7 May 2013

Post 2) Time and Tide wait for no Man

Before 1809, the floating harbour was the tidal rivers Avon and Frome and it was important to know the times of the tides for loading/unloading from ships and embarking and disembarking. The great St Augustine's trench had been cut through the marsh land and shallow ridge of the Butts jutting out from College Green towards the centre of Queen Square between 1239 and 1247 by the Monks and hundreds of labourers. The great trench was 18 feet deep at high tide and presented a soft, muddy level bed for the ships that came up to the centre of the port to discharge their goods. The Frome was reduced to a trickle, off set to the west of the trench at low tide. This compared to the sloping and sometimes hard stony banks of the natural Avon which had a range of about 22 feet at Welsh Back.

The great sundial on Broad Quay opposite College Green was 28 feet high of freestone on a Tuscan Column with octagonal base and great 2 foot diameter gold leaf ball on top. It was perhaps, late Stuart or Queen Anne, Maybe even erected on the ascension of George 1st as it appears on Millerd's map revision of 1715. It was demolished and the 4 Frome slipways filled in 1861 for the Dublin Shed of 1862. The Water Bailiff used the dial to regulate the hours allowed for working cargoes and the Quay Warden used it to tell the tide times. A large West Indiaman required up to a dozen tow boats of 100 oarsmen to back her out into the Avon, swing her 110 degrees to port then nurse her down the channel to Hungroad or Kingroad on the Ebb tide. The signal mast on the Butts, used by the Quay Warden and drawn by Hugh O'Neil, here in 1824 will be next
The model just requires some more work on the octagonal base, photo texturing and the dial numerals adding. The base map layer has now been geo-referenced to google earth giving exact sun and shadow detail for Bristol. This render was set at High Noon on June 21st (local time)

The great trench. The heart of the City, Port and Model. Hundreds of different Map Sections are being stiched together in different eras, then overlaid, with building data from the older plans and maps stretched to fit and referenced against surviving buildings, photos and drawings.

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