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» About Bristol

About Bristol

The city is frequently named as one of the most desirable places to live in the UK. There are lots of reasons for this enviable reputation. Bristol has a buzzing culture and nightlife set within a stunningly preserved historic setting. The city offers something for every lifestyle with the very best in retail and leisure - including the new £500m Cabot Circus shopping district. Bristol's central location and excellent transport links put both the UK and international destinations within easy reach. 
Bristol brings together classic style and modern amenities to provide endless possibilities. Shopping... fine dining... entertainment... sport... culture.


Bristol's street art scene is extremely diverse and has many talented street artists at its forefront. This website aims to catalogue past and present work by collecting photographs and logging the location of these street art pieces. As the collection grows a unique picture of Bristol street art will emerge.

The History of Bristol


Bristol has a long and interesting history dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, when a settlement grew up between the Rivers Avon and Frome, known as Brigstowe (a place of settlement by the bridge). The settlement grew as trading with Ireland and the ports of South Wales developed. After the Norman Conquest of 1066 a castle was built on what is now known as Castle Park.

The Victoria Rooms is one of Bristol's most impressive buildings. This fine early Victorian classical building was used for readings by Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde.

Bristol has a rich maritime heritage. By the 14th century the city was trading with several countries including Spain, Portugal and Iceland. Ships also left Bristol to found new colonies in the New World. John Cabot set sail in 1497 from Bristol, in his ship the Matthew, hoping to find a passage to the Eastern Indonesia.

In the mid 18th century Bristol became England's second biggest city. During this time Britain was flooded with goods imported via Bristol including sugar cane, tobacco, rum and cocoa, all of which were products of the slave trade.

In the late 18th century Clifton village grew as merchants relocated and built houses further away from the city docks. By the 19th century the success of Bristol's port was beginning to decline. However, the arrival of a new chief engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, helped to attract further investment into the area. Brunel did more than anyone to shape the face of modern Bristol today, his legacy includes the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the SS Great Britain, and Temple Meads Old Railway Station.

The city continued to expand and much of the original architecture remains today including the area around King Street, Queen Square, Christmas Steps and St Michael's Hill, as well as Clifton village. Many of the beautiful houses in these areas were built from the proceeds of Spanish shipping plundered off the coast of the Americas, mostly funded by Bristol merchants.

The aerospace industry has been based in Bristol since George White founded the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton in 1910. In the mid 1960s Concorde was built and tested at Filton, which is also the home of Rolls Royce. Today, Bristol is a large commercial centre and one of the most popular cities for business relocation.

Bristol's harbourside renaissance began with the opening of the Arnolfini in the 1970s, an internationally renowned contemporary arts centre. In the 1980s the regeneration of the harbourside continued with the 1982 opening of the Watershed, Britain's first media centre.

After nearly 800 years of history, milestones in the city's developments have often been related to its docks and harbour. As we continue into a new millennium the city once again looks to one of its greatest assets the harbourside.




By 1901 Bristol had a population of 330,000 and it continued to rise steadily.

Meanwhile the Royal Edward Dock was built in 1908. Bristol university was founded in 1909 and its main building was erected in 1925.

In the 20th century Bristol’s greatest industry became aircraft manufacture. Other industries in Bristol were chocolate, tobacco, engineering, chemicals, zinc, furniture and pottery.

Moreover Bristol continued to be an important port in the 20th century. Royal Portbury Dock was built in 1977.

During World War II 1,299 people in Bristol were killed by German bombing. About 3,000 buildings were destroyed and 90,000 were damaged.

After 1945 the council built many new houses on the outskirts of Bristol to replace them.

Furthermore the Council House was built in 1956. Arnolfini Art Gallery opened in 1957. The Robinson Building was erected in 1966.

A polytechnic opened in Bristol in 1969. In 1992 it became the West of England University.

Clifton Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in 1973.

The Georgian House opened as a museum in 1939. Harveys Wine Museum opened in 1965.

In 1970 the Great Britain was brought back to Bristol and work began on refurbishing it. Bristol Industrial Museum opened in 1978.

At the end of the 20th century Bristol continued to develop. Watershed Media Centre opened in 1982. In 1985 a statue of John Cabot was erected on Narrow Quay. The Galleries shopping centre was built in 1991.

A new bridge was erected over St Augustines Reach in 1998.


Bristol Today


With an estimated population of 416,400 for the unitary authority in mid-2007, and a surrounding urban area with an estimated 561,500 residents, it is England's sixth, and the United Kingdom's eighth most populous city, one of England's core cities and the most populous city in South West England.

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