Memories of Troopers Hill

=== Troopers Hill, Work, Rest & Play ===

On this page:
12 Communities 1 Bristol | Little Elizabeth | Tom Fry | David Hurt | Keith James | St Anne's - New Brislington | Homes & Buildings | Chapels | Troopers Hill Cottages | The 'White House' - Crews Hole | The Summers Family |

Troopers Hill 12 Aug 1984 by RoyLots of people have memories of Troopers Hill and the surrounding area.

Many people have said they enjoyed playing on Troopers Hill as children. Some say with a smile that they used to go there when they were 'courting'.

We are very pleased to be able to post some of these memories via this website.

Troopers Hill is in Crews Hole in the south of the St George area of Bristol.

St George became an Ecclesiastical parish in 1751, a Civil Parish in 1784 and became part of Bristol in 1897. Crews Hole and later St Anne's on the other side of the river was an industrial area until the 1980s. The main employers, after copper smelting stopped in the early 1800s. were Butlers Tar Works, Lysaghts, the Cotton Factory, the Board Mills and various chemical works of which the largest was Netham.

12 Communities 1 Bristol

Troopers Hill features in the St George edition of this series of local oral history podcasts by Marcus Smith. Contributors: Alice Homewood, Sabine Groven and Richard Wheeler.

Rob talks about Elizabeth Emra; Steve shares his memories of the Hill; Rob & Susan along with Rupert Higgins talk about the importance of the Hill for wildlife and Christina shares her memories of the fire that spread across the Hill in 1995.

BCfm in partnership with Bristol 24/7, Bristol Museums, Bristol Archives, UWE Bristol and funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

More of 12 Communities 1 Bristol >>

Little Elizabeth

Elizabeth Emra, or 'Little Elizabeth', was the author of 'Scenes in our Parish' the first part of which was published in 1830 and the second in 1832.

Elizabeth's father was John Emra, vicar at St George Church and she described herself as 'A Country Parson's Daughter'. You can read a brief description of her life and some quotes from her book via the link below:

Tom Fry

Tom Fry was born in 1902 and used to live on Air Balloon Rd. This document was hand written and included several sketches, it was lent to us by Raymond Holland.

One of our members kindly typed this document up for us and Tom's family have said that they are happy for the document to be published being sure that that is what Tom would have wanted.

 Memories of Troopers Hill, Crews Hole, Conham & Hanham by Tom Fry (3MB)

David Hurt

A second set of memories is from David Hurt who used to live in St George. Extracts from his account 'Bristol as I knew it' can also be downloaded.

 Extracts from 'Bristol as I knew it' by David Hurt

Keith James

Keith, who worked at Gingell's butchers, shared his memories in the Spring 2014 edition of 'The Hill' our Newsletter.

 The Hill Spring 2014 - Memories of Troopers Hill - Keith James (see p3)

St Anne's - New Bristlington

The area now known as St Anne's Park was originally known as New Brislington, much of this area was farm land until the late 1800s and early 1900s. It gradually became more built up built up and the Board Mills were established by the river in 1913.

This document has memories of the area from the 1890s / 1900s; it was produced as part of a project at St Anne's Junior School and found during the move to Wicklea Academy in 2015. A copy was passed to us for inclusion on this website by Alex Harries in January 2021.

The first page is a letter from Harry Tinzel (possibly Finzel) dated December 1967, the remaining 35 pages are the recollections of AH Jenkins, dated June 1961.

We belive the documents were typed from an original manuscript. As such there are some typos, notably the 'Cotton Factory' is sometimes refered to as the 'Bottom Factory'. In reading the document, you might find it useful to look at the 1900s map of the area on the Council's mapping system, especially as some of the road names have changed.

 Memories of New Brislington

Homes & Buildings in Crews Hole

On Troopers Hill in the 1930s As people tell us their memories we are gradually finding out more and more about the people who used to live and work around Troopers Hill and wherethey lived. Many of the same surnames keep comming up, these are the surnames of the inhabitants of Crews Hole and Conham listed in the 1881 Census.

