Shipshape and Bristol Fashion

How a 19th century English port influenced the philosophy of an American IT company.

The term “Shipshape and Bristol Fashion” originated in the 19th century in reference to ships going in and out of Bristol Harbor in Bristol, England, an important port city several miles inland on the estuary of the River Avon. At that time, Bristol Harbor had the second highest tidal range in the world, fluctuating more than 30 feet between low and high tide.

At receding tide, ships would run aground, falling to one side because of their keels. If everything was not stowed away or properly secured, chaos ensued and cargo spoiled. To sustain this inevitable stranding, ships had to be of sturdy construction, and the goods they carried securely stowed. Accordingly, those able to withstand the challenge were dubbed “Shipshape and Bristol Fashion.”

Today, Bristol has a floating harbor, allowing ships to stay afloat regardless of tide. But the phrase lives on, conveying strength, security and sound composition. Like those well-built boats, Shipshape IT foresees the tide’s inevitable ebbs and flows and stands poised to help your organization weather them—through a strong structural foundation and secured assets.

Contact us today to strengthen your organization’s IT.