View across the New Cut

View from Coronation Road near the junction with St John’s Road on the opposite side from Asda car park.

Peering through the trees across the New Cut at this spot is like looking through a window at the world beyond. 

Directly in front of you is the Louisiana pub with its distinctive curved balcony. This landmark building dates from the early nineteenth century when it was originally called the Bathurst Hotel.

Just in front of the Louisiana is what remains of a swing bridge which stands at what was the original entrance from the New Cut into Bathurst Basin. The lock gates at the entrance were sealed up at the start of World War Two so as to retain water in the Floating Harbour in the event of the lock being damaged by bombing. At one time, Bathurst Basin was used by ships off-loading sand and gravel dredged up from the Severn Estuary for use in the building trade. 

To the left of the Louisiana, look for the massive stone wall of the ‘New’ Gaol, now restored as part of the Wapping Wharf development. The gaol was originally built in 1820, destroyed during the Bristol Riots of 1831 and then rebuilt to a revised design, but was never properly completed until 1872. The gaol was closed in 1883 due to poor conditions and was largely demolished in 1898.

Just across the water, the red brick building is the Marchioness Shed. This was built in 1883 for the Cardiff and Channel Steamship Company. In 1888 the company purchased a paddle steamer, specifically built for the Bristol/Cardiff packet service. The ship, the ‘Marchioness’, used the shed and ran up and down the Cut with great regularity, turning at the end of each journey in the entrance to Bathurst Basin.

In the distance you can see the very centre of Bristol. Look for Beacon Tower (it has a clock at the top) – a prominent office block, completed in 1973, which stands on one side of the Centre.

Source: Marchioness Shed: Merchants Landing Residents Association website


More Short Cuts


Look out for large birds – their wings held out open to dry – perched on a sturdy branch or discarded supermarket trolley poking out of the river at low tide.

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This sandstone was formed in the desert conditions of the Triassic period, approximately 200-250 million years ago.

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The Moon and the New Cut

Without the influence of the moon, the Cut would never have been built, nor would it have its intriguing changes of water levels or the unique habitat of brackish water.

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