I got interested in Bristol's medieval water supplies after poking around near Jacobs Wells Road and Brandon Hill. It was during that research I found out about a pipe that's still there today, and, as far as I know, still actually functioning, that was originally commissioned by Carmelite monks in the 13th century. They wanted a supply of spring water from Brandon Hill to their priory on the site of what's now the Bristol Beacon—Colston Hall, as-was. It was created around 1267, and later, in 1376, extended generously with an extra "feather" pipe to St John's On The Wall, giving the pipework its modern name of "St John's Conduit".
St John's on the Wall is still there, guarding the remaining city gate at the end of Broad Street, and the outlet tap area was recently refurbished. It doesn't run continuously now, like it did when I first moved to Bristol and worked at the end of Broad Street, in the Everard Building, but I believe the pipe still functions. One day I'd like to see that tap running...
There are a few links on the web about the pipe, but by far the best thing to do is to watch this short and fascinating 1970s TV documentary called The Hidden Source, which has some footage of the actual pipe and also lots of fantastic general footage of Bristol in the seventies.
On my walk today I was actually just going to the building society in town, but I decided to trace some of the route of the Carmelite pipe, including visiting streets it runs under, like Park Street, Christmas Street, and, of course, Pipe Lane. I also went a bit out of my way to check out St James' Priory, the oldest building in Bristol, seeing as it was just around the corner from the building society.
There are far too many pictures from this walk, and my feet are now quite sore, because it was a long one. But I enjoyed it.
Apparently St John's conduit is currently in working order, having been painstakingly fixed on many occasions over the centuries since 1267, including very recently, so presumably there's a tap head somewhere in the church that could turn it on and give you a taste of water from the spring all the way up Park Street.
This is quite a feat of medieval engineering, as the pipes run both down and uphill in places, using a siphoning action to carry the water back uphill around the Pipe Street area (which is, indeed, named for the original water pipe.)
05 Nov 2020
I spotted the fog and decided to go for a morning walk rather than a lunchtime walk today. It was cold on the Portway, but it was worth it. Most of my One Mile Matt photos are "record shots", but it's nice to get the chance to do something a bit more artistic.
There are a lot of car crashes on the Portway. I don't know how many end in fatalaties, but I feel like I hear about at least one every year. In a luckily non-fatal crash in 2019, an ambulance even managed to crash, ending up on its side.
I think that non-emergency vehicles probably tend to drive far too fast for the Portway when it's quiet as it looks like a nice fast road, but it clearly has some well-disguised dangers. Either that or they're all pissed.
09 Nov 2020
I like The Paragon as a terrace, especially the bowed porches. On the other side of the road, a house attic has a stone lion surrounded by rocaille leaves, according to its listing.
I also love the detail of the arrows in the wrought iron of The Mall's balconies. Today I discovered Westfield place, a road I'd never encountered that runs up to the rear of the Coronation Tap. (It's a famous local cider pub, but I've only been in a couple of times. I'm more of a beer man.)
I was once along Granby Hill when a dad and his two kids passed me, with each kid insisting they go down the SECRET TUNNEL. So they ducked down here, which pops out into Hope Square, and presumably saves people having to go the slightly longer way around to get to Clifton Village.
26 Feb 2021
I'm on the first day of a long weekend, and I certainly picked the right one for it. This may be the first proper spring-like day of the year in Bristol; it was glorious.
I headed up to Clifton, around the area where I got my Covid vaccine jab the other day, to knock off a few remaining roads in that area and because it would be good exercise for an extended lunchtime walk.
Along the way I saw some very Clifton sights, including an Aston Martin, some Jacobethan architecture, and some private college sports grounds. Mostly, though, I just enjoyed the sunshine, and took every opportunity I could to snap views across the city.
This one looks a bit less like Stephen Fry than the one I snapped the other day.
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...
Nice to see some work being done on Cumberland Road. Maybe one day we'll get the Chocolate Path back....
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...
I guess the gearing is changed in the traditional way, by someone with a stick moving the belts across to the next diameters along. Apparently that used to be the emergency stop in the old days, too, some bloke poking at the belts with a pole until they fell off. Probably not ideal if it was to stop someone being sucked into the mechanism...
I should probably have started this little tour with a general view of the place, but I wasn't really thinking with a great sense of planning on this wander. I'm afraid the photos are all a bit randomly-ordered.
Insert your own joke here. This little room at the end of the workshop housed the boiler and the steam engine from when every single bit of large equipment ran from the belt drive system. It must have been absolutely awful to work in.
You can tell there's a fair bit of water in this pipe.
21 Dec 2021
The recent lack of posts here is mostly due to my feeling very run down following having a couple of wisdom teeth extracted. Having had an emergency appointment yesterday1, hopefully I'll be on the mend now, though it does mean I'm on the kind of antibiotics where you can't touch alcohol for the whole of the Christmas period. I have tried to keep myself a little distracted from the pain by working on the nuts and bolts of this website—you should notice that the front page loads rather faster now than it used to, and that there's a shiny new statistics page that I'll probably be continuing to work on. Oh, and you should find that the tags below the photos are now clickable and will take you to a page of all other wanders that have photos with the same tag.
Today I felt like I needed to drag myself out of the house, but I didn't want to go too far, and I needed to get to the Post Office up in Clifton Village to post a Christmas card (spoiler for my parents: it's going to be late. Sorry.) As luck would have it, idly looking at the map I spotted that I'd missed off a section of Burwalls Road in the past, and that's basically one of the long-ways-round to Clifton Village, crossing the river to Rownham and walking up the hill on the Somerset side before coming back across the Suspension Bridge.
As I was heading for Burwalls Road I decided to make Burwalls itself the focal point of the walk, but unfortunately the mansion grounds are private and the place is hard to snap. Still, at least it gave me a destination. Burwalls was the mansion built by Bristol press magnate Joseph Leech, who I've mentioned before after buying a vintage book he wrote on a previous wander. There's a good article about the house on House and Heritage which has some photos from angles I couldn't ever get to. (Well, maybe with a drone, but it seems like the kind of area where they may be kitted out for clay pigeon shooting, so I probably wouldn't risk it.)
1 My dentist admitted that she probably needed to keep her internal monologue a bit more internal after we started the appointment with her staring into my mouth and immediately saying, "oh, that's weird." These are words one doesn't want to hear from a medical professional.
Presumably the logical reduction of this, just "TRESPASS", wasn't as catchy.