Ships on the Avon near Hotwells
Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus
Medium: Ink wash on paper
Bristol has had a long and successful history as a port. However, for centuries there was a problem of access due to its location six miles inland. The approach to the harbour was very circuitous along the River Avon and ships often became grounded at low tide.
Between 1712-1715, Joshua Frankline built a wet docks at Sea Mills, the site of the old Roman harbour. This did little to solve the problem as there was practically no road from here to the city and very little cargo was off-loaded here.
In 1768, Hotwells became the site of new wet docks. The area was also a popular health and holiday resort because of the hot spas to be found here.