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The Rising Sun Pub during WW2

Text and pictures given by Tracey Hemmings

Tracey Hemming's Dad lived at the Rising Sun during the war.

Tracey has gathered information and anecdotes and has given permission for me to share them. Our thanks to Tracey!  Please do get in touch if you have memories to share.


[1933 to 1945]


JOHN EDWIN EDWARDS (known as JACK) BORN : 08/07/1905 DIED : 04/12/1991

BARBARA IVY EDWARDS, (nee WILKINS), (known as IVY) BORN : 26/01/1907 DIED : 02/06/1966

MARRIED : 22/7/1933 in the Parish Church of Temple in Bristol


JOHN GEORGE LEATH EDWARDS BORN : 28/09/1934 DIED : 06/04/2020

JUNE ELIZABETH ANN EDWARDS BORN : 26/06/1937 DIED : 11/03/2000

After their marriage on 22/7/1933 in the Parish Church of Temple, Bristol, Jack and Ivy Edwards lived on the Arralas Estate in Cornwall, (where his father was Gamekeeper). It was here that they heard, through Ivy’s family in Bristol, of the position of landlord at The Rising Sun Pub in Frampton Cotterell and soon afterwards became Landlord and Landlady.

At that time the pub was part of the Bristol United Brewery Group.

The pub was in a very poor state when they took it on and was known to be a ‘spit and sawdust’ pub with metal spittoons on the floor and was popular with the Romani gypsies.

Jack set about making big changes and improvements to the pub, making it a pleasant place for everyone.

At the start of WW2 every able-bodied person was required to do war work or service.

Jack went into engineering for the Bristol Aeroplane Company situated at what later became the Electricity building in the centre of Bristol. The top of the building was painted green and looked like a garden or park from the air so as not to appear a target for the enemy. He also took on some accountancy work for Yate/Chipping Sodbury council. During the day Barbara, known by everyone as Ivy, ran the pub. After the birth of John, my Father and his sister June, a local lady came in to look after them during the day while Ivy was working. One of Ivy’s sisters, Dorothy, known as Dolly, also worked at the pub, and during the war, a cousin, aunt and uncle came to live with them after being bombed out of their pub in Pill.

Jack was given a petrol allowance to get in and out of Bristol for work. When the bombing of Bristol was really bad, some of his work colleagues would do anything to get into the countryside to escape. They would fill his car and also stand on the running board to get away from the danger.

My Grandpa worked two jobs during the war. During the day at The Bristol Aeroplane Company and in the evenings running the pub. He worked very long hours to keep the pub open

On one occasion the Frampton Cotterell air raid siren went off. Jack cleared the pub and went to the cellar for shelter as they didn’t have an air raid shelter in the garden. The cellar of the pub was divided into two and on hearing a noise and unknown to them, a local family had moved into the cellar and were discovered sheltering. On another occasion my Dad remembers his Dad calling him to see a German plane fly past. He could see the pilot in the cockpit and also the guns. The plane crashed in Frampton. He recalls he must have been about 6 at the time.

It was not unusual to run out of beer at this time so to enable the pub to remain open Jack accompanied by my dad, John, would travel to Thornbury and Oldbury-on-Severn to stock up on cider from the local farmers and cider makers.

They grew fruit and vegetables in the garden and also kept chickens at the pub as well as 2 or 3 pigs which they shared with a farmer. ‘We’d have half a pig’.

They also organised local events for the villagers and at Christmas the villagers would bring their Christmas puddings to Ivy to be steamed in a large copper pot.

During the war the pub was regularly frequented by American GIs, who would give them tins of food and bring chocolate for John and June and occasionally give them a lift with Ivy in their jeeps into Yate for shopping and the Pictures. Dad was also given an American Army Helmet which he wished he had kept. The pub was relatively rural at that time but they regularly saw US soldiers in their jeeps passing by and got to know some of them well, hearing a number of years later that two of their friends sadly lost their lives during the Normandy Landings

He also recalls some of the local girls would meet up with the soldiers in Gloucester Road in Bristol to get silk stockings

There was an anti-aircraft gun emplacement manned by soldiers situated in what is now the pub carpark and search light nearby.

My Dad remembers the Prisoner of War camps in Yate and Coalpit heath and recalls the prisoners wearing tops with a large ‘P’ on their fronts. Along with the American Soldiers they built Frenchay Hospital.

John remembers as a young boy seeing the dog fights above Bristol from the entrance of the cellar and on another occasion going to get fish and chips at Bristol Castle near the Bear Pit up towards Castle Green and finding the shop had been bombed out at the back and had completely gone ……… but they still got their fish and chips! Business as usual!

On another occasion returning from Bristol my dad, grandmother and aunty were caught in an air raid and took shelter at the home of complete strangers after knocking on their door!

In 1945 the Edwards family left The Rising Sun and moved to the Turnpike Inn, Conor Downs near Hayle in Cornwall, (owned by the St. Austell Brewery), where later they established a restaurant and cocktail bar. They remained there until their retirement in 1965.

John returned to the Bristol area in the mid-1950s to work at Bristol Siddeley Engines as a draughtsman. He married my Mum, Heather Beer, in 1959 and the following year they decided to return to Cornwall, where he worked for Holman’s in Cambourne as a draughtsman. In 1964 my parents returned to Gloucestershire with their two young daughters. He started work at Rolls Royce and became a Design Engineer. They made their home in Thornbury where they had their youngest daughter in 1966.

NOTE: I have contacted Dr Kenneth Thomas, Consultant Company Archivist for Heineken UK. He has confirmed the pub was owned by The Bristol United Breweries who were situated in Lewins Mead, Bristol.

The bulk of BUBs records were destroyed during the blitz on central Bristol in November 1940, at the time when Jack and Ivy were running the Rising Sun. Unfortunately, there is no surviving information about the pub, and therefore sadly, no record of my Grandparents tenancy of the pub in their company records.

The Rising sun pub was a Courage Pub in the 1960s and was most likely acquired in 1961 when Courage took over George’s brewery in Bristol.

There is a complete set of photographs of all Georges pubs taken around 1955.”


Left: John and June, taken during the war in the garden of the Rising Sun.

Above, John and June, taken after the war.

The family all together after the war - John and June, and their parents, Jack and Ivy.

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