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Your memories of the Memorial Ground
our home (IP Logged)
04 April, 2008 22:52
Bristol's Memorial Ground was opened in 1921 and dedicated to the memory of the rugby players of the city who had given their lives in the Great War.

It has, since this time, been the home to Bristol Rugby Club, and has also hosted international matches, as well as many Bristol Combination matches for junior clubs.

It is famous as the headquarters of rugby in Bristol.

At the end of this season the Memorial Ground in its current guise - though with new stands, still recognisably the same ground that has been there since the 1920s - will be demolished and replaced with a 18,500 seat stadium.

This moment in the history of Bristol rugby and the Memorial Ground seems a fitting time to pause and to remember what the Memorial Ground has been and has meant to the city and to its rugby community.

We hope that anyone with any connection to Bristol Rugby Club, rugby in Bristol or the Memorial Ground will take the chance to add their memories of this special place and the times that they spent there.

Add your thoughts and memories below. When did you first go to the Memorial Ground? What are your memories of great games you have seen? Who do you go with? Where do you stand or sit? How has the Ground changed in the time that you have been going? What does the Memorial Ground mean to you?

Let's build up a record of the place of the Mem in the history of our city and our rugby club.

You can also add photographs to an online group


Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Rugby Master (IP Logged)
04 April, 2008 23:45
The gates and names that are by the entrance now are included on the new plans arent they ???? if not then they should be !!

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Frenchy (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 09:07
That wet evening win over Gloucester and the game against Wasps when we took them to extra time in the old PowerGen Cup, back when were in ND1!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2008 09:07 by Frenchy.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Penfold (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 11:09
Good choice Frenchy! It's enough to make a body quite tearful with nostalgia.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
CmontheBris (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 11:37
Lee Robinson's try against Barf in our first game back in the GP!
David Lemi's try against Quins when the defence went one way and he went the other.
Saul charging down the wing against Exeter.
Too many to mention really, I think I will probably be in tears at the end of the Worcester game.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Big Dave (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 12:07
First went to the Memorial Ground as a 13/14 year old in 1990, got in free with a little ticket I got from the Bristol Combination for a couple of seasons for playing for a Combination Club.

Initially my Dad came with me to keep an eye on me, and now both my parents are season ticket holders.

I'm looking forward to bringing my (by then) six month old little boy to the Worcester game and will certainly have a picture of three generations of my family in our spot in the West Enclosure where we've been standing for the best part of two decades.

Best games? Beating Quins in 92 (?) 16-0 is a happy memory. ThHis was one of my first experiences of that Bristol spirit, where we draw on our immense rugby heritage to stick it to a team, or a world, that doesn't give us the respect we deserve. Derek Eves led the team out to take the cheers of the crowd. The next time I saw a Bristol performance of such two finger raising proportions it was at Ashton Gate against B**h in 2003. Promotion against Worcester in 1999 is a good memory, as is beating B**h in 2005 and Gloucester last season.

Memorial memories? The cat that used to wander around the West Enclosure, and of course the corgis. Also a bugler (Gloucestershire Regiment?) and the minute's silence at the nearest game to Remembrance Sunday. There's also the feel of the place - there's something very evocative in my mind about the smell of cigarettes and the taste of scalding hot tea in a styrofoam cup, with the accompniament of the dull thud of the ball on the old West Enclosure's roof. I should also perhaps note that the first pint my dad bought me - cider - was at the England B v Springboks game in 1992.

I will certainly miss the old place.
Virtue et Industrial, may Bristol never fail,
Virtue et Industrial, 'til we'm all down Arnos Vale.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
rambling sid (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 12:46
Sounds as though you were too young to remember it Dave, but the thud of the ball on the old shed roof, followed by the inevitable being showered by rust from the underside of the roof. Watching all the smokers lighting up in the seating in the old wooden stand. No thought of the dangers then, before the days of Bradford. As for matches too many to mention but the glos game last season takes a lot of beating.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
nick chard (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 13:49
Some of my memorys,
Meeting Nas botha,at the same game as big dave 1992.

