Netham Park is a large park with open green spaces that you can explore with your pooch in East Bristol. Netham Park landscape is reasonably flat with slight hills to separate different areas of the park. So even if there are cricket games, football, people flying kites and picnickers, there is still plenty of room to wander around.
The park is maintained by The Friends of Netham Park, who have worked with Avon Wildlife Trust over the past few years to create a wildlife haven, so the park is beautifully maintained and is clearly enjoyed by the whole community.
‘On the sight of the Netham playing fields once stood The Netham Chemical Works. From 1859 onwards saw a successful expansion of the works and before long, towering above Marsh Lane appeared a vast sprawling but self-contained collection of grim industrial structures. A bewildering mass of buildings with hot furnaces, a huge waste tip and a complex tramway network.
The mammoth industrial site extended from Marsh Lane to Blackswarth Road and Avonvale Road to the Feeder. It was a particularly stark landscape with a ‘monster’ at the centre casting its shadow over both the works and Barton Hill. The so-called ‘Netham Monster’ was a great chimney stack, which stood among a number of other tall chimneys and was a prominent Bristol landmark. The chimney was 300 feet high, reputedly comprising half a million bricks. The ‘Monster’ was felled in 1950.
Netham Chemical Company was the industrial giant of Barton Hill, spreading itself over some 40 acres. The company’s main products were sulphuric Acid (vitriol) and washing soda.
At its peak the chemical works employed 400 to 500 men. They were divided into two main groups, process workers who dealt with the chemicals and yard men who were blacksmiths, hauliers, carpenters, painters and general labourers- working conditions were very tough.
In 1927 The Netham Works became the I.C.I. plant
There were two entrances to the I.C.I. works on Avonvale Road. One gate was opposite Oxford Street and the other gate opposite Baden Road. There was a path that led all the way down to the heart of the chemical works.
The factory produced huge amounts of waste creating a strange landscape, mounds and valleys of chemical waste sometimes described as looking like the landscape of the moon. Technically out of bounds it became a strange unofficial playground for the children of Barton Hill. And was referred to as ‘The Brillos’.
The works closed in 1949 leaving behind the vast tipping ground of heaps of waste materials. Only remnants of old walls remain, but the grassed ‘Brillos’ remain as a legacy of the Netham Chemical Works.’
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