Filed under Bridges

Rome, Sink of Iniquity

This is from Christopher Hubert’s The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici: “There were reckoned to be almost 7,000 prostitutes in a population of less than 50,000, most of them working in brothels licenced by the papal authorities and many of them  suffering from syphilis, ‘a kind of illness very common among priests’, … Continue reading


Benefactions to Bridges

I love bridges & a lot of my blogs feature th In the book stripping the altars Ramon Duffy notes how many people left money or property in their wills to maintain roads & bridges, putting them on a par with caring & feeding the poor. This seems a bit odd, but poor had to … Continue reading

Lessons from a Landslide

This is an event published on 11 November 1773 in the Bath Chronicle announcing the publication of an account which I cannot make sense of. Is this a minor tsunami? “A dreadful phenomenon described and approved being a particular account of the sudden stoppage of the River Severn and of the terrible desolation that happened … Continue reading

Lost Rivers

Lost Rivers

In the Ryan Gosling movie, Drive, there is a scene where Gosling drives his neighbour and her son along a long concreted culvert, the remains of a river, in LA to reach a paradise,a place of wonder, which is what the river once was. This is the fate of many of our urban rivers – … Continue reading

Bristol Bridge

This is not, as most people assume, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, but the ancient bridge crossing the Avon – now the Floating Harbour – in the centre of Bristol. This is from The Annals of Bristol by John Latimer: William Vick, wine merchant of Queen Square, died 3 January 1754. His will included several gifts, … Continue reading



This town is the closest to the Old SevernBridge leading from Wales into England, so is popular area for people who work in Bristol but can’t afford English property. It is a very ancient market town, the region famous for its salmon fishing, shipbuilding and a surprisingly wide range of industries. It is mostly a … Continue reading

Row, Row, Row Your Post

With the Royal Mail about to be sold off after a mere 250 years in public ownership, here’s a gem of a story. A letter box has appeared set into a bridge over the River Thames near the village of Sonning-on-Thames, which is great, with so many of them being closed due to lack of … Continue reading

A History of Everything

Well, not quite, but my book ‘The Big World of Mr Bridges’ Microcosm’ comes close. It is about an 18th century clock. But it is also about England’s rediscovery of information after the Reformation and Civil War. It is about education of the public, in particular of women, when the only people at universities were … Continue reading

A Royal Visit to Bristol

After the celebrations for the king, his long suffering wife seems to have been less popular, or maybe she should have paid for a few barrels of beer for the locals: “Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, being on a visit to Bath for the purpose of drinking the waters, was invited to this city … Continue reading