I am delighted to post this with kind permission from Local Learning, whom I was lucky to meet at a recent event where we were both presenting. Their work creatively showcases the importance of Addison and his contribution to ‘homes for heroes’ centenary in the Bristol area, whilst demonstrating the importance of housing for all and making its history engaging and accessible. They have also taken immense care in its lovely and varied presentation: a lesson to us all.

They tell us:

Local Learning secured funding from the Arts Council, Heritage Lottery, Heritage Schools and Bristol City Council for their Hillfields Homes for Heroes project, marking the centenary of Addison’s post-World War 1 Housing Act.

Hillfields has the first Addison Act council houses built in Bristol. The design of these houses was the result of an architectural competition and went on to define the homes in many areas of Bristol from Southmead to Knowle.

During 2019-2020, Local Learning have worked with the community to raise awareness of the significance of Hillfields in the creation of modern housing for all citizens of Bristol. Hillfields Homes for Heroes is just one of several city wide projects that are celebrating the centenary of the Housing Act as part of the Festival of Ideas Homes For Heroes 100 project.

During 2019 Bristol Cultural Development Partnership has coordinated a programme of projects, events, publications and other activity marking the centenary of council estates in the city.

Local Learning’s Homes for Heroes resources include the following PDF covering council house design and build in well planned environment planning and development at Bristol. In Bristol the first garden suburbs built as a result of this act were at Hillfields (or Fishponds Park), Sea Mills, Knowle Park and Shirehampton (although this was an area of temporary houses built from the reused army huts from the WWI Remount Depot that had occupied the area). Of these estates Hillfields contains the earliest houses built in 1920 and more information is available here: Hillfields Homes for Heroes

Back then, the local authority held an architectural competition to design houses for the estates. Fourteen architectural designs were selected, and it was decided to build a ‘demonstration area’ of these buildings at Hillfields and invite delegates from across Bristol and beyond to view them. As a result, Hillfields was developed using the competition winners’ house designs resulting in an estate with more architectural variation than any other inter-war suburbs. Click here for the Homes for Heroes learning resource (PDF)

Hillfields represents the physical development of the standard house type that can now be seen in all the inter-war estates; Horfield, Knowle, Southmead etc.

Local Learning have also created a Story Map about the development of council housing in Bristol between the wars.

Key elements of the Homes for Heroes 100 programme can be found at the Bristol Festival of Ideas webpages and amongst the highlights are links to community engagement activity led by Sea Mills 100, Local Learning (in Hillfields), Knowle West Media Centre and The Architecture Centre  including artists working with residents on creative projects reflecting the history of their estates; the story of council housing in Bristol told in comic-book style; guided walking tours of estates, with stories from residents past and present including during Bristol Open Doors in September 2019; a new poem specially written by the City Poet, Vanessa Kisuule.1

The final outcomes will be a community tapestry map of Hillfields, a legacy booklet capturing all elements of our project and a final celebration in the style of a street party depicting houses through the eras. As visitors travel along the street they will also travel through time exploring 100 years of Hillfields shaped and shared by local residents. They currently (November 2019) have an exhibition on at Bristol Archives with stories from Hillfields community past and present providing insights inside, outside and further afield Hillfields homes. There are also watercolours of scenes by local artists and set designs and interactive games produced by masters Architecture students from University of the West of England (UWE).

Thanks again to Local Learning for developing and sharing these great resources. You may also like to visit my recent posts on and including Addison:
and check December’s post for a round up of the centenary year.