Welcome to Bristol's Townpage

Bristol has splendid architecture, a rich maritime heritage and a wealth of attractions.

In Anglo-Saxon times a settlement grew between the Rivers Avon and Frome and was known as Brig-stow or 'the place of a bridge'. After the Norman Conquest of 1066 a castle was built on what is now Castle Park.

By the 1300's, the city was trading with Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean and Iceland and ships also left Bristol to found or support existing colonies in the New World. By the 17th century Bristol was becoming an important centre for non-conformism. Quakers erected a meeting house in 1670 and John Wesley, the Methodist leader, had a chapel, or 'New Room' built in 1739. It remains today the oldest Methodist building in the world.

The city continued to expand and much of the original architecture remains including the area around King Street, Queen Square, Christmas Steps and St Michael's Hill. To its discredit, the 18th century also saw the rise of Bristol's involvement in the slave trade and, as a result, ships returned to Bristol laden with goods from the New World, including cane sugar, tobacco, rum and cocoa.

The Theatre Royal opened in King Street in 1766 and the city entered a more elegant and cultured era. Many of the Romantic Poets of this period spent time in the city. The great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel is responsible for some of Bristol's best-loved features. Bits of Brunel's Bristol include the Clifton Suspension Bridge, his great iron ship, the ss Great Britain and Temple Meads old station, terminus for the Great Western Railway.

New docks were built at the mouth of the Avon in the 1870's and Bristol continued as an industrial centre. The construction of aircraft, including Concorde, at Filton became an important post-war industry. Bristol is also the home of Rolls Royce.

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