Thursday doors

Door 38

Cabot doors 002 29 June 2018

This week I thought I’d take you on a little tour to one of the very special places in Bristol, Cabot Tower on Brandon Hill. The Thursday door is a bit of an excuse really to share something that lies behind the door, so door specialists had better lower their expectations. To all those who are keen to know who discovered the coast of North America in 1497, read on…

Cabot doors 025 29 June 2018

Cabot Tower was built in 1897/98 to commemorate the fourth centenary of John Cabot’s (Giovanni Caboto) discovery of the coast of North America under the commission of Henry VII of England. John Cabot set out from Bristol on the 2 May 1497 on The Matthew with 18 crew members and made landfall in Newfoundland on 24 June that same yesy. What a voyage that must have been on this tiny ship.

Cabot doors 003 29 June 2018

There are several plaques on the outside of the tower that offer some historuical context.

Cabot doors 005 29 June 2018

This is the foundation stone.

Cabot doors 006 29 June 2018

Ok, so here are some doors… this is the rather underwhelming door immediately inside the tower – I expect it was once the kiosk, but now the tower is un-manned and permanently open to the public. The steep spiral staircase starts to the left.

Cabot doors 008 29 June 2018

Another door, this one without glass, opens out at the first stage with three balconies looking out to the South, West and East.

Cabot doors 010 29 June 2018

The reason for climbing the stairs is to take in the breathtaking views of Bristol. This is looking south and the building with the green roof immediately after the park is where I work.

Cabot doors 011 29 June 2018

Zooming in a little to the South West you can see I. K. Brunel’s SS Great Britain in its permanent dry dock. The little cottage just at the stern of the ship is the building that Brunel worked from.

Cabot doors 014 29 June 2018

Another of Brunel’s extraordinary landmarks, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, can be seen to the West and spans across the Avon Gorge, through which Cabot would have sailed all those centuries ago.

Cabot doors 020 29 June 2018

Serendipitously, the modern replica of Cabot’s Matthew was motoring around the floating Harbour, just as I reached the top of the tower. It is a very small boat to be crossing the Atlantic in.

Cabot doors 021 29 June 2018

Then to the door back down…

Cabot doors 023 29 June 2018

And the slightly tatty and scary stairwell.


by Scooj

More doors at: Thursday Doors – Norm 2.0


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I am Stephen. I live in Bristol, UK. I decided to shorten my this: Wildlife, haiku, travel, streetart, psychogeography and my family. Not necessarily in that order.

14 thoughts on “Thursday doors”

  1. Wonderful doors and history in this post. Yes those boats do seem terribly small considering the undertaking.
    I remember as a child learning all about Cabot’s voyage in school. There’s some debate as to whether he landed in Newfoundland or Cape Breton Nova Scotia, but most of the accounts we read included his comments about the cod being so abundant they simply dropped buckets into the ocean and pulled them out full of fish.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I read a lot about the various accounts of where he landed, but in the interests of brevity kept it simple. He is a massive hero figure in Bristol, but outside of Bristol and parts of Canada, I think he is unknown…all the focus is on Columbus.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. My pleasure. John Cabot was a Venetian on account of having lived there for 15 years and had a Venetian name. He was a born traveller and brought up in a culture of merchand discovery. I’m pleased he ended up in Bristol.


  2. Cabot is a big name in Canadian history – and then of course there is the famous Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island 🙂

    I love a tower and can never resist wanting to stop and investigate. This one is very ornate compared to what I’m used to. Love the recessed walls, the pattern in the brickwork and the blue crosses. Great find – and even better that you got to climb the spiral staircase!!

    Liked by 1 person

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