Easton Through Different Experiences
Easton residents Ailsa, Yewande, Ed, Helen and her son share their perspectives on where they live.
Easton became my home in March and one of my favourite things to do of an evening is to wander around its streets and take in as much of the area as possible. Though Clifton is renowned for its beauty, I love Easton’s vitality, overflowing gardens and friendliness. But I’m just one resident of 14,000. I wanted to see what my Easton looked like through other people’s eyes. So, we gave disposable cameras to three others Easton residents and the four of us took photographs over the course of a day (a Saturday, FYI). Here are the results, from classic Easton landmarks we would all recognise to touching personal moments that makes up all of our lives.
Helen and her ten year old son took a photograph of Stapleton Rd Station’s mural
First painted in 1999, the mural was restored in 2015 by Bristol artist Bill Guilding and funded by Bristol City Council, Severnside Community Rail Partnership and First Great Western. All the black and white figures are historical, and include local heroes such as cricketer W.G.Grace, Indian reformer Raja Rammohun Roy, and the Trade Union founder, Ben Tillett. Along with the other figures –representative of Easton’s community– there are 30 people in all featured on the wall. I’ve stood amongst them countless times waiting for the train and never thought to look it up. I’m definitely going to see if I can spot who’s who next time I’m passing time there!
Though Bristol is famous for Banksy, his works around the city are far outnumbered by a plethora of colourful and ever changing street art. A lot of the works around Easton are by unnamed artists which I think leads you to appreciate them for themselves as opposed to forming opinions prior to viewing them based on who you think created them. If you ever catch yourself with a day to yourself in nice weather, it’s well worth going for an amble on Easton’s streets and seeing what gems you stumble across.
Though I’m from Scotland, where the skies are vast and beautiful, Easton does pretty well too. This is the view from my bedroom window, though I have to stand on my chair to see out of it. If the sunset is particularly stunning, I’ll go for a walk up to the viaduct at Greenbank Cemetry to get a clearer view over Bristol, simultaneously observing mortality at play and natural beauty: a fine way to spend an evening.
Helen and her son spent a football filled Sunday. Eastville park is great for football and just about anything else you would like to do outside with a lot of space. It has a lake, play area, lots of trees for shade if it’s sunny and if you feel like getting out of the city you can walk along the river to Snuff Mills. All in all, it’s an excellent place to rest up and get some fresh air of a weekend!
Unfortunately, another feature of Easton is a lot of empty buildings. In a city with a rising population and a housing crisis on its hands, this is very frustrating. However, there are various pressure groups in Bristol working to ameliorate the housing situation such as ACORN and hopefully these buildings will be put to good use soon. At least this one has found some use as a canvas for some morbid street art.
This is a photograph of my breakfast prep, featuring coffee and tomatoes from Easton’s iconic Bristol Sweet Mart and beautiful bread from East Bristol Bakery, both of which are on St Mark’s Road –my local high street. Sweet Mart is an independent shop which stocks a vast array of international food and spices. For me, growing up with a Chinese Malay mum and having been spoilt with Malaysia’s varied cuisines pretty regularly throughout my childhood, having Sweet Mart 30 seconds walk away and Wai Yee Hong Chinese Supermarket five minutes cycle from my door is a dream. Compared to the white, rural Scotland where I grew up, when we had to drive into Edinburgh to get to a Chinese supermarket, Easton’s diversity is still a wonder to me, and a very welcome one at that. If you haven’t been to Sweet Mart, I highly recommend it! It is well worth a day trip.
I spent most of my Sunday on Old Market, at Bristol’s Speak Easy Story Slam where I’m the resident photographer. This is my friend, Sophie, who founded the story telling event. If you fancy an afternoon of emotional, heart breaking and hilarious stories, it’s a pay-what-you-can event and our next one is part of Bristol’s Doing Things Differently so it will be deaf accessible. It’s a wonderful inclusive community of story tellers and story lovers coming together once a month and has definitely enriched my Bristol life.
Seeing everyone’s photographs of Easton, and hearing about them afterwards has helped me learn more about the area and inspired to find out even more. How about you? Do you have another perspective on Easton you’d like to share with us? Or have been encouraged to visit it? Maybe I’ll see you around sometime!
Live in Easton? Check out Baggator Young People’s Project