03 Dec 2020
I love the isolation of Cliftonwood -- the geography of it, with its solid boundary of Clifton Vale to the west and Jacob's Wells Road to the east mean that you tend not to be in Cliftonwood unless you've got a reason to be there. It's not a cut-through to anywhere, at least not from side-to-side, and you can only really exit to the south on foot.
I sense that I'd be happy living in Cliftonwood -- like my bit of Hotwells, it's a quiet little area with a sort of quirky feel to it. Plus it contributes the colourful houses that are the backdrop of about half of all Bristol postcards ever made :)
I found the "secret" garden especially interesting, just for the fact that it really does feel quite secret, despite the obvious name on the gate. I've lived a half-mile from it for twenty years and I don't think I've ever noticed it before, despite exploring the area a few times.
I went to have a peep at the giant sinkhole that's opened up in Canynge Square—ironically, having recently discovered the gardens were public I'd had the (triangular!) square on my list to re-visit for a few days, but now there's no entrance to the gardens due to the danger. The area was well fenced-off for safety, but I tried to get a couple of photos from behind the barriers.
I also explored the area around Camp Road, an real melange of architectures, one of the most mixed-up areas I've seen in Clifton, in fact, and confirmed my friend Claire's suspicion that an earlier snap of a sign from Manilla Road was in fact for a fire hydrant. Nice.
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...
10 Jan 2021
Went for a wander with my friend Lisa—the current lockdown rules seem to be that one local walk for exercise per day with a maximum of one person not in one's "bubble" is fine—up to the University of Bristol area right at the edge of my one-mile perimeter to see the Jeppe Hein Mirror Maze, among other things. On the way we mused about Merchant Venturers, the slave and tobacco trades, and dating in the time of Covid.
It's harder to see the other Zodiac signs on this side; there's no angle to shoot from, plus they're a lot more weathered.
16 Feb 2021
There's a dearth of my favourite coffee places on a Monday and Tuesday at the moment. Both Twelve and Imagine That are closed on Monday and Tuesday, and Rich from Hopper Coffee doesn't seem to have come back from Christmas break. Today I pushed on a bit further than normal around the harbour and got to Little Victories, the always-reliable sister cafe to Small Street Espresso, based at Wapping Wharf. Along the way I saw graffiti, my second reference to one of Bristol's twin cities in two days, and a rather sleek little boat outside Rolt's Boat Yard.
25 Feb 2021
I almost didn't bother bringing out my GPS today, but as it turned out I may have knocked off a tiny bit of Baltic Wharf, having been diverted through there on my way back from Imagine That café by finding Cumberland Road closed. Not sure whether it was just some kind of delivery to the roadworks there or if they're surfacing the increasingly-dodgy looking bit of the one lane that's left open...
I also snapped a picturesque view of Cliftonwood, hung out with a biker gang, and found a little something to nibble on growing on the Hotwell Road.
They were more socially-distanced than this snap makes it look.
04 Mar 2021
A trip to Imagine That coffee, so no fresh roads knocked off my list, but I stopped off to snap a couple of the engineering-related bits of the docks: the Campbell Buoy (used by P&A Campbell for mooring their paddle steamers) and Brunel's "other" bridge, the foot/horse swing bridge that now sits sadly disused in the shadow of the Plimsoll Bridge at Howard's Lock.
Last time I looked in this shed someone was building a boat in it.
12 Mar 2021
I was browsing some historical photos the other day, and came across "Rear of Unspecified House" in the Bristol Archives' John Trelawny Ross collection, and immediately recognised it as being the back of 1 Albermarle Row, just around the corner from me. I've not had much time to research the history of this odd little addition to Albermarle Row, or what happened to 1-4 Cumberland Place, number 4 of which used to be attached to the side of 1 Albermarle Row, but it was interesting to look at old maps for a few minutes and work out what used to be where.
That all connects with the little local bit of land at Granby Green, too, as it used to be numbers 1-3 Cumberland Place. There was something of a planning battle over Granby Green, and I've included an old edition of Hotwells & Cliftonwood News that I found online, a copy of which would have been popped through my letterbox at the time.
I was also inspired by some old pictures of Hotwell Road to try to put a few more people in my pictures, though I set my pre-focus a couple of extra metres out from normal to make sure I didn't get too close to anyone!
That seems to be a driveshaft flopping out of the wheel arch at the front, so I guess he's doing more than changing his tyres. This is probably a sensible place to work on your car on a rainy day -- sheltered, lots of space, decent light, nice and level. Plus I think it's the Lockside Car Park and I reckon theyr'e closed for lockdown.
I wasn't going to take a very long walk on this nice spring evening; it just happened. I was going to knock off a path or two on Brandon Hill, home over centuries to hermits and windmills, cannons and Chartists, and then just wander home, stopping only to fill up my milk bottle at the vending machine in the Pump House car park.
However, when I heard a distant gas burner I stayed on the hill long enough to see if I could get a decent photo of both the hot air balloon drifting over with Cabot Tower in the same frame (spoiler: I couldn't. And only having the fixed-focal-length Fuji with me didn't help) and then, on the way home, bumped into my "support bubble", Sarah and Vik, and extended my walk even further do creep carefully down the slipway next to the old paddle steamer landing stage and get some photos from its furthest extreme during a very low tide...
The park throughout a large part of history was used as a political meeting point – as a speaker’s corner and a gathering place. Over the years many groups met for discussions on the hill. This sculpture celebrates this aspect with all the thoughts of these gatherings, especially in the context of political meetings for political change and reform.
At the top of the hill there used to be an anchorage – a hermitage – where there would have been mediation and prayer – again thought patterns.
10 Apr 2021
There's a bit of Southville that I've been meaning to get to for some time, where the streets seem to take some strong inspiration from London. There's a Camden Road that crosses with an Islington Road, and a Dalston Road, even an Edgeware Road. For me these names are more evocative than the rather more exotic names I passed by to get there—Sydney Row or Hanover Place, say, because I've actually been to the places in London. The last time I was in Islington I saw Monkey Swallows the Universe play at The Angel, and I can't think of Camden without remembering a gondola trip with my friend Tara where a cheery youth played Beatles music for us on a saz...
I really liked this little area, with its mostly well-kept pretty houses and hints here and there of the creative side of the residents. It's arty and down-to-earth at the same time, and I wouldn't mind living there, I think.
On the way there I got the chance to walk through Underfall Yard for the first time in a while, and on the way back I had my first take-away hot food for many months, grabbing some crispy fried squid from the excellent Woky Ko at Wapping Wharf.
1971 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. You don't see one of those every day. Immaculate.