Battery Point Lighthouse was built in 1931 by Chance Brothers of Smethwick on a rocky promontory on the north west edge of Portishead. The deep water channel known as King Road passes very close to the coast at this point. The lighthouse, which is also known as Portishead Point Lighthouse, is nine metres tall and consists of a black metal pyramid on a square concrete base. The lighthouse is maintained by Bristol Port Company. In 1999 they announced that they wanted to demolish the lighthouse and replace it with a modern navigational aid. After a campaign by local residents, they agreed to build a replica of the original lighthouse.
A two tonne bronze fog signal bell was installed at Battery Point Lighthouse in 1939. It was removed c1998. It was found in a warehouse owned by Bristol Port Company in Avonmouth in 2010. After a campaign by local residents, it was acquired by Portishead Town Council in 2012. It was restored and re-sited on Wyndham Way in 2013.
There is a Merchant NavyMemorial close to Battery Point Lighthouse with a brass plaque attached to it. The words on the plaque are as follows: “This stone is situated here at Battery Point, the closest place on the coast of the United Kingdom which large ships pass. It is dedicated to seafarers of the West Country who, since the Middle Ages, on voyages of discovery and in times of peace and war, have passed this point, some never to return. “Oh hear us when we cry to thee, for those in peril on the sea.” Erected by the Merchant Navy Association North Somerset Branch, 2005”.
To mark the 375th anniversary of the Siege of Bristol, the Sealed Knot are re-enacting the event at Ashton Court Showground over the end of May Bank Holiday Weekend. Why not bring a Picnic, interact with members on the Living History Camp and then settle down to watch an spectacular and explosive display of Cannon, Musket, Pike and Cavalry as the Sealed Knot re-enacts the Siege on the Battlefield.
Free event, but you are advised that there is no specific event car parking. More details of the event timetable are on the Sealed Knot website.
John Robert Lucas was born in 1754. After his father Robert Lucas died in 1774, he took over his beer and cider works in Bristol and his shares in a glass making business in Limekiln Lane, Bristol. In 1781 John Robert married Anna Adams and they had a son and two daughters. In 1787 he leased a glassworks at Stanton Wick.
John Robert Lucas established a glass works at Nailsea in 1788. He chose Nailsea as the site for his new glassworks because of the abundance of coal produced by the mines around the town and local supplies of sand and limestone. He may also have been influenced by plans for the Grand Western Canal, which would have linked the English and Bristol Channels with a branch to Nailsea. However only the section from Tiverton to Taunton was ever built.
Lucas’s company was called Nailsea Crown Glass and Glass Bottle Manufacturers. Initially one cone shaped kiln and a furnace were built at Nailsea. A second glass furnace was built there in 1790.In 1793 John Robert Lucas went into partnership with William Chance, Edward Homer and William Coathupe. In 1788 William Chance had married John Robert’s sister Sarah and Edward Homer had married John Robert’s sister Mary.
In addition to window glass and bottles, the Nailsea Glassworks also produced domestic ware and novelty items such as flasks, rolling pins, pipes, jugs and walking sticks, which were sometimes decorated with flecks, loops or bands of white or coloured enamel. Most of these items were produced by workers at the end of their shifts using leftover pieces of glass.
In 1811 William and Sarah Chance’s son, Robert Lucas Chance, took over the management of the Nailsea works and married his cousin Louisa, the daughter of Mary and Edward Homer. In 1812 he persuaded John Hartley, the leading crown glass expert in the country, to come and work at Nailsea.
The partnership of Lucas, Chance, Homer and Coathupe lasted until 1821 when William Chance sold all of his shares and Edward Homer sold part of his to William Coathupe. Edward Homer’s son James Edward Homer was taken into the partnership at this time and the company traded as Lucas, Coathupe and Homer.
John Robert Lucas died in 1828 and was buried at Backwell. Most of his estate passed to his grandsons John Rodbard Bean and Henry Lucas Bean.
The New House Cone was built at Nailsea c1828. Experienced sheet glass blowers were recruited from France and Belgium from the 1830s, due a shortage of skilled British glass blowers. By 1835 Nailsea was the fourth largest glassworks in Britain. Bottle making ceased at Nailsea in the 1830s in favour of plate, crown and sheet window glass.
In 1835 a partnership called Lucas, Coathupes, Homer and Cliffe was formed to run the business. In 1844 the company became Coathupes & Co with Charles and Oliver Coathupe, John and Henry Bean and James Edward Homer as shareholders. In the 1840s a new cone known as the Lilly or Lily Cone was built.
In 1848 Charles Coathupe retired and Oliver Coathupe became manager at the Nailsea works. Over the next 25 years there were various changes in the partnership and shareholdings. In 1861 the Nailsea works were closed for a while and the following year they were leased to Samuel Bowen, a glass merchant from West Bromwich, and John Powis of London. They traded as Nailsea Glass Company and made patented ventilating glass, cut glass and coloured glass for stained glass windows. Samuel Bowen became bankrupt in 1869 and he and Powis surrendered their lease. In 1870 the Nailsea works were sold to Chance Bros of Smethwick, together with a coal mine on the same site.
