Short History

By the mid 1830's a regular steam packet was operating between Bristol and Portishead. In 1862, the Bristol and Portishead Pier and Railway Company were formed, leading to the arrival of the railway in 1867.

Portishead Pier was extended and completed in 1870, in that same year a Portishead dock scheme was announced in competition with a new dock to be built at Avon mouth.

Porthishead docks 1882

The Portishead Dock and Railway Company obtained their act in 1871.

The situation is on the south side of the mouth of the river Avon to the east of Portishead hill that effectual shelters the harbour from west and south-west gales.

The land obtained covered an area of fifty acres, plus approximately a further twenty acres of water the works were commenced in 1873

The Bristol Corporation who are large landowners at Portishead contributed 100000.

Railway communication is by the Portishead Railway company, a short line that is worked by the Great Western Railway Company. (from Bristol Past and Present 1882)

Approches to the lock from the sea as it exsisted around about 1974

Portishead Pier extends NNE for nearly 170 m from the coast; the inner part consists of a stone jetty 130 m long which projects seaward from the west side of the entrance to Portishead dock, and the outer part, which projects a further 170 m consisting of a pile pier with rock filling. A light is exhibited from a white column at the seaward end of the pier There are four conspicuous, tall chimneys of a power station standing mile SW of the root of Portishead Pier.
Portishead Dock, mile E of Portishead Point (51 30 N, 2 46 W), is entered from King Road.
The Fair way to the dock entrance lies parallel to and on the SE side of, Portishead Pier; Care should be taken when approaching the entrance on the flood tide to allow for a W set immediately N of Portishead Pier
Wet dock. The dock is entered through a lock 134-m long and 20 m wide with a depth over the outer sill of 10.4 m at MHWS and of 7.1 at MNWN; a light is exhibited from each side of the lock entrance. The dock is 549 m long and 106.7 m wide it has 1188 m of quayage with depths from 8 m to 9 m.
Facilities. The dock is equipped with cranes of up to 7 tons capacity and has accommodation for coal, wood pulp and timber. There are conveyor bands to the nearby Phosphorus factory, and facilities for discharging coal and oil to the adjacent power station.
Supplies. Oil fuel can be supplied. Fresh Water is laid on to the principal berths. A small stock of coal is maintained.
(From Bristol Channel Pilot 1974)

A Picture History IN and Around the Lock

Click on images above for larger veiw and information