About us

Myers-Insole Local Learning C.I.C were commissioned by the Bearpit Improvement Group (B.I.G.) through Heritage Lottery funding to produce panels depicting the history of the Bearpit, along with an associated website and story map. Staff and pupils from St Barnabas CEVC Primary School, Montpelier and students from City of Bristol College, together with members from the local community have captured the rich and diverse story of the Bearpit’s heritage.

Local Learning and B.I.G. would like to extend a huge thank you to the following people for their effort and support without whom the panels, website and story map would not have been possible.

Alan Morris (B.I.G.) assembled a group of experts to support, assist and oversee Local Learning throughout the process, from the initial concept through to the final proof reading. The insights, knowledge and generous support of Lori Streich (Community Engagement Consultant), Gail Boyle (Senior Collections Officer, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery), Professor Peter Fleming (History, University of the West of England) and Eugene Byrne (author and journalist) made this a hugely enjoyable project. Their combined knowledge of the various historical periods and how best to convey this wealth of information has ensured that the panels are both informative and accessible.

The project’s graphic designer, Nat Roberton has worked tirelessly to assemble all the works, diligently responding to the minutiae of pedantic requests with patience and professionalism. Every pupil from Year 1 to Year 6 at St Barnabas CEVC Primary School contributed to an historical period represented on the panels and website. Many of the final ideas developed from discussions with the wonderfully creative, inspirational staff at St Barnabas. We would particularly like to thank Alison Camp (Assistant Headteacher, Community Curriculum Coordinator and Year 5 teacher) for her energy and enthusiasm and ensuring that every child contributed a quality piece of work and Jilly Pridmore (Headteacher) for her vision and for supporting it all the way through.

We would also like to thank Catherine Day and her Year 1 class for producing such beautiful Georgian junk model buildings to populate the Ordnance Survey, First Edition 1:500 map, Heather Grant and her Year 2 class for the imaginative story of how ‘Irish giant’, Patrick O’Brien came to be in Bristol and local artist, Barbara Disney for helping the class create a full scale ceramic version of Patrick O’Brien (who now resides on the wall at the school) based on resources kindly made available by Amber Druce (Collections Assistant, Blaise Museum), Michael Cromey and Alice Cook and their Year 3 classes for the engaging graphic novel version of the story of Jet Man, a medieval monk who was buried at St James’ Priory, Dr. Allan Insole for his geological insight into the jet amulet that was found with the monk and Kate Iles (Assistant Curator for Archaeology, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery) for kindly providing access to the museum stores, Clare Hume and Sarah Bagnall and their Year 4 classes for the stunning postcards inspired by Pakistani artist, Salman Farooqi and the wonderful recipes from around the world that they collected from their families and to Sarah Francis (Travelling Kitchen) for the cookery workshops and helping to turn those recipes into a delicious feast, Alison Camp and her Year 5 class for their informed reproduction of Samuel Coleman’s 1824 picture of St James’ Fair and to St James’ Priory education centre for providing further context, Mike Riches and his Year 6 class for their rendering of the Upper Arcade destroyed in the Blitz and for their portrayal of the Bristol Bus Boycott, assisted by talented local artists, Carmen Garaghon whose collage of a green Bristol omnibus was populated with portraits of the protagonists from the boycott drawn by Year 6 and Josh Myers, who designed and produced the bus stop that conveyed the 1963 Race Relations Act and subsequent legislation and Alasdair Mackenzie (Committee Specialist, Scottish Affairs Committee, Hansard and Houses of Parliament) for providing information and copies of the Acts. Thank you also to the following members of staff at St Barnabas for their support in the classroom and on related excursions; Emily Sheahan, Stella Odle, Naomi Brewerton, Eileen Wilson, Maryan Afrah, Suzie Torkornoo , Victoria Warner, Jane Godfrey, Kwestan Kadir, Emily Ecclestone and Carol Jacobs. Thank you also to Caitlin Roberton for the registration plate on the bus and Jojo Myers-Insole and Rowan Insole for adding Tony Benn’s pipe. We would particularly like to thank Mike Merritt from Wards for his flexibility and generosity with regard to the installation of the panels.

We would like to thank Richard Jones (Tangent Books) for first introducing us to Paul Stephenson, OBE and Lilleith Morrison at Bristol Record Office and for the educational resources associated with their book Memoirs of a Black Englishman, and to Julian Warren and David Emeney (Bristol Record Office) for providing access to their wealth of resources and digital copies of some of the photographs. We would like to thank Paul and Lilleith for sharing their stories with St Barnabas CEVC Primary School, St Paul’s Learning Centre and with students at City of Bristol College.

Level 2 Art and Design and Level 3 Media City of Bristol College students and staff have made a huge contribution to both the panels and the website. We would particularly like to thank Shirley Davies, Sam Ferguson, James O’Dwyer and their Art and Design students for their detailed representation of archaeological finds discovered during an excavation of St James Priory and their powerful depictions of the Bristol Blitz, and Ali Grant and her Media students for their engaging radio interviews with a broad cross section of people associated with the Bearpit and the many hours Ali spent ensuring they were all fit for broadcast. We would also like to thank their interviewees, including Shaun Peters (aka graffiti artist SEPR) and singer, Rita Lynch.

We are especially appreciative of the long hours spent by professional media producers, Tot Foster and Liz Legum for interviewing recent arrivals to the city, gathering their first impressions of the Bearpit, providing us with a fascinating insight into a different perspective of the area and to Maryan Afrah for encouraging many of the interviewees within our community to share these stories.

A huge thanks to Dan Tagg for his web design and advice about how best to present the wealth of information and to Andrew Ventham (Geographic Information System Team, Bristol City Council) for assisting with technical hitches and introducing us to the concept of the story map.

For contributing to the content of the story map, we would also like to thank Julius Burke, Steph Burke, Bertel Martin and DJ Derek for their many entertaining stories.

We have appreciated the research gathered by University West of England History undergraduate students, Poppy Clark and Laura Young and its dissemination for City of Bristol Art and Design students, their interviews with representatives from each class at St Barnabas CEVC Primary School and Laura’s interview at a local Wetherspoon’s with the legendary DJ Derek.

We would also like to thank Jesse Jones (National Theatre) for telling us all about Jamaican playwright and actor, Alfred Fagon, Mark Griffiths (TEFL examiner) for his insights into punctuation and Sarah Insole for her assistance with the assembling of the giant mosaic.

We are very appreciative that the following venues were made available for us to use during the course of the project; St Paul’s Learning Centre, The Holiday Inn , Surrey Wine Vaults, PRSC headquarters, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery and especially to Susan Jotcham for the use of St James’ Priory.

Finally, this would not have been possible without the patient and diligent work of Alan Morris.

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