The Grove


Great Crane and Slip-The Grove 18C – From The Port of Bristol in the Eighteenth Century – Walter Minchinton 1962

In 1735 the Great Crane of Bristol was erected on the side of the new Mud Dock, and in the 1742 edition of his Tour, Daniel Defoe refers to this crane as being ‘the workmanship of the late ingenious Mr Padmore’. It is possible that Padmore had died a little earlier, in about 1740, for a minute of the Committee of the Society of Merchant Venturers for the 18th of October of that year notes that Mrs Padmore attended and offered to sell a crane ‘which is already made’.

Martin Watts Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society (BIAS)

The Great Crane was demolished during the building of the floating harbour in the early nineteenth century.

John Padmore Rat Tailed Crane as illustrated by Desagulier
THe Grove 1869 to 1878
The Grove 1869 to 1878 – Reece Winstone
PBAN9287 Historical view of The Grove, taken between 1869 and 1878.


The Grove from Redcliffe Parade c mid 1870s – Bristol Museums 2307
The Grove from Redcliffe
The Grove and Prince Street Bridge seen from Redcliffe 1871 – Severn Shed is visible
The Grove 1890s RW
The Grove 1890s – Reece Winstone
Three masted barque Precursore at Mud Dock West c1900 -Bristol Museums York Collection 5058
The Grove Welsh Back Aerial 1920 R W
The Grove and Welsh Back aerial 1920 – Reece Winstone
Bathurst Wharf and The Grove 1921
The Grove 1921
Docks Office 1927 (now Queens Square House) - Bristol Archives
Docks Office 1927 (now Queens Square House) – Bristol Archives
The Grove before Redcliffe Bridge 1930 RW
The Grove Ferry before Redcliffe Bridge – Reece Winstone
grove ferry 1934
The Grove Ferry 1934 shortly before it discontinued. Now site of River Station. – Reece Winstone
PBA571 Monmouth Coast unloading at the Grove. May 1936.
PBAX1903 Tobacco barges being towed through Prince Street bridge, City Docks, c1948.

Barges loaded with hogsheads of tobacco being towed. Each barge has a ‘watcher’ on board. Tobacco unloading shed at Mud Dock on the left.

PBAP786 The Mud Dock tobacco berth prior to the demolition of the canopy.
PBAN6952 Lorries being loaded with fertilizer at F Site, City Docks. Redcliffe Parade and the General Hospital can be seen in the background.
PBAN3453 New tug Sea Volunteer at F Site, The Grove. C.J. King and Sons
PBAP702,Crane No.18, redundant, being pulled over by scrap merchants at F Site.
Sand dredger Harry Brown moored at F site, The Grove 1967 – PBAN6164
River Police Station 1954 Prince Street Bridge
The site of the Grove Ferry from Redcliffe 2019
Mud Dock West 1967
The Grove c1975
The Grove c1975
The Grove 2018
The Grove 2018
Severn Shed 2019- the oldest remaining shed on the docks – built 1864 when it was called The Hide
Mud Dock West
Mud Dock West – built 1740 and called Old Mud Dock in 1928 after Mud Dock East built
The Thekla at Mud Dock East
Mud Dock East in 2019 when The Thekla was being refitted in Albion Dockyard

Endres Gane and Pyronaut

Endres Gane at Mud Dock West August 2020

This unpretentious house boat is moored at Mud Dock West. However, it has an interesting history.

In the early 1930s the Fire Brigade ordered two new fire-floats, Charles Hill & Sons Ltd., Albion Dockyard, Bristol, successfully tendered for both. In 1934 the Bristol Phoenix II (later renamed Pyronaut) was officially launched for Bristol City Docks, followed in 1936 by Endres Gane for Avonmouth (Western Daily Press, Saturday 17 October 1936).

Pyronaut protected Bristol Docks from 1934 to 1973, working particularly hardin the Blitz in 1940-41.

The name Endres Gane, comes from Philip Endres Gane, the proprietor of a designer furniture manufacturer in Bristol which engaged in many philanthropic ventures. The Gane family believe he was named after his uncle, Philip Endres, who was the German husband of his father’s sister Eliza, including his surname as a middle name. PE Gane was Chair of the Fire Brigade Committee for several years before his death in 1933. It is probable the committee and, his son, Crofton Gane (who was present at the launch) saw an opportunity to commemorate his father but dropped the Philip.

Information about the Gane family supplied by Dr Oliver Kent at The Stradling Collection

Endres Gane Avonmouth – courtesy of Michael Ellery


Mr Ellery,Coxwain left,  Endres Gane Avonmouth – courtesy of Michael Ellery


Pyronaut fireboat  in 1946 at The Grove approaching Prince Street Bridge – PBA 1104
Pyronaut outside M Shed  August 2020
Pyronaut and Mayflower outside M Shed, Princes Wharf – August 2020

For more pictures of international fire boats try the pompiers web site

and for Bristol Fire Boats

Pyronaut’s Sister, The Avonmouth Docks Fire Float Endres Gane

Fire Boat Bristol 1780s from Oliver Gabriel’s website above.


Princes Wharf