Welcome to Filton Community Association. We are a registered charity (No.301531) who maintain and manage Filton Community Centre, otherwise known as Filton Folk Centre. Our aim is to keep the community centre functioning in a self-sustaining manner to the advantage of the whole local community. To this end we dedicate all of the income received from membership, room hire and fundraising to the betterment of the community centre here, and by extension to the improvement of the local area as a whole. We are a member of the Elm Park Partnership with the Filton Town Council, The Foundation for Active Community Engagement (FACE) and St Andrews Methodist Church. This includes the leisure centre, Ratepayers arms and the Little Squids play area which are under management of the council. Together this group endeavours to maximise the facilities and amenities available to the community around Elm Park in Filton.
The Shield family returned some of their good fortune to the local area in many ways, including to donate some of the land around Elm Park to the community for the benefit of the community. When the Memorial Hall was demolished for road improvements it was decided the Community Centre would be built to replace it on the tennis courts that stood previously. In honour of these kind donations this memorial stone was laid by Samuel's son, Fred, in 1926, and re-laid by Ernest Shield again in 1966 with a newer stone when the current centre was built.
The Building Committee was formed to build the new community centre after the demolition of the Memorial Hall. In a few short years this group managed to raise around £43,000 to pay for the new building. The planning team had enough foresight to plan ahead; although the centre was built as a single storey building, the foundations were laid for an upstairs extension to be added later.
The original plans for the current building were drawn up by the architect, J Ralph Edwards after the Memorial hall Committee, the town Council and the Community Association formed a building committee to decide on the replacement for the Memorial Hall which was demolished for the road improvements.
By 1973 this was the story of the newspapers; a new extension being built upstairs to form what is now the Leslie Harris Suite.
This photo shows a rare look at the original entrance, which is now our foyer doors inside the building. The front was extended out to accommodate the new foyer area and stairs to the upstairs suite.
Aparently when Noel Harris saw the pile of bricks in the above picture, ever the opportunist, she picked one up and started to auction it off for a small sum, perhaps 2s/6 was mentioned. The brick was quickly snapped up for someone to autograph, and before long the scene was set for Bernard and Peter, pictured left, to set up a thriving stall to help raise the funds. This must mean there are a number of bricks in the upstairs extension that carry the names of at least some of those kind donors, hidden within the fabric of the building somewhere.
This shot taken a few years later (~1977) shows the resulting updated frontage to the building, now with 2 floors, with a window where the current doors are. The area where the current bar is now forms an entrance vestibule open to the outside. The memorial plaques laid by the Shield family are at this point on an exterior wall, while the Harry Pilkington stone has been moved inside for the first time with these modifications.
William Slatter 1898 - October 30th 1975.
Bill was our first chairman at the Filton Community Association, until 1968, and our second president, as well as a local Justice of the Peace and councillor for both parish and county councils. Bill lived in Filton from an early age, serving 52 years in total at British and Colonial Aeroplane Company between serving his country in World War 1 for the Royal Naval Air Service. A gesture of remembrance for Bill was to name our downstairs meeting room the William Slatter Room, in memory of the massive contribution Bill made, without which this Community Centre may not stand today. Bill is also pictured above in the Gazette story as one of the "men who led the way", standing on the building committee.
William Leslie Harris 6 November 1910 - 26 March 1997, who also did much great work to help form the foundations for our Community Centre. Mr Harris was appointed headmaster of Shield Road School after the Second World War and was one of the founding trustees of this establishment, as well as representing the NUT at various councils and becoming County Chairman twice. Lesley was the founder member of the South Gloucestershire branch of the Head Teachers Association as well as the Chairman of the building committee which saw the demolition of the old Memorial Hall for the road widening, and presided over the building of the current centre. In his honour we have named our upstairs hall the Leslie Harris Suite. Mr Harris supported many causes in and around Filton, and was dubbed 'Mr Filton' upon his retirement. He even wrote the book about the area, "Filton, Gloucestershire - Some Account of the Villages and Parish by W.L. Harris"
Noel Harris, Wife of William, was a massive supporter of the Community Association and Centre. Noel is warmly remembered in our book of remembrance:
"My first memory is of meeting Noel at the Folk Centre OAP's lunch. She had a gravy boat in one hand, a serving spoon in the other and a big smile for everyone.
I vividly recall sitting in her kitchen listening to stories about Filton past, drinking tea out of china tea cups and simply enjoying her company.
I recall her nursing Leslie through his last illness; her gentleness and her gentle faith which carried her through a testing time.
Of seeing Noel's face appear round the church door on a cold and frosty morning at 8:00am; ruddy and alive with merriment.
I recall her rather hunched driving position - as she became older - scanning the road ahead slightly nervously.
I recall the last time that I saw her; frail but dignified.
Noel was a lovely person who cared for so much, so many and so generously."
Noel died 1st October 2013 aged 89.
John James Tovey 12 February 1920 - 9 April 1997, who was our Secretary from 1967 - 1978 and our Chairman from 1978 -1994 as well as a founding member of the Filton Community Association. John always put a lot of effort into the local area, apart from being our long term secretary he was also a member of the BAC Society and the Bristol Federation. John's real passion was for Cricket though. He was a lifelong member of the Filton Wayfarers where he acted as player, manager, secretary and general bastion of the club as well as officiating several matches a week as a representative of the Bristol Umpires Association. After serving in the RAF for six years during the war John returned to Filton to work at BAC until his retirement, which he enjoyed in Filton.
Lillian Hortopp 27th July 1907 - 1st June 2009
Lillian was our first Lady president and only our second president after Bill Slatter. Lillian had a wide range of interests, mostly in helping her local community, such as with the Townswomen's Guild, local politics, the Church and the Community Association. Lillian was present at the laying of the foundation stone in 1966 and continued her involvement with the centre, fundraising and organising events, throughout the rest of her life. She was known as the queen of the kitchen, where many good times were had, particularly the Italian evening which caused much hilarity apparently. Lillian was a best friend to many, and was greatly loved here, and is now sorely missed.
Flavia Summers, membership secretary since 1967.
Flavia has been a loyal and tireless servant to the Filton Community Association, as well as to many other great causes.
During the heyday of the Association Flavia's efforts managed to swell the membership to nearly 2500, which was reckoned to be over 10% of the local population. She did this by putting in the legwork, calling door to door even, to further the reach and support of this association, and the community centre.
We were all saddened by the recent passing of Flavia
Douglas Daniels 25th May 1922 - 16th September 2015.
The second man to be dubbed Mr Filton, Doug was our Chairman up until his death. He also served for many other local causes including the Filton Twinning, the Town Council and the Masons. Doug lived the latter half of his life in Filton, working for Rolls-Royce as a technician where his ideas outlive him; Doug held a number of patents for jet engine technology that are still in use today.
Doug was such a charming and friendly man you could not help but love him, as he would go out of his way to help anybody. His community spirit was to be admired, and his achievements came as a result of the effort he put into life. We miss you Doug.