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 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.
There are several plaques on the outside of the tower that offer some historuical context.
This is the foundation stone.
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.
Another door, this one without glass, opens out at the first stage with three balconies looking out to the South, West and East.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then to the door back down…
And the slightly tatty and scary stairwell.
More doors at: Thursday Doors – Norm 2.0