As I write we are approaching the end of the wettest May I can remember, never mind what the official stats say, and summer feels like a distant, half remembered pleasure. But there are signs of summer emerging. Beneath rain soaked leaves strawberries are forming and soon the calendula will raise their yellow faces to the sun. The sedum are about to burst into colour and the irises are blooming blousily.
Add in the explosion of wild flowers around the city and we should feel our spirit rising like the relieved bees who need these lines of pollinators to survive.
With the warmer weather we can make some plans to gather at the piazza. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to do some gardening as I’m thinking about setting up a little ‘gardening club’. Or please join us on June 7th 4-6pm
On July 18th 1-8pm Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association are planning a community festival. Our working title is Hotwells Well-Being Festival and so far we have confirmed some really exciting play, art and gardening activities for people of all ages. This date is subject to covid restrictions and council permission and if it is not safe or permitted we will postpone to September.
Supported by Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association, we are planning a day-long festival to celebrate our community and offer local people a chance to come together. We want people to enjoy being sociable in a safe and fun environment after a difficult and distanced pandemic year.
Activities will include fun taster sessions by popular local fitness guru Chris from Move More Fitness, play sessions by expert play facilitators from A & K’s Playground, community arts activities with resident artists Anna Haydock-Wilson, Amy Hutchings and Mhari Stuart, poetry, music, gardening and a skate spot launch in partnership with an amazing Bristol based events and media company, PYTCH.
How can you get involved? We welcome people who want to deliver well-being activities in the broadest sense to offer taster activities to festival go-ers. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with stewarding, first aid and children. Please contact email@example.com of you’re interested.
With so much hope pinned on 2021 being a better year than the covid catastrophe of 2020, life in our local communities is ever more important. We made a new mural to help people express their hopes. We have begun with colours and words around Amy’s beautiful herons. The lettering is by graphic artists, Julia and Rosie, and swirls and colours by Mhari and Anna.
The idea is to add positive statements and ideas of what we’d like to change in the world and in our city in the coming year. We’ll do this by drawing characters holding placards like with the ‘Sun will Rise and So Will We’ created by myself, Lauren and Katya using designs by Shelby X Studios. This artwork is the second in the Hotwells Voices series.
On the old cafe base next to this wall I will rebuild Unlocking Bristol and chalk the 300 plus messages I have already from residents all over Bristol. These artworks are temporary and vandal proof & created by volunteers although we have applied for funding for some additional painting and planting.
At the end of 2020 the Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association carried out an extensive community survey, which included some questions about people’s aspirations for the piazza. Thanks so much for all your responses which were overwhelmingly positive and aligned well with the previous survey in 2014. The priorities back then were for more green areas, facilities for young people and artworks. This time artwork was lower down the list and extra seating was higher up along with community events and ideas for a regular market.
We recognise concerns when it comes to untidiness and nostalgia and love of Dame Sylvia Crowe’s original public space design with the play park and the paddling pool and pristine concrete. The cost of returning the Piazza to its former glory is beyond the capacity of H&CCA. With the possibility of ‘Western Harbour’ developments, the whole area could change over the coming years- another great reason to communicate, share and amplify our voices.
People seem to appreciate the attempts we have made over the years to minimise unpopular graffiti and repaint when people deface the pillars and walls. We are aware that tagging really upsets many people, so I thought it would be useful to explain how we currently manage this. If the graffiti is obscene you can call the council and the Bristol Waste Street Cleansing team will paint over it as soon as possible. If you also contact me or the community association we have many more colours and can restore the original artworks. Otherwise, I tend to keep an eye out and make time to paint over what I think people consider to be ugly when time allows and on a voluntary basis.
I have compiled a list of FAQs responding more thoroughly to the H&CCA survey. I hope they help explain who takes responsibility for maintaining & improving the piazza and outline how you can get involved.
We really, really hope 2021 is a better year for everyone.
Anna Haydock-Wilson 5th Jan 2021
Sadly we have had to postpone planned community gardening days at the piazza due to the government announcement of national lockdown, but the planters at the piazza don’t know that and they still need some TLC. Mindful of the isolation lockdown can bring, we are happy to facilitate some covid-safe community gardening.
The Piazza was used as an example of good practice in a recent talk at the Centre of Gravity exhibition at the old Gardiner Haskins building that ended yesterday. Alternative Approaches to Architecture- working with students & communities was organised by local residents Rachel Sara, Professor of Architecture at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design and Anna Haydock-Wilson with guest speaker Thomas Sale, currently furloughed from his job as Project Manager for Don Eain, a participatory design practice in Myanmar. It was presented by Bristol Artist-Led Forum, a growing network of artists working with communities for social change, environmental improvement and increase in well-being.
