Saturday, 1 March 2014

Up the Feeder

A fortnight ago I decided it was about time we discovered more about the in which city we live (ie Bristol).  We moved here over 20 years ago (23 years and 3 months to be precise!) and although we are reasonably familiar with large areas of it, I am sure there are details that have escaped us, and pockets of it that we have never set foot in.

Our first sortie introduced us to the sculptures in and around the centre, which I will leave for another post.

This afternoon we decided to focus on the Feeder Canal, a waterway built between 1804 and 1809, by a workforce of over a thousand English and Irish labourers, to divert water from the tidal river Avon into the Floating Harbour and maintain its level.

No expedition should ever be undertaken on an empty stomach, so our first stop was Hart's Bakery, tucked away in one of the arches beneath Brunel's magnificent station at Temple Meads.  Fortified by mouthwateringly flaky lamb, pea and mint pasties, and two sublime slices of cake (orange and almond polenta and banana and toffee - half each!) washed down with a mug of latte, we boldly set off where we had never been before.

Here are some of the things we saw:

And here are some of the things we learned:
  • Bristol was once home to the biggest galvanising works in the world, owned by John Lysaght whose Victorian Gothic fantasy office building still stands on the site.
  • Netham Recretation /ground, known locally as The Brillos, got its nickname from 'barilla' a Spanish plant burned to extract sodium carbonate in the old Netham Chemical Works.
  • The area between the New Cut and the Feeder Canal, known as The Marsh, was infested by rats, giving employment to local rat catchers.  Albert 'Hopper' Chinnick, the most notorious of them, allegedly bit off their heads as his party trick down the pub.  And for a 'tanner' he's said to have done the same with puppy dogs' tails!
  • The rose bushes in Sparke Evans Park produced magnificent flowers on account of the high levels of soot from local industry and railways.
Where will our next excursion take us?

1 comment:

  1. fantastic idea, I´m always shocked to hear how little most people seem to know about the area they live in and don´t seem to mind. Explorer days are the best, especially in sunshine :-)