Passing the world cup ball around the pitch side,in 1991,and being on the pitch that day(not playing)and meeting the lord mayor,for the clifton ladies v chew valley(valley cats).

The nice stewards,who were all supporters,and knowing all the old bar staff by 1st name.

Making a lot of friends through rugby.

As it has been said,the old tin shed(where the cntenery is),the old concrete dugouts by the west stand,and the old railings,similer to what clifton has now,and beeing able to walk all around the pitchside if you wanted to.

The game v london scottish,when eves came on and turned it around for us.(and lewsey could not be bothered)

Luke nebaro,scoring 5 against blackheath, saul nelson running down the touch line,v exeter.

And most of all sharing some of these memories with my daughter and the missus,in a great family atmosphere,at a great ground,will be a sad day,on the 3rd of may.

p.s..........having my wedding night fuction in the clubhouse bar,now i am glad we picked that venue.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2008 14:19 by nick chard.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Rugby Master (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 14:56
The best moments for me at the mem (as mentioned)

1. Bris vs Wasps (powergen cup)
2. Bris vs Glos (guin prem)
3. Bris vs Exe (ND1)
4. Bris vs Stade (Hein Cup)
5. Bris vs Saints (Zurich semi)

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
F Gurney (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 17:59
Father first took me in 62 or 63. First games were against Northampton and Esher. Can't remember which came first as eachwore similar colours.

Sitting in the old wooden stand near the back and being asked by the couple next to me who my favourite player was and when |I replied Mike Ellery (played right wing) they told me they were his parents.

Graduated to what was known as the popular side. The rust has already been mentioned in previous posts but there always seemed to be present the same voice from the back of the terrace calling out advice to the ref and opposition. 'Look out ref Austin's looking for business' Maul breaks up and opposition player laid out on the ground.

How many remember that week in early September that had Newport on the Saturday, Cardiff on Wednesday and swansea the next Saturday. Special atmosphere for the floodlit games.

Redwood and Sharp

Dave Rollit lifting Dave Watt decades before it was legal.

I have to say even in the late 60s there was the persona now known as William Blessing walking around the ground.

better stop now feeling very old.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Big Dave (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 19:22
William Blessing is an early memory of mine too.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
val1 (IP Logged)
05 April, 2008 22:03
The corgis - definitely !

The Springboks game when you couldn't move on the CT - once you were in your place you were stuck there.

The play-off against London Scottish the first time we went down when I really wanted Scottish to do well but just not at the expense of Bris and seeing Ben Breeze curl up on the pitch, just in front of the CT, and cry when Bris lost - the sheer raw emotion of the moment got to so many of us that day.

On a happier note,
just a year later seeing the joy on the faces of (many of) the same players as they won promotion.

The game against Stade!!!!!!

A lot of happy moments (and qute a few sad)


Brizzer by adoption
The loud Scottish one in the Lansdown stand.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
WilliamBlessing (IP Logged)
06 April, 2008 11:01
One of the great pleasures of the old ground was the ability to walk around it during the course of the game, saying "hello", on one's journey, to a wide array of very eccentric characters, each with their own chosen perch, and finally to end the game beneath the selectors box on the cinders in the grand old wooden stand and applaud the teams as they left the field.

I first started watching Bristol, as an 11 year old boy back in 1958, and I attended my first game carrying a silver bugle I had somehow acquired as a swap with someone at school who had suffered a brain injury in a road accident and was advised by his doctor not to blow on it any more. I think I gave him a model of a Spitfire in exchange.

At the game I started to try and blow it weakly in a vaguely musical way, prompting a distinguished old miltary man standing on the terrace in front of me to turn around and say "Young manI hope youre not going to do that in my ear all day are you?"

I was both admonished and impressed.

I also enjoyed watching the two committee men, what was there names, both departed, who would in their blazers stroll around the ground looking up into the crowd acknowleging with nods, various friends.

