Clifton Rugby Football Club History
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Grounds - Coldharbour Lane 1872-1885


Above left 1870's map of Bristol. Above right, close-up of Downs area. Coldharbour Farm marked in pink.

Above a close-up of the land around Coldharbour Farm in 1870 which was Clifton's first pitch. To confuse matters a modern day Coldharbour Lane now exists several miles away at the University of the West of England. The name of Coldharbour Lane was changed to Coldharbour Road in 1904. Its difficult to know where the exact pitch was as we only have the description of "on the corner of Coldharbour Lane, near the farmhouse".

Above left Ashmead's map of 1882 gives a little more detail. Above right map of 1888.

Above map dated 1885 drawn for the extension of the borough boundaries.

There are stories that Coldharbour Farm was the site of a Roman Villa but no evidence has been found yet. Although the name Coldharbour means a shelter for travellers and is also an old name that signifies a Roman villa near an old road. In Coldharbour Lane itself there were just 6 cottages, the Cambridge Arms (then a small, two winged building) and the farm at the end. The cottages were lived in by two gardeners, a bootmaker, a coachman, a haulier and a laundress. John Martin, from Chew Magna, was the farmer and he lived there with his wife, two unmarried daughters and a niece who worked as a dairymaid. The gamekeeper's cottage was empty. These people served the local area of wealthy families living in the large houses in Cambridge Park and facing the Downs. The Cambridge Arms still exists although the present building is of 1900, designed by Edward Gabriel, see below.

Listed as Landlord of the Cambridge Arms at the time is John E Williams. We had a A.J.E.Williams listed as a player from 1872-73. John Williams was landlord of the Cambridge Arms from 1865-78.

Above drawing c.1887 of Redland Court (now Redland High School for Girls) (middle third down) and its surroundings. The drawing is very confusing as a lot of the buildings have no detail but I would say Coldharbour Lane runs at 45 degrees in the top left hand corner of the picture.

Above photograph of Coldharbour Lane taken between 1900 and 1914 shows the rebuilt Cambridge Arms and the old cottages still surviving.

The first match at Coldharbour was against Sydney College click here

Ordnance Survey 1:10560 County Series 2nd edition (c.1900) Sheet 03 Subsheet 10 map , part of Coldharbour Farm, marked pink, still exists although the road network has been marked out ready for New Clifton, later to become part of Westbury Park. Reproduced from the (1900) Ordnance Survey map. © Crown copyright.

Above Coldharbour Road c.1907. The turning on the left is Devonshire Road. Further along on the right the 3-storey house and shop stand on the site of the former Coldharbour Farm, Greendale Road is on the right.

Above map of the area dated 1912. The farm now built over with housing.

In 1882 we moved to Durdham Down click here