Bristol's Christmas Steps, Lewins Mead Bs1

A Memory of Bristol

This is one part of ancient Bristol that has survived, virtually unchanged apart from the signs but the city beyond is very different.

At one time sailing ships moored at the bottom of these steps before the River Frome was covered over.

There were three pubs on the steps, the White Horse at No 2 run by Ada Palmer, the Rainbow and Dove, run by the Hill family at No 3 (which also housed a shellfish dealer), and the Gaiety run by Mary Woodbury. There was also a sweet shop, a tobacconist, a second-hand book seller, a printers, a baker a grocer, a fried fish shop, two watchmakers and a hairdresser. Quite a little self-contained community.

Rumours of ghosts in the Christmas Steps area also abound. Arlene and Susan, who own Steps to Recruitment at number 17, suspect that the houses on the south side of the street may have been built on top of an old cemetery. They have seen the ghost of a young Victorian girl, and also been joined at their kitchen table by a ghostly lady (whom they say is very friendly) dressed all in black. Originally, the River Frome came almost to the end of the steep hill and, until the 17th century, barrels were rolled down the hill to be loaded onto ships. A large office building now obscures much of the view of the steps from the bottom.

A memory shared by Paul Townsend , on Dec 28th, 2009.

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