14 Nov 2020
15 Nov 2020
My friend Sarah mentioned the high tide and I managed to drag myself out early, though still a little late. We nearly drowned in torrential rain, but the weather changed quickly and we ended up walking over to Bedminster in sunshine.
21 Nov 2020
A rather more wide-ranging weekend wander with Sarah and Vik, taking in some mock Tudor bits of Bedmo (I should note that I've subsequently been corrected to "Bemmie", but I'm an outsider and have been calling it "Bedmo" for short for decades...), a chunk of Ashton, a path up Rownham Hill called Dead Badger's Bottom(!), The Ashton Court estate, a bit of the UWE campus at Bower Ashton, and some of the Festival Way path.
25 Nov 2020
Including disused toilets. Nice.
Office? Control room? Whatever it is, I've always been a bit fascinated by the little suite of rooms under the north side of the Plimsoll Bridge. The little gantry is directly below the place where the swing bridge meets the road proper, so presumably it's there for inspections when the bridge is swung?
20 Dec 2020
A long meander around bits of Bedminster, from the river to the north to Winterstoke Road to the south, taking a few roads I've seen before, and a few I haven't. The Christmas decorations were an extra bonus.
I still don't know if the name has a through-line to Bristol's Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
04 Mar 2021
A trip to Imagine That coffee, so no fresh roads knocked off my list, but I stopped off to snap a couple of the engineering-related bits of the docks: the Campbell Buoy (used by P&A Campbell for mooring their paddle steamers) and Brunel's "other" bridge, the foot/horse swing bridge that now sits sadly disused in the shadow of the Plimsoll Bridge at Howard's Lock.
From here it's easier to see the pivot point for Brunel's Other Bridge, and the wheels at this end which would have helped it roll. It weighs about 68 tons, and was originally turned by a hand crank before being converted to hydraulic power like much of the rest of the docks equipment.
You can see an aerial photo of it in place in its "swung" position on the Brunel's Other Bridge website.
I bought a vintage post card from eBay this week. It's a well-known photo of the Hotwells landing stage, showing what's likely to be a P&A Campbell paddle steamer moored there. (Just yesterday I snapped a photo of their buoy on display at Underfall Yard with its information sign.) It was posted from here to Canada in 1936, and has now returned via a presumably quite circuitous route.
For tens of thousands of people, the pier at Hotwells was the starting point of their day trip as they boarded steamers with names like Glen Avon, Glen Usk and Britannia. The salty tang of the sea was never far away as the steamers headed for Ilfracombe, Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead on the Devon and Somerset coast and Barry, Porthcawl and Tenby in South Wales.
The landing stage is long-abandoned. A variety of economic issues, including fuel prices, the increasing prevalence of the motor car, the construction of the Severn Crossing giving easier access to Wales, and the collapse of Clevedon Pier during safety testing in 1970, which prevented larger pleasure boats from stopping at the resort, all led to dwindling trade.
I went to have a poke about there today, not staying for long as it's a cold day and the wind was biting. I couldn't reproduce the postcard's view—you'd need to risk life, limb and presumably a trespass prosecution—but I did try to judge the rough viewpoint and angle of the photo by lining up with Rock House, the Colonnade and the Suspension Bridge and snapped a photo looking back to where the original photographer would have stood on the pontoon.
This Bristol City Docks history page has many good photos of the landing stage and the nearby Port and Pier Railway line (whose tunnel I was in the other day) and the Hotwells Halt railway station, which was just the other side of the suspension bridge from here.
Wouldn't fancy my chances on the ladder.
12 Mar 2021
I was browsing some historical photos the other day, and came across "Rear of Unspecified House" in the Bristol Archives' John Trelawny Ross collection, and immediately recognised it as being the back of 1 Albermarle Row, just around the corner from me. I've not had much time to research the history of this odd little addition to Albermarle Row, or what happened to 1-4 Cumberland Place, number 4 of which used to be attached to the side of 1 Albermarle Row, but it was interesting to look at old maps for a few minutes and work out what used to be where.
That all connects with the little local bit of land at Granby Green, too, as it used to be numbers 1-3 Cumberland Place. There was something of a planning battle over Granby Green, and I've included an old edition of Hotwells & Cliftonwood News that I found online, a copy of which would have been popped through my letterbox at the time.
I was also inspired by some old pictures of Hotwell Road to try to put a few more people in my pictures, though I set my pre-focus a couple of extra metres out from normal to make sure I didn't get too close to anyone!
South Entrance lock, re-done by Brunel in 1844-49 because it was too narrow, but has been walled up since the 1950s, hence it not mattering too much about the silt these days.
You can just about see the wire stretched across from left to right that the kayak polo teams that play here string their goals from.
I noticed I'd missed a bit of Circular Road and Ladies Mile, and it was a nice evening for a sunset wander up to Clifton. There was something I recorded along the way, not photographically but in video.
Bristol Zoo, the world's oldest provincial zoo, has recently decided to close its Clifton site after 185 years of occupation, which means that the sounds of wild animals will no longer drift incongruously through this leafy Georgian area. They're moving everything up to their existing second site, The Wild Place Project near Cribbs Causeway. As I was wandering the Downs, I heard some fierce roaring noises, so I decided to see if I could get a little closer while they were still going on and record a sound that's soon to disappear.
I don't have a way yet to put video directly on this site, so here's a link to the video of my attempt to catch a bit of the zoo noises that I just popped on YouTube. It's sad that this might be the last time I hear such noises in Clifton.
I still think of them as the "new" lights, but I think they were replaced in the early 2000s, so they're not that new.