10 Jul 2021
Lisa had a couple of hours to spare before going up in a hot air balloon (exciting!) so we went for a quick local walk, revisiting a bit of Cliftonwood we've seen before, exploring the secret garden I'd visited before that I thought she'd enjoy (I didn't take any new photos there) and then pushing on to another garden, Cherry Garden. Last time we passed this way, I'd noticed the gate, but we hadn't gone in as I'd assumed it was private. I'd since found it on CHIS's list of communal gardens in Clifton, so I wanted to have a look inside this time, and try to figure out whether it was private-communal or public, and possibly Council-owned, like several of the other gardens in Clifton.
Photo taken from the book Bygone Bristol: Hotwells and the City Docks, by Janet and Derek Fisher.
You can see the gate from the previous photo at the start of Narrow Quay. Plenty of other changes in the area, too: the statue of Neptune stands at the head of the water; there are no Cascade Steps yet; cranes still stand on Broad Quay, and you can just about tell that there's still a main road running right across the middle of Queen Square in the distance.
The gate stands half-closed; presumably before the E and W sheds were converted into the cinemas, bars and restaurants of the Watershed and other publically-accessible attractions there was still some need to keep the (working) dockside a little more secure, and I'm guessing it might have been locked at night.
The gates are listed and have apparently been there since 1894.
10 Dec 2020
I didn't have any time to find a new place to go today, so I'm treading old ground here. I did buy a tub of duck food from Amazon last week and today I remembered to take a little bagful of it with me on my trip to Imagine That coffee, and spent a few minutes feeding the marina slipway ducks on the way back. This is a Bristol tradition I've seen other people doing many times, but never tried myself. It was quite genteel until the seagulls cottoned on, then it became something of a brawl.
It overlooks the bridge and has some (all?) of the bridge swing controls.
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.
So, along with the horizontal shaft that comes out rather unattractively in the side of the quarry below, there are two other air shafts for the tunnel. This one marks the spot where this path up Walcombe Slade crosses directly above the dead-straight Clifton Extension Railway tunnel running from left to right in the depths of the rock below.
It doesn't look quite contemporary to the 1870s railway tunnel, does it? That's because it was rebuilt with concrete blocks in 1950. I do like the top cover, though. I'm sure it could've been just a boring flat grille.
I mostly went out to hang out with my friends Sarah and Vik in Bedminster, but along the way I thought I'd take a closer look at something a little nearer home: the last crossing point of the Rownham Ferry.
13 Dec 2020
A long walk around Cliftonwood and Clifton with my friend Lisa, taking in some of the 12 Days of Christmas display at Queens Parade, picking up a take-away coffee from Pinkmans of Park Street, and poking our heads up against the glass of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Cathedral.
One day I'll get back up there.
Cabot tower and the little garden surrounding it at the top of Brandon HIll have a feeling I think of as "Victorian magic". It's all a bit fairytale.
Every now and again I notice this amazing turret/dome/weathervane on Whiteladies Road.
I understand it's meant to represent the holy trinity.
I did make out the names Pitt and Chatham on this obelisk, but a lot of it was in Latin and I coudln't quite work out what it was about. Apparently it was created to honour William Pitt (the Elder), who I didn't know was Earl of Chatham, by Sir William Draper, who was living in nearby Manilla Hall. When Manilla Hall was demolished and replaced by Manilla Road, the obelisk was moved here.
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.
Passionfruit, I think. Easier to tell at the time, but the memory has faded. I'm writing these up on 3 Feb 2021, and November seems like a very long time ago.
19 Nov 2020
A sunny day, and though I should have probably headed for less well-travelled territory I just headed over to the Marina to grab a flat white from Imagine That's horsebox café.
I'm not entirely sure why this little pole seems to need so many red lights, or what the tiny circular thing that looks like a specialist antenna is at the top (there's clearly a few other antennas, and I also have no idea what they're for.) Just part of the varied harbour infrastructure I walk past every day and would probably be fascinated to hear about if I knew who to ask...
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
One of the other sides of this clock is very broken. At least these two show the same time, even if they're wrong. By my calculation, this broken clock is right six times per day.