Updated: Feb 13
Over the Summer I joined some East Park residents with Bristol Older People's Forum and the Council on a walk through the neighbourhood. The Estate was built on the site of the demolished Eastville Workhouse, where the original walls still remain.
A local resident with sparkling blue eyes led us through a gate around the back of a few flats into a garden. Older people live here, some who never leave the confines of their homes.
As she is talking I get the impression of her kindness towards towards her neighbours.
The garden is lovingly kitted out with makeshift pots for flowers and interesting found objects carefully placed around.
All the plants were found, donated or brought back to life after being discarded from supermarket shelves. This garden used to be inaccessible and overgrown, but she has managed to get it cleared out and transformed.
Buying the necessary tools from her own pocket, finding whats needed and getting the help of a few able bodied persons to do the physical work.
The garden has evidently improved the quality of these residents' lives; curtains
are opened looking onto the garden, with a few chairs and a table inviting you to soak up the sun and listen to bird song. Some potatoes were planted by a resident too.
The garden backs onto the original wall of the Workhouse, with the brickwork visible. She shows me two stones with names engraved just like gravestones, Bethany and Robert. These were dug up right by the wall. I feel my heart sink. She tells me when babies who were born out of wedlock - thus bastard children- died in the Workhouse, they would have been buried under the walls. I recall the Church Warden at St Annes' Parish, who have been very involved with the Workhouse project a few years earlier, telling me about a blessing performed for these "lost souls"who could not be baptised during the Victorian times.
If you are interested to help with the garden, please get in touch. Maybe you can donate plants or tools. Or give some of your time to do some weeding, build a bug house or water the plants over the summer.