Bristol Harbour is the harbour in the city of Bristol, England. In 1809 Bristol was transformed by the opening of The Floating Harbour. Bristol’s prosperity has been linked with the sea since its earliest days and currently serves as the largest centre of culture, employment and education in the region. Bristol Harbour has existed since the 13th century but was developed into its current form in the early 19th century when lock gates were installed on a tidal stretch of the River Avon in the centre of the city. It is called a “floating harbour” as the water level remains constant and it is not affected by the state of the tide on the river thus ensuring that visiting ships can remain afloat. Bristol Harbour is now a tourist attraction with Museums, galleries, exhibitions, bars and restaurants. Former warehouses which were built around the harbour for storage and trade, have now largely been converted or replaced by cultural venues, such as the Arnolfini Art Gallery (which was originally a 19th.Century grade 2 listed tea warehouse), the Watershed media Centre, The At- Bristol Science Exhibition Centre and The Bristol Industrial Museum, which has now been transformed into the “M Shed” (the new Museum of Bristol). Museum boats are permanently berthed in the harbour. These include Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ss Great Britain, a replica of the Matthew (in which John Cabot sailed to North America in 1497), and other historic vessels such as the steam tug The Mayflower, The Pyronaut fire -boat and The John King motor tug. The cargo cranes, which form a landmark on Bristol’s Docks are a reminder of Bristol’s trading past during the 1950’s.In late July each year, the Bristol Harbour Festival is held. This colourful festival features Tall Ships, Royal Navy vessels and lifeboats.
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