I blipped a campanula that was growing weedlike over a wall at Bristol’s Christmas Steps last Friday, for Biker Bear’s Flower Friday Challenge, and Lovelupins17 asked me why the steep alley was called Christmas Steps?
The answer is that no one is quite sure, the street has had a number of names over the years, in medieval times it became known as knyfesmythe lane and it may have been corrupted to Christmas. Alternatively the stained glass window of the chapel of the Three Kings at the top of the steps may have been the reason.
Nowadays the bottom of the steps meet an ugly modern office buildings and a busy road, just behind where I was standing when I took this shot. But what you can’t see is that this road has been constructed over the culverted River Frome. Originally, the river came to the end of the steep hill and, until the 17th Century, barrels were rolled down the hill to be loaded onto ships. This was all then part of Bristol’s tidal port. With so many sailors and dock workers about it is believed that most of the buildings on the street housed bars and brothels at one time or another.
There is one pub left, but nowadays the street has a range of boutique shops, and (so far as I know) not a single brothel.
Walking up the hill I came across a shop selling fancy dress for Halloween, and couldn't resist adding a shot as my extra today. I don't know how many takers they have had, but I admire their entrepreneurial spirit (and sense of mischief).
I just wanted to close today by saying thank you all for your very kind comments, hearts and stars for yesterday's 300th blip, it made me feel a very welcome member of this wonderful blip community. Just and 64 to go now to my first proper anniversary...