The more I research it, the more I find that Hotwells had far better transport links back in Victorian and Edwardian times than it has today. Along with buses that went to more useful places than the City Centre, there were trams, the funicular up to Clifton, the landing stage for paddle steamer services and two railway stations all within easy walking distance of me.
Today I took a day off work as preparation for doing the bookkeeping for my tax return1, and took a wander along to the site of what would have been my nearest station, Hotwells (or Clifton, as it started out in life), nestled in the shadow of the suspension bridge, the Bristol terminus of the Bristol Port Railway and Pier.
From there I wandered down the Portway, following the original line, until I got to the area around Sneyd Park Junction, where the tunnel from the slightly later Clifton Extension Railway joined up with this originally-isolated BPR line. Then I headed up to Clifton through the "goat gully" at Walcombe Slade, seeing the few above-ground bits of evidence of the tunnel (which is still in regular use) along the way.
It was a lovely day, and a good walk, and it was interesting to daydream of the times when I could have walked a few minutes from my flat down to Dowry Parade, caught a short tram ride to Hotwells Stations, and then headed from there to Avonmouth, perhaps even to board a transatlantic passenger service. The completion of the Clifton Extension Railway that linked the Avonmouth station with Temple Meads made relatively direct transatlantic travel from London via Bristol possible, with passengers travelling up from Paddington to Temple Meads, on to Avonmouth on the Clifton Extension Railway and Port Railway and Pier line, then perhaps catching a Cambpell's paddle steamer—which sometimes acted as tenders for large steamers—to a larger ship that was headed out for Canada, say.
1 I've learned that the best approach is to take two days off and deliberately do something that's not my bookkeeping on the first day, as otherwise I just inevitably end up procrastinating and feeling guilty on the first day no matter what. I have an odd brain, but at least I'm learning strategies for dealing with its strange ways as I get older...
2 Information mostly gleaned from Colin Maggs' The Bristol Port Railway & Pier and the Clifton Extension Railway, The Oakwood Press, 1975.
Here we see the Portway road, presumably fairly shiny and new, after many, many things, including the railway line from Hotwells to Sea Mills, were removed to make way for it. As you can see, they've done a splendid job of redeveloping the space where the station was into a little mini-park area, back in the day when the traffic wasn't a constant rush of noise and fumes and you didn't have to scamper across like you were playing a game of Frogger. It might well have been a pleasant place to sit. It certainly wouldn't be now.
Also, guess what there is fencing in the park area? Yes, some nice iron railings. I have no idea whether these are same ones I found—today's seem in surprisingly good nick considering this photo would have likely been taken almost a hundred years ago, and also how many railings were torn up during WWII.
This photo was taken before the war, as you can see a tram still running in the background—a Luftwaffe bomb took the tram system down in 1941 and it was never replaced. It also was obviously taken after 1926, as the Portway opened to traffic on 2 July 1926, having cost £800,000 to build, about £47m in today's money. So, that fixes it to a 15-year period, I think, but I'm not enough of a historian to be able to pin it down further.