3 September 2016


On the border of the Cotswolds, not far from Chippenham and only a short drive from Bath in Wiltshire, England, lies the ancient town of Bradford on Avon. The town dates from Roman times and straddles the river Avon. The bridge over the river, in the town centre, was built by the Normans and the ruins of a palatial Roman Villa have been discovered in the grounds of a local school. Most of the buildings and cottages are built from Cotswold stone which is characteristic of the area. 

Bradford on Avon was once home to around 30 woollen textile mills until the centre of power shifted to Yorkshire in the late 19th century. The last local mill closed in 1905 and many have stood empty since. In the 19th century cloth manufacture was compensated for by the growth of the rubber industry. Until 1991, Bradford on Avon was a centre of the industry, producing rubber components for Avon Rubber.

I used my Nikon D610 and 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 VR ED lens to take these images.  The light was quite dull and flat for most of the day.  I set the ISO to 200 and the aperture to f11.  This resulted in a shutter speed of around 1/125th which required a steady hand.  I have boosted the clarity slightly in post as well as the vibrance.

The image of the Swan Hotel has been converted to monochrome as there was actually no colour in the scene.

  The bridge is interesting. The centre of the town grew up around the ford across the river Avon, hence the origin of the town's name ("Broad-Ford"). This was supplemented in Norman times (13th century) by the stone bridge that still stands today. The Norman side is upstream, and has pointed arches. The bridge was widened in the 17th century to the downstream side, which has rounded arches. The "lockup" was added at this time (the square, roofed structure in the middle of the bridge). There are different theories as to the original purpose of the 'lock up'. One being it was a tiny chapel dedicated to St Nicholas, whose emblem - the gudgeon - appears on the top of the weather vane. By the 1700's it was a jail known locally as 'the blind house'. It was usually occupied by drunks who were said to be 'under the fish and over the water'!

The image has been converted to monochrome in Lightroom as I thought that this is more appropriate for the subject.

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