News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The Southville Problem

As mentioned in an earlier post, I have noticed a growing tendency for Ashton to find itself called Southville, especially by newcomers to the area.

At one level, this is an understandable mistake. The three neighbourhoods of Southville, Bedminster and Ashton do have convoluting boundaries - similar to those dividing Bishopston, St Andrews and Horfield in the Gloucester Road area of North Bristol.

Confusion cannot be enough, however, to explain this phenomenon. There is a more sinister cause of this geographical confusion.

It started about three or four years ago when property prices were racing ahead and when estate agents in Clifton started to take on properties outside their normal areas to respond to the demand from buyers for city centre homes at affordable prices. One day someone in an estate agent's office somewhere on Whiteladies Road thought aloud and suggested referring to this neighbourhood as "Lower Clifton."

Apart from being an outrageous piece of marketing, this action also set in motion a trend that resulted in Southville being pushed south and west into Ashton (in the minds of first time buyers considering relocating there. )

The rest, as they say is history and now we have North Street Ashton regularly described as being in Southville, when for at least a century it has been in Ashton.

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