You might have read today about the publication of a letter from Henry VII that reveals that a Bristol man named William Weston set off on a voyage to the New World in the spring of 1499 only a couple of years after Italian explorer John Cabot had returned from his first transatlantic voyage. BBC History Magazine readers will know that we’ve got a substantial news piece on this story in our September issue.
Both Cabot and Weston left from Bristol, the launch pad for English transatlantic exploration, which is close to my heart as I’m writing this blog from our towerblock in the centre of the city. I can’t quite see the replica of Cabot’s ship the Matthew out of the window but I know it’s down there bobbing in the docks, not far from the actual SS Great Britain, one of Brunel’s engineering masterpieces.
It’s great to work in a historic city. Can anywhere in Britain trump Bristol for its maritime heritage? Portsmouth perhaps with the Mary Rose and its historic dockyard, Plymouth maybe, Chatham I suppose? Where else – Liverpool, Glasgow, what about Whitby where Captain Cook learned his trade? Air your views on our forum.