History Day in Dame Emily Park

image (5)On Saturday the Know Your Bristol on the Move team took the new marquee along to Dame Emily Park in Bedminster/Southville for an event co-organised with our community partners at the Southville CDA, Greater Bedminister Community Partnership and Dame Emily Park Project team. We had a steady stream of visitors to find out more about the Know Your Bristol projects, share memories of the park and surrounding area with our team and enjoy tea and cake, children’s activities and jazz.

What struck me talking to people with memories of this place was how misplaced my notion of this site as a park was. Our initial vision for the afternoon had been in some ways to virtually recreate the feel of an Edwardian park with its now absent band stand through music and deck chairs in the sun.  Music and deck chairs in the sun there were, but the story that came through again and again in conversation and interviews was not one of the splendours of an Edwardian park but the much more recent greening of a post-industrial landscape. We knew that the site had originally been a colliery, but had not realised how persistent the traces of this paved over slag heap were.

image (9)Conversations and interviews on Saturday feel like the beginning of a new line of research into the history of mining in South Bristol and the persistence of industrial (and post-industrial) landscapes in this part of the city. How we tell those stories in place is the next challenge for our team of historians and local residents.