It was with great sadness that The BRISTOLIAN heard last week about the passing of Martin Connolly, former owner of Bristol’s CONNOLLY & CALLAGHAN property speculators – or “a family-run property business, creating homes that make a difference to people’s lives” as their online spin-waffle goes.

We are told he died of a heart attack, no doubt brought about by the sheer volume of cash being emptied into his bank account by Bristol City Council’s “strategic directors” for all the neoliberal landleeching that C&C is doing for it. Surely The Reverend Mayor could have been more considerate to the health of BCC’s favourite outsourced “emergency housing provider”, and avoided the shock that such a vast increase in his profit margins would cause him?

The BRISTOLIAN would like to remind readers of some of the qualities and contributions Mr Connolly brought to us in his long and illustrious career. Where does one start? Is it in the rip-off prices and spurious service charges he charged and his “family run-business” CONTINUES to charge BCC to house the homeless?

Is it the mothers evicted from C&C properties at Carpenters Place, Knowle West, in 2016? Is it the financial collapse of the “charity” he funded called Bristol Housing Foundation (BFH) in 2013? Or is it the ongoing sale of community space at Hamilton House on Stokes Croft by C&C to build luxury apartments?

“But we don’t stop there”, as the marketspeak on the C&C website attests, so perhaps the crowning achievement of Mr Connolly’s “strong social ethos” and will to “provide shelter for the vulnerable” had to be that North Street homeless hostel in 2016 where the basement was running with raw sewage, the bedrooms overrun with vermin, where exposed electric cables dangled, and holes in the outside wall were so big you could stick your arm through. Now that’s what you call really making a difference to people’s lives.

DISCLAIMER: In case of confusion we must establish that, despite his name, Martin Connolly bears NO relation whatsoever to James Connolly, the revolutionary socialist, trades unionist, syndicalist and Irish freedom fighter murdered by the British army in Dublin, 1916.


  1. David Seaton

    This is disgusting. We worked for Martin connolly for 14 years running a hostel in Chesterfield. In that time we took hundreds of people of the street and helped them back into independent living. They came from all walks of life some with mental health problems. Some with alcohol problems. Some with drug problems. All were given fully furnished rooms and the use of a very smart communal area with free tea and coffee. Pool table. Dart board. TV lounge. Chesterfield Council. Derbyshire probation service. Hartington Wing.nottingham prison. We’re all our users and spoke highly of the service provided. Many of them wouldn’t have survived on the street or any were to go. So I take issue with these remarks.

    1. Paul

      Yes and only bad story’s are published by the press
      You have no compassion for his family that is
      Grieving at this hard Time in there lives. You should be ashamed for Wrighting such shit there is no need for it
      No mater what he has done in your eyes a man is
      Dead and can’t defend himself so leave him alone.

  2. Cotham Cider


    “In that time we took hundreds of people of the street and helped them back into independent living”

    You make it sound like this was done for free but I assume

    “Chesterfield Council. Derbyshire probation service. Hartington Wing.nottingham prison”

    were paying the going rate for accommodation? In short its a business

  3. John Beegood

    Martin Connolly was a much loved man. I’m guessing the person who wrote this hatred never actually met him. Martin was a self made successful business man. He wasn’t born into money but worked hard and was successful. He could have just bought a yacht and lived a very comfortable life, but he wanted to do things differently. Through his housing projects he helped hundreds, possibly thousands of people. He was the inspiration and provided the funding for the success that is hamilton house, the centre piece of stokes croft. He was no saint (and would have laughed at the very thought), but he tried to make a sincere difference. Sometimes he got things wrong but very often he got things right, very right. He was a good, kind and very much loved person who achieved more on one lifetime than most of us could in 10. I can’t imagine how much hate it takes to write stuff like this, the author has my full sympathy. Maybe instead of spreading this hatred, you could try and do something positive, make a good difference to someone? The ironic thing is, if martin had ever met you, he would probably been very kind to you.

  4. Jeremy Batchelor

    Totally agree with the last comment , you obviously never knew the guy and what he was about and it was not just about him making money . It was an honour knowing the guy , and he made a difference in a lot of peoples lives ,,, but unfortunately you will never realise this .

  5. Charmaine Casson Rundle

    To The Bristolian ( you don’t represent me as a Bristolian)
    You definitely did not know or understand Martin, He was a very kind and caring man who helped
    many people in his life, Shame on you publishing your rediculas views things happen in life good and bad,
    But you obviously are not companionate about Martins family and friends at such a sad time.

  6. The Bristol Cleaver

    If you note, the article seems to be attacking BCC’s housing policy than C&C as such, though the latter were (and are still) profiting handsomely from the largesse BCC managers throw around at any private landlord who comes along. It’s simply how neoliberal capitalism works, and the bourgeois philanthropist is just the Janus face of the exploiter. As well as turning in a handsome profit from “housing the homeless” as an outsourced provider, in the midst of a housing crisis C&C are also sitting on a lot of empty property in this city that they’re waiting for the right moment to sell for maximum profit. Where’s the “honour” in that?

    All you who say you “knew” this guy were obviously taken in by appearances. I worked in an area where we had to wash his business’ dirty laundry, so I know stuff you presumably don’t (or don’t want to?). Therefore I’m indifferent to the sarcasm on display here, because I knew the other side. I also suspect, due to the degree of bogus familiarity you guys had with one of the most reclusive capitalists in this city, that you’re connected to C&C on a business level and the whole “making a return out of the homeless” charity scam that for example Shelter, St Mungos and Resonance are part of.

    I guess most of you detractors against this piece would rush to the defence of Bill Gates, George Soros or Richard Branson if this paper started attacking them as well? And why not defend Bristol’s great philanthropist and all round nice guy Edward Colston while you’re at it?

  7. Macca

    Excuse my lack of education but I don’t understand words like neoliberal capitalism or bourgeois philanthropist , but I have been told about these articles. What I do understand is that Martin Connolly is one of the kindest loveliest men I have ever met and I count myself lucky to have known him, he helped the people that most people turn their back on . I think this world is a much sadder place without him

  8. Marie

    This is rubbish
    Martin Connolly housed thousands of people including myself and my children. Without him I would not of got threw the homeless situation you seem to think running a business just brings in money. He was paying bills on every property ie gas electric water maintance food the list goes on. I was lucky to have known him 25 years and he was the kindest person if ever I knew one. Where would you be if this genuine man didn’t start up these homeless places. My hat goes off to him and Shane on the person who wrote those lies you should be ashamed of yourself. Jealousy is the route of all evil and my guess is the person who wrote this rubbish wishes he thought of it.


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