Until the 1960s the area around the hill was much less built up that it is now, many gaps between the old cottages have been infilled. Crews Hole has always been a mix of housing and industry.

The centre of the village used to be around the Lamb Inn which closed in about 1956, further west there was the Hit or Miss which closed in 1906. The Bull Inn at the eastern end of Crews Hole still exists.

The apperance of Crews Hole with its scattered cottages on the hillside above the Avon 'screened from above by trees and outcrops of rock' led the 1930s local historian William Sanigar in his book 'Saint George's in the East' to describe it as the 'Minature Clovelly of the West'.


The various chapels and churches formed a focus point for the community. One of the chapels was the Methodist Chapel near the corner of Crews Hole Road and Troopers Hill Road - it has now been converted into flats.

congregation 1953One of our members gave us a copy of a photograph of the congregation taken in 1953. We printed the photo in the Summer 2008 edition of 'The Hill' and have been putting together the list of names of those who were there.

There are also two photos of the Crews Hole Women's Bright Hour group, one with them all dressed up for a sketch of some sort!

In December 2020 we were also sent two photos of the men's 'Crew's Hole Bible Class Mutual Aid Society' which we have now added to the page.

The Crews Hole Methodist Chapel had opened in 1853 when the congregation moved from the Methodist Meeeting House that had been in part of the 'White House' in Crews Hole.

This chapel became the United Methodists Chapel, a second chapel by the river in Crews Hole was constructed in 1860 for the Wesleyan Methodists and has also now been converted for housing, having been used for many years by Kelston Precision Gears as a workshop.

Crews Hole Methodist Congregation 1953 >>

Troopers Hill Cottages

Hillside CottageUntil the 1950s some people lived in cottages imediately adjacent to the hill; there were four cottages forming Stone's Rank where the nursary on Crews Hole Road now stands and up a track on the west side of the hill was Rosary Cottage and Hillside Cottage the locations can be seen here:

Cottages on 1956 map >>

Cottages on 1926 Aerial View on 'Britain from Above' >>

We are lucky enough to have been contacted by people who's families lived in all these cottages and all have allowed us to post photographs which can be seen below - many thanks.

Perhaps the most remarkable photographs are those taken at Hillside Cottage. The surname of the family who lived there in the 1930s and 40s was 'Friend' they truely were the Friends of Troopers Hill.

The track to Rosary Cottage and Hillside Cottage also provided access to Apricot House & Cottage (as it does now). In 1928 this access road was subject of a dispute in Bristol's Tolzey Court. Mrs Beatrice Tucker, who owned Apricot House and Mr Edward William Smith who owned Rosary and Hillside Cottages claimed that they were entitled to a right of way that John Joeseph Ballard (the owner of Troopers Hill) had obstructed by digging away part of the road.

After a hearing lasting 2 days (9th & 10th October), with many witnesses to the past use of the track, the court found in favour of Mrs Tucker & Mr Smith and declared that a right of way did exist, damages of 40 shillings were awarded. The case was reported in the Western Daily Press on the two days following the hearings.

Photographs of Stone's Rank >>

Photographs of Rosary Cottage >>

Photographs of Hillside Cottage >>

There were also cottages along Conham Road, south of Troopers Hill, one of these is described by Tom Fry (see above) and we have received more information from Joy Searle, who we met through Barton Hill History Group.

Cottages on Conham Road >>

The 'White House' - Crews Hole

Crews Hole White House The 'White House' was a local landmark that stood where there are now modern houses on Corkers Hill until 1939.

By the early 1900 it consisted of four dwellings and we have photographs of one of the families who lived there - the Bessells.

Until 1853 part of the building was used as a Methodist Meeting House.

More info & photos of the White House >>

The Summers Family

Hillside Cottage A member of the Summers family contacted us with details of her ancestors who lived in the area. Their occupations as listed in census and other documents strongly reflect the history of the area - Coal Hewer; Steam Tug Boat Captain, Tar Distillery; Chemical Work Labourer; Coke Burner & Quarryman.

If anyone has more information about the Summers family please let us know and we will pass it on.

The Summers Family of Crews Hole & Conham >>

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