William Jewell: the Free Tank hero

In May 1907, a reporter from the Bristol Evening News ventured into the industrial streets of St Phillips, made his way along Cheese Lane, past the Phoenix Glass Bottle Works, and knocked at the door of a small terraced house in Avon Lane at the back of Avon Street. This was home to Elizabeth Jewell, whose husband had died in 1889, leaving her to care for their seven children as best she could. The city’s newspapers didn’t often go looking for uplifting stories in working class districts like this, but the house was quickly becoming famous as the home of a local hero, and the Evening News was keen to be first with an interview.

Constructing a rail ferry across the Severn: 1845-68

"In the 1800s the pursuit of profit resulted in better wharves and plans for bridges and tunnels to bring coal from Wales. Adam Mead reminds us of the failures and financial losses involved in constructing Victorian marvels of engineering which we take for granted today".

The Bristol Poor: An Alternated Narrative, 1884-1910

In this article, Chris Montague looks the impact of the 1834 Poor Law amendment, and its impact on society's ability to help the poor. Furthermore, the essay covers how the "ideology of such a law was to be seen well into the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in Bristol".

The Lower Severn Vale: Trade and Exploration in Tudor Times

"Bristol, the Lower Severn Vale, the Severn Estuary and the Atlantic Ocean are all closely connected by trade. Liz Napier paints a vivid picture of port life in Tudor Bristol and the beginnings of international trade from original records".

Over Court: the life and death of an Elizabethan Manor House

"Wealthy Bristolians have always escaped the pressures of city life for the peace of rural South Gloucestershire. Country estates frequently changed hands as fortunes were made and lost and fashionable mansions were built with the profits of trade, including the Slave Trade. Sarah Hands has traced the story of Over Court from its medieval origins".

Continuity and Change in Agricultural Practices on Severnside

"Mary Jane Steer concentrates on farming life where Bristol expanded into the Severn Vale in the later 19th and 20th centuries. George Watkins and his family are the focus of her research. Like most of the rural population before 1900 they worked mainly as agricultural labourers, although George came to the area as a labourer on the Severn Tunnel in the early 1880s".

‘Justice in the balance’: a new courthouse museum at Dorset Shire Hall

Dorset Shire Hall. Image courtesy of Shire Hall historic courthouse museum.

In May 2018, Dorset’s Shire Hall in Dorchester reopened after a £2.9 million redevelopment as a new courthouse museum. Rose Wallis, Associate Director of the Regional History Centre, has worked on the project for two years as consultant historian and curator. Under the banner ‘justice in the balance’, the new museum promises to engage visitors with the history of crime, law, and punishment, and past and present efforts to achieve justice.

Elmington Manor Farm: 1584-1911

"Elmington Manor Farm is the best-documented farm in the Lower Severn Vale Levels, which is why James Powell chose as his topic 'The Estate Management of Elmington Manor Farm and environs 1066-1950'". From sources in "public archives, planning departments, libraries and museums" Powell looks at the earliest records of the farm, and how it survived to be surveyed by the "Second World War Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries".

Medieval Redwick, South Gloucestershire

"The Severn Vale salt marshes attracted our Prehistoric ancestors because of the wealth of food - especially fish and wildfowl. Regular flooding prevented permanent settlement but left silt behind which enriched the soil... Sue explores a wide range of records kept by church and state to piece together the lives of Redwick's medieval inhabitants".

Tales of the Vale: The ‘A Forgotten Landscape’ History Research Project – Introduction

"A Forgotten Landscape is an exciting project designed to reconnect local people with their heritage in the Lower Severn Vale Levels. One strand of this Heritage Lottery Fund Landscape Partnership Project is a community history project called Tales of the Vale". Bainbridge introduces the project, and how it interprets the landscape of the South West.