May 04

Join Mark Steeds at Bristol’s Walking Festival 2015

Calling all literary/history fans who like a bit of a walk.

 BristolWalkFestival2105Bristol Walk Fest 2015 | Bristol City Council

Long John Silver Trust historian Mark Steeds is a signed up member of Bristol’s exciting Walking Festival and is conducting two tours around Bristol’s historic heart on Thursday 7th and Thursday 28th May.

The walks are entitled “Bristol’s Treasure Island Influences” and are numbers 32 and 156 in the festival programme.

Starting at Bristol’s bombed out Temple Church just off of Victoria Street, we’ll start off with brewer’s tales, from the Knights Templar to Sir John Hawkins, lead sponsor of Woodes Rogers’ great 1708 circumnavigation that rescued the prototype of Robinson Crusoe and originated a host of other key episodes of Britain’s history.

We’ll wander past the Cornubia and Seven Stars (the pub that helped change the world), the Exploration statue, the former Talbot Hotel and Bristol Bridge, the site of St Peter’s Hospital to talk about Dr Thomas Dover, the ruins of the old castle keep where Defoe met maroon Alexander Selkirk, Southey’s birthplace in Wine Street and then the Rummer, home of Coleridge’s first publication.

Back to Bristol Bridge and on to Welsh Back and the Llandoger Trow, talk about Smollett and Swift of Humphrey Clinker and Gulliver’s Travels fame respectively, and on up King Street to the Merchant Venturers Alsmhouses that gave birth to William Williams’ Journal of Llewellin Penrose – seaman, the origins of the pirate treasure map in literature, cross Queen’s Square, past Rogers’ house to the Hole-in-the-Wall to finish on Blackbeard and Robert Louis Stevenson’s immortal Treasure Island – phew!

The walk starts at 11.30am on the 7th and 2.30pm on the 28th – duration 2 to 3 hours, cost free. Please email mark@beaufortarms.com to book a place, although it’s not essential

 

Dec 02

Bristol Local History Bookfair 2014

Looking for a unique book to give this Christmas? Want some background on the books available? Then please come along to Bristol Record Office this Saturday – you won’t be disappointed ….

Bristol Local History Bookfair 2014
Saturday 6 December 2014 at Bristol Records Office.

‘B’ Bond Warehouse (via Create Centre)
Smeaton Road
Bristol
BS1 6XN

Free entry.

10am-1pm
Family history advice from the Bristol & Avon Family History Society

1.30pm – Bristol: the City at War, 1914-1918 (Eugene Byrne, co-author of ‘Bravo Bristol!’)
As a major British city and port, Bristol played a key role in the First World War. Join Eugene for stories of Bristolians on the battlefield, on the Home Front and in the war at sea.

2.30pm – Unmarked Graves: the Eastville Workhouse Project (Dr Di Parkin, Bristol Radical History Group)
Between 1855 and 1895, over 3,000 paupers were buried in unmarked graves near Eastville Workhouse on Fishponds Road. Di Parkin will present a project to uncover the names of the people buried there.

3.30pm – Bristol’s Treasure Island Influences (Mark Steeds, Long John Silver Trust)
Hear from Mark about the pirates and privateers that inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to set parts of his classic book in the city.

Dec 01

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Birthday Celebrations 2014

At lunch time on November 13th we had a birthday party for Louis with most of the staff and students from PROPS and a great turn out of four Long John Silver Trustees.

RLSBirthday2014-3

For the past three weeks the PROPS students have been busy painting, pasting and putting together pictures, montages, model parrots and even a complete Treasure Island!

It’s hard to think that it all originated with Bristol’s participation in the Great Reading Adventure of 2003…

RLSBirthday2014-1

Jamie Goodenough did the brilliant picture of RLS with both T.I., Jekyll and Hyde and one of Stevenson’s poems all computer painted and, despite me telling him I thought him very talented, he profoundly disagreed.

RLSBirthday2014-2

The model Treasure Island had everything; volcano, waterfall, compass rose, footsteps (a la Robinson Crusoe?), sparkly red ‘X’ marks the spot, palm trees, beach and even a shipwreck…

RLSBirthday2014-4

Three huge Cap’n Flint parrots were all different and all first rate and now decorate the Beaufort dining room.

RLSBirthday2014-6

Adam and Daniel drew pictures and then we had the piece de resistance – Long John Silver himself. Cabin boy Sam drew and painted him complete with bottle of rum, parrot and 24 buttons on his coat – imagine undoing them in a hurry. Stuart drew the shape of the island, Ryan sponge painted it, Azim found the images, cabin girl Sam drew and painted the treasure chest, cabin boy Sam sponge painted the sea (he was busy!) and Frannie helped paint the parrot.

