BLOOD AND BUTCHERY IN BEDMINSTER
THE STREETS OF BEDMINSTER, BRISTOL
Spoiler alert: no actual butchers appear in this perambulatory piece, which concerns dark deeds in that part of Bristol over the last two centuries and more –though at one time Bedminster was not a part of Bristol, but a place of its own: Bristol was the town on the other side of the river. Led by Show of Strength Theatre Company’s Sheila Hannon, dressed in a striking costume of indeterminate period, with top hat, flying machine goggles and motor bike jacket, we walkthrough the history-rich streets from pub to pub, stopping for drinks in some of them. This meticulously–researched piece comes up with all sorts of ghoulishincidents from the eighteenth century to the present day, mostly recounted in the place where they actually took place. It goes from the dreadful events a couple of centuries ago at the travelling zoo in the back of what is now the Ropewalk pub, right up to naughty goings on at the breakfast bar two doors away, serving a lot more than breakfast only three years ago. There is Bedminster’s connection to the biggest–ever gold bullion robbery in Britain, the sometimes deadly ramifications of which have still not been totally resolved; there is the story of a Bedminster gal who for a while fooled the gullible aristocracy that she was a princess from a lost Indian tribe; and much, much more. It’s a fascinating, if spine-chilling, way to be drawn into the history of a small area, how it and society’s attitudes have changed over the years, and where the visible remains of its past can still be seen. Creepy but totally captivating.
John Christopher Wood