The International Steam Pages


B & B - Bristol and Bath, 2012

For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:


This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2012 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.


I'm a country boy at heart and I will do almost anything to avoid trips to the 'big smoke' of England's cities. As a supporter of Gloucester Rugby Club for over 50 years, it hurts me to say it but the City of Gloucester rightly gets not many tourists as it has little to offer beyond the glorious cathedral and the newly tarted up Gloucester Docks. So when we needed a dose of urbanisation for Yuehong's visiting Aunt and her husband we headed a little south.

Bristol to me is Brunel's City, we skipped his grand Temple Meads Station (much expanded after his time) and headed for the Clifton Suspension Bridge which was designed by him but only completed, with modifications, after his death.

Bristol grew wealthy through its harbour, particularly through its involvement in the slave trade (see also http://discoveringbristol.org.uk/slavery/) and following Brunel's involvement in the Great Western Railway, it must have sense to build his great steam ship SS Great Britain (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Great_Britain) in the city of Bristol. Following its return from the Falkland Islands in 1970, much conservation and cosmetic restoration has been done to what remained of the vessel and a mock up of what it looked like in its prime has been constructed inside.

The iron hull around the waterline (especially) and immediately above and below it is severely corroded and is kept under controlled low humidity. Both the original steam engines and their replacements are long gone but lightweight replicas which can be turned have been fitted and were undergoing maintenance during our visit:

Necessarily the passenger and living accommodation varied from generous to spartan according to the size of wallet.

I'm no great fan of 'visitor attractions' but I'm prepared to make an exception for this one, a view shared by Yuehong. We quickly moved on to what is arguably England's prettiest city, Bath. Given our visitors limited mobility, it had to be a whistle stop visit with barely more than a few photo opportunities. First Royal Crescent and second Bath Abbey.

Nearby are the Pump Rooms where afternoon teas were being served, underneath are the hot springs, ("Aquae Sulis") that attracted the Romans and later visitors to the city:

The final port of call was the famous Pulteney Bridge with its shops:


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

Email: webmaster@internationalsteam.co.uk