12 June 2013

Post 6) Peaks and Troughs

     Although I completed 5 metre interval contour tracing of the city some time ago from the OS Maps and English Heritage OS Maps, the contours do not and cannot show the river basins and tops of hills, nor the camber of the roads, gutters and pavements. All these must be worked out "manually" from visual observation, photos and spot heights / benchmarks from the 1880s 1:500 OS city survey. At this time, the cobbled streets had remained largely unaltered in their sinuous paths for well over a century or two, save for the well known new Victorian streets that preceeded the horse trams. The river banks of the Frome, Avon, tributaries, law ditches, gouts and drains must similarily be manually treated before combining with the 5 metre contour curves and pressing the magic sketchup "from contours" button which forms the skin of solid 3d landscape mesh to texture and add buildings to.

This is the gradient profile of Host Street, Steep Street, Lower St Michael's Hill and St Michael's Hill, up to the junction of Southwell Street. The middle and bottom sections have been badly mauled by the creation of the Perry Road retaining wall vastly altering the topography and Colston Street around 1869-70, the latter destroying the short but highly picturesque Steep Street.

Steep Street was less than 150 feet long, but became the main route to the Bristol Channel coast when Queen Street was made into (Christmas) Steps in Sept 1669. Fortunately, Steep Street is well and beautifully recorded by camera and many watercolours from different angles between 1820 and 1870, including the great 5 storey house, the Ship Inn at the top which saw fierce hand to hand fighting in the Civil War.

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