Nov 16

Long John Silver Trust holds great store in its charity remit

The Long John Silver Trust holds great store in its charity remit of being educational and to this end regularly conducts an abridged version of Treasure Island to interested parties.

Our most recent outing came in October 2012 when we performed to the 9 and 10 year old students of St Michaels on the Mount Primary School, Bristol.

LJST friend (and doyen of Bristol Pubs Group), local architect Sam Kendon, was keen on us bringing our brand of piracy to his daughters school and after an age of trying we managed to pull it off.

After our rendition of T. I. we held a question and answer session and were staggered at the knowledge of the youngsters.

Sam subsequently has sent us a brilliant picture of Blind Pew and Long John with the following legend on the back: – “Many thanks for doing the Treasure Island gig, I’m sorry it took so long to fix up but it went down well in the end. I was impressed how much some of them knew. As I often am. Yo ho ho! Sam”

Sam’s picture shows LJST Vice-Chairman ‘Billy Bones’ Fairney and Secretary Long John ‘Steedsy’ in full flow.

Nov 02

European Network ‘In Stevenson’s Footsteps’ Edinburgh 2012

On Friday 16th November 2012, the Long John Silver Trust will be attending the 3rd Meeting of the European Network ‘In Stevenson’s Footsteps’ in Edinburgh.

There will be an introduction by the President of our hosts, the RLS Club, followed by details of the concept of a European Cultural Route, its definition, challenges and prospects for our territories.

Each delegation will then make a presentation of their projects. For your interest I have laid out ours below: –
The Long John Silver Statue Trust, Foundation, History and Project

  • Robert Louis Stevenson is an internationally-acclaimed literary giant and has been recognised as such throughout the world in literary clubs, trails, museums and public buildings. But although he partially set his masterpiece, Treasure Island, in Bristol, there is no commemoration of this at present.
  • The Long John Silver Trust (LJST) was set up in 2005 to advance the literary and maritime heritage of Bristol through the medium of the Robert Louis Stevenson link, and the story of Treasure Island, which was launch book for Bristol’s (and Britain’s) first Great Reading Adventure of 2003.
  • We believe that our aims are in keeping with Bristol City Council’s heritage priorities of Education, Health and Well-being, and Cultural representation by centering on a Trail that encourages walking and exploring Bristol’s past.
  • Bristol has also been home to many literary figures. Poets and writers such as More, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey and Swift while earlier, Daniel Defoe interviewed marooned mariner Alexander Selkirk in Bristol before writing his classic Robinson Crusoe of 1719 – the first ever novel in English.
  • Whilst convalescing in Davos Robert Louis Stevenson met the Bristol classicist John Addington Symonds, who not only mentored the budding author, but gave him accounts of Bristol’s history, characters and heritage.
  • The early action of Treasure Island was set in the West Country, and the famous voyage of the Hispaniola was planned, provisioned and sailed from Bristol.  Many of the characters were based on historical truth and RLS weaves descriptions of the harbourside, its inns and population into a believable and gripping tale.
  • RLS has international drawing-power, and the LJST is working with the RLS Club of Edinburgh and the French Association “Sur le Chemin de R. L. Stevenson” regarding an application to come under the Council of Europe’s “Cultural Route” label.
  • We are aiming for an RLS Bristol Treasure Island Trail to be established as a launch partner with the Association. The Trail would consist of a series of seven information points around the Harbourside, in locations which can be linked to real people and places who were the basis for Stevenson’s characters and locations. Identification markers from historic King Street to M Shed are proposed, supplemented by leaflets, podcasts and Apps.  If the Trail is successful we will then strive for a statue of Long John Silver.
  • We are seeking the necessary permissions to create this Trail, which we believe will greatly enhance Bristol’s international appeal and reputation for literary and maritime heritage; benefiting citizens and visitors alike.

