Nov 08 2019

Bishop’s Knoll Volunteer Newsletter November 2019

Only the second time we have ever cancelled a Working Party but I am sure it was the right thing to do as, given our schedule ,we would have been trying to shovel mud. It also meant that one or two who had been struggling with their consciences were able to enjoy the rugby!


In the event it stopped raining at 9.35 and didn’t rain again until 12.50! You can always be wrong – and then we lost the Rugby final!!

So not a lot to report this month however one interesting story has come to light. Many of you will recall the Music Room at Bishop’s Knoll  which became Ward 1 in the WW1 hospital. There are several reports of Robert Edwin playing to the patients on the two manual organ for which the room’s architecture seems to have been designed.

  The original Music Room which does not appear to be attached to  the original building

The unanswered questions though are who built the Music Room and installed the organ and what  happened to it?  By the time the room was the lecture theatre of the United Bristol Hospital’s Preliminary Nurses Teaching Unit (which opened 1953)  the organ had gone to make way for a blackboard in the Music Room’s final transformation as a lecture theatre.


The Nursing intake December 1955                The School’s lecture theatre in the Music Room

We can now complete some of the story thanks to Michael Whitfield who your Hon. Sec. met after giving his usual BK talk, this time to the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society. Michael later emailed to say  that the organ had gone to the bombed out Tyndale Baptist Church in Whiteladies Road after it was rebuilt.


The Tyndale Baptist Church Whiteladies Road after the WW2 bombing and after rebuilding in 1955

He went on to say

We published a history of Tyndale earlier this year called “Open to God, Open for All – the History of Tyndale Baptist Church, Bristol 1868-2018” and there is a copy in the Bristol Reference library .The church secretary wrote in 1947 that for seven years,

‘our good little piano has striven valiantly to fill the gap…. we are now being presented with a pipe organ by some friends. It is a dear little organ, good looking, possessing two manuals, a pedal board and varied range of stops. It was formerly in the hall of the Bush family home in Stoke Bishop and should be just about the right size for our hall.’

As I mentioned yesterday, I think the organ was given to Counterslip Baptist Church, Bristol round about 1954, but one of my colleagues may be able to confirm that.

That indeed proved to be the case as the following day I received another email from Dr. David Roberts

Further to Michael Whitfield’s response,  it was probably 1957 when the organ was given to the Counterslip church.  The rebuilt Tyndale was completed in 1955, complete with the new (present) organ, so it was in use until then.  Counterslip, having lost its city centre building in the Blitz moved to its present Wells Road site, at first in temporary accommodation, its new permanent building being opened in June 1957 – so that was presumably when the organ was installed.


As the police say: “investigations are continuing” as we still do not know if the music room was built by the builder William Baker in 1861 or was added by Peter Prankard  when he bought the mansion in 1870, or  by Robert Edwin Bush sometime after he moved in (1904). If we can find out from Counterslip Church which firm built the organ, and from that the date, this question too can also be answered!

Counterslip Baptist Church Whitchurch: rebuilt on this new site in   1957

Watch this space!

Next Working Party

Our usual date of 7th December is now taken up with the Woodland Trust’s visit to Avoncliffe Woods which several of us are going to so  the next scheduled date will be 14th December

Thank you to Chris for sending this in

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