Glass production ceased at Nailsea in 1873, due to competition from cheap Belgian imports and the decline in production from the Nailsea Coalfield, and the works were closed in 1874. The New House Cone was demolished in 1905. Some of the rubble from it was supposedly used to build the extension to the runway at Filton in the late 1940s.
Extensive archaeological excavations began on the glassworks site in 1983 and continued for several years. In 2002 a supermarket was built on part of the site. The only surviving building is the one which housed the French kilns, and gas-fired furnaces. This was later converted into the Royal Oak Garage.
A collection of Nailsea Glass items can be seen at the National Trust’s Clevedon Court. However much of what is today described as Nailsea Glass was not made at Nailsea but was made in the same style elsewhere in England e.g. Stourbridge.
This was sculpted by Vanessa Marston and unveiled in 2008
This would have been filled with cold water into which surplus molten glass would have been ladled. Once the glass had cooled and solidified it was broken up and used to speed up the melt of the next batch of sand, limestone and soda.
Two glazed ceramic tile panels illustrating the glassworks and its various manufacturing processes. The panels were designed and produced by Ned Heywood of the Workshop Gallery in Chepstow. They incorporate fragments of glass excavated from the site. They are on display on the outside wall of Tesco’s Supermarket.
An app, which has been launched to help Weston residents and visitors find historic landmarks in and around the seaside town, has exceeded targets and is the second most downloaded walk, and more popular than the Buckingham Palace trail.
The Crumbs City Trail mobile app, which has been launched under the Heritage Action Zone, takes the user on a walking route scattered with clues and trivia questions all based around the history of Weston.
Cara MacMahon, Heritage Action Zone Officer, said: “We are delighted with the positive response from local residents and visitors. Weston is a treasure trove of hidden historic gems and we welcome anything that highlights the beautiful architecture we have here.
The highly decorated rectangular carved stone font in St Augustine’s Church at Locking probably dates from the 12th century. At each corner there is a human figure with both arms outstretched to meet the hands of the figures on the adjacent corners. The figures are alternately male and female. Three of the four sides are also highly decorated with intertwined Celtic serpent designs. The fourth side is plainer with two bands of chevrons, probably because in its original location this side faced a wall.
The font originally stood on one central pillar. Four corner pillars were added in the 19th century for extra support. The head-dresses of the four figures were cut off in the 19th century when the rim of the font was reduced in height to make it level.
St Augustine’s Church was probably founded by the monks of Woodspring Priory in the 13th century. The oldest part of the present church is the tower, which dates from 1380, but this may have been built on the site of an earlier church.
Historic England is asking the public to share their knowledge of England’s secret, unknown and forgotten memorials. They want photographs and information about lesser-known memorials, and those that are well-loved by small groups or communities but unknown nationally. It is also looking for rituals and activities attached to memorials. The stories and pictures contributed by the public will be recorded to form part of an exhibition in the autumn. The best examples of community memorials may be listed.
Frederick Edward Weatherly, songwriter and barrister, was born at 7 Wood Hill (now 63 Woodhill Road) in Portishead on 4th October 1848. He was educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Oxford University. After graduating he remained at Oxford and worked as a teacher. In December 1872 he married Anna Maria Hardwick in Worle and they had a son and two daughters. They later separated and he lived with Maude Francfort for many years.
At some point in his adult life Frederick dropped the k from the end of his name and became Frederic. In 1887 he left teaching to qualify as a barrister in London. In 1893 he joined the western circuit and moved to Clifton, Bristol. In 1900 he moved to Bath where he continued to work as a barrister. Frederic’s wife Anna died in 1920. Maude Francfort died in 1923 and later the same year Frederic married a widow, Mrs Miriam Bryan. He died in Bathwick on 7th September 1929 after a short illness and was buried at Bathwick Cemetery.
Frederic Weatherly published his first song lyrics, poems, two novels, many children’s books, and librettos for cantatas and oratorios while he was living in Oxford. He went on to write the words to many of the most popular songs in the English-speaking world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His songs were performed by the leading singers of the time. He also translated several Italian and French operas into English.
Frederic Weatherly claimed to have published more than 1,500 songs in total. Dozens of them were extremely popular in his lifetime, and several of them, including Nancy Lee (1876), The Holy City (1892), Danny Boy (1912) set to the tune of ‘Londonderry Air’, and Roses of Picardy (1916) remained popular after his death.
Four fully illustrated Civic Society lectures delivered in the comfort of a Weston hostelry by John Crockford-Hawley. On Mondays 5th, 12th, 29th and 26th March, John will be delivering talks on ‘The History of Weston’. The topics will be:
5th March: A Flock of First & A string of Seconds. How Weston leads the world..
12th March: Chuff Chuff to the Seaside. How the railway has played a significant role in Weston’s development.
19th March: To the Manor Born. Grove House and the Smyth-Piggotts.
26th March: Weston at War. Weston in WWI and WWII, with some amazing photographs.
All talks will be held at the Imperial, South Parade, BS23 1JN at 7.30pm. Pre-booking essential. Please see details on the Civic Society webpage.