“Totterdown Rising” – A book on local history

Totterdown Rising: The Story of a Community Enduring and Surviving a Planning Disaster (Paperback)“Totterdown Rising” is a book about a community that was split in half to make way for a road that was never built. But it’s not a book about a community beaten into submission by a local council’s obsession with the motor car, it’s a story of how people rebuilt their community and reinvented the very special Spirit of Totterdown. But there is more to the story than a tale of a resurgent community.

Kate Pollard’s detailed research has uncovered some alarming facts about the role of the City Council in the demolition of Totterdown. It appears that the detailed plans to knock down an entire community, shops and pubs was never voted on and that the council pressed ahead with the demolition before they had received Government backing for the Road plan.

In the course of researching this book, Kate Pollard also discovered that many of the houses that were demolished to make way for the Outer Circuit Road were the subject of compulsory purchase orders. In the case of a number of houses, the owners were absent and were not found within the timetable of the demolition process. In case they reappeared at a later date to discover their houses had gone, in around 1970 the Council lodged a fund in the Unclaimed Balances section of the Chancery Courts in London so that some compensation could be administered to them. Through painstaking research, Kate Pollard has tracked down that money and discovered that the unclaimed balance of it should have been reclaimed by Bristol City Council many years ago. In July 2006, Bristol City Council’s Senior Solicitor (Corporate) confirmed that the money was still held at the Court Funds Office. At the time of going to print, investigations were continuing into the status of the fund.


  1. Hi Simon

    Do you think it is worth TRESA and WHAM reps meeting to discuss the high-rise proposals
    affecting both Totterdown and Bedminster ? I think we may have some common interests and maybe can support each other. There is also the proposed energy centre next to the City Farm, which may cause a threat to local residents. Please let me know if this is something TRESA would be interested in doing.

  2. Dear TRESA,
    I am very interested in obtaining this book as our family had to move to make way for this road that was never built. I recall my parents being upset as the Wells Road from Three Lamps up to Knowle Road had every single type of shop you could possibly need, including the famous Shepherd’s Toy Shop. We were also subject to a compulsory purchase order of our house in County Street. Many friends moved away and for years our community was pulled apart.
    The spirit mentioned in your summary was truly there as evidenced by the Totterdown Area Festival held in October. I am also trying to find information on our school, Knowle Junior Mixed, but it does not appear in any internet search. It was real, as I attended the school.
    Are you able to let me know where I can buy this book please?
    thank you for your help

    1. Hi Paulette,

      We have copies of “Totterdown Rising” that we sell for £5.
      It’s only £4 if you become a TRESA member (£3) or Associate Member (£2)

      Are you still local to the area? If so we can hand deliver. If not, post us some monies and a return address then we can pop it into the post.
      Send post to TRESA cic, C/O Hillcrest School, Cemetery Road, Totterdown, BS4 3DE.

      Regarding the school, did you mean “Knowle Park Juniors” as there are many references to that online.


      Simon (Chair of TRESA)

Comments are closed.