Aerial Photos – Bristol Harbour History

Flickr user brizzle born and bred documents all aspects of Bristol life throughout the years, including the development of the docks area and the BHR.

Here are some insights into how the docks looked from the air.

Cumberland Basin in 1946 – the Second World War is over, Ashton Swing Bridge is still combined road and rail, and the building of the dual carriageway is a long way off. The northern branch of the BHR to Canons Marsh branches away to the left of ‘A’ Bond and through Hotwells, with Canons Marsh shed (Now @Bristol) at the top of the picture.
To the right of this is the site of ‘M’ and ‘L’ sheds, replacing the Corporation Granary building, which was struck by a bomb in 1941 and demolished. The site has been cleared but construction not yet started.

Cumberland Basin 1946

9 years later, in 1955, this is the view from Redcliffe looking toward Hotwells. ‘M’ and ‘L’ sheds are now built, and the line to Temple Meads is visible crossing Bathurst Wharf.
This view also shows the open nature of the back of the sheds at ground level – the area where the locomotive shed is now.

Wapping Wharf 1955

A closer view of M/L Sheds in the 1960s shows the development of the coal yard, which later became the reason for the BHR’s continued survival.
Note also the large crane where the M Shed cafe now resides!

M Shed 1960s

This 1955 view of the Gasworks is particularly interesting. Of the gasworks buildings, only a few remain, as evidenced by the following picture taken in 2007!
Look to the bottom of the 1955 photo – you can see the sidings on the site of SS Great Britain Halt, with the small rail-mounted cranes on the dockside. The rails for these cranes are still in evidence today.
The 2007 image also shows the former Bristol Industrial Museum (Now M Shed), with the coal yard now used as a car park.

Gasworks 1955
Docks 2007

All credit goes to Paul Townsend/Brizzle Born and Bred – have a look at his flickr page for more photographs.

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