Here are the presentations and documentation from the event.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
As the school summer holidays draw to a close and the rainfall & XR focus our attention on climate change, let’s celebrate our local young people. This summer, led by local artist and teaching assistant, Mhairi Stuart, nearly 30 kids have adorned the piazza with their pavement art.
These activities offered local children the chance to focus on some detailed drawing but also an opportunity for lots of running around and freer expression.
We have photographed all the artwork and over the next couple of months Anna & Mhairi will carefully paint some of the images to form a winding trail through the piazza. The concrete blocks have long been in need of decorating so we’ll be using some of the design ideas the children have created for those too.
If you would like to help paint, please contact email@example.com
We recognise that children have had a tough time recently, so we’re offering some mindful art for local families. Led by Mhairi Stuart with Anna Haydock-Wilson and Amy Hutchings, pavement pastel and chalking will be on the following dates:
August 18, 19 & 20th 11am-12pm
Please bring an old cushion or towel for the children to kneel on and dress code is scruffy! We are fully insured and trained to work with children but we can’t take responsibility for infection spreading so please attend with your children. Bring a cuppa and relax or help with some gardening!
We will selct our favorite artworks and paint them in to create a permanant trail with some signage
The Hotwells Piazza is opposite the Rose of Denmark pub BS8 4QL and is an open public space.
We would love some help on the Piazza with weeding and watering, particularly through the summer months
On our notice board opposite the Rose of Denmark pub we have put up guidelines on how you can help. Here they are in this blog post
There are a few weeds that are particularly invasive and you can pull these up wherever you see them. Other self-seeding or wild-flower plants are great to leave as they attract bees and butterflies. If in doubt it’s best to leave them.
Over the years we have been learning which plants cope best in our urban climate and we very rarely need to water out planters, rockeries, sedum beds or rain beds, but during prolonged hot, dry spells we use the rainwater butts and occasionally put a local call out for people to bring water to the piazza
This map, by Zoe Smith, shows the garden areas that the local community, supported by Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association have created since 2014. The other areas are cared for by Bristol City Council.
If you would like to help with gardening, watering and litter picking we ask you to be responsible for your health in terms of protecting against the corona virus or skin allergies by wearing gloves or using hand sanitiser. Once you have pulled up weeds, please put them in our garden waste bins here. Water is available for plants from the rain butts. This is not safe for hand washing or for dogs to drink.
Here are some of the plants we have added over the years.
Many of our plants have been bought from the Riverside Garden Centre, supporting this wonderful local business. Others have been donated and scattered by locals or have self-seeded.
If you would like to plant something you are welcome. You can use an empty area of one of the planters or put something in the beds or rockeries we have created. Please be mindful that there are bulbs in the planters that need space to grow in the spring.
The Piazza is a big space and, although the planters are largely self maintaining, there is a bit of weeding, digging and watering that we’d love your help with. Throughout most of the year we have no need to water the plants, and when we do the rain butt is usually full. However, occasionally weeks can go by with no significant rain- like July 2018 and May 2020!
During these times your help is vital and I’d like to thank Lilia & Bori, Alex, Bob, Carol, Shilpi & Faruk, Julia, Marcia & Kean (for weeding) and everyone else who has rescued a few plants for us this week by bringing water down in a variety of whatever containers!
There is finally a bit of rain in the forecast and the temperature is cooling, but as the world warms, we can expect these dry periods to be more frequent. To make sure our plants (aka pollinators and carbon emitters) can survive dry periods we are installing another rain water butt, donated by the Whale family in Southville and HCCA are looking installing an emergency water supply. We are also paying close attention to the types of plants that thrive in dry weather and planting more of them.
But local volunteers are vital to keeping the Piazza green and tidy. We’ve created some basic watering and weeding guidelines so that anyone can join in. We will put these on our new noticeboard.
If you like sociability, or need some gardening tools, or don’t feel confident to garden alone, do contact us on our Facebook page or email Anna and she will arrange company.
Guidelines for Piazza Gardening
If we have very dry periods or you notice the plants looking parched can you help water?
It is best to water plants when the sun is not on them. This is tricky at the Piazza, so early morning or late evening are the best times.
The areas that the community is responsible for are:
- The Maple grove and sedum beds
- The rain garden
- The rockery
- The planters
We will be asking for help with weeding over the summer and Autumn once we have sorted out our garden waste
Unless you have a litter picker or some gloves we are not advising the public to help with this until further notice. If you do pick up litter the bins by the mural above are regularly emptied by Bristol Waste Street Cleansing team, who deserve a big thanks for all the gritty cleaning jobs in our city (below, picking up food as a thanks from Chai Shai)
We welcome ideas for improving the space and making it work for everyone. These could be painting, planting, events or enhancing children’s play. Please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be posting more activities over the next couple of weeks.
