14 Nov 2020
I wonder how old this note is?
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...
I'm afraid that this is a bit of a badly-curated wander, where I mostly just popped out to find out a little of the history of Underfall Yard and poke around the various open workshops, and, in hindsight, really didn't take pictures in any kind of coherent order. So there's a lot of pictures, but they don't really tell the story that, in hindsight, I seem to have been trying to tell, of the unusual electrical substation in Avon Crescent, the Bristol Electricity that predates the National Grid but is still in use, the history of the hydraulic power house... It's a bit of a mess.
But I suppose sometimes these wanders—always chronologically presented in the order I walked and took photos—simply will sometimes be a bit of a mess. Let's hope you still get something out of it, anyway...
Via this Tweet and taken from KYP Bristol, showing the interior with a couple of Westinghouse rotary converters and a Peebles-La Cour motor converter, assuming this picture ties up roughly with this 1908 Institute of Mechanical Engineers' visit to works.
You can see a picture of similar Westinghouse converters to the two at the back in the Wikipedia rotary converter page and a Peebles converter that looks very similar to the one in the foreground on the cover of the Peebles motor converter catalogue in the sidebar of their entry in Grace's Guide. I'm guessing the additions on the ends of the Westinghouse converters were for different voltages? A rotary converter is basically a motor connected to a dynamo, so extra dynamos with different windings would give you different voltage outputs, I suppose, but I know very little about power generation.
Along with the older belt-driven machinery there's some electric bits & pieces. I thought this might be where the "Bristol Electricity"—the 360V special supply from the substation—was used, but apparently not.
It must take quite some engineering skill to keep that going. I didn't think any of them had survived the 1980s. By the looks of things it's correctly tuned to Heart FM, which is compulsory for all workshops in Bristol.
I do love a well-used workbench.