The Lead Shot Tower, Redcliff Hill
The story is that his idea came to him in a dream where he saw molten lead falling from the roof of St Mary Redcliffe! The local lead from Mendip was particularly suitable for shot manufacture because its high arsenic content made it hard.
To pursue his new business, Watts purchased a house on Redcliff Hill, built a 50ft castellated tower on top of it, and deepened the cellars to give a sufficiently long fall (c90ft) for the shot to form and solidify. Watts made a fortune from his invention (which he subsequentally lost in property development in Clifton) and sold the business. It passed through several hands until 1868 when it was bought by Sheldon, Bush & Patent Shot Co. who continued to operate in the tower, a well known landmark, until it was demolished in 1968. They then moved to a new tower on Cheese Lane, see ST5972 : The newer shot tower.
Demolition of the world's first shot tower was a major blow but in the 1950s & 1960s the City Council had little interest in saving evidence of Bristol's historic past and pursued its road development plans with enthusiasm.
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