Bristol Doors Open Days

Bristol Doors Open Days
The Merchants’ Hall
indocilis pauperiem pati
‘One who cannot learn to bear poverty’

What did I learn about our ‘Island Story’
On a squally September rain-swept day,
At the Merchants’ Hall, and Redcliffe Caves?
Well, we formed an orderly queue at the Hall,
Bantering with the pinstriped beadle,
Before our guide escorted us to the hall,
Where our talk began.

It was informative, in a manner of speaking:
The chandeliers are cleaned every two years!
Sixty-eight people can sit at this table!
When a speaker addresses an audience here,
The chairs are moved to face the front!
Princess Anne likes the Merchant Venturers!
Here are pictures of the docks in the 18th century!
(No mention yet…)
Royal Charters galore!
Portraits galore!
One day there will be a woman on the wall!
And a female ‘Master’ of the Society,
And she shalt have the title of ‘Master’!
The voice went on about the Society’s charitable enterprises,
I glanced at a couple of their annual reports:
‘New Schools’ Trust Offers Diversity’
(Conventional trope of girl in a science lab.),
More stuff on academies, residential care for the elderly,
‘Social business’ (sic), almshouses,
The ownership of Clifton Downs,
‘Although some 460 years old, the Society
is fresh and full of vigour and purpose’;
‘ … The Society and Bristol prospered. Trading patterns changed
over the centuries, with the later years marked
by the appalling period of slave trading in the 18th century.’
It all felt a bit Kafkaesque,
An arcane, shadowy world of ruling class disinformation …
Where philanthropy and charity
Obscures the hierarchy of ruling class control…

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On the Evening of August 27th . 1916

‘Dorothy and Archibald’

On the evening of August 27 1916, Private Archibald Knee, 25 years old, and of the Gloucestershire Regiment was due to return to his battalion on a train from Stroud station, cured of his German measles. On any other Sunday evening, Dorothy Beard of Gravel Hill, Burleigh, eighteen years young, would have been preparing for work at Brimscombe Mills. But Archibald missed his train, and Dorothy did not appear at work the next day. Instead, having walked out to Longfords Lake, hand in hand, they tied themselves together with the belt of his mackintosh, and they drowned in Iron Mills Pond, Avening, in the early hours of August 28 1916. Dorothy’s watch had stopped at 3.51 a.m.

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Voices of Conscience, Trenchcoats for Goalposts & All Our Stroud Yesterdays

Announcing three new events this November and two more this December:

Saturday 12th November 7.30 pm £12
Prince Michael Hall, The Bacon Theatre, Hatherley Road, Cheltenham

Friday 11 – Sunday 13 November
The Old Town Hall, Shambles £1 all profits to Stroud Refugee Aid

Wednesday 16th November
9 pm Subscription Rooms £5/£4

Friday 9th December 8:00 pm £10
Painswick Centre, Painswick

Saturday 10th December 8:00 pm £10
Comrades Club, Nailsworth

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