town in Somerset, England

This article is about the town. For the band with the same name, see Portishead (band).


Portishead viewed from Naish Hill
OS grid referenceST470764
Civil parish
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBRISTOL
Postcode districtBS20
Dialling code01275
PoliceAvon and Somerset
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places

Portishead is a town near the sea in North Somerset, England, where about 21000 people live (Local council update July 24, 2007).

Portishead has had a history since Roman times. Its name comes from the words ‘port at the head of the river’.[1] The town was built on the mouth of a small river; the main road in the town once met the water at the top of the river.

Lots of buildings in the town are of a Victorian style.

Portishead's dock and railway lines change

Portishead dock change

In the 1860s, in the middle of the iron and steel era, a pier and a dock were built for the big boats that could not easily get to Bristol Harbour.[2][3] The ships brought in expensive items from around the world and took items made in the town to other countries. Many ships carried coal.[4]

In the 1880s Portishead Dock was bought by Bristol Corporation,[5] and was managed as part of the Port of Bristol until it closed.

Portishead power stations change

The Portishead power stations were coal power stations built near the dock. The first power station was built in 1926. It began making electricity in 1929 for the Bristol Corporation.[4][6] The power station was made bigger in 1948.[4]

A 2nd power station was started in 1949 and began making electricity in 1955.[4][6]

After 1949, the power stations became part of the country's electricity industry. They used some local coal produced in the Somerset coalfield which was moved by train along the Portishead Railway. The line had opened on 12 April 1867 as the Bristol and Portishead Pier and Railway Company; it opened to the dock on 5 July 1879.[2]

The 1st power station closed in 1976, and the 2nd closed in 1982. The dock was closed in 1992.

Railway stations change

Portishead had two train stations for people who lived in the town. The main station was near the centre of Portishead, and the other was at the Pier.[6] The construction of the 2nd power station caused the 1st train station to be removed and another station was opened in the main street of the town on 2 January 1954.[6] The new station closed on 7 September 1964. People who live in Portishead now want the train station to be opened again.[7]

References change

  1. Farr, Grahame (1954). Somerset Harbours. London: Christopher Johnson. p. 49.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Awdry
  3. Smith
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Winter
  5. Visit Bristol website
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Crowhurst
  7. Portishead Railway Group - campaign to reopen the railway

Further reading change

  • Awdry, Christopher, (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing.
  • Crowhurst, Ken, (2001). Images of England: Portishead, Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2240-5.
  • Smith, Martin, (1992). The Railways of Bristol & Somerset, Sherton: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 0-7110-2063-9.
  • Winter, Michael T., (2005). The Portishead Coal Boats: A History of Osborn & Wallis Ltd, Bristol. Lydney: Black Dwarf Publications. ISBN 1-903599-13-X.

Other websites change