Jul 28 2021

Bishop’s Knoll Volunteer (Covid) Newsletter 67 June 2021

While we still have not had all the remaining Covid restrictions lifted the good news is that the tidal wave of visitors and poop bags has declined and we are now almost back to pre-Covid levels of visitors and the wood is looking (and smelling!) wonderful.

As regards work, a little has been going on by the registered Relief Wardens.  After a suggestion by David Moynihan, subsequently approved by Joe Middleton, Chris has carved stones to identify the three flight of steps we have. This is really for Health and Safety reasons to be able to identify the best access to the site of any accident. The Committee hope you all approve.

During the past few weeks the temporary fix on the railings around the

water trough we made in 2017  have succumbed to young visitors swinging on them, (See Newsletter 64). A rather more robust repair has now been made by Brian and Chris.  This was not a straightforward as we thought as the spacing between the railing holes on the existing two broken vertical supports did not match our  supply of new uprights. This meant we needed to put new “feet” on some of the old railings we rescued from elsewhere in the wood and do a bit of bending. That said, the new railings  look reasonable and the picture below show the improvements the Group  have made here since 2015.

During recent months Brian has been clearing some undergrowth and low trees, enabling light and rain to reach the pergola. Following this, five newly grafted apple saplings have been planted on the pergola. This exercise conserves some of the unknown varieties in the wood and will also give visitors some idea of how the pergola might have looked in its heyday.

Robert Edwin Bush’s Ticker tape machine

One of the pleasures for your Hon. Sec. is from time-to-time to discover new things about Bishop’s Knoll:  like the travels of the Bishop’s Knoll Organ recorded in the BS 9 Magazine in July last year.(See here)

The item below came about by chance when he discovered that the mother of a dog sitter visiting next door to Chris had been a member of staff at Bishop’s Knoll.

Before she was married Mrs Joan Longdon, worked for the Bush family starting at the age of 15 years in1938, the year before Robert Edwin Bush died. She was a general maid there, before leaving at the outbreak of war to work in Gloucester as a Nursing Auxiliary. Much later she reported to her daughter that Bush had kept a ticker-tape machine under a glass cover in his office.

Ticker-tape machines were an ancestor of the modern computer printer, being one of the first applications for transmitting text over a wire to a printing device, based on the printing telegraph. Ticker tape stock price telegraphs were invented in 1867 by Edward A. Callaghan, an employee of the American Telegraph Company. They became very useful for  international stock brokers when the more reliable transatlantic cables were laid in1865 by Brunel’s Great Eastern,

These machines received and printed text on a thin strip of paper instead of the dots and dashes of Morse code, which had to be transcribed by the telegraphists of the Eastern Telegraph Company. The machines printed a series of ticker symbols (usually shortened forms of a company’s name), followed by brief information about the price of that company’s stock, the word ticker coming from the distinct tapping noise the machines made while printing. Newer and more efficient Tickers became available in the 1930s, but these machine, in turn, became obsolete in the 1960s, replaced by computer networks. No Tickers have been manufactured for decades. However, working reproductions of at least one model are now being manufactured for museums and collectors if you happen to have $150 to spare! See


Bush, who died in 1939, had by then been a member of Dalgety’s Board

of Directors for a number of years. Dalgety and Company Limited was founded in Australia in 1864 but moved its headquarters to London in  April 1884. The company was now a joint-stock company incorporating firms which were still actively managed by its founder Frederick Dalgety in partnership with other trading individuals. Fred Dalgety died in 1898 and  sometime after this, having moved to Bishop’s Knoll  from Perth in 1904,  Bush was co-opted on to the Dalgety Board. For that reason he now bought a spacious London flat in Kensington. At that time he was still a major figure in Western Australia and though living in Bristol, Bush still owned two sheep stations covering  2,000,000 acres and raising 100,000 sheep a year. Thus, following Dalgety’s death he would have been seen as a useful person to keep the London Office up to speed in Australian affairs as he made 13 trips  to Australia between 1918 and 1938.


It is not known how much of the time Bush spent in London and clearly he did not live there full-time as on 2nd April 1911 during the nationwide Census, and while he was still Sheriff of Bristol, he is recorded as living at 25 Kensington Court Mansions with his wife, their three-year-old daughter Marjorie Elizabeth, two-year-old son John Edward together with a nurse, a parlour maid and a housemaid. Back in Bristol on the same night, the Census recorded there being a coachman, a groom and two gardeners together with their families looking after Bishop’s Knoll.



Hon. Sec.

Thank you to Chris Stephens for sending in this newsletter




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