Brislington Community Museum

West, N J & F J

Two generations of this family published postcards - Nicholas and his son Frederick - and Nicholas has the honour of being the earliest known to have his name as publisher of a local picture postcard - May 1902- a picture of the church of St Luke. This family was well positioned for a role in the postcard trade, as they ran the post office (now demolished) in the heart of the village, an area bisected by the A4 Bath Road, and known locally as The Square.

The birth of Nicholas John West was registered in 1838 at Clifton, Bristol. The 1841 census shows the family, headed by his mother Maria West (aged 40) living in Hotwells Road. Nicholas (3) was the youngest of four children (the eldest aged 17). A decade later, the 1851 census shows the family living in the Dock Yard, Clifton. Aged 12, Nicholas was employed as a work boy. This time his father Nicholas (59) was at home - he worked as a shipwright and has been born in Devon (as had his wife Maria). The two older children from the previous census had now left home.

In the final quarter of 1863 Nicholas married Anna Maria Templar (born in Bristol in 1838 to Mary and Benjamin Templar (a dyer, living on Redcliffe Hill). At the time of the census in 1861 Anna had been one of several children working in the family dying business (her mother was now a widow), as an assistant leather dresser, all living in Denmark Street (civil parish of St Augustine, Bristol).

On 17 March 1867 the couple's son Frederick John was baptised at Portwall Lane Chapel, Bristol (a United Free Methodist chapel that opened in 1859). At this time the family were living in Brislington.

The 1871 census finds the family scattered. Nicholas was in Brislington and working as a journeyman carpenter. His wife Anna and their four-month old baby Walter (born in Brislington), were staying with her mother in the family home in Denmark Street (which included four of Anna's siblings). Frederick was staying with the Randell family at Bridge House, Brislington. The couple's eldest son Herbert (aged 6 and born in Brislington) was staying with his uncle William in Victoria Street (civil parish of St Peter, Bristol). Their other son Benjamin (aged 2 and also born in Brislington) was staying with the Price family in High Park Place (civil parish of St Michael, Bristol).

The 1881 census shows the family all together again and living at Freeland House, Brislington. Nicholas worked as a carpenter, and all their children were in full time education. A decade later the census shows the family at Albert House (which became the Post Office), Brislington, and Nicholas now worked as a carpenter and undertaker. Frederick worked as a monumental mason, Benjamin worked as a carpenter, and Walter as a cabinet maker.

Soon after the census, in the 2nd quarter of 1891, the marriage of Frederick and Sarah Ann Burnett was registered in the district of Bedminster, Bristol. Sarah's birth was registered in 1866 in Bedminster, Bristol, and at the time of the census in 1891 she was living with her parents Edwin (55, working as a wheelwright) and Ann (56) in Somerset Street, Bedminster. She worked in a cocoa factory, and the household was completed by six siblings ranging in age from 14 to 28 (Sarah was 25).

The 1901 census shows Nicholas and Anna living at the Post Office in The Square, Brislington, where he worked as an undertaker. Anna's unmarried sister Emma Templar was a border with them (57, she was working as a needlewoman). They also had a lodger, Elisa Cox (67), also unmarried, born in Whitchurch, Somerset.

Meanwhile, the same census shows Frederick, Sarah and their children Arthur (9) and Walter (3) who were both born in Brislington, living together at Kingley House, 6 The Grove, Brislington. Frederick was self-employed as a monumental mason.

The 1911 census shows Nicholas and Anna living by themselves at Albert House, Brislington. He was self-employed as a master undertaker and sub-postmaster. All four of their children were still living.

The same census shows Frederick and Sarah were living at 7 Grove Park, Brislington, with their three sons - Arthur, Walter, and Ivor (9). Frederick was self-employed as a monumental mason, and Arthur worked as an undertaker and monument maker. Sadly, the census shows one of their four children had died.

Nicholas, of 7 Grove Park, died in September 1919, leaving an estate valued for probate at nearly £900. In March 1922 he was followed by his wife Anna, of the same address, leaving an estate valued for probate at just over £700.

Frederick, of Albert House, The Square, Brislington, died in September 1926, leaving effects valued for probate of more than £3,000. His widow Sarah didn't marry again, and at the time of her death in June 1957 was living at their old address of 7 Grove Park.

Their post office was the main Brislington Post Office, which opened in 1818 and closed in 2003.


Postcards of Nicholas West

Church of St Luke - St. Luke's Church. Variant published online at Bristol Archives. Earliest known variant of this picture: 18 May 1902.

Church of St Luke - Interior of Brislington Church. Earliest known picture: 4 Dec 1907.

Church of St Luke - BRISLINGTON OLD CHURCH. A variant of this image was published by C D Holister. Earliest known picture: 27 Feb 1908.

Brislington Hill - Brislington Tram Terminus and White Hart Hotel. Published in print by Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 29. Earliest known picture: 15 Sept 1904.

The Square (Bath Road) - Brislington Post Office and Tram Terminus. Variant published online at Bristol Archives. This postcard was produced in both a monochrome and colour versions. Earliest known picture: 27 Aug 1909.

West Town Lane - WATERFALL and BRIDGE. WESTOWN LANE. BRISLINGTON. Variant published online at Bristol Archives. A variant of this image was published by C D Holister. Earliest known picture: 6 Sept 1904.


Postcards of Frederick West

Church of St Luke - Parish Church, Brislington. Series number: 8771. Earliest known picture: 9 Aug 1936.

Church of St Luke - Interior of Brislington Church. Series number: 8772.

Brislington vicarage - Brislington Vicarage. Series number: 8773. Published online at Bristol Archives.

Hollywood Road - Church & Schools, Brislington Series number: 8774. Published in print by Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 19; and by Fisher, Janet et al 1983, page 41); and also by Anon, 1980, page 22). Earliest known picture: Aug 1927.

Chapel - URC - Brislington Congregational Church. Series number: 8775.

Church Hill - The Square, Brislington Series number: 8776. Published online at Bristol Archives. Published in print by Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 17; and by Fisher, Janet et al 1983, page 46); and also by Fisher, Janet & Derek 2001, page 62).

Hollywood Road - Grove Road & Belle Vue, Brislington. Series number: 8778. Published in print by Fisher, Janet et al 1987, page 31), and by Anon, 1980, page 19). Variant published in print by Chard, Judith et al 1995, page 14).

Brislington Hill - Top of Brislington Hill. Series number: 8779. Published in print by Chard, Judith et al 1995, page 17). Earliest known picture: 7 Aug 1924.

The Square (Bath Road) - The Bridge, Brislington. Series number: 8780. Published in print by Fisher, Janet & Derek undated, page 14.


Regretably we can't exhibit any of these postcards until either the identity of the photographer/s is known (and perhaps also the copyright status of their pictures), or we secure funds to apply for a batch of orphan works licences.