Our History

“The new dining area added to the Winford Arms (2007) is named after the original use of the whole building as a gear store for the two local colliers i.e. ‘Starvalls and Fraynes’ at Colliters Brook and “South Liberty Lane’ in Bedminster both owned by the Smythe family of Ashton Court.

Open cast coal mining was established in Ashton Vale about 1660. A hundred years later the mining went deep, in due course five coal streams were discovered running parallel in the direction of NE and SW through the Bedminster Region.

They are the Ashton Top Seam: Asthon Little Seam: Bedminster Top Seam: Bedminster Great Seam: Bedminster Little Seam: These stretched from Ashton Vale and gradually dispersed at different angles and depth. The three Bedminster seams falling steeply at 30 to 40 feet towards Highridge and Dundry.

South Liberty Lane Colliery was established in 1720. By 1740 output rivalled that our ‘Kingswood Colliery’ at 3000 cartloads per week. By 1830, 21 different mines operated in the Ashton and Bedminster regions. Two of these were Starvall’s and Frayne’s

South Liberty Lane Collier worked with both the Great Seam at 625ft depth and Asthton Top at 920ft.
Bedminster Great Seam reached 1000ft below Temple Meads to a similar height to the sit of the Barrow Reservoirs. It was possible to travel from 1000ft below Temple Meads to 800ft below Highridge Common.

In 1830 Sir Greville Smyth leased a new site at Colliters Brook to a partnership of ‘Starvall’s and Frayne’s’ working closely with South Liberty Lane Colliery . In 1834 Smyth had what is now The Winford Arms built as a gear store. Five adjacent cottages were built for the foreman of the mines and were named after places the Smyth family had interests “Methil” “York” “Oban” “Elgin” “Banff”

In 1856 the gear store closed and the building was converted to a pub. ‘The Winford Arms’ in the parish of Winford. The name changed to ‘The Little Barrow Tavern’ (that being the correct address at the time). In 1896 it reverted back to “The Winford Arms”. The Cottages were sold in 1910.

South Liberty Colliery closed in 1924″