The purpose of the RLS Bristol Treasure Island Trail is to advertise to residents and visitors alike, the cultural and literary links between one of literature’s greatest authors Robert Louis Stevenson, his world-famous work, Treasure Island, and some of the rich maritime history of Bristol along with its historic Floating Harbour.

The Trail is sponsored by the Long John Silver Trust (LJST), a registered charity in England and Wales. We were founded after Bristol’s hugely successful first Great Reading Adventure in 2003, where Treasure Island was chosen as its launch book. Calls for a sculpture of Silver in the city had been made as far back as the 1990’s by members of Bristol Civic Society.

Our charter includes:-
“The promotion of the enhancement and improvement of the Area of Benefit [Bristol] for the benefit of inhabitants and…the advancement of art, literature and education for the benefit of the public by…..the provision and maintenance of such artefacts in Bristol relating to the Classic novel Treasure Island as are capable of furthering these objects.”

Our remit also includes the objectives of being “inclusive” and “educational”, and we see these as extending to all parts of the community. We have formed strategic partnerships with a range of associated groups in Bristol including special needs charity PROPS (where we embark annually on a Treasure Island Cruise) and the Matthew sailing ship. We regularly perform readings and re-enactments of the Treasure Island story. We’ve worked with the Bristol Old Vic and most recently took part in the 2012 Bristol Festival of Literature.

We are aiming for the RLS Bristol Treasure Island Trail to be a launch partner in the proposed Cultural Route, initially with centres in Europe – Scotland, France, England, Belgium and possibly Switzerland. These will hopefully be enhanced to cover the world-wide interest in RLS; in the USA (New York State, California and Hawaii), Australia and the Pacific Islands, most notably Samoa.

By sitting alongside existing heritage trails in Bristol we hope to enhance our own educational aspect by visiting locations which were not only important in the City’s maritime past, but also open up key chapters and characters in Stevenson’s classic story Treasure Island relating the tale in sequence.

Many versions of Treasure Island have been published, but the Eyre and Spottiswoode version, published in 1949 has pictures by the world famous illustrator and author Mervyn Peake. His son Sebastian Peake, curator of the Mervyn Peake archives, (now in the British Library), is a Patron of the Long John Silver Trust and has kindly granted us permission to use some of the illustrations on our proposed place markers.

Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate, whose sequel Return to Treasure Island has just been published, said in support of our project:-
“I’m very pleased to know the shade and spirit of Long John Silver are being commemorated in the places where he haunted. It’s an idea which is delightful in itself, and will bring delight (and the shivers) to everyone involved.”

Treasure Island has never been out of print and has enthralled countless millions of children since it was first published in 1883, consistently featuring in the Top 100 books of all time. Most of these children first learnt of the City of Bristol through this experience.

We want to use a treasure map as the back-cloth to our part of the Bristol story (a pirate treasure map first evolved in literature in Bristol in 1815), telling people about our joint themes using the topography of the Harbourside and some of Bristol’s historic inns, wharves, bridges and caves. This map format will also enable us to differentiate our Trail from other plaques in the city.

Treasure Island contained recognition of disability and ethnicity, elements rarely found in works of fiction in Stevenson’s time. His fictional character Long John Silver, a retired one-legged pirate, was landlord and cook at the ‘Spyglass Inn’ in Bristol and married to a former black slave.

After the huge success of Treasure Island, RLS lived in Bournemouth for a while but was struck down by illness yet again. To amuse himself he wrote up “Places where I have slept” and this included Bristol. He then went on to write another of his critically acclaimed masterpieces “Kidnapped”.

It is our belief that in his own inimitable way, Robert Louis Stevenson brought together elements of Bristol’s adventurous past in a most exciting and accessible format. This is something we maintain should be permanently on display in the city he inadvertently promoted.”

Below is the logo of our international partners: –ECR Network PartnersThrough our involvement with our partners we’ve (just like Stevenson before us) inadvertently become ambassadors for Bristol.  We do so hope whoever is elected Mayor of Bristol in the forthcoming elections likes our ideas and plans and is prepared to help make them become a reality.

