Crowded Quays, Bristol

The crowded quays of Bristol were often remarked upon, being compared to a forest, and complaints were often made of loads of timber, millstones and anchors obstructing trade. This is from Latimer’s Annals of Bristol:

An order issued by the Court go Quarter Sessions in August, 1770 offers some amusing testimony as to the leisurely business habits of the age. Complaint having been made as to the blocking go he uays, the court decreed as follows: “All vessels laden with tobacco [it was shown under 766 that she of these ships were only about 100 tons burden]to discharge their cargo in 40 working days; all vessels from other foreign parts in 21 working days.. All vessels bound to foreign parts to take in their loading in 80 working days.” From 17 to 20 weeks were therefore allowed each ship between her arrival and departure. The following regulation was also made: “No candle to be lighted on board any vessel at the keys on any night are the Candle Bell shall be rung,” on pain of a fine of 10s. The Candle Bell figures n some old engravings of the Drawbridge.”


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