Bristol Industrial
Archaeological Society (BIAS)
BIAS@50 - 1967-2017 - Celebrating half a century of research

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BIAS Photos

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Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge maintenance and happenings

Floods 3 Jan 2014

Water, water everywhere!
flood flood
(taken by Norman Date). Where have the locks gone?
(taken by Norman Date)
Nearly up to the Ashton Bridge deck

Panorama of the River Avon to Portishead (1902) film

British Film Institute film (9 mins)

This journey down the Avon gorge was filmed from the riverbank, from a boat and from the Portishead railway. Among views of the estuary, the hospital ship Vera and the fine wooden warship Formidable (then a training ship), Portishead docks and the entrance to the Clifton Rocks Railway. This underground funicular railway linked the town to the riverbank just below the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Strachan and Henshaw equipment

In 1879 - Robert Strachan and George Henshaw formed their partnership in Victoria Street, Bristol, to make the first ever automatic paper bag-making machine. They gained widespread recognition for their innovative engineering. Tramcar equipment started to be an important growth area. The company had two distinct strengths: paper and printing equipment and mechanical handling. In 1999 - Strachan Henshaw Machinery entered into receivership and closed in March 2000.

Justin Edwards went on a tour of some of the Imerys china clay works and found some of their products and kindly sent me these photographs.

The Strachan and Henshaw Beetle is a system for moving rail wagons without the need of a locomotive. The Beetle runs on its own track between the normal rail lines and is operated by a chain and winch. Once positioned under the wagon an arm with a roller on the end is extended against the wheel of the wagon and the beetle is then moved dragging the wagon with it. The system could be found in such places as collieries, oil refineries and power stations in the past but these days few still exist. The pictures show a Beetle used at No.8 Jetty at Fowey for moving china clay hopper wagons in and out of the unloading shed.

strachan and henshaw
Right hand end of the Beetle showing chain attachment.
strachan and henshaw
Left hand end of Beetle that houses the roller arm. The chain runs underneath and extends to the sprocket between the rails beyond the Beetle.
strachan and henshaw
Right hand end of the Beetle.
strachan and henshaw
Left hand end of the Beetle showing the roller arm retracted into the body of the Beetle. The Strachan and Henshaw makerís plate is just visible on the right.
strachan and henshaw
The Strachan and Henshaw makerís plate
Also at Imerys china clay there is a drying plant (Parkandillack Driers) with an old pumping house. This was in use until the mid 1950's and apparently the engine, though no longer used for pumping, can be still run using compressed air.

Parkandillack engine house
External pumping equipment at Parkandillack engine house

Industrial Gromits

18 Sept 2013: Couldn't resist these. Went to see the Gromits Unleashed Exhibition before they being auctioned in October
Bristol Lodeka
Steam Dog
Bristol Bulldog
Best location ever

Brunel Swivel Bridge

Refurbishment of the Brunel Swivel Bridge

Stothert and Pitt Cranes: Guernsey

(Justin Edwards) A weeks holiday at Easter in Guernsey gave the opportunity to photograph the dock cranes at St Peter Port. Guernsey is heavily dependent on imports and these are received at two ports on the east coast of the island, St Peter Port, the capital, and St Sampson. The latter primarily handles bulk cargo such as oil and aggregates while at St Peter Port there is general cargo, containers as well as the roll on roll off ferries. Until recently there were five cranes at St Peters Port, three built by Stothert and Pitt of Bath and two by Henderson of Aberdeen, the cranes handled about 50,000 tons of freight per year. However in January 2013 one each of the Stothert and Pitt and Hendersen cranes were demolished and replaced by a large Gottwald mobile crane with a lifting capacity of about 40 tonnes. Remaining at present are a 7 ton Stothert and Pitt rail mounted portal crane built in 1966 and 32 ton Henderson derrick crane supplied in 1971 both sited at Berth 4 while at Berth 6 is a 5 ton Stothert and Pitt portal crane supplied in 1946.
Stothert and Pitt
Stothert and Pitt 7 ton crane operating cabin. The windows and door have been replaced with UPVC double glazed units
Stothert and Pitt
Stothert and Pitt 7 ton crane
Stothert and Pitt
Jib of the Stothert and Pitt 7 ton crane
Stothert and Pitt
Stothert and Pitt 5 ton crane
New Gottwald mobile crane
Henderson crane

Arnos Vale

Look out for these superb memorials!
thomas carr disintegrator
Near the Bath Road entrance, Thomas Carr's (1824-74) grave commemorates his "patent disintegrator". This highly versatile machine, sold all over the world, came in different sizes and could grind coal, rocks, guano, chemicals and fruit.
harry edwards engine driver
Near the top gate entrance, Harry Edwards (1853-1925) was an engine driver

Medway Queen


27 July 2013: Re-dedication at the Albion Dockyard (Hanover Place BS1 6UT). The first fully riveted hull to be constructed in the UK for over 50 years.