Mark Steeds   –  Secretary of the Long John Silver Trust

Oct 18

LJST and Bristol Festival of Literature 2012

The LJST was delighted to be involved with the 2nd Bristol Festival of Literature which started last Saturday (13th October) and is going on until this Sunday 21st October (please go to for other events).

The Trust was involved with a Literary walk around Bristol on the 13th – dodging showers – which went well and followed this up with the Festivals first feature event on the 14th ‘!PIRATES! ADVENTURES WITH SCIENTISTS…AND HISTORIANS!’ which went extremely well.

LJST favourite, BBC Radio Bristol’s Steve Yabsley, interviewed Pirates author Gideon Defoe and Aardman film maker and founder Peter Lord.

LJST’s firm friends, the Matthew of Bristol Trust, kindly agreed to support the event with the good ship Matthew and the event opened with guns blazing as the celebrities were collected from Aardman HQ and shipped down to the magnificent M Shed on Bristol’s internationally famous Floating Harbour who were hosting the talk.

A slight hiccup occurred when the pirate planner didn’t allow enough time for collecting and dropping off, but the guests were only a few minutes late and host Steve just breezed over the mishap.

Silver tongued Steve soon settled the speakers down and the ensuing interview just flew by with Peter Lord, the consummate pro that he is, having everyone rocking in the aisles.

Peter and Gideon went off to sign books and the Trust’s motley crew got reunited with the ship to do two sell out sailings around the docks with storytelling of RLS’s Treasure Island and Helen Hart’s Black Banner, complemented by Seb of Jungle Talk’s two parrots Rosie and Dumpling, Saul the sail-maker from HMS Canopus and cannonaders Geoff and Ann (magnificently dressed as characters from !Pirates!).

The two pictures show Trust narrator Long John Steedsy regaling the crowd with tales of Blackbeard and the T.I. connection (Fifteen men on a Dead Man’s Chest) and the other ‘Gouty’ Geoff and Saul the sail-maker.

Huge thanks to all who helped make it such a cracking day, especially Yabbo, Cap’n Rob, the crew of the Matthew and Chairman Gerry’s colleagues at the Bristol Post.

Now the bad news, tonight (Thursday 18th) we were supposed to have ‘UWE History Department vs Long John Silver – The truth about pirates’ but unfortunately it got cancelled. The two teams had assembled but the pitch had become unplayable – a bit like Poland vs England on Tuesday. We’re hoping to reschedule so please keep an eye out for any possible news.Bristol Festival of Literature
Bristol Festival of Literature

Sep 08

Fish n’ Chips – Successful Voyage

Matthew - Sailing Ship - Bristol“On Tuesday 4th September, the Long John Silver Trust took to the high seas of Bristol’s famous Floating Harbour once again on yet another ‘Fish ’n’ Chip’ excursion aboard the good ship Matthew.

We set off from the Beaufort’s LJS HQ aboard Chris Knight’s classic Routemaster London red bus bound for the bright lights of the ‘Metropolis of the West’ at 6pm, arriving in good time to board the Matthew outside the Arnolfini at 7pm.

Captain Rob Salvidge was our host, ably assisted by his gang of handpicked cut-throats and a more convivial host you couldn’t wish for. Against a fierce head wind (Curly talking too much) we pitched and rolled our way down to the Pump House where Rob’s crew had raided an excellent Fish shop nearby.

Fed and watered (the Beaufort regulars making full use of the Matthew’s excellent licensed bar) the Matthew then returned to her Arnolfini berth, swashing and buckling all the way up the docks.

There to meet us was Chris’s bus once again and we returned home via Fishponds, Downend and Yate (the glamour of it all) for 10pm where some imbibed in yet more drink c/o the Beaufort.

As well as putting some money in the Matthew’s coffers, over £200 was raised for Bristol Vintage Bus Group (of whom Chris is a member) and the LJS Trust – the spoils divvied in half.

