View from Yate Heritage Centre

November 29 2015

In this year replete with historic anniversaries, there is just one more to report, namely 25 years of Yate Town Council at Poole Court.

Yate and Poole Court 

In this year replete with historic anniversaries, there is just one more to report, namely 25 years of Yate Town Council at Poole Court.

Although the council was in existence well before 1990, the move into Poole Court marked a “coming of age” for the local authority.

However, the building is more than a smart backdrop for its work as it has been at the heart of Yate’s history since the 1870s. 

 

Victorian home to officers’ mess 

Kelly’s Directory of 1889 confirms Poole Court was erected in 1879 - it was a sumptuous family home befitting an upper middle class family.

Throughout much of the period 1879 to 1917, the building was inextricably linked to the Hill family, shipping magnates from Bristol. 

Charles Gathorne Hill, a local justice of the peace, was one of the Victorian “worthies” who dominated the social and economic life of Yate in this period, alongside families at Stanshawes Court, Ridge House and Yate House, as well as the holder of the position of rector of Yate.

 The heart of industry 

From 1917 to 1988, Poole Court was an integral part of modern industrial Yate. In 1917, the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) commandeered the building as an officers’ mess as part of the vast industrial complex repairing aeroplanes and aircraft engines. The RFC period was short lived, but Poole Court remained an industrial unit, first as offices for aircraft manufacturer George Parnall and then as the property of the Newman family. 

The building remained an impressive and imposing structure and was perfect for the offices of Newman Industries, which in its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s was a major international player in the electrical motor industry. But Poole Court declined in later years as the Newman company struggled and lost its way. 

A secure future 

Newman’s finally closed in 1988, with the future of Poole Court in some doubt as the adjacent industrial buildings were razed to the ground. As Yate Town Council had spent some years seeking a suitable home, it took the bold step of buying the building. Although the sale was for just £1, the refurbishment of Poole Court was an immense project, with no shortage of detractors. However, the premises were re-born, not only as council offices but also as a social and community centre for the town. 

 

For your diary 

December 1-January 23: High quality fine art from Friends who Paint. 

December 8, 7.30pm: Yate heritage Christmas quiz 

December 17, 6pm: Christmas carols on the green and in the heritage centre