The Frome, historically referred to as the Froom, is a river that originates in Dodington Park, South Gloucestershire. It flows in a southwestern direction, passing through Bristol and joining the former course of the River Avon in Bristol's Floating Harbour. The Frome spans approximately 20 miles in length. The name "Frome" is shared with several other rivers in South West England and conveys the meaning of "fair, fine, brisk." In the eastern part of Bristol, the river is locally known as the Danny.
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Initially, the Frome joined the Avon downstream of Bristol Bridge and played a role in the city's defenses. However, in the thirteenth century, as part of significant port improvement works, it was diverted through marshland that belonged to St Augustine's Abbey (now Bristol Cathedral). In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the lower stretches of the river were culverted, and it now flows beneath The Centre into St Augustine's Reach. Like many urban rivers, the Frome has faced pollution challenges. However, several sections pass through parks and reserves that support diverse wildlife.Throughout its course, the Frome powered numerous watermills, and its estuary area was developed into shipyards during the eighteenth century. As the city of Bristol expanded during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, flooding became a significant issue, which was addressed through the construction of storm drains and diversions.Frenchay, a village and suburb of Bristol, has a rich history. It was initially documented in 1257 as Fromscawe and later as Fromeshaw, signifying "the wood on the Frome." The village is located between the B4058 road, which runs parallel to the M32 motorway, and the woody valley of the River Frome. Frenchay lends its name to the Frenchay Campus of the University of the West of England, although the campus itself lies in the neighboring parish of Stoke Gifford.During World War II, Frenchay was home to Frenchay Hospital, which expanded significantly to treat wounded soldiers returning from the D-Day landings in Normandy. In 2014, the hospital's facilities merged with Southmead Hospital in the city center, leading to the closure of A&E services. Subsequently, the closure of Frenchay Hospital allowed for the development of a new housing project.Frenchay attracted numerous Quaker merchants from nearby Bristol, including Joseph Storrs Fry, the Quaker chocolate manufacturer. Fry named his company J S Fry & Sons and produced the world's first commercially available chocolate bar. In 1800, he relocated to Grove House, now known as Riverwood House. Joseph Storrs Fry, along with his wife and daughter, Priscilla, is buried in the burying ground behind the Meeting House in Frenchay.Another notable figure associated with Frenchay is John Wadham (1762–1843), who resided in Frenchay Manor House. From 1789, he was a co-owner and director of Wadham, Ricketts & Co, later known as Wadham, Ricketts, Fry & Co. The company manufactured Bristol blue glass at the Phoenix Glassworks near Temple Gate in Bristol. Examples of this glass can be seen in Bristol Museum. Additionally, John Wadham served as a director of the Bristol Floating Harbour Company in 1820.