Category Archives: stuff

Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts 2016

Across this blog I wrote fifteen posts in 2016. As might not be expected most of the top ten posts that year were from 2016, and I was pleased to see how popular my 1990s photographs of the Bristol Harbourside were.

I visited Legoland in 2013 and felt that it was A bit tired and this was the tenth most popular post, dropping one place from last year.

Also about Legoland Miniland was the ninth post.

The eighth post was about Time travelling by train which was a post on the newly painted GWR High Speed Train in the classic 1970s blue and yellow.

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The seventh popular post was inspired by a newspaper article and talked about the many Changes at the railway station in Weston-super-Mare.

The sixth placed post was from my 2012 series of Cinematic Advent Calendar posts, this one was #07 – The Eagle has Landed. There were quite a few films in the advent calendar that have significant memories over and above the film itself. Queuing for Star Wars was significant for example. With The Eagle has Landed I went to see it at the Aldeburgh cinema with my grandparents.

When I used film, I didn’t take than many photographs, but I did take a fair few of the Bristol Harbourside, so the fifth post was of the Bryan Brothers’ Garage Demolition, Bristol, circa 1999.

Three of the next four posts were similar and all contain photographs from the Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s.

Construction in the Bristol Harbourside

Fourth was this post Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s and third was this one: Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s (second part).

The second most popular post was a comparison of Trenchard Street, Bristol, circa 1970s and the view today.

The most popular post of the year on the Stuff blog was a series of photographs of Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s.

So quite a few posts from 2016 in the 2016 top ten.

Bizarre Balloons

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From the 11th to the 14th August this year is the annual Bristol Balloon Festival.

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 150 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. The Fiesta truly is a sight that can only be seen in Bristol. Held over four days in August at Ashton Court Estate, the event is completely free with charges made for parking on the event site. Tickets can be purchased here. Alongside the fantastic site of hot air balloons filling the skies, we have a large number of great trade stands, fairground rides and entertainment.

One of the highlights for many people at the balloon festival are the themed balloons. Here are some more photographs I took at last year’s festival of some of those balloons.

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Due to the windy conditions last year as the mass ascent I was at, some of the shaped balloons weren’t inflated or took off.

There were lots of other balloons though.

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Bristol Balloon Festival

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From the 11th to the 14th August this year is the annual Bristol Balloon Festival.

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 150 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. The Fiesta truly is a sight that can only be seen in Bristol. Held over four days in August at Ashton Court Estate, the event is completely free with charges made for parking on the event site. Tickets can be purchased here. Alongside the fantastic site of hot air balloons filling the skies, we have a large number of great trade stands, fairground rides and entertainment.

Here are some more photographs I took at last year’s festival.

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Up, up and away…

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From the 11th to the 14th August this year is the annual Bristol Balloon Festival.

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, attracting over 150 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. The Fiesta truly is a sight that can only be seen in Bristol. Held over four days in August at Ashton Court Estate, the event is completely free with charges made for parking on the event site. Tickets can be purchased here. Alongside the fantastic site of hot air balloons filling the skies, we have a large number of great trade stands, fairground rides and entertainment.

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We went last year and had a really nice time watching the mass ascent of the numerous hot air balloons.

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For me the real highlight of this festival are the mass ascents. You can get really quite close to the balloons as they rise.

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Of course if you aren’t interested in hot air balloons, then there is a bundle of other stuff you can do, from stalls to fairground rides.

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It should be noted that if you don’t like crowds then this probably isn’t the event for you, though you could always go to the early morning ascents.

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I know a lot of people like the night glow on the Thursday night, my previous experience was that the whole thing was incredible, but ruined by the constantly moving crowds, so I now watch it on the telly.

Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s Part Six

Back in the 1990s when I was teaching at a college in Bristol, I use to undertake regular field trips to the Bristol Harbourside as part of a unit on urban regeneration. There was at the time to much happening down there after years of inaction that it was an ideal place to demonstrate the impact of investment and change of use. Bristol had been an important port for hundreds of years, this all came to a halt in the 1970s and regeneration plans were developed. Not much happened for twenty years, but in the last twenty years we have seen major regeneration of the area, massive building of offices, business, residential and entertainment, as well as visitor attractions such as at-Bristol (where incidentally I worked for a while when it opened).

During one of those field trips, I took my SLR camera with me, and digging around a box in the garage I found the prints, which I have since scanned in. This is the final post on these images, you can find part one, part two, part threepart four and part five.

Before the advent of North Sea gas most towns and cities had gasworks that turned coal into gas which was then used for heating and cooking. Down in the harbourside were the Bristol Gasworks. Back in the 1990s these were no longher used for making gas and were in a state of decay, but they were still used for storing North Sea gas. Since then the gas storage has been removed. The buildings were listed and due to the contamination on the site it took many years before they could be used for something else.

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You can see from this 2005 image that not much had changed in the preceding ten years to the gasworks building, but around it there was a lot of building and regeneration.

Old Gas Works

On the other side of the harbour this view is now dramatically different as a range of houses and apartments have been built.

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Even in the 1990s we already had a fair bit of development already done.

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A view up the harbour looking towards the SS Great Britain on the right.

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At this point the SS Great Britain had been back in Bristol for twenty years and was looking splendid. She didn’t have the fake water glass thingy representing water as she does now, but she was in pretty good condition and the team restoring her had done an excellent job.

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One aspect of the harbour which doesn’t change is the need for dredging.

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If you were here today you could turn around and walk over Pero’s Bridge, back then  you needed to walk around. Over on the left is the Watershed.

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Overall it was interesting to see what had changed in the last twenty years and also what hadn’t.