Once they had done their circuit I developed my own routine, always looking up into the crowd for people I knew. I remember Mark Hoskins, now of Radio Bristol fame, and his group of odd ball friends who always would cheer me as I went by, laughing at my apparent eccentricity, something that somewhat baffled and slightly annoyed me, I must confess. Still does to this day.

Now that I can't do a circuit perhaps people wonder where Ive gone. Praise the lord. I'm still here, and God willing may be for a few more years.

Thanks for remembering me. I shall always remember you.

Sorry about the previously unedited version with so many errors, now hopefully corrected.

Further edited 4 years later!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 16/07/2012 17:06 by WilliamBlessing.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
JW Taljaard (IP Logged)
06 April, 2008 20:51
England B v South Africa with my dad. Thanks for reminding me Big Dave.

Beating Leicester with only 14 men when Julian White was sent off after five minutes.

The Nat Div one games against Exeter and Wasps.

Every single win against Barf!

Come on Bristol!


Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
English Stones (IP Logged)
06 April, 2008 21:00
I think I first attended in the very early sixties when players like Dave Rollitt and John Pullin were playing.
Got into the ground free via the entrance now blocked off as my brother had a free pass (played for Bristol Schools) and after he would go in he would go round the back of the old tin shed roofed stand and hand the pass throught the fence so I could get in ! Sorry Bris' !!
Left Bristol in 1963 and never returned to the Mem until 2003 ! that was a game against Leicester and haven't missed many matches since, even the Div 1 matches.
Always been a Bristol supporter, despite having lived in Wales for over forty years(hence my LONG absence and forum
user name !), always will be.
A new era yes, and no more getting soaked through on match days
Here's to the next forty years !!!

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
dpw (IP Logged)
06 April, 2008 23:26
WILLIAM..............tut tut!
Practice what you preach.......there is an "edit" button!


Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
littlebird (IP Logged)
07 April, 2008 00:05
As a Newport & now Dragons supporter i have memories of coming over to Brizz once a season for donkeys years & always enjoyed it there.
First outstanding memory was the infamous match when referee George Crawford walked off after numerous fights between the players - don't think he ever reffed a game after.
Secondly, last season as a Dragons supporter,Bristol fans gave us such a fantastic welcome & were really knowledgeable & appreceiative of our efforts & yes the pasties were very good!!!

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Seedub (IP Logged)
07 April, 2008 07:27
First memories 1965/66 ish, playing around the back of the old tin shed. Hay bales? The sound of the ball bouncing off the roof, and racing to be the first to get the ball when it came over and get it back to the pitch.

The old scoreboard, and the entrance below it, up a lane to the turnstyle. Is that still there?

Cups of Bovril and changing places at half time. Being able to walk all around the pitch

Games against the Welsh and the Police.

More recently the games as mentioned before - Leicester against 14 men, Wasps in the cup, Exe in Div ! and the Glaws game and THAT drop goal.

Oh and Flipper scoring a try, leaping over the barrier, sitting down with the crowd and applauding himself - can't remember which game that was

Happy Days!!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2008 07:29 by Seedub.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Penfold (IP Logged)
07 April, 2008 08:01
Seedub, it was the game versus Northampton in May 2002. We made the playoffs that season. We beat Northampton only to lose to Gloucester in the final.

Re: Your memories of the Memorial Ground
Paulie (IP Logged)
07 April, 2008 08:26
Seeing David Campese being chased down and forced to knock on in the act of grounding the ball when Bris played New South Wales in a midweek friendly (I think it might have been Jason Keyter).

For all his faults when deciding to chuck it, the first game in NL1 when Malcolm Pearce let everyone into the ground for free and it was packed and beautiful sunny day (I hope it was free because I never paid).

Paul Hulls try against Orrell (don't remember the year), partly because it was the first league game I attended, partly because it was a great try.

The rumble of the ball on the Club House Terrace (can I stop calling the Bass Terrace now?) roof when penalties and conversions land on it.

Finally the comical puiblic safety announcments which always make me feel like I'm on a ferry for some reason.

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