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Gallery yesterdays

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Old Nailsea from history books

  • OUR SLIDESHOW: To learn more about Nailsea's past visit Ian Sage's website which has church records and more dating back to the 15th century click HERE. For a chronological list of dates compiled by historian Peter Wright go to N&DLHS page by clicking HERE which can be freely downloaded. 


PAST PEOPLE: Top is Nailsea's village green, then Jacklands Bridge year unknown and below a drawing of the Royal Oak pub in Nailsea High Street built on what was Nailsea Heath. the Grade II listed building is a 'good example of an18th century inn despite later internal alterations. It retains its stabling and subsidiary buildings and presents a handsome façade to the High Street

NAILSEA FILM: Take a historical tour of Nailsea past including coal mining, glassworks and tannery with this 2003 DVD. It also evokes shopping memories of Nailsea with Somerfield and New Look, Made by Yate filmmakers two decades ago and fronted by the late, great Trevor Bowen, of Nailsea & District Local History Society, it serves as a fitting memorial to the marvellous narrator who died in November 2022. Amazingly it is still available on DVD and it certainly provokes some nostalgia even if it does describe our shopping area in glowing terms. And it includes all the old photos feature on the Nailsea History Group on Facebook and some remarkable archive film of the production line of what was Britain’s second largest cider factory Coates Cider. It is available as a DVD on Amazon or here priced £12.95.

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Nailsea School - best years of your life?

This is the old Nailsea School taken before it was demolished in mid-2000.

The photos of the mixed secondary school and sixth form have been shared by Mark Whitcombe. 
Famed for its science results it adopted technology and media arts college specialist school status and then became an academy at the beginning of September 2012.
Academy status means Nailsea School now receives funding directly from the government, where before it was funded by North Somerset Council as the local authority, however the daily running of the school stays much the same.
Nailsea School was opened in 1959 as a grammar school with just over 90 students. 
In 1966 the school became a secondary comprehensive, catering for students from 11 to 18 years.
In 2006, the school population was more than 1,350, with a planned admission number of 240 students per year. As of 2015, the enrollment was 1,009 including 190 in the sixth form.
In 2009, a brand new £32+ million ultra modern building was opened to house the school.

It was built by construction giant Carillion.

The demise of Carillion was the UK's biggest corporate failure in decades, affecting hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

More than 3,000 jobs were lost at the company, and the collapse affected 75,000 people working in its supply chain.
In September 2019, the 60@Sixty campaign was started to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the school being opened.
On Monday, January 4, 2021, Nailsea School became the 14th school to be apart of the Wessex Learning Trust, a multi academy trust based in Cheddar, Somerset alongside Kings of Wessex Academy in Cheddar.

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Cider workers

Writer and heritage curator Heidi Hollis asked for memories from people who worked at Coate's Cider as part of a local history project based at 65 High Street, Nailsea.

The request was posted on Nailsea People Facebook page last week with a link to the Gallery Yesterdays page here - scroll down for full story.

She said: "Do you have stories, info or objects from Coate's cider works?

"Do you have family member who worked there?
"We're looking for more information, stories, or objects held by Nailsea people that shed light on the workings at Coates.
"The next meeting is on Friday, April 26 and people are welcome to drop in from 10.30am-12.30pm."

It reached more than 2,000 people and some former workers went along to the High Street venue to find out more and to share their memories for the oral history project.

And after the meeting this is the feedback Heidi sent to us.

She said: "On the back of the session today at number 65 - and increased media interest, (including a slot on Radio Bristol) I am looking to make contact with as many former employees of Coate's Cider as possible please."

She is especially trying to reach people not on FB and urged them to email or call 0777 868 3594.

Heidi concluded with a big thank you to all those who came adding: "I'll be in touch next week with some news...something is brewing."

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I remember it well

The History of Coate's Cider Company written by social history chronicler Paul Townsend tells how 'it is more than 75 years since the famous Coate's cider was first made in the village of Nailsea' told a 'quarter of a century since production ended.'

My sister-in-law Lindsey Boydall remembers back in the mid 1960s going on an 'educational visit' to the factory with Nailsea School of the pupils being allowed a small taste of the cider - wouldn't happen now!

It was Redvers Coate who founded the factory on what is now an industrial estate at Southfield Road.

His silhouette statue stands at Millennium Park alongside the 19th century evangelist Hannah More who taught Sunday school at Church Lane and Wurzel Adge Cutler who went to school in the same building and recorded Drink Up Thy Cider 'live' at the Royal Oak.

Hannah More was anti-drink and Adge Cutler spent some time working in the factory although according to rumour he didn't really like the drink.

Redvers Coate installed the most up to date equipment in his one shed, including three glass lined vats holding 10,000 gallons each, said Paul and the expensive gamble paid off because at the end of the first year Coate's cider took three first prizes at the National Cider Competition.

The Showering brothers of Shepton Mallet took over the company in the 1950s and cider production was transferred to Nailsea and much invested in new buildings and machinery but in the early 1970s, production was switched to a new plant at Shepton Mallet employing just 70 people.

By 1975, the Nailsea factory was closed and the site was eventually sold to Marconi Avionics which is now GE Oil & Gas.

Writer and heritage curator Heidi Hollis wants to take up the story from the memories of the people who worked at Coate's Cider as part of a project based at 65 High Street.

She said: "Do you have stories, info or objects from Coate's cider works?

"Do you have family member who worked there?

"The Hidden Histories project at number 65 is gathering pace, and last time we had this lovely poem turn up along with some wonderful photos from Coates.

"We're now looking for more information, stories, or objects held by Nailsea people that shed light on the workings at Coate's.

"For now we are just gathering information in order to create projects to promote and preserve Nailsea heritage.

The next meeting is on Friday, April 26 and people are welcome to drop in from 10.30am-12.30pm.

Alternatively you can email Heidi on

or add comments to the Nailsea Then & Now Facebook page.

This contains many memories and photographs collected over many years by admin and local historian Lesley Bowman including facts and images from the industrial past of the village.


HIGH FLYER: Aircraft electrician James Parsons, who was born in Wraxall but now lives in Nailsea, shared his memories of Concorde which were published in the Bristol Post on Tuesday, February 19. James is a former pupil at Backwell School who studied computer science at the Open University and went on to work at GKN Aerospace, Airbus UK and British Aerospace Filton

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This was once Nowhere near Nailsea

Refurbished kissing gate at Tetbury Gardens at Nailsea at all the is left of a small community that once lived in a place called Nowhere.
A three year project to mark the existence of the isolated rural hamlet of Nowhere is nearly complexion.

It was demolished to make way for new housing in the late 1960s.

Nowhere Wood and Nowhere Lane get their names from this hamlet.

There once was one larger cottage and several small one-up and one-down cottages, that had been occupied by poor working people for centuries. Sadly, there is nothing left to see of the hamlet now but a few damson trees that were in the cottage garden still survive.

The hamlet had no services – water supply, sewerage, gas or electricity and vehicle access.

It was in an area of old Nailsea that was on the borders of Wraxall/Long Ashton and Nailsea parishes, and was given the name by a resident who could not get any local authority to take responsibility for registering his mother’s death.

He is supposed to have said ‘we might as well be living nowhere!’

It is the only place in Nailsea that took a direct hit from a WW2 bomb resulting in one resident being killed.

The last remaining resident, Mrs Renee Derry, was forced to leave by development.

Her grandson, Gerald Derry lived at Nowhere most of his childhood.

His daughter, Ann Morgan, approached North Somerset Council to ask if the family could put a commemorative bench in Nowhere Wood, but were declined.

She then approached Friends of Trendlewood Park stalwart Pat Gilbert and eventually they came up with a project involving refurbishing two old neglected kissing gates that Gerald would have used every day going to and from school.

One gate is on Nailsea School land and the other on a strip with no known owner. 

Both can be approached along footpaths running round the school playing fields and adjacent to Tetbury Gardens.

The work has been carried out by a former NSC Ranger Adrian Leonard, who has cleared vegetation, and painted the gates with Hammerite to prevent further rusting.

Ann and her family hope to have a small plaque designed and installed on one of the  gates as a lasting memorial.

PHOTOS: Left is Gerald outside his cottage,

top is a view of the hamlet taken from a surrounding field

and below is the kissing gate with Ann Morgan and Adrian Leonard

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