Saturday, 7 July 2018

An Historic Double Decker In Bristol (2)

Trains Take The Trade
By the early 20th Century, local river and sea traffic was beginning to decline in Bristol, but the railways were in the ascendancy. The Great Western, who owned the harbour-side lines, wanted to expand. Their cunning plan was to build a large goods depot on Canons Marsh.

fbb could not discover who the Canon was, but a 1747 map shows the area clearly.
It was a tract of largely unused and often squidgy ground at the confluence of the Avon and the Froom (Frome) rivers. If, like fbb, you struggle with orientation of old maps, please note that West is at the top of the map and North to the right.

By the late 1880s the Harbour Railway had made it to its tunnel and sheds ...
... and the obvious emptiness of the dear old canon's marshland beckoned. But how to get there?

Answer; make a junction with the GWR branch to Portishead (top of map below) at Ashton with good access all round from the triangular junction (bottom),
Link to an extension of the existing railway running on the south bank of the harbour ...
... and, while you are at it, build a branch along the north bank to Canon's Marsh, seen below, still in use.
And as a further spiffing wheeze, put a road on top of the railway bridge and improve cross river connectivity by leaps and bounds.

Thus begat Ashton Avenue Bridge, an historic Bristol double decker.
fbb reckons that the above picture is the very early 20th century version of photoshop; big tender engines would never go round the corners and the horses and riders are veritable giants. But here are eager Bristolians swarming across the bridge (looking north) to celebrate its opening.
And here a rare piccy of the bridge (looking east) having swung!
Although it crosses the "new cut", it still needed to swing because medium-sized cargo boats called at wharves along the tidal stretch. There was another small swing bridge near the locks to Cumberland Basin which predated the Ashton Avenue crossing.

Here (looking south) we observe very busy traffic flow (!), probably in the 1950s; experts may be able to identify the Bristol Bristol and correct the date!
Next we look south again over the railway tracks which are curving round to serve the harbour and Canons Marsh.
The single line level crossing is the track which served sidings behind the big warehouses on the southern side of the Cumberland Basin.
You can just spot a buffer stop, lower centre, and, from a different angle ...
... canopies over the former rail-served loading bays.

Tomorrow, amongst other things, we will answer the question, "What happened to Ashton Avenue Bridge" and the answer will involve a brief (but sadly unillustrated) delve into the BBC's police drama, "Softly Softly".

As an interim aside however, as well as replacing the keyboard on the fbbs' laptop, No 3 son stayed a few days and shared some of his not-very-rapidly expanding knowledge of the Basler version of German.

During the match he kept shouting "Hopp Schwiitz" (Come On Switzerland). The German German for Swtizerland is "Schweitz".

Both the lad and fbb were impressed with this "compound" noun ...


... which appeared on the lad's German laptop, and which Google Translate copes with easily.

Less happy is its inability to deal with ...

Of course, in German German it is easy ...

Als Wolkenkratzer bezeichnet man besonders hohe Hochhäuser. Üblicherweise wird die Bezeichnung ab 150 Metern Höhe verwendet, wobei diese Höhenmarke je nach Zusammenhang und Region abweichen kann.

... as is clear from the above!

 Next Double Decker blog (plus) : Sunday 8th July 

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating excursion into Bristol history - thanks!