The Bristol Channel Area AGM was held at the Underfall Yard in Bristol’s Floating Harbour, 22 October, 2017, making a refreshing change from our usual sailing club venues.
The yard dates to the creation of the Floating Harbour in 1809 and houses all the Victorian machinery (sluices, hydraulic pumps, steam-driven workshops etc) needed to maintain water levels, prevent siltation and drive lock gates. It was fascinating to see Brunel’s four sluice gates, still used to remove silt from the harbour, and the large 1890 Patent Slip, with its massive timbers and chain winch, again still in use today.
Attendees enjoyed a superb guided tour by Sarah Murray, Underfall’s Education and Outreach Officer, who explained in detail how the harbour was built and maintained, and the role of the historic and largely still-working machinery housed at Underfall’s. After lunch we paid a visit to Adam Cloote’s 1860 Thames Bawley, currently on the hard at Bristol Marina. Adam described for us her history as a working boat on the Thames Estuary and explained the current work he is doing on her hull. We had the opportunity to climb aboard and explore this historic little ship.
So, this trip into maritime history provided an informative and most enjoyable prelude to our area AGM. Anyone with an interest in traditional sailing ships and maritime history should certainly pay a visit to the Floating Harbour, and in particular the Underfall Yard. The Cafe there is also great!
Watch the slideshow of photos prepared by Viv Head.