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St Clement

Newfoundland Road

St.Paul's, Bristol

1855 - 1941

St Clement's church was a large church on the corner of Houlton Street and Newfoundland Road. The foundation stone was laid on May 24th 1854, the church opened in 1855. The tower at the SW corner was never completed but the spirelet reached a height of 65 feet. The architects were S.B.Gabriel and J.H.Hirst.

If any of you have travelled into Bristol by car from the M32 motorway, you will have driven over the site of the church, maybe even stopped over it, for it is under the in-bound carriageway at the first set of traffic lights (the left turn is Houlton Street).

This postcard gives an impression of the length and spaciousness of the interior. The head stops in the spandrels look fun.
This closer view of the chancel is even earlier, and these lights look to be possibly gasoliers.
It all came to an end during the Second World War. In the words of the then vicar Rev. G.R. Fooks "the actual destruction of St Clement was not during a Bristol blitz, but on the Wednesday before the Good Friday blitz of 1941, when one odd plane dropped stuff causing a fire in Broadmead. The next Jerry to come over got his line on that fire but missed by nearly 500 yards - and got us! Nothing else fell in Bristol that night, 9th/10th April."

In fact, the destruction of the church was probably an aid to the diocese. In an area where slum clearances were taking place even before the bombs fell, the population of the parish had reduced considerably. Within a minute or two's walk of this church were several others, St Paul, St Agnes, St Matthias on the Ropewalk, St Jude, and Holy Trinity. And of these only St Agnes remains in use today.

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page modified 23rd April 2005