Bristol River Frome is sometimes called that to distinguish it from other rivers called The Frome – There is another entering The Avon to the East of Bath. The name Frome is believed to come from a Celtic river name fram, meaning, brisk or fair.
Between 1240 and 1247 the original course of the Frome (roughly from The Glassboat at Bristol Bridge along Baldwin and St Stevens Streets) to its current course to provide more dock space. The dug out section was called The New Channel.
According to The Bristol Packet boat company the left hand section of Bristol Bridge (seen from South) is the former mouth of the Frome. It is undoubtedly close to the right spot but it is strange that since 1247 when the river was diverted it has survived several major rebuilds of the bridge?
Peter Aughton in Bristol – A Peoples History (2000) has the original course of the Frome entering The River Avon to the South of this point at about the site of The Glassboat mooring.
From about 1860 to about 1890 The Frome was culverted from Wade Street St Judes to Stone Bridge Rupert Street. This included the area near Castle Park where there were three bridges in a row from West to East at the bottom of Merchant Street, Philadelphia Street and Pen Street. Merchant Street and Penn street still exist in 2019 and rather oddly the name Philadelphia Street lives on but instead of being parallel to the other two streets it now is at 90 degrees and runs between them.
In the middle right you can see the figurehead of the sunk ‘Demerara’.
The Dublin Shed was built in 1861 and demolished in 1937 when the Frome was culverted at Broad Quay.
The churches above from left to right are St Stephens, St Werburghs (moved to Mina Road in 1878), Christ Church, All Saints and St Nicholas.
In 1893 The Frome was culverted from The Stone Bridge down to the junction of Clare Street and Baldwin Street. The Drawbridge was replaced with St Augustines Bridge.
The Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition was held in a specially built wooden hall at the bottom of Colston Avenue near St. Augustine’s Parade. The hall was 110 feet wide and 520 feet long and cost £11,000. It was lit by 20 electric and 400 gas lamps. The hall featured the first electric clock in Bristol. The exhibition itself was part promoted by J. W. Arrowsmith who owned Arrowsmith’s the printers. It was opened by the Mayor, Mr. (later Sir) R. H. Symes. The exhibition made a profit of £2,200 which was donated to local charities. Around half a million people visited the exhibition during the five months it was open. The only trace of the exhibition now is a fountain by the Colston statue.
In 1938 The Frome was culverted down to the bottom of Broad Quay as it is in 2018.