Princes Wharf


Princes Wharf Sign

Wapping Dockyards – Nicholas Pocock 1760 – Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery
Subsidence of Toll House, on Prince Street Bridge, 1828 (pencil & w/c on paper) by Rowbotham, Thomas Leeson the Elder (1783-1853); Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, UK; Bequest of William Jerdone Braikenridge, 1908; English, out of copyright.
Launch of SS Great Western 19th July 1837 – Wilde Parsons c1920  – Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

The SS Great Western was designed by IK Brunel and built by shipbuilder William Paterson at a shipyard on Wapping Wharf from 1836.

The prospectus of the Great Western Steamship Company of Bristol, stated that the ambition was the ‘establishment of regular lines of steamships between Bristol and those Western Ports to which her geographical position renders her most eligible, the first to be directed towards the United States of America.’

At the time she was the largest steamship in the world and her maiden voyage from Bristol to New York was on 8th April 1838.

PBAN6140 Illustration of the arrival of the Great Western in New York on 23rd April 1838
The Great Western – R and AW Reeve c1840 – National Maritime Museum
Prince Street Bridge in 1856 from Cannons Marsh Reece Winstone
Prince Street  foot Drawbridge from Cannons Marsh in 1856 – Reece Winstone

Princes Wharf was created in circa 1870 by covering over shipyards including Wapping Dockyard which had been built in 1742.

Prince Street Drawbridge c1872 Bristol Museum
Prince Street Drawbridge 1872  -Bristol Museum

Prince Street Drawbridge was built in 1809 and replaced in 1878 with a swing bridge.

PBAP3127 c1898 The Naval screw corvette HMS “Cleopatra” moored by the Bush Warehouse.

A grain elevator rises from the top of the warehouse, with grain pipes descending diagonally to the various floors. Prince Street Bridge can be seen to the right of the photograph.

Princes Wharf 1921
Princes Wharf and Bathurst Basin 1921
PBA703 Princes Wharf with Corporation Granary

City Docks view from Narrow Quay to Princes Wharf with ss ‘Bristol City’ and granary. Bow of ‘Stargard’ on right. Also includes Guinness transit sheds, Fairbairn steam crane and St Raphael’s church.

PBA794 Photo of view to Princes Wharf from Wapping showing Corporation granary, steam crane and Ashmead tugs 1930s.

Princes Wharf – Princes Shed, Princes Wharf granary, grain sheds and Fairbairn steam crane. s/s ‘Stanja’ and s/s ‘Cato’ berthed at Princes Wharf. Fred Ashmead’s ‘Hubert’, ‘Conroy’ and barges on Railway Wharf.

Bristol Corporation Granary Princes Wharf in 1938 was built 1888 and bombed 1941

PBA1343 Tug towing barges through Prince Street swing bridge 1948.

Tug ”Conroy” towing train of two barges towards Redcliffe. Beyond Prince Street Bridge, Princes Wharf undeveloped since clearance of war-damaged granaries. River Police station behind bridge engine house.

PBA1754 First cargo at Princes Wharf – 14 April, 1952. New berth for regular use by Bristol Steam Navigation Co Ltd. Showing cranes & rail trucks and L Shed.
PBAN2259, Discharging woodpulp and general cargo from Norway from MV Stalheim overside to barge and to L Shed. Standard Steamship Co., Oslo.
PBA2103 Laila Dan from Finland discharging woodpulp at L Berth, Princes Wharf.
PBAN8808B View of MV Dido at M Shed, Princes Wharf,from the top of the Fairbairn Steam crane. Guinness Shed on the right.
Princes Wharf
M Shed Princes Wharf and The Matthew

History of the Princes Wharf Cranes by Andy King

Prince Street Bridge from Narrow Quay 2018
Prince Street Bridge from Narrow Quay 2018
Built in 1934 by Charles Hill & Son of Bristol, Volunteer is a harbour tug of steel construction with a British Polar K56 diesel engine. She was delivered to C J King & Sons Limited at Bristol.  – Princes Wharf 2019
Lord Nelson August 2020 Princes Wharf

This ship is one of two owned by a sailing charity called Jubilee Sailing Trust, and it was specially adapted to allow people with physical impairments to sail tall ships on the ocean. Sadly the owners can not afford to run it any more and it awaits its fate at Princes Wharf having arrived in October 2019.

Sculpture made of rubbish in Bristol harbourside
Sculpture made of rubbish unveiled in Bristol harbour
MV Balmoral Art by Georgia
MV Balmoral Princes Wharf Oct 2022

Grade II status for Bristol docks’ ‘commanding’ cranes

Four electric cranes have been given Grade II status in recognition of the role they and the docks played in Bristol’s industrial history.

The cargo-handling cranes were erected in 1951 at Prince’s Wharf and served the L and M sheds.

M Shed Cranes 22