Victoria Park, Kingswood, Bristol

I have been inspired by the Sodbury Vale Family History Group’s initiative (published by B&AFHS, 2008) “Butcher, Baker, Candlemaker – Chipping Sodbury from 1795” to undertake a similar, if less ambitious, history of the inhabitants of the street where, on and off, I spent the first 30 years of my life. In those days which included the Second World War, “everybody knew everybody else” unlike nowadays when you are lucky to know many people beyond your immediate next door neighbours. Real street life was more interesting than any of today’s TV soap operas.

Victoria Park, Kingswood was “born” about 1889, a small cul-de-sac, bits of which managed to be in three parishes, Holy Trinity, Kingswood, Mangotsfield and St Michael’s, Two Mile Hill when it was the subject of a ratepayers’ NIMBY meeting. It was, and probably still is, partly in the City and County of Bristol and partly in Gloucestershire, as I found to my consternation when I came to take the scholarship in 1948, causing a minor rumpus, for I had been attending “the wrong school”. Whether Bristol Council sent a bill to Kingswood I don’t know.

Please contact me if you or any of your ancestors have any connections with this little dead end street, its small entrance (missable!) in a gap between shops on the Kingswood Main Road, just beyond the magnificent Zion Chapel and opposite the derelict Wesleyan Chapel. I would be delighted to hear from you. No. 33, our house, had a famous inhabitant too. A blue plaque cannot be far behind.