Prince Street bridge

From ancient times there was a ferry across the River Avon where Prince Street Bridge is now. For centuries the Dean and Chapter of St Augustine’s Abbey (the present Cathedral) owned it and received the revenue. But by 1806 it was totally inadequate and a bridge was authorised to connect Bristol with the fast-emerging industrial district of Bedminster. It was a modest double-leaf structure, needing a long pier, still there, built out from the north bank of the Avon.

The Abbey was compensated for loss of revenue by being allowed to collect tolls from pedestrians and from handcarts. The Dock Company collected the tolls from livestock and wheeled traffic. Hence there was a Toll House, of classical proportions, I believe on the Wapping side of the water. This arrangement lasted until 1876 when the Great Western Railway, who by then owned the foot tolls sold them to the Corporation for £15,000 on the understanding that a new toll-free bridge would be built.

It was in 1879 that the current, now listed structure was opened.

Scroll to Top