Saturday, January 16, 2016

mount pleasant terrace, southville: local history

2015 street map
The above map (dated 2015) shows the location of our house (“X”) in Bristol.
Ever since we first moved to Bristol in 2003, I’ve been meaning to drop into the Bristol Records Office to try to discover a little more about the history of our house. Well, at long last, this week, I finally called in and chatted to the really helpful bloke on reception. I just KNEW that I’d be able to access stuff via the internet… the trouble was that when I tried, I got nowhere!
My new friend at the Bristol Records Office pointed out a few glitches in the system and things to AVOID – as well as things to DO. The key thing was to google the magic words “know your place Bristol” (without trying to access the information via the city council’s website - which is precisely what I’d been trying to do!).

Magically, my new friend was able to demonstrate how I could access historical maps of our area AND to be able to compare maps/street layouts between different dates (via “main maps” and “comparison maps”)(you need to click on “base plans” for the map keys to appear)… absolutely fascinating.

1910s street map

1900s street map
There’s a plaque on a building just down the road from us with a 1848 date on it… so I’ve also assumed that our house was built in roughly 1850 or thereabouts. The historical maps have duly confirmed this: our house certainly appears on the 1855 map of the area (even though the whole of Mount Pleasant Terrace hadn’t been completed by that date). 
1880s street map

1874 street map
I always knew that our house was located fairly close to a colliery (Dean Lane Colliery) and, certainly, the maps confirm this (it’s just 275metres away, as the crow flies!). But it’s only fairly recently that I’d become aware of Northside Colliery (at the corner of South Street/North Street) – which is just 250metres from our house! I love the discovery that, according to the map of 1828, the site of our house was once an orchard – the area of land to the north of North Street being virtually devoid of any buildings (except Merrywood Hall). I’m also intrigued to see how, over the course of the next 50 years, our house was not only built, but also surrounded by terraces of other houses (if only things could be like this today!)… and, by the 1900s, the street layout resembles precisely what we have today.
The “Know Your Place Bristol” website is pretty amazing and the main maps/comparison maps are very impressive… I can’t hope to replicate this, but will endeavour to paste eight maps dating from1828 up to 2015, so you can get a “feel” of where we live (fingers crossed!).
1855 street map
1840s street map
1828 map
Moira’s quite keen to discover a little more about the people who have lived in our house over the past 150 years or so… I’ll post a link if she ends up following this through!
I love history and LOVE the fact that we can gain access to it for FREE!
Absolutely fascinating.
PS: I downloaded the various maps shown above in small sections and then re-configured them to highlight (and record for my own benefit) how our neighbourhood has developed over the past 150 years or so. I know it's not particularly neat and I’m sure there were simpler ways of doing this, but technology was never my strong point!

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