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Bristol

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This article is about the British city. For other uses, see Bristol (disambiguation).
Bristol
County and City of Bristol[1]
City, county and unitary authority
A view from above of office blocks and church spires adjacent to a river which is crossed by a road bridge. In the right foreground a city park and a ruined church. A small boat is moving on the river and a larger barge is moored against a wooded quay. In the distance on the right wooded hills and on the left a mass of predominantly red brick housing.
A coat of arms, with a shield showing a sailing ship and a castle with maned lions on either side, surmounted by the helmet from a suit of arms and two hands holding a snake and scales of justice. The motto at the bottom is "Virtute et Industria"
Coat of arms
Motto: Virtute et Industria
(By Virtue and Industry)
A map showing the location of the county of Bristol in England.
Location of the county of Bristol in England
Coordinates: 51°27′N 2°35′W / 51.450°N 2.583°W / 51.450; -2.583
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region South West
Royal Charter 1155
County status 1373
Status City, county and unitary authority
Government
 • Type Unitary authority
 • Governing body Bristol City Council
 • Admin HQ City Hall,
College Green
 • Leadership Mayor and Cabinet
 • Mayor George Ferguson
 • MPs Kerry McCarthy (L)
Charlotte Leslie (C)
Dawn Primarolo (L)
Stephen Williams (LD)
Area
 • City and county 40 sq mi (110 km2)
Elevation[2] 36 ft (11 m)
Population (2012)
 • City and county 432,500 (Ranked 10th district and 43rd ceremonial county)
 • Density 10,080/sq mi (3,892/km2)
 • Urban 617,000 (2,011 ONS estimate[3])
 • Metro 1,006,600 (LUZ 2,009)
 • Ethnicity[4] 84.0% white (77.9% white British)
6.0% black
5.5% Asian
3.6% mixed-race
0.3% Arab
0.6% other
Time zone GMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)
Postcode BS
Area code(s) 0117, 01275
ISO 3166 code GB-BST
GVA 2012
 • Total £11.7bn ($19.4bn) (8th)
 • Growth Increase 1.6%
 • Per capita £27,100 ($44,900) (5th)
 • Growth Increase 0.6%
Website www.bristol.gov.uk

Bristol (Listeni/ˈbrɪstəl/) is a city, unitary authority and county in South West England with an estimated 2014 population of 437,500.[5] People from the city are known as Bristolians.[6] It is England's sixth- and the United Kingdom's eighth-most-populous city,[7] and the most populous city in Southern England outside London.

Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built in the area around the junction of the Rivers Frome and Avon, and it became known as Brycgstow (Old English "the place at the bridge") around the beginning of the 11th century. Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was part of Gloucestershire until 1373, when it became a county.[8] From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities after London (with York and Norwich) in tax receipts[9] until the rapid rise of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham during the Industrial Revolution. It borders the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire, with the historic cities of Bath and Gloucester southeast and north, respectively. The city, built around the River Avon, has a short coastline on the Severn Estuary (which flows into the Bristol Channel).

Bristol's prosperity has been linked with the sea since its earliest days. The Port of Bristol was originally in the city centre before commercial shipping moved from Bristol Harbour to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth, and Royal Portbury Dock is on the western edge of the city. Its economy has recently depended on the creative-media, electronics and aerospace industries, and the city-centre docks have regenerated as centres of heritage and culture.[10] The city has