The sun’s been a bit been beating down on Bristol recently – but be warned… It might soon be beneath the shadow of the WRECKING BALL if profiteering developers threatening some of the charms of Victorian East Bristol get their way.

First under threat from demolition is the old Ebenezer Chapel on Midland Road in St Philip’s. A friendly and familiar face greeting passers-by at the end of the Bath-Bristol cy- clepath, Bristol’s first ‘Primitive Methodist’ chapel has been around since 1849, but now FACES THE CHOP thanks to a landlord and developers who want to replace it with some boring, globally uniform apartments.

Ebenezer chapel

Ebenezer’s good – for demolition

All of the original fittings have already been ripped out to sell on, with Bristol City Council claiming it’s powerless to prevent the chapel’s destruction. Locals, backed by the Civic Society have pledged to fight on.

Next up for the ARCHITECTURAL KNACKER’S is Avonvale Board School in Redfield, now home to BCC Children’s and Young People’s Services. There are dastardly plans to replace this school, which has years left in it, with a ‘bespoke’ modern building with a much shorter life expectatancy.

Built in 1898-9 by Victorian architect Herber J. Jones – who in his time notched up a few Methodist chapels of his own – its head was once Thomas MacNamara, one of the first teachers to become a government minister.

So why not give the kids of the future a school with a bit of history they can learn about – instead of condemning them to study in an identikit box to satisfy greedy developers and weak-kneed planners who have forgotten the battles to save old Bristol from the bureaucrats in the decades after the War.

We all know the Regency and Victorian heritage of Clifton or Southville wouldn’t be flattened and replaced.

And it shouldn’t happen in working-class East Bristol either!


  1. amias

    We have tightened our requirements for building saftey , access and thermal efficiency this makes some old buildings unusable sadly , it’s not a conspiracy it’s just progress

  2. Chris

    I disagree with amias. All buildings over 10 years old are eligible for listing with English heritage.
    English Heritage website: –

    From EH website: – Anyone can suggest a building to English Heritage for listing. We examine the case and make a recommendation, but the decision on whether to list is taken by the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.
    The Secretary of State may also take the advice of other experts before making the final decision. When buildings are listed they are placed on the statutory list of buildings of ‘special architectural or historic interest’. These are compiled or approved by the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
    Some of the criteria listed is:-
    Architectural interest: buildings which are nationally important for the interest of their architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques
    Historic interest: this includes buildings which illustrate important aspects of the nation’s social, economic, cultural or military history
    Close historical association with nationally important people or events
    Group value, especially where buildings are part of an important architectural or historic group or are a fine example of planning (such as squares, terraces and model villages)

    What if a Building is under Threat?
    The threat that a building may be demolished or changed is not a reason for listing – but it may inevitably speed up the process of investigating it. Legally English Heritage and the Secretary of State are only allowed to consider the architectural or historic importance of a building when considering it for listing.

    An application has to be made to English Heritage. I hope someone picks up the baton & runs with it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *