St George’s leads search for Parishioners of the past

St George's leads search for Parishioners of the past

St George’s Bristol, now one of Bristol’s forefront concert halls, has an interesting past. The venue on Great George Street was a church for over 160 years. It originally served as a ‘Chapel of Ease’ to the nearby, and long-since demolished, St Augustine-the-Less, but eventually became a parish church in its own right.

This year, St George’s embarks on a new chapter in its story – foundations are already laid for the venue’s new two-storey extension. As the venue makes these changes, staff at the venue are keen to know more about the building’s past. As such, an oral history project is in the works – the team is on the hunt for former parishioners who have memories of their visits to the church, or were around when its doors finally closed in 1984.

 

Leading the project is the venue’s Content & Engagement Manager, Michael Beek. He is convinced there could be plenty to learn from Bristol residents. He said:

‘Bricks, mortar and the odd photograph can only go so far in telling the story of this fascinating building- voices are key to humanising its past. Of course we can’t speak to anyone who was here in 1823 when the church was first opened, but there will surely be people in the city – and perhaps beyond – who knew the Church of St George Brandon Hill in its later years. It’s those people we want to find, and speak to.’

The oral history project forms part of a larger Heritage Interpretation initiative, which will see the creation of a permanent space for visitors to learn about the story of the building, and a public programme of events, lectures and tours. The visitor space is set to open in late February 2018, alongside the new extension.

If you attended St George’s Brandon Hill Chruch and have an interesting story to share, please get in touch with Doreen Pastor, Community Learning & Volunteer Coordinator, on 0117 929 4929, or email doreen.pastor@stgeorgesbristol.co.uk. You can also visit their website, at http://www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk/venue-info/heritage/