Cumberland Basin


Graces Guide to Cumberland Basin Bridges

Cumberland Basin Samuel Jackson C1828

SS_Great_Britain_by_William Talbot April 1844 Wickipedia
SS Great Britain at Cumberland Basin April 1844 by William Talbot

According to Wickipedia this is the first known photograph of a ship.

Screenshot-2018-2-26 The Cumberland Basin by E T Dolby, 1850s
Cumberland Basin in 1850s by ET Dolby
'Mary Ann Peters' 31 March 1857
The ‘Mary Ann Peters’ awaiting the tide just outside Cumberland Basin 31 March 1857 – Reece Winstone

The buildings behind the ship in the picture above were lost in 1873 when the Cumberland Basin when Howards Lock was built.

Cumberland Basin between 1858 and 1873
Brunels Lock between 1858 and 1873 with Rownham Ferry in original position – Reece Winstone
Brunels Lock from Rownham between 1843 and 1873
Brunels Outer Lock 1844 to 1873 – Reece Winstone

Cumberland Basin before 1873 improvements - Reece Winston

Cumberland Basin C 1870 jpg
Cumberland Basin C 1870
Cumberland Basin 1865 to 1870 Paul T
Brunels Lock 1865 to 1870 from Rownham


Modifying the Quay Wall for Howards Lock 1872 - Reece Winstone
Modifying the Quay Wall for Howards Lock in 1872 – Reece Winstone
Possibly Howards junction lock 1873
Possibly Howards Junction Lock 1873 – Bristol Archives
Rownham Ferry c 1875 R W
Rownham Ferry 1875 – Reece Winstone
Cumberland Basin Merimac Pleasure and Tug Boat 1880s R W
SS Merrimac pleasure steamer and tug 1880s – Reece Winstone
Cumberland Basin Tug Peri 1880s R W
Tug Peri at Cumberland Basin 1880s – Reece Winstone
Howards inner junction lock at Cumberland Basin
Howards inner junction lock to Cumberland Basin
Rownham Ferry Ashton Meadows Fair 1890s R W
Rownham Ferry Ashton Meadows Fair 1890s – Reece Winstone
Cumberland Basin from Rownham Hill circa 1900
Rownham Ferry 1906
Rownham Ferry c1906 with Ashton Avenue Bridge nearly built. The ferry had moved South by 1973 as part of the opening of Howards Entrance Lock. It eventually ceased operating in 1932.
Steam tugs in “Upper end Cumberland Basin” . By S Loxton, 1912. Bristol Central Reference Library.
Steam tugs in Upper end Cumberland Basin By S Loxton  – 1912 – Bristol Central Reference Library.
Cumberland Basin 1929 Paul T
Dock Cottages at Brunels Junction Lock 1930s - Bristol Archives
Dock Cottages at Brunel’s Junction Lock 1930s – Bristol Archives
Cumberland Basin 1946 Paul T

To the left of the middle of this picture you can see Merchants Dock, built in 1768 as Champions Dock. Its entrance was blocked off in 1965 and it was built over in the 1980s for the Rownham Mead housing development.

Above it is Hotwell Dock built in 1770 as Stotherts Shipyard and now Pooles Wharf Marina.

Cumberland Basin from Rownham Hill 1950s - Bristol Archives
Cumberland Basin from Rownham Hill 1950s – Bristol Archives
Dock Masters House 1858 to 1964
The Dock Masters House, built in 1858, had to be demolished in 1964 to build Brunel Way and Plimsoll Bridge
cumberland basin 1949 rw
Cumberland Basin 1949 – Reece Winstone
Cumberland Basin 1962 - Reece Winston
Cumberland Basin 1964 – Just before Brunel Way – Reece Winstone
Building Brunel Way 1964 RW
Building Cumberland Basin Bridges 1964 – Reece Winstone
Cumberland Basin Swing Bridge with Howards 1870 bridge in foreground 1964 RW
Cumberland Basin Swing Bridge with Howards 1870 Swing Bridge in foreground  1964          Reece Winstone
Cumberland Basin Road system 1966
Cumberland Basin Road System 1966 – Reece Winstone
Brunels Old Bridge 1849 2s
In 1872 Howard was authorised to adapt Brunel’s bridge and install it to cross the north (Howard’s) Lock. The bridge needed to be shortened by 10 ft, and the counterweights adjusted. The lock was opened for traffic on 19 July 1873. At some point the bridge was converted to hydraulic operation. It remains on the dock under Plimsolls Bridge.
Brunels South Lock blocked off under Brunel Way s
The bridge now permanently closed across the sealed south lock (Brunel’s Lock) under Plimsolls Bridge (known as the ‘Replica Bridge’) is the same bridge that was installed there in 1875-1876.
Looking out Brunels South Lock 2018
Looking out to the Avon from Brunels Junction Lock
Former Entrance to Merchant Dock Rownham Mead
Entrance to former Merchants Dock at Rownham Mead



Part of original Junction Dock Gate from 1870 at Princes Wharf

Howards Junction Lock at Floating Harbour level 2
Howard Junction Lock
Howards Junction Lock at Floating Harbour level
Howards Junction LockHowards Junction Lock at River Avon level

Howards Junction Entrance Lock approaching from East under Plimsoll Bridge

Howards Lock from South

Howards Junction Entrance Lock approaching from West

Plimsoll Bridge from Cumberland Basin
Plimsoll Bridge opened in 1965

Plimsoll Swing Bridge open

Plimsoll Bridge opening

Novia Scotia Yard and Brunels Junction Lock
Novia Scotia Yard and Brunels Junction Lock
Merchants Road Bridge from South 2012
Merchants Road Swing Bridge and Pump House

Merchants Road swing bridge, was built by John Lysaght in 1925.

The Pump House 2014
The Pump House 2014

The Pump House was built in 1873 by Thomas Howard as a Hydraulic Pumping House to provide power to the bridges and machines of Bristol Harbour. It was replaced by the hydraulic engine house at Underfall Yard in the 1888.

In 2018 the City Council referred to the Cumberland Basin area as ‘Western Harbour’ and launched a development proposal covering 15 to 20 hectares of land, 75% of which is already owned by the council. The white line on the photograph below shows the land in question which includes the 1960 road system which would have to be replaced.

western harbour development land

western harbour model

The land would be used for leisure and housing as depicted in the council model above.