What an effort by all the staff and students and I wonder what RLS himself would have thought of it; surely he would have been pleased.

RLSBirthday2014-5

Many thanks one and all for making it one of the most colourful birthday parties that I can ever remember going to.

Happy birthday Robert Louis Stevenson 2014.

Jul 25

LJST’s Presence At Bristol Harbour Festival 2014

Saturday 19th July 2014 saw two members of the LJS Trust, vice-chairman Bill and Secretary Mark, brave the vagaries of a British summer to help man our bookstall in Betty’s Boathouse (as we like to call it) during Bristol’s 45th annual Harbour Festival.

Situated on Redcliffe Wharf, it should be called the ‘Benjamin Perry Boathouse for Scouts and Guides’, but we always like to call it Betty’s because she has such a kindly presence. We were joined by old friends Roy of Fiducia Press and Rich of Tangent Books.

Anyhoo, stuffed with bargain bacon baps at just a £1 we got down to the serious task of raising funds for the Trust by selling our books and I’m pleased to say our Privateers book was the best seller out everyone’s wares.

If you missed us due to the heavy downpour, please look out for us again on ‘Open Doors Day’ on Saturday 13th September 2014 where we shall be hard at it once again in one of the last of Bristol’s original dock buildings.

Jul 20

PROPS Annual Adventure Around Bristol Harbour – Treasure Island Cruise 2014

Our Treasure Island Cruise 2014 was a huge success once again with our friends at special needs charity PROPS in their element roaring and harooing the visitors to Bristol’s 45th Harbour Festival. 

The trip nearly didn’t happen after some scallywag blew up the engine of the Brigantia but the Bristol Ferryboat Company came up trumps with an able replacement in the venerable Matilda. Crew were driver Mike Fripp – a favourite of the LJST – and shipmate Gabriel who did a great job keeping us safe and sound and taking no prisoners.

Special thanks must go to John of Westward Travel for getting us there, Liam from the ss Great Britain for ‘doing a deal’ on our much needed ice creams (at cutlass point), the ss Great Britain cafe for the napkins for our messy PROPS pirates and all of the people we held up on Cumberland Road manoeuvring our land carriage for some of our less able seamen.

Many thanks to Brian Henley for the pic’s.

Jul 14

Long John Silver Trust letter regarding proposed statue of Alexander Selkirk/Robinson Crusoe in Bristol (published in the Bristol Times, Tuesday 1st July)

Dear Eugene,

I hope you’re keeping well and not over working.

I was delighted to see in last night’s ‘Post a proposal, with funding of nearly £100k, for a Selkirk/Crusoe sculpture in Clifton marking Goldney’s friendship with Woodes Rogers.

As you know, we at the Long John Silver Trust have long campaigned for more representation of Bristol’s maritime and literary past, and this opportunity to celebrate our links with a landmark in British literature seems almost too good to be true.

If the residents of Victoria Square don’t want it though, could we please have it in Castle Park? There are already many fine works of public art there and an internationally renowned figural addition would be just the jolly job I suspect.

I know the Llandoger Trow has long claimed to be the meeting place of Selkirk and Daniel Defoe (the writer of Robinson Crusoe in 1719) but all of my research indicates another meeting place, in Castle Park!

The Scottish seaman Alexander Selkirk was the 7th son of a 7th son, but his early life was awkward and he ran away from home and joined the ill fated Darien expedition, where Scotland tried to set up its first colony strategically placed close to the isthmus of Panama – he was a lucky survivor.

He was not so lucky the next time, he set sail on Dampier and Stradling’s quest for a Spanish treasure ship and was left marooned on Juan Fernandez Island after quarreling with his shipmates over the seaworthiness of the ship he was on. He was subsequently proved right but was left to dwell on his decision for an agonising and lonely 4 years and 4 months.

He was rescued in 1709 by Woodes Rogers’ privateering cruise which was also on a quest for treasure during the Spanish War of Succession, Dampier was now Rogers’ pilot and commended Selkirk as a sailing master and he joined Rogers’ crew immediately, playing a full role in their adventures until ultimately sharing in the spoils.

On return to Britain, Selkirk escaped the press gang and made his way to Bristol with his pal Rogers, staying first in his house in Queen Square before securing lodgings in the Cock and Bottle Inn in what is now Castle Park. According to old Bristol history books, Selkirk enjoyed his celebrity; often dressing in his goatskins and parading before the public, these books also state that he met Defoe in the Star Coffee House which was located above Bristol Castle’s old dungeon keep.

