Until the early 1800s there were only two bridges in Bristol, Bristol Bridge itself over the Avon and the Drawbridge crossing the then open Frome Cut just where the much travelled statue of Neptune now stands on the Centre. So numerous ferries sprang up, many as an aid for workers to get to and from their employment.

It is still possible to see reminders of these ferries around the harbour. Close by Merchants Landing there was a ferry from Wapping Road, landing point still used, across to Canon’s Marsh. Further upstream was the Guinea Street, or Grove ferry which ran from the clearly visible slip near the Ostrich (picture above) to a slip now incorporated in the River Station restaurant on the Grove. Redcliffe ferry crossed from Redcliffe Back to Welsh Back. The Redcliffe entrance at the end of Ferry Lane can be found between the old WCACA building (now affordable accommodation) and the near derelict concrete warehouse adjacent. Then there was the Counterslip ferry, much older, crossing the harbour above Bristol Bridge to provide a link from Bristol Castle to Temple Back; to the “Countess Slip” in fact. It was replaced by a bridge in 1841 on which a toll of ½d was levied until 1875. Hence old Bristolians know it as “The Ha’penny Bridge”.

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