All of the images on this website are held by Bristol’s Museums Galleries & Archives. Most come from two major collections: The Braikenridge collection and The Port of Bristol Authority (PBA) collection.

In the 1820s, the collector and antiquary George Weare Braikenridge commissioned many local artists to picture the city for him. The Museum was bequeathed about 1400 images, mostly small watercolours and drawings that vividly record Bristol before photography. Many of these images show the Harbour, a central part of the city’s life.

The Port of Bristol Authority (PBA) operated the Harbour and the river mouth docks on behalf of the City Council. Commercial photographers were employed to record the life of the port for publicity purposes and also for the magazines that the PBA issued for its workforce. The Museum has this collection, over 11,000 photos of which 10% show the Floating Harbour. Most date from the 1930s–1970s but there is a significant number that date from the 1880s onward.

Please note these images of historical documents are made available for non-commercial use in schools or for personal research. Reproduction fees are payable for publication in any form. Please contact the Museum Service at for further details.

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