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In 1793 the City approved a massive scheme to dig The New Cut, including the Cumberland and Bathurst Basins, Feeder Canal and Netham Dam, thus creating the Floating Harbour.Now tide-locked without an ebb and flow, there was soon a need to remove the River Fromes polluted waters.All Bristols rivers drain to the River Avon, which in turn flows into the Severn Estuary.Since the latter has the second highest tidal range in the world (the highest is in the Bay of Fundy by the way) this creates further drainage problems for the city.Though none of the schemes were completed, several lengths of canal survive today in leisure use, and abandoned sections add to the region's rich industrial archaeology.

Colin Vosper provided a comprehensive overview of the many such proposals, including some lesser known projects.Visits to Dents Glove Factory Museum, where members saw many historic examples of Dents gloves and heard how they still make traditional high quality leather gloves in their award-winning modern factory, and to the Museum at Warminster Library for a virtual tour of the town.After lunch they visited the Robey Trust site at New Perseverance Ironworks, Tavistock.Over the centuries Bristolians have altered the Fromes course, blocked it, channeled it, used it as a defence, a harbour, a sewer, and finally buried most of the urban section in culverts.The Bristol Frome Culverts have been laser scanned, and Melvin showed an impressive fly-through revealing in every detail the twists and turns, weirs, junctions and mud banks in this hidden world under Bristols streets.

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It was rapidly realised that heavy guns alone might now control the battlefield, and because the trench lines were static, railways could be built to deliver the heavy shells that were needed.

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