Learning Activity: Investigating Images of Canon’s Marsh

canons marsh bristolLearning Activity Resource

  • Image 1 – Canon’s Marsh (ref. D375)
  • Image 2 – Canon’s Marsh (ref. BMG K5538)
  • Image 3 – Canon’s Marsh (ref. BMG M979)

Date of resource:

  • Image 1 – 1900
  • Image 2 – 1890
  • Image 3 – 1825


  • Image 1 – unknown
  • Image 2 – J. Diplock
  • Image 3 – S. Jackson

Resource located: Bristol’s Museums, Galleries and Archives and Libraries collection

Description of resource:

  • Image 1- photograph of Canon’s Marsh seen from the roof of the Corporation Granary about 1900, showing timber yards and marble works
  • Image 2 – painting of Canon’s Marsh in 1890, heavily used but not yet developed as quays, J. Diplock
  • Image 3 – painting of Canon’s Marsh in 1825, for many years after this area remained undeveloped, S. Jackson

Support materials:

  • Copies of listed images and any other images that might support this activity
  • Viewfinder (fold a square of paper/thin card and cut out a square from the middle)
  • Magnifiers
  • Plain paper
  • Digital camera
  • Contemporary and Historical Ordnance Survey (OS) maps (Alan Godfrey Maps produce large scale plans of OS maps for towns throughout the UK and Ireland)

Techniques and questions for investigating this image

  • What are these images illustrating?
  • What sounds, smells and colours are evoked by these images?
  • Compare these images of Canon’s Marsh. What are the differences and similarities? What can this tell us about the reliability of using only one source of evidence?
  • Who created these images? Why were these images created and who for? Does this have an effect on their reliability as a historical source?
  • This series of images Canon’s Marsh illustrates change over time. What can this tell us about the local area in the past?
  • Stand opposite Canon’s Marsh (approx where the Lloyds Bank building is now) and take a photograph or make a sketch. Using the historical images, discuss how and why the area has changed?

Interactive map

Did you know?