The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings


Visit to Portishead and the Gordano Valley – 21st March

On Saturday 21st March the West Group will visit the recently created Portishead Marina, a cleverly extended pub, and a fine 1960’s modernist house within the adjacent rural area of the Gordano Valley.

Portishead is to the West of Bristol facing the Severn Estuary, and has a long history as a fishing port. During the 20th Century the port was enlarged to enable two power stations and a chemical works to be added. During the 1970’s and 80’s the port declined up to closure in 1992.

The following decades saw the creation of a marina consisting of 250 pontoon berths, and the development of the surrounding area predominantly for residential- ranging from executive flats to social housing. Whilst the architectural quality is variable- some excellent other less so, the ambition of the project and the overall quality and sociability of the outcome is admirable. It has been the main reason for the recent rapid growth in population of Portishead.  The marina also contains some fine non- residential facilities, in particular Hall and Woodhouse restaurant built in part of shipping containers, where we will meet. A walk around the marina will follow, to see and discuss the most interesting aspects.

Lunch will be at the Windmill Inn on the edge of Portishead. This listed building has benefitted from a fine glazed extension designed by our ex-chairman Bob Hardcastle, which has enabled spectacular views across the estuary to Wales.

In the afternoon we will drive through the valley to the elevated village of Clapton in Gordano, and visit ‘Space One’ which is owned, and is in the process of being sensitively refurbished, by C20 members Peter and Mandi McLaughlin. This house is one of several in the locality designed in the late 1960’s by the Cheltenham architect Roger Dyer, and is notable for the gravity defying glazed living room bay which gives a fine view over the valley and its nature reserve.

A detailed itinerary for the trip will be posted soon.

The event is open to C20 members only and the cost is £10 per person. Join C20 here to attend.

Please reserve a place by contacting Jack at 

Images credit: J. Konynenburg