Learning Activity: Investigating a Plan of the City Docks

Description of resource:

This plan of the City Docks was printed in 1947. It shows the extent of the City Docks at the time and how it would have looked through the 1950s. Areas of water are marked in blue, roads in orange, both docks and public rail links in black, and Port of Bristol Authority (PBA) buildings and land in pink. Important buildings outside the city Docks are labelled and these include the Cathedral, Temple Meads station, and the Council House. Note that residential areas and open spaces are not indicated.

Support materials:

  • Image of Port of Bristol Authority, Plan of the City Docks
  • Ruler with both metric and imperial measures
  • Compass
  • Magnifier
  • Graph paper
  • Thin card
  • Images of the Floating Harbour contemporary with the plan
  • 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 plan

  • Allow some time to become familiar with this plan. Establish the age of the plan.
  • Try and find or identify some familiar landmarks around the Floating Harbour.
  • Locate a place on the plan and trace a route.
  • Compare this plan with other plans or maps of the same area to explore development over time.
  • Consider how the area has changed and how it has remained the same
  • Consider how the land use has changed
  • Think about the place names associated with the Floating Harbour. Do they give any information about its history?
  • Visit a section of the Floating Harbour and compare the information on the plan with what can be seen today.

Interactive map

Did you know?