Huge thanks once again to all those who either helped or took part. Royston Griffey (Chair of the Matthew of Bristol Trust and LJST Patron) kindly received us on the Matthew and a whole host of Beaufort regulars and Trust members who joined in.

A great effort, we had 38 people from Sodbury, Tetbury, Hawkesbury, Kingswood (W-U-E), Inglestone Common and even Dursley.

Special thanks to Rich and Mo and their party plus Angie and Den of The Boundary magazine ( who made donations over and above the cost of the trip.

Look out for our next tie-up with the Matthew on October 14th during the Bristol Literature Festival, and if you’re down the docks on Saturday 8th September for Open Doors Day we’re at Betty’s Boathouse on Redcliffe Wharf (just outside the Caves which will be open) selling our wares.”

Mark (LJS Trust secretary and trustee)

Aug 16

Fish and Chips fund raising event aboard the Matthew in Bristol Docks

Routemaster Bus at Beaufort Arms Hawkesbury UptonFish and Chips aboard the Matthew Tuesday 4th September 2012

Our aim on this event is to raise money for LJST and the Bristol Vintage Bus Group so the fares have been set at £27.50p per person for the red  Routemaster bus to take us to Bristol and return back to Hawkesbury. While aboard the Matthew we take a cruise around the docks on this great little vessel.

Matthew - Sailing Ship - BristolTo make sure we’re in good time it will be 6pm at the Beaufort Arms with a return by about 10pm.

For those going straight from the Arnolfini (where the Matthew is moored at the moment) the cost will be £22.50p and departure time (time the Matthew sets off) is 7pm.

The event is open to everyone interested …… please come along to join us if you can.

We must know names in advance. This is one of our major fund raisers of the year so once again, please spread the word.

Jul 31

Pirates at Blaise Castle July 2012

28th July 2012 - Pirates at Blaise was very successful with a reading of Treasure Island by the Long John Silver Trust, Pirate Pete and his lucky dip for the kids and his ghost of Blackbeard, real pirate parrots Cap'n Dumpling and Rosie, local Radio Bristol celebrity Steve Yabsley judging the kid's pirate fancy dress competition, and lots of other goings on – Over 300 children were in attendance.

Many thanks to everyone for making the day such a success ..... If you see a photo of yourself and would like to download it please feel free to do so.

Photos from the day are below, courtesy of Cap'n Adge .... click on an image to enlarge .....

Jul 15

PROPS – LJS Trust Annual Treasure Island Cruise 2012

Thursday 12th July 2012 – Our 8th annual Treasure Island Cruise on board Brigantia with PROPS was a great success. Thankfully, the rain held off and all enjoyed themselves. It was a real joy to see the smiles on the kid’s faces.

Photos from the day courtesy of Cap'n Adge .... click on an image to enlarge

On the cruise day, Blaire Hannan, the disabled young lady who sailed the Olympic torch across the harbour when it was in Bristol, was there. She is a sailor and was supporting some children training in dingies. She was good enough to allow us to hold the torch. Below are pictures of Blaire, pirate Chris, pirate Bill (with eye patch) and Oscar, the youngest member of the crew. Click an image to see larger version.

Jul 07

Long John Silver Trust – July 2012 Activities

The Trust has a very busy July – Please come along to give us your support ….

8th annual Treasure Island Cruise with PROPS on Thursday 12th July. We’ll be aboard the good ship Brigantia once again, sailing the waters of  Bristol’s Floating Harbour. Listen out for our piratey roars and yahooing between 11am and 12.30pm.

Weekend of July 21st and 22nd Bristol’s Harbour Fest‘ once again and we’ll be there in Betty’s Boathouse, flogging our wares on Redcliffe Wharf.

Saturday 28th July 2pm to 4pm “Pirates @ Blaise”  – come along to historic Blaise Castle for an afternoon of pirate fun and storytelling – look out for Captain Dumplin’ and sail maker Tony.