It must have been quite a contrast as Defoe wore the fashions of the day, putting on his powdered wig and lace finery and only going out on a Sunday – the only day ‘Sunday Gentleman’ could escape their creditors!

Local people gave their ‘sworn affy davy’s’ (to paraphrase Long John Silver) that Selkirk handed over his papers to Defoe and that it was these that inspired him to write Robinson Crusoe.

As for Selkirk, after staying for over a year in Bristol he had to run away again after beating up a fellow sailor in a brawl in St Stephen’s Parish.

He went back to Fife, married, brawled, ran away again, married again without divorcing his first wife, and then ran away to sea again this time joining the Royal Navy. He died of disease aboard HMS Weymouth off of the Guinea coast tracking down the world’s most successful pirate ‘Black Bart Roberts’.

So there ‘tis, if Clifton residents really don’t want him, can we all enjoy him in Castle Park? And if you don’t think Selkirk deserves another statue – there’s already a fine one of him in Lower Largo in Fife – then can we please have one of Long John Silver?

ATB

Mark

PPOB book cover (46)

Above: Dr Thomas Dover (former slave ship surgeon and captain) went as second captain on Rogers’ voyage to represent the backer’s interests. This mural is in the Glenside Museum (Dover was the first to offer his services FOC to St Peter’s hospital in 1695, the lure of money in the African Trade overcame him though)

PPOB book cover (50)

Above: Daniel Defoe (Bristol and its famous associations 1900ish)

PPOB book cover (51)

Above: The Cock and Bottle Inn (1888)

Jun 29

Treasure Island aboard the Matthew June 2014

Treasure Island aboard the Matthew was a huge success – one performance last Thursday for friends and supporters of the Long John Silver Trust (including the RLS Club, PROPS, Patron Nicholas Newton and Bristol City Council cabinet member Gus Hoyt) and two performances for the paying public on Sunday.

Radio Bristol’s Steve Yabsley was amongst the crowd on the final performance and sailing (2.30pm 22/06/14) and all seemed to enjoy it.

Jun 01

Coming Soon .. June 2014 ….

Coming soon, “Treasure Island aboard the Matthew” – the grand finale of the Long John Silver Trust’s  Big Green Treasure Hunt on the final day of Bristol’s Big Green Week 2014 – Sunday 22nd June 2014.

If you fancy a dramatic voyage around Bristol’s historic Floating Harbour brought to you by the LJST’s cut-throat crew, here’s your big chance.

A faithful adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Treasure Island.

Tickets available at the Matthew box office on www.matthew.co.uk

May 23

Big Green Treasure Hunt Competition Launch – May 2014

On Wednesday, 21st March 2014, Bristol’s famous Floating Harbour witnessed another docks delight in the form of a water spectacular to help launch the Big Green Treasure Hunt (24th May – 22nd June 2014).

Special thanks goes to Ferryboat Lou for galvanising everybody on the water to help make the event so special, from the gorgeous weather to the Old Vic film team, it was a marvelous effort.

The Long John Silver Trust’s thanks also go to the owners and crews of the Ferryboats, safety chap, Pyronaut and Matthew, the whole of the sensational Ambling Band – featuring our Bristol Treasure Trail app designer Jon Rolfe, the poop deck trio on the Matthew, the Matthew’s gunner, flag raising Steve and the assorted pyrates who packed the quayside.

All and sundry played their part in making it a memorable occasion that showed what could be achieved with some goodwill and enthusiasm.

Huge thanks also to the Big Green Week team for giving us this opportunity and here’s hoping people will enjoy the competition (and the Floating Harbour) in their droves – the treasure hunt has been designed to promote our ethereal Treasure Island Trail.

If you fancy having a go on the treasure hunt and sampling our app, here’s some good news: –
The iPhone/iPad version of the Treasure Island Trail app has been approved by Apple on its first submission and is now available for download from the App Store!

Please visit the App Store and search for ‘Bristol Treasure Island’.

If you want to share via social media please use this url: http://bit.ly/BristolTreasureIsland

It’s all good stuff, happy hunting!

Click an image to enlarge:

May 22

Placing Way Marks around the Treasure Island Trail May 2014

LJS Trustees placing our way marks around the Treasure Island Trail in
anticipation of the launch of the Big Green Treasure Hunt on Wednesday 21st
May 2014.

The Treasure Hunt features the whole of Bristol’s Floating Harbour and is
intended for friends and families to enjoy the whole area, by boat, cycle or
on foot.

At the centre of it is our Treasure Island Trail, and these way marks will
show you the route, allowing you to enjoy some of the history of Bristol and
Stevenson’s classic adventure, Treasure Island.

Look out for details of our free app which will bring our ethereal trail to
life!
Click an image to enlarge: