The Velindra

Commercial Road (early 1980s – mid 1990s?).

A small Victorian pub next door to Bristol General Hospital and Bathurst Basin, it is named after the Cardiff Steam Navigation Company’s steamer, the Velindra, which was berthed at Bathurst Basin; testament to the port’s close links with South Wales.

It attracted a mixed crowd when it was run by Shirley, and later by a lesbian couple. It was gay-friendly by c. 1982 when a group called Avonscene visited.


The Velindra was run by a very large woman called Shirley. I frequented it a lot with my gay friends. She held after hours drinking sessions for those in the fold. The barman was Steve who was gay. I still see him around. There was quite a collection of elderly old queens who used to sit round the pub when I first went there. One by one news came in that they had died. It was frequented by lesbians too. There was also a character called Idris who lived in the flats next door and walked round with hundreds of pounds stitched into his coat pocket. After Shirley left two lesbians took over. It was great for a while but one of them took to the bottle in a big way and after they left I ceased to go there.

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