Old Portishead

YOUR headlines 'Portishead in Decay' really brought back memories to me. I moved to Portishead in 1959 at a time when it was always referred to as 'the village'. We lived

YOUR headlines 'Portishead in Decay' really brought back memories to me.I moved to Portishead in 1959 at a time when it was always referred to as 'the village'. We lived in the High Street which had two ends, the White Lion end which periodically suffered from flooding and our end where the traffic was impeded twice daily by Farmer Gale's cows on their way to be milked at Court Farm. The High Street was bustling with small shops, butchers, grocers, sweet shops, bakers even a fishmonger. We had an imposing post office and a handsome railway station (where the garage now stands), our own fire station in Station Road next to the fully manned police station from which real policemen constantly patrolled the streets on foot. Portishead District Council had dynamic town clerk Mr Reynolds who was known throughout the country as 'Mr Portishead'. Under his direction and with the help of their own council workforce, the streets were swept daily, flower beds were laid, the golf course which had grown corn, during the war was re-laid to turf, the picnic grounds laid out, the delightful cliff path restored, and the Nore Road toilets added for visitors' convenience. My late husband was on the council at the time, when the idea of a swimming pool was mooted, it was considered far too expensive but gradually the idea took root. From the first, the ratepayers were enthusiastic and did all they could to raise money by every means they could think of and somehow the pool was built. It was an instant success, GWR ran cheap day returns to Portishead from Bristol and many spent all day there. The Lake Grounds were alive with brightly coloured paddle boats, the children's toy yachts and the small roundabout. The cafe and the swimming pool were open all day and the sound of children's laughter drifted over the whole town. It was a great blow when Beeching closed the railway and even more so when council power was taken away and handed to Weston. That started the slow decline that has continued since ratepayers have increased from 8,000 to 20,000, but what has Weston ever done for Portishead? They've spent a lot of money on us, so they say. What on? Cabstand? Whoever designed that disaster should be taken out and shot! The ratepayers still work hard with their flower show, carnival and Christmas lights but we had those before. Weston have left us with nothing but our beautiful sunsets, they can't take those away from us. How dare they take our pool.HAZEL HUNT - Mill Close, Portbury


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