02 Nov 2020
I've taken a lot of photos of Royal York Crescent over the years. This time I walked right to the dead-end bit at the far west corner and found a plaque to the Empress of the French. Call me hard to impress, but among the scientists, novelists, architects and artists whose plaques litter the rest of the area, that seems quite minor claim to fame.
I've been tempted to try these Voi scooters-for-hire to expand my range for lunchtime wanders. However, having read their rules, at 118kg I'm 18kg over their maximum weight limit.
06 Jan 2021
The International Grotto Directory website says:
Prince’s Lane might have been one of the original ancient tracks from Hotwells to Clifton, in the Avon Gorge. The site later formed part of Rownham Woods which comprised some thirteen acres. By the end of the 18th century and the early 19th century, the Society of Merchant Venturers granted to Samuel Powell a building lease, for The Colonnade (1786), St. Vincent’s Parade (1790), Prince’s Buildings (1796), and Rock House. Rock House is generally considered to be the oldest surviving building associated with the Hotwell (see Chapter 20). John Power conveyed part of the woods to William Watts for the construction of Windsor Terrace (1790-1808).
The above development of the Avon Gorge cleared Rownham Woods, and created a triangle of land on the north side of the gorge, that became enclosed as a result, by Mansion Houses, whose garden walls all entered on to Prince’s Lane. The Lane started at the bottom of the gorge, at the base rock of Windsor Terrace, and came out half way up Sion Hill. It is clearly shown as a public footpath, dotted with trees, in Ashmead’s map of 1828. Some of the gardens were quite steep in parts and therefore, had to be terraced, because of the gradient of the gorge.
I've passed Prince's Lane literally thousands of times in my life, every time I've walked past the Avon Gorge Hotel, which itself started (in 1898) as the Grand Clifton Spa and Hydropathic Institution and pumped water up from the Hot Well for its hydropathic treatments. I've never actually ventured down it until today, or at least nothing like as far down it as I did this afternoon—I may have poked my head around the back of the hotel to see the original pump rooms at some point in the past.
This was a great wander, though it does very much feel like a private road, and frankly I may have been pushing my luck a bit by winding my way between the astoundingly big back gardens of the houses of some presumably very wealthy Cliftonites, but I felt vaguely justified in exploring the history of one of the oldest footpaths in my part of Bristol...
06 Feb 2021
A lovely walk in the early spring sunshine with my friend Lisa. We headed directly for Jacobs Wells Road, to start off around the scene of one of our earlier walks, but this time took in Jacobs Wells from QEH upward, stopping to snap some photos of a Bear With Me, some interesting areas between Park Street and Brandon Hill including a peculiarly quiet enclave with a ruined old build I'd never found before, then crossed the Centre to grab take-away pies from Pieminister (I had the Heidi Pie) and head back to my place down the harbourside.
01 Apr 2021
Another workday, another quick coffee excursion. This time I decided to swing past Sydney Row on the way back from the marina car park where Imagine That have their horsebox. I didn't know until recently that the terrace was built for workers at the adjacent dockyard.
I've also gradually come to the conclusion that I don't really think very two-dimensionally when it comes to finding my way around or associating one place with another. I only realised in the last few days that the odd industrial building that takes up the other half of Syndey Row, the one that's always covered with graffiti, is the back of the dockyard works. In my defence, as it's tucked away in a corner of the little industrial estate that I've never ventured into (I rarely find I have a need for the products of safety valve manufacturers), I don't think I've ever seen the front of the building...
Somebody told me that the four anchors at the corners of Cumberland Basin point to points of the compass. I'm not sure there's that much consistency. The other seem to point NW, NE, and SE; this one seems to be about ten degrees off due east. Maybe I should go down with my compass and check :D
21 Aug 2021
Lisa and I mostly went out to have a look at Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon as its tour hit Bristol Cathedral—I missed it when it was previously in town, at Wills Hall, I think—but we also took a trek up to Redland. Lisa's kind enough to indulge my strange current fascination with the Edwardian eccentrics that made up the Stella Matutina, so we swung by a couple of places with a vague connection to the Bristol branch of the organisation. Well, it was good walking, anyway...
As a stunning bonus, one of the picture's descriptions has more information than you'd probably want on the Bristol Port Railway and Pier's Clifton Extension Railway line, but I did happen to coincidentally write up this wander after reading about the extension line during my lunch hour at work today. It's a thrilling life, I tell you...
I'm reasonably confident that's not how the bike rack is meant to be used.
09 Oct 2021
I could spend a lot of time at the Docks Heritage Weekend, poking my nose into industrial places along the harbourside that are usually closed off, but throw open their doors once a year to show off a bit of the backstage area of Bristol's floating harbour. In fact, I warn you: the next wander is a long one, and will have quite a few photos.
However, for today's wander, on the Saturday, my friend Lisa needed a shorter walk than our usual long rambles, as she's recovering from an operation and still a little under the weather, so we just wandered into town for some food and back, with me making mental notes of the places I wanted to come back to on the Sunday... We walked through Underfall Yard, along to the L Shed (this is the warehouse next to the M Shed museum, where they still have the kind of fun old industrial stuff that used to be crammed into the M Shed's predecessor, the old Industrial Museum), through the street food market in town to Ahh Toots for cake and then back home. So, still quite a walk, but no hills and not so much of Lisa having to hang around waiting for me to fool around taking photos as usual, at least...
People did mostly seem to be enjoying themselves.
03 Dec 2021
On my last wander, to Bower Ashton, I was intending to knock Blackmoors Lane off my list "to-do" list, but got a bit diverted. I also took a little look into the history of the Gridiron, once a cheaper alternative to dry dock that was nestled just south of North Entrance Lock.
Today I had to go to send a parcel off somewhere, so I decided on going to the North Street Post Office via Blackmoors Lane. I didn't have much intention of anything else, but as luck would have it I walked out both at low tide and also as some lockkeepers seemed to be having a bit of a training session, and one of the more senior people was (a) happy to answer a few random questions on the Gridiron and (b) actually knew a lot about it, as Gridiron maintenance had been one of his jobs, more than twenty years ago...
I've always wondered what this wheel is for. It's part of the Gridiron's cleaning system. Water is drawn from North Entrance Lock through a sluice channel and could be diverted one way and another across the surface of the gridiron. I wasn't clear from my conversation with the lockkeeper whether this would open the sluice channel or was the control used to divert the water first to the left of this central point of the gridiron, then to the right, but it's definitely part of the cleaning mechanism.
He said he also used to have to go down the ladder and hose it all down after sluicing it out, and that he found the whole process quite fun!
15 Nov 2020
A walk back from Bedminster to my place, mostly down Duckmoor Road, which I found a little dull—probably because it reminded me a little of the suburbs I grew up in on the outskirts of London—then held up slightly by some filming on Ashton Avenue Bridge. They were trying not to let the crowds build up too much in between takes, it seems, so it wasn't a long delay.