looks after the North Somerset collections and played a key role in the museum’s redevelopment. She will talk about the gallery re-display from a curatorial perspective, highlighting some star items from the displays.

Talks are free to members of the Friends, a small fee on the door applies to non-members.  More details about the Museum and the Friends can be found on the museum website.

Heritage Action Zone in North Somerset

Heritage Action Zones 

Heritage Action Zones, Historic England
Heritage Action Zones, Historic England

Heritage Action Zones will unleash the power in England’s historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities.

Working with local people and partners, Historic England will help to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise – unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors. We will do this with joint-working, grant funding and sharing our skills.

Historic buildings that have deteriorated through decades of neglect will be restored and put back into use; conservation areas improved to kick-start regeneration and renewal; and unsung places will be recognised and celebrated for their unique character and heritage, helping instil a sense of local pride wherever there’s a Heritage Action Zone. 

Great Weston Heritage Action Zone

Over three years Great Weston Heritage Action Zone aims to boost economic growth and keep Weston on the map as a great place to live and work.

  • Researching Weston’s heritage and urban development, to inform a new book
  • Reviewing Weston’s listed buildings
  • Bringing the town centre’s historic buildings back into use as high quality homes
  • Grant schemes to improve the public realm, shop signs and shopfronts
  • New, clear heritage routes across the town, plus new pedestrian access to Weston Museum, Weston Town Square, the seafront and side lanes
  • Improved design standards and quality in conservation areas and surrounding areas
  • A local listing project
  • Heritage health walks and a ‘Looking Up’ initiative to encourage appreciation of Weston’s heritage

Great Weston Heritage Action Zone aims to help unlock the economic potential of historic sites in Weston by encouraging local partners to make use of their resources in a creative and focussed way, to enhance local places and achieve sustainable growth. Weston’s beautiful, but often underappreciated, Victorian and early 20th century buildings stand ready to become new business premises and homes. The regeneration of Weston’s historic shopfronts and public places will tempt more shoppers and attract new businesses. Better links between the town centre, railway station and seafront will make sure visitors don’t miss all Weston has to offer.

The Great Weston Heritage Action Zone contact is Cara MacMahon.  E: cara.macmahon@n-somerset.gov.uk    T: 01934 42 6825

Historical maps launched online

For the first time, historical maps of North Somerset are now freely available online thanks to the Know Your Place West of England project, supported by the National Lottery. 

From the coastal communities of Portishead, Clevedon and Weston, further inland to Blagdon and Leigh Woods, you can now discover how North Somerset has been transformed over time. Five historic map layers of North Somerset are now online, allowing you to explore some of the most famous natural and man-made landmarks, from Uphill to Wrington Vale, and Royal Portbury Docks to the famous Grand Pier at Weston. Alongside historic maps you can freely explore data from the Historic Environment Record for North Somerset.

Know Your Place logo
Know Your Place project logo.

You will also be able to upload and share your own information about the area straight onto Know Your Place helping to build a rich and diverse community map of local heritage for everyone – from schoolchildren to family historians and planners to enthusiasts of community heritage.

More than 50 project volunteers are working hard to prepare further historic maps, which will be added onto Know Your Place North Somerset over the coming months. South West Heritage Trust in Taunton supplied many of the original maps. In addition, collections from museums are featured in a touring exhibition that will visit North Somerset libraries in the coming months.

Cat Lodge, Archaeologist at North Somerset Council, said: “We are grateful for the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund in facilitating such an exciting project which will enable residents of North Somerset to better interact with and explore the history and heritage of their local areas. Through the use of digital mapping, users are able to see how their communities have developed over time and add to the historical knowledge of those places.

“Know Your Place is a valuable resource which will not only aid community historical and archaeological groups and schools in local research, but also contribute to adding new information to North Somerset Council’s Historic Environment Record and raise the profile of heritage in the district.”

Nerys Watts, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “Know Your Place West of England is a fantastic resource, bringing together the history of this area so people can discover the ever-changing make-up of the places where they live and work. If you have bought a National Lottery ticket recently, you have helped to support these types of projects that are preserving the precious heritage of our communities for future generations. Thank you.” 

Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Know Your Place West of England project was awarded £379,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with generous match-funding and in-kind support from local authorities and heritage groups in the region, including £5,000 match-funding from lead partner South Gloucestershire Council.

You can start exploring North Somerset’s maps and heritage information at the project’s website www.kypwest.org.uk.

Vote for your favourite blue plaque

The Weston Mercury are inviting readers to vote for their favourite blue plaque in Weston-super-Mare.  The town’s heritage is being celebrated with 13 blue plaques dedicated to prominent people from the town’s past. The first – for Olympian Paulo Radmilovic – has already been installed by Weston Town Council. But now you have a chance to vote which plaques you would like to see go up next, subject to the agreement of the building’s owner. Simply read the biographies of these 12 people, then vote for your favourites in the poll on the website.

New heritage walk in Clevedon

Marlens have compiled a new walk covering the Clevedon seafront heritage trail.    

The trail begins at the pier’s toll house in Marine Parade and leads walkers to the other side of the seafront, along Poet’s Walk before ending at St Andrew’s Church in Old Church Road. The route also passes a number of interesting and historical landmarks and buildings along the way including the bandstand, Marine Lake and Clevedon Hall.

Talks for 2017

The Weston-Super-Mare Archaeological and Natural History Society (WAHNS) plan to host some new talks this spring for members and non-members. Recommended to check with the group before attending.

Tuesday 11th April 2017: “The Archaeology of Cross Rail, Western Section”
Vix Hughes, Project Officer, Oxford Archaeology.

Tuesday 9th May 2017: “Rock End and the lost cottages of Cheddar”
Susan Shaw, Somerset Vernacular Buildings Research Group.

Meetings will be held at Victoria Methodist Church Hall, Station Road,  Weston-Super-Mare, BS23 1XU
Doors open at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start.  Parking behind church after 7pm.
Refreshments are free and will be served during the meetings.
Members £1, visitors £2.50.