The council have planted a few more trees and HCCA have agreed plans and budget for more planters and benches. To help us with more designs and ideas for helping the space to thrive we’re setting up a Friends of the Hotwells Piazza group so that we can bring together locals, artists, skaters, gardeners, historians, environmentalists, women who love parkour and anyone else who fancies a natter and some tea and cake.
Last year we added sedum beds, a fern garden and a couple of rockeries by taking up the old Sun Ray tiles designed by Sylvia Crowe and we’ll continue to plant into the cracks to create more green areas on the site. For more details visit HCCA community projects
Sadly some places are bare and boring and close to the roads, so for these we’re adding new planters. We’ve been designing some that can be moved around and we’re also designing some ‘sociable seating’ with hexagonal planters in sunny spaces looking out to the lock gates and the river.
We have plans for the former children’s play area too. The concrete blocks will move so they work better for children, trial bikers and the kinds of kids who like to experiment with their scooter.
As well as re-painting the floor games and marking route ways and play lines we’re hoping to commission more street art before the rabbits take over!
West Bristol Arts Trail is a lovely community event, attracting thousands of visitors to Hotwells& Cliftonwood over the weekend. The weather is usually kind to all those traipsing the streets (and lanes) of our community and the artwork rarely disappoints!
At the Cumberland Piazza we have nothing to sell, only an invitation to wander round and look at our eclectic mix of street art, mural paintings and planted areas. This community led regeneration project was instigated by the late, great Ray Smith of Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association who invited Anna Haydock-Wilson to get involved in 2010 to see if arts could play a role in changing the site from a grey, empty, underused and vandalised space into a vibrant community space. It is a work in progress, but thanks to all the members of the community, artists, architects and landscapers we’ve had working with us, things have changed dramatically over the past few years.
This weekend you’ll be able to see the work of
- The local community, who painted the pillars in tonal colours and help with community gardening days
- Dave Bain who designed and painted the ‘hidden forest’
- Amy Hutchings who created the Herons and the Hotwells Primary Mural and Women of Hotwells and Cliftonwood
- Hotwells Primary and other local children who’s art work Amy beautifully transcribed
- HCCA and Art within the Cracks who commissioned and collaborated with Amy
- Luke and Paris who have provided the piazza which some epic street art and patiently repainted over several bouts of tagging in increasingly inventive ways
- Luke Carnaby and Thomas Sale who created a Pocket Park with play sculptures in collaboration with Anna and HCCA
Anna will be around on Saturday and Sunday 3-5pm to talk about the project and help you make some ‘art’. Did you bring too many beach stones or shells back from holiday this summer?
If they’re not decorating your garden please bring them along and place them in our railings rockery. We can’t literally have silver bells to go with our cockle shells, but we will be experimenting on sunday, tying old keys to the railings to see what sounds they make.
If you have any ideas for more Art under the flyover, please come down at the weekend or email email@example.com
What an arid month it’s been! Our rain butt on the Piazza ran dry a couple of weeks ago and the lovely team at the Rose of Denmark, who came to our rescue in some dry weeks last year, were not able to help since the pub sadly closed last month. You may have spotted Wheelie Bin Bob transporting water to the Piazza for desperate plants, many thanks to him and others who may have overloaded bicycles with containers.
Our aspirations for creating green space that responds to changes in our climate lost out to the responsibility we felt to existing trees and flora, particularly the catalpa and dog wood shrubs we planted in memory of Ray last year, and we have hired a standpipe for the next four weeks from Bristol Water. It’s bound to rain now!
Amy Hutchings, who painted the lovely Herons and the Charles Place Playpark mural has been working with Hotwells Primary after school club (ELASC). The children have produced some beautiful drawings that Amy has copied onto the wall and invited them to come and progress the mural with stamps of flowers, grass, waves and worms. The mural is funded by Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association as part of Ray Smith’s legacy.
To extend the mural along the whole wall, Amy and Anna have selected Dinah Black, a freed slave, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelly, Ellen Craft, Eliza Walker Dunbar, Angela Carter and Sylvia Crowe to highlight what amazing women who’ve lived, passed through or improved the lives of people in Hotwells & Cliftonwood over the centuries. The idea was inspired by Jane Duffus’s Women Who Built Bristol and Bristol Women’s Voice, who published and are selling the book. Anna has also contributed some funding from Art within the Cracks of Women’s Lives. Amy will finish the mural over the next week or so- heat hasn’t helped progress. Let’s hope the taggers leave this one alone.
The murals will be complete over the next week or so- heat hasn’t helped progress. Let’s hope the taggers leave this one alone.
Massive thanks are due to Carmel and Barbara who have been litter picking all around the area for the past month or so. They’ll be sharing news with us soon.
If you’d like to join in with projects at the Cumberland Piazza or in Hotwells and Cliftonwood generally, or receive monthly local new bulletins, please email firstname.lastname@example.org