0216…Roger Davis of Harry Stoke

Memories from Resident Roger Davis of Harry Stoke.

School Days

I started Stoke Gifford C & E school in 1956 at the age of 5. In those days you started at the beginning of each term. We lived in Harry Stoke, only a very few had a car so I walked to school with Mum along Harry Stoke and Church road. In the summer we used the foot path over the fields from Harry Stoke mount to the corner of the Mile Straight and Church road. There were 3 classes for 100 children. In the main building, now a cafe and library were 2 classes with a wood folding partition. The other class was housed in a wooden building at the back. The toilets were located outside in the yard.

The heating in the main building was 2 cast iron coke boilers. The 5 to 7 year olds were in the wooden building and the teacher was Mrs. Armstrong, the other 2 classes were for the 7 to 9 and 9 to 11 years in the main building. School dinner was in the main building and cooked at Little Stoke school and cost 1s (5p) each and no free dinners, but there was a 1/3 pint of milk each morning at play time.

The play ground was the tarmac around the class rooms in the winter and in the summer the village green. There were 2 trees on the village green, one was a Conker tree and children would throw stones up to get the Conkers, my head got in the way on many times. Conkers and Marbles were the favourite games for the children to play. Somebody had 2 goats tied to the other tree. We had one play time helper at the school a Mrs Watkins from North road.

Mrs. Armstrong left the school to start a family, and one day the class walked from the school up Rock Lane, past Joseph Pugsley & sons yard ( later C. H. Pearce’s yard ) and out into Hambrook lane to the new house to see Mrs. Armstong and the new baby.

Another time when the Royal train was coming through Stoke Gifford we walked up Rock lane to Hambrook lane. We waited in the cold for the train, it came with all the blinds down. We walked back down Hambrook lane to Church rd, under the railway bridge pass the signal box, through the church yard to the school.

At Christmas the school put on a Pantomime and with the money also made in the summer fair, all the children had a half day or full day out away from the village,(for some children this was the only day out in the year). One year we walked along the Mile straight to Filton junction station, and travelled on a train to Chepstow castle. Another year we had a coach trip to Clevedon. Friday night was Beetle drive night in the school when we would draw parts of beetle and put them together.  Another highlight of the year was the school photo.

The music was supplied for the summer fair by the Post master, the Post office was the left end cottage across from the green (we know it today as the Hairdresser). The school sports day was at Poplar rooms playing field. Mr Shave was the Head master and lived in the house joining the school. When he retired he built the house on the right hand side of the path into the church.

In 1962 I moved onto Charborough road secondary school in Filton. You walked along Harry Stoke road for the bus in Church road  2d ( 3/4p ) one way or 3d ( 1.1/4p ) return . The winter of 1962/63 was very bad with snow, the bus never came so I had to walk back along Harry Stoke and down Filton lane. I said to Mum this is daft, I may as walk in the first place. Mum said if you walk I will increase your pocket money from 1s ( 5p ) to 2/6 ( 12.1/2p ) but you pay your own bus fare. ( you bet! I never used the bus much).

Also around this time the village garage workshop was built on the left hand side of the site, and a new house on the site of the old workshop on the right hand side. They sold Jet fuel in the filling station. John Shergold and his wife ran a general stores and newspapers from a prefabricated building and they built a new shop in front with the living accommodation upstairs. On the site of the old shop they built a garage for the car. Today the general store is an estate agent and the garage is a barber shop. Out the back John built a club “The Rainbow Club”. At first it was only 1 floor, a 2nd floor was add later for a function room. The Rainbow club became the Parkway Tavern pub and then the Cooperative supermarket which closed at the end of January 2020 The way down to the club was a lane down the left hand side of the shop. The lane on the right of the shop was down to John’s garage.

Hatchet lane ( road ) come up the right hand side of the Beaufort arms. The new road was build in the 1980s. There was a grass island outside the Beaufort arms and on the left hand side of the pub was a hall ( the Assembly Rooms ).

A Walk Along The Mile Straight.

From the railway bridge at the corner with Church road, on the right was a footpath over 3 fields to Harry stoke mount.

Mile straight was also know as New road. On the left was a old Barrage balloon station from World War 2. On the right were 2 houses.  One was Mrs Baker’s, next was Stoke Book school and Filton high school. Built in 1959. In 1969 Filton high school became a comprehensive school, Charborough road secondary school, Filton, moved in with Filton high school and Stoke brook moved up to Charborough road. Stoke brook school was a school for children with learning problems.

The fields on the left were all part of the Paddocks farm, in Harry Stoke. On the right was Tom Cox’s builders yard, known today as Travis Perkins. Behind the houses was a caravan site.

Right into Filton lane first was the station master’s house, then new houses. On the corner of the lane up to Filton junction station was a yard selling prefabricated buildings.

On the left hand side of Filton lane, next to the railway, was a T.A. (Territorial Army) centre and in the late 1950s St Stephens press built a new works. This closed in the 1980s and Leos supermarket opened here,a part of the Co-operative store and in the 1990s renamed Pioneers. In the 1980s the Co-op closed their store in Bristol “Fairfax House”, and built a new one at the back of Leo’s “Homeworld”.  This closed in late 1990s.Today it is Abbey Wood retail park.

Next to the T.A. centre was a Cricket field and a foot path over the fields to Wallscourt farm. Behind the T.A. centre was Wallshut woods or Stanley woods, and behind this, Stanley farm. On a Sunday morning a man could be heard in the woods playing his Bag Pipes as his wife stopped him playing at home.

Looking up Filton lane from the railway bridge on the right was Harry Stoke colliery, on the left was a pond in the field and a foot path to Maytree cottage in Harry stoke and over to Hambrook. The first 2 fields were part of Mr. Bridgeman’s farm, the 3rd field was that of Mr. George of Harry Stoke farm. It was used us a caravan site.

There was no foot path on Filton lane until the mid 1950s. Lorries coming out the colliery with coal went down to Filton, under the railway bridge and a 180 degrees left turn into Filton coal yard now known as Abbey Wood station.