The Totterdown Road Project

On Sunday 24th June, over 200 people came along to the Totterdown Centre in Wells Road to find out more about the great clearances of homes, businesses and people from Totterdown in the early 1970s.

The Totterdown Road Project, or just The Road for short, emerged from a partnership between Calling the Shots, the Totterdown Centre and the Brigstow Institute at the University Of Bristol.  Between April and June 2018.  During a series of research workshops based in the community, local volunteers explored the background to events in the early 1970s when nearly 600 Totterdown houses and businesses were demolished to make way for a road that was never built.   Working alongside them and providing an insight into archive research skills was University of Bristol historian, Dr Erika Hanna.

Erika says  “This definitely isn’t about us telling people what happened in the area, it’s more coming together with people and their stories and creating something out of that”

The pop up event was lovingly organised by volunteer researchers who were on hand on the day to provide interpretation for the nearly 200 attendees, many old Totterdown residents, from all parts of Bristol and beyond.  Writer Mike Akers (BOV’s Treasure Island, Peter Pan, Jane Eyre, La Strada etc ) attended the research sessions and worked with Calling the Shots to produce a short performance based on the materials uncovered by researchers.  These were performed hilariously by Ruth Berkoff and Tim Prior.

Jeremy from CTS (a Totterdown local) says, “Although a lot of people in the area know something about the story of the Road That Was Never Built, they are always amazed at the scale of the project, and the futuristic plans.  There’s a mixture of awe and head-shaking disbelief!”

The day was an amazing success with lots of people wanting more!  We hope to be back in the autumn with more events.

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