Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge, Historical Research.

Images courtesy of Know Your Place and Bristol Record Office.

Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge was opened on the 3rd June 1906, with a slightly unusual appearance, being a double decker bridge with rail on the bottom and a road on top. Although work is currently underway to allow motor vehicles to cross the bridge, the original roadway was close in 1965. Before this, the bridge fell into disuse around 1934 and repaired in 1952. Thankfully, the current work aims to be completed in just over a year.

Images courtesy of Know Your Place.

These screen shots taken from the Know Your Place website show the development of the bridge and surrounding area from the 1900’s to 2015. I found this to be a useful tool to highlight the physical and industrial changes that have taken place during the last century. However, it became apparent that the bridge has remained relatively similar to when it was first constructed. The images below are courtesy of Know Your Place, and show Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge in its heyday. Although these images have very little artistic purpose, they serve as a record of time and place. They also serve as an historical artefact in the bridges timeline.

The idea of historical landscape imagery is something I find interesting, and an entity I aim to explore throughout this project. I believe these old archival images to be socio-documentary, historical and also slightly picturesque. They emphasise the natural state of the surroundings, but also capture members of the public in their environment.

Therefore, for this project I wanted to combine a variety of styles to achieve a desired final outcome. I wanted to gather inspiration from the New Topographics movement, focussing on key photographers such as Lewis Baltz, Lee Friedlander and Robert Adams, as well as the visual qualities of Bernd & Hilla Becher’s work.


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