Photos since 2009

Bedminster Mural

industrial bedminster mural
March 2013: Site of Red Cow: 113 West Street Bedminster Bristol BS3 3PD. Nice industrial mural. Tragedy about the demolition of this historic pub, but it is a lovely mural. Note retention of some of the lias stone

Artist Andy Council was commissioned for the west street mural. † It includes some Bristol and more local landmarks as well as Bedminster ones. † Andy Council says: Ďthe design is of a horse due to them being used in the local area back in the day, particularly around the mines. †The mines and chimneys feature in the design and there is quite a bit of smoke in there from the chimneys which along with clouds and trees make up the mane and tail. † The piece will hark back to the industrial past of and Bristol Bedminster a fair bit in feel. †The colours will be quite red/brown/brick in colour due to the colour of the buildings I have featured and to fit in with the murals surroundings. †I †think the mane/smoke will be a purple violet colour. †I might throw some gold/copper in places to for a bit of shine.í †

Triton Tug

Triton tug
15 June 2011: This is the tug Triton in 1944, registered at Falmouth, she's 120ft stem to stern post, about 130ft overall. She had triple expansion steam engine, with the unusual metod of going from forward to astern which is normally done by a piston or ram mechanism. On the Triton a small steam engine controlled by a 30inch dia wheel was spun C/W to move the valve linkage to the position req'd. to stop the wheel the engineer pressed his thigh against the the wheel to act as a break.

The deck was teak yacht planking, not the normal steel or iron. She was operated by the Fairplay Towing Co at Avonmouth right through the war years, they were originally from Hamburg, the Borchards escaping sometime in 1939 I believe.

I worked on her as a stoker for 3 or 4 years, 24 on and 24 off, quite arduous at times as we spent up to 18 hrs moving ships around so that they could be discharged of deck cargoe from opposite sides of the ship. Cranes being unable to reach right across many of the ships. American oil tankers carried huge deck loads of planes and we were able to move them from the oil dock to the eastern arm to effect oil discharge and deck cargoe removal within a 24 hour period, and then tow them out on the next tide. Exciting times!!

The tug astern of the Triton is King's Bristolian. The wartime livery of grey paint had just been abandoned and we were back in our original colors as can be seen by the Bristolians funnel,black red and white.

Hope the foregoing is of interest.
Edwin (Ted) Howell
Once of Sea Mills now in Calgary Alberta Canada.

Commander Tambling docks photos

March 2010 (updated 29 November 2012): Peter Tambling, Cdr RD* and Master Mariner, Retired Port Manager and Harbour Master Weymouth.
Steam pilot boats and dredgers, and the Passat 1948 onwards.
Bristol Sand and Gravel are rarely mentioned in historical records as they were the pioneers of Sand Dredging 1912 as start of their operations under Mr. Fred. Peters ownership. At the 1996 festival of the sea in Bristol when he was in command of Waverley, he flew the BS and G House Flag on Waverley's anchor halyard.
Peter's Photo Gallery

New Cut

July 09:Pictures of a trip down the "new Cut" as part of Harbour 200 celebrations

Cumberland basin lock gates

The repair and replacement project at the docks consists of three phases, costing about £11m.
28 March 10:
New flood defence gates weighing 50 tonnes each are due to be installed at Bristol's historic docks in the next few days. The steel back-up lock gates, known as leaves, travelled 1,000 miles from the Deest shipyard in the Netherlands. They arrived in Cumberland Basin this evening. The gates will replace 140-year-old Victorian wooden lock gates at Junction Lock. They were specially built by Dutch shipyard and construction company Ravestein. They will be taken into Junction Lock by pontoon barge before being lifted into place by a 500-tonne crane. Work is expected to finish on Wednesday.
lock gates
Being towed by New Ross
lock gates
New Ross
lock gates
Bristol City Council vessel Dourdreck nudging the gates
lock gates
Passing the Brunel Swivel bridge and the open Cumberland Basin bridge
Pictures of new Cumberland Basin lock gates being moved by impressive cranes and harbourmaster (March 09)

Couple having a picnic on an anchor

Bristol steam crane lifting sherman tank

Stothert and Pitt crane
Stothert and Pitt crane

Martin Bodman Docks photos

Bristol Docks pictures 1968.
Martin's Photo Gallery

Clive Moore Docks photos

These show the city docks while still working and were taken by him or his father over a long period of time. Such as pictures of the 'Harry Brown' sand dredger on its first trip out to sea, pictures of the city docks with shipping, avonmouth docks, and various shots of industry around bristol. Many of his stories revolve around the brewery and the pubs of bristol, his father and his family were all publicans etc. so trips to the brewery were not uncommon. He can even remember the Georges greys.
Clive's Photo Gallery

Clifton Rocks Railway Refurbishment

Maggie Shapland
Clifton Rocks Railway photos

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