top of page

Gallery yesterdays

send your photos to

Old Nailsea from history books

Old Wraxall oil painting
Old Wraxall oil painting

View from hill looking down on an industrial village

press to zoom
Nailsea glassworks
Nailsea glassworks

According to author Margaret Thomas, the men in white are the Somerset Volunteers (the Militia) practising manoeuvres near the High Street in 1895

press to zoom
Bucklands Batch
Bucklands Batch

Before widening, many an accident here

press to zoom
Old Wraxall oil painting
Old Wraxall oil painting

View from hill looking down on an industrial village

press to zoom
  • 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. 


PUB PEOPLE: 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 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.

hidden again.png
nailsea high street.png
bridge opening.jpg

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."

Cider Poem.jpg

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

Memories 2.png

MEMORY LANE: Nailsea people are urged to recruit their grandparents to make memory albums. Family history in photos, a course of workshops at No 65 High Street ,was organised by Nailsea Town Council. This was a series of seven sessions to help older people create a photo book for their families. The course is called Letter To My Grandchild.

PHOTOS: From my album, Carol Deacon

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

Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now
Nailsea Then & Now

Nailsea Then & Now host first social evening


Local historian Lesley Bowman set up a social media page for people interested in our town called Nailsea Then & Now.

Lesley belongs to a similar Bristol group which compares photographs of the city in the past and today.

The Bristol Then & Now has more than 30,000 members.

In two years Lesley has attracted more than 1,000 people to join the Nailsea Facebook page so the next move was to organise its first social.

This happened on Thursday, January 28, at the Grove Sports & Social Club and the nostalgic evening included a PowerPoint presentation and lots of memorabilia plus beer and sandwiches to share!

It was a mix of people who had moved to ‘the village’ when the massive house building began in the 1960-70s and others who were Nailsea born and bred with some familar old Nailsea family names among the group.

Some arrived as evacuees during World War 2 and never went home...others came to work in the big city...but all had helped to make Nailsea a community.

Lesley said: “We had a great turn at The Grove of members from the group, as well as family and friends, who enjoyed looking at the slideshow of some of our Nailsea photos, as well as catching up with friends and sharing photos, books and memories.

“Some of our members didn't realise they knew each other from years back and everyone agreed we should meet up again later in the year.

“We now have more than 1,300 members from teenagers to those aged 80+ and hundreds of photos.

“People have told me that they have shown the photos to friends and family who are not on Facebook and they have brought back happy memories of places and people, not just in Nailsea, but surrounding areas too.

“Our group has become a friendly and happy place for people to chat about 'the old days', but we also discuss issues relating to Nailsea in the present and future.

“We also try to highlight some local causes from time to time.

“I would like to thank our members for their contributions and feel that I have made so many friends through the group.

“We would be delighted to welcome new members and would be so pleased to see any old photos of Nailsea and the surrounding areas that people would be willing to share with the group.

“Hope to see you at the next get together!”

Nailsea resident Jacqui Nelson said: “Give yourself a gold star Lesley you did a brilliant job setting up the page and last night's do, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, can't wait for the next one.”

David Britton took the photos and he said: “Lesley formed the group about two years ago I believe and it has really grown in numbers, it is very popular so it was good to meet up with members who I only new by name on Facebook, there was a slide show of old Nailsea photos that Lesley had put together and lots of books of old Nailsea stuff.“It was a very enjoyable evening.”

Two social media fans of the successful Bristol Then & Now photographic group have launched a similar Facebook page for Nailsea.

Keen local historians John Soper and Lesley Bowman want to share memories of the once industrial and farming village with others interested in images from yesteryear.

Lesley said: “We thought it would be a good idea to start a group where people could share photographs and memories of Nailsea and the group has been very popular with its nearly 100 members who have contributed to and commented on the posts.

“We have learned a lot about 'old' Nailsea and enjoyed seeing all the photos, both old and more recent. 

“We really hope that more people will join and contribute, or just enjoy what the group has already done.”

John who was born at Lulsgate and with his family moved to Nailsea in 1976 but a decade before that he played darts and skittles in the town and in the early 1970s the qualified mechanical engineer delivered lorry loads of apples to the Coates Cider Works.

The great-granddad is a founder member of Nailsea Motorcycle Club and organiser of the annual international bike show which put the town firmly on the bikers map.

Lesley, aged 50, moved to Nailsea in 1987 and has children and grandchildren living in the town. 

She said: “I'm currently a housewife, although I have worked for several Nailsea firms including Martin Hamblin, Halifax and Taylors estate agents in the dim and distant past. 

“I love local history, photography and rugby, but my real passion is family history and I have been researching my tree and other trees for six years.”

And it was during this research that Lesley discovered she was related to John Cleese the Weston-super-Mare comic of Monty Python fame.

Lesley said: “The family name of Cheese got changed to Cleese along the way and John Cleese's grandfather and my great great grandmother who was born at Wraxall were brother and sister.” also has two galleries of photographs – one for news photographs from 2014 and the other an archive of contemporary, abstract and historic images.

Lesley said her favourite photograph is the one of Nailsea High Street in 1909, pictured top, which she shared with the FB group recently.

Lesley added: “I like the fact that you can recognise the fact that it's still the High Street and all the little snippets of life like the children in front of the Queens Head and the horse and cartl"

Please note the piles of horse manure in the gutter.

Perhaps people could share their photographs with both sites.

To join the FB group click HERE.

More Nailsea flora and fauna photos on the Gill Brown blog Around the Towns by clicking HERE

And for this site email your images to

  • Top Lesley Bowman and below John Soper and Jacklands Bridge date unknown

Update: A little bit of nostalgia goes a long way


Since the above social media site launched we now have three Nailsea nostalgia groups on Facebook.

They are:

  • Nailsea Then & Now which has changed to being a ‘closed’ group boasting thousands of members. It is still run by Lesley Faith Bowman who also is an admin for the 24,703-strong Bristol Then & Now. It is mostly a pictorial record of old Nailsea with new members encouraged to introduce themselves with a potted history of their connections with the ‘village’.

  • Nailsea & District Over The Years – is a breakaway group of the above started by John Soper. It is a closed group for those with an interest and or with knowledge in the area including Backwell, Clevedon, Wraxall and Yatton. While people are free to post comments and photos they urge that copyright issues are resolved first.

  • Everything Nailsea now called Hello Nailsea is run by Clevedon business woman Estelle Lockett Sullivan who launched this ‘open’ site on December 21, 2014. 

bottom of page