The origin of ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion’

This is actually an amalgamation of two phrases. ‘Shipshape’ was used as far back as the 1600s in reference to a ship that was in good order. ‘Bristol fashion’ came about in the 1700s, before the building of Bristol’s floating harbour. The port of Bristol (UK) has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world and, before the harbour was built, moored ships would run aground during low tide. This would result in a ship falling to one side and all its unsecured contents falling about. Because of this the sailors would stow everything away, or tie it down, to make it ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion’. Although no one knows for certain whether this story is true it is deemed to be the most likely. (My guess was that it had something to do with the way sailors would wear their uniform in the port of Bristol. 🙂

[carried over from ‘anyadditionalinformation’ wordpress blog]

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