Monthly Archives: December 2014

Kindest remembrances

BRO 41582/IM/HM/3The enigmatic messages on this 1933 Christmas card* from Bristol rugby stalwart Walter Pearce, include this: “A game, like a country, belongs to those who stand by its laws and what they really mean.”

Sadly, there is no law against desecrating Bristol’s most moving war memorial, but then who would have thought that such a law would be necessary?

  • The spirit of the law might be considered?
  • Dying for your country might be respected?
  • The notion of the military covenant might apply?
  • Do BRC and BRFC fan’s memories of a very special sporting venue count for nothing?
  • Is the heritage significance of a 93-year-old sports ground also of no interest?
  • Why are the wishes of locals ignored?
  • Anyway, isn’t a war memorial a war memorial – and not an unused brown field site?

Sainsbury’s claims it has values. Their values are not evident in their hypocritical plans to destroy a famous sports ground. Values and long-term financial success go hand in hand. Whither Sainsbury’s?

The Directors of Bristol Rovers possess a war memorial. They have responsibilities as the custodians of a heritage asset. When will they be responsible and respectful?

UWE are party to a blunder. Are they as guilty as their partners, of trampling on the memory of the fallen sportsmen soldiers (killed in war, often at about the same age as UWE students)?

Why did Bristol City Council – and others who should know better – not stop this nonsense? Destroying a war memorial is wrong. Simple really.

“You don’t know what you’ve got

Till it’s gone

They paved paradise

And put up a parking lot.”

Let’s celebrate and renew a great Bristol sports ground. And pass it on.

Cheers then, and Merry Christmas. Resolution for 2015: shop local, shop happy!


*Bristol Record Office reference: BRO 41582/IM/HM/3.


Memories of the Mem

Harris - BristolThe home and soul of Bristol Rugby is discussed by Mike Rafter, former Bristol Rugby player and captain, and England International, in a moving BBC recording (6 November 2014), entitled “Bristol Rovers FC, Bristol: Immortalising History.”

The World War One At Home piece includes Bristol Rugby Club fans saying: “A ground for the fans … a homely ground … with the crowd on the edge of the pitch … makes you feel part of everything … the most welcoming ground, the best atmosphere … everything that rugby should be … it’s a ground not a stadium.”

If you liked the above recording, you may like this short video: Ninety-Three Years At The Mem (6 June 2014). The strength of feeling for the war memorial sport ground can also be gauged by these Bristol Rugby fans’ memories.

See also In memory of sporting heroes lost (Bristol Post, 15 April 2014).

The Memorial Ground also features in Rovers fans’ memories, in this entertaining blog thread from the Bristol Rovers Independent Fans’ Forum: The Museum of Gas.

“To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.” (Margaret Fairless Barber).

Why should some people, who should know better, get away with trampling on these memories?

The BBC pose this key question: if a supermarket, some houses and a memorial garden replace the famous sports ground, will the original reason for the Memorial Ground being built be lost?

Let’s support Mike Rafter: Let’s save, renovate and celebrate Bristol’s great sporting, heritage and community asset – and pass it on.