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Voices of the Past: Barton Hill

Telling the story of Barton Hill through live music and recorded voices.

Voices of the Past: Barton Hill

Voice of the Past project

During the 1980’s and 1990’s, The Barton Hill History Group made many recordings of local people’s memories, most of it on cassette tape and some on VHS tape. The voices were neatly boxed up and stored in founder BHHG committee member Dave Cheesley’s garage, for over 20 years. A couple of years ago, the tapes reappeared and we listened to them. They are amazing. Funny, sad and poignant.

Now dusted down and digested they have been brilliantly blended with spoken word, music and images into an amazing presentation about Barton Hill in the past, called Voices of the Past.

The Voices of the Past video, shared below, showcases the lost voices of Barton Hill, accompanying them with historical context from local historian and co-founder of the Barton Hill History Group Garry Atterton and live music, sound art and song from composers and musicians Jakob op den Brouw and Charlie Atterton (Charlie + Jake).

Voices of the Past website

We've created a brand new website called Voices of the Past. Full of photos and memories.

Building on the success of the Voices of the Past project in 2020, it has been decided that the next project should focus on telling the story of Barton Hill during the 1950’s and 1960’s, when the place and the people were torn apart by the so called slum clearance. It is absolutely essential that we tell their story before it is too late. The aim is that in 2021 funding will be secured to record, produce and present a new and exciting way of telling this essential part of Bristol’s history in the Voices of the Slum Dwellers.

If you would like to book Voices of the Past for your history group or organisation, then contact Garry Atterton via email garry@voicesofthepast.org.uk

Praise for Voices of the Past

“The Voices of the Past project, which has preserved first hand experiences of people who experienced life in this community many years ago, has and will continue to do much in integrating the generations and communities.“

- Barton Hill History Group member.

“The extremely accomplished Live Stream in August 2020 was a notable first for the BHHG and took Barton Hill’s history to a new audience. It was a great example of the Project effectively promoting and highlighting our local history in a new and very effective way.”

- Andrew Jones Chairman of the Barton Hill History Group.


Voices of the Past was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Barton Hill History Group Facebook community

From 0 to 1,000 Barton Hill History Group Facebook members in just over a year! Facebook has revolutionised our communication with the Barton Hill community past and present. We have many regular users who are in 70’s and 80’s! Lost communities and friends have been reunited. We started 2021 with monthly Facebook live events that told stories and shared photos of Barton Hill’s history. Then moved outside for live broadcasts. Our broadcast in July 2021 had 1.3k views!

Next steps

The Barton Hill History Group was formed into 1983, and we normally meet once a month at the Bethesda Church in Redfield. We are really proud of how we've reinvented ourselves during the pandemic, and excited to see what happens next!

Barton Hill has an incredible and special history, however much of the physical past of historical buildings have long gone. We have plans to secure what is left of its heritage better protected. We are starting this by creating a series of short walks of heritage trails. The first heritage walk took place on Monday 2 August 2021 starting from The Wellspring Settlement Ducie Road Barton Hill. Hopefully we can work together as a community to write more heritage trails.

The Voices of The Past live broadcast has been edited and repackaged as a podcast series that will be broadcast on Radio Bristol Upload during September and October 2021.

If you any memories to share then contact garry@voicesofthepast.org.uk

For general enquiries use bartonhillhistorygroup@gmail.com

Find out more on our website.


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