Review: Blood & Butchery in Bedminster
Updated: Jan 24, 2019
How much do you know about the history of where you live? Can you imagine what our city streets looked like over 180 years ago? I've always been fascinated by local history, so when I heard that Show of Strength Theatre Company were hosting a walking tour called 'Blood and Butchery in Bedminster', I immediately knew that I had to book tickets.
Tours run on Tuesday evenings and we were instructed to meet at the first pub on the tour - The Ropewalk, near Bedminster Bridge, at 7pm. We met the charismatic co-founder Sheila Hannon, who gathered the 19 participants around the piano to listen to the first gory story of the night, which had taken place not far from where we were all standing.
Now I'm not going to re-tell any of the stories (you'll have to book onto the tour to hear them!) but let's just say that the scene was set straightaway. Sheila is an excellent and engaging performer, and I was totally absorbed as we listened to real tales of crime and punishment from the streets of Bedminster in the 1800s.
As this is a walking tour, we left The Ropewalk and followed Sheila to our next destination (hint: all three of the main stops are local pubs!) During the ten minute walk, Sheila pointed out other sites of interest, and it was great to be able to hear a story and then see the venues that had been mentioned right in front of you.
At every pub, there was plenty of time to order a drink and rest your feet if you needed to. We also had the opportunity to talk to other people on the tour before Sheila gathered the group together for another story. As the night got darker, so did the tales, and at one point we were standing in the pitch black courtyard of a local pub listening to a particularly bloody story, which really added to the atmosphere and the overall experience.
Things took an even spookier turn when Sheila took us to another outdoor spot before we reached the third pub of the night. I won't spoil the surprise but I can tell you that there were plenty of locals on the tour, and none of us knew that this place existed!
By the time we reached the final two stops of the night, we were completely immersed in tales of blood and death, but it wasn't a gloomy experience, as Sheila relayed her stories with just the right amount of humour to lighten the mood. Set amongst the lively atmosphere of some of the oldest pubs in Bedminster, it was just like listening to an old friend, as we drank our pints and started looking at the local venues around us in a totally different light (and that wasn't solely due to the beer we drank along the way!)
Verdict: If you're looking for a different kind of night out (and a mini pub crawl) in Bedminster, then I highly recommend booking a ticket for 'Blood & Butchery' here.
There were plenty of couples, as well as a large group of friends on the tour we attended, and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the two-hour experience. There are extra tours running for Halloween and I couldn't think of a better way to spend an evening than to be throughly entertained by listening to scary stories in and around the streets of BS3.
Disclaimer: I was offered two free tickets for the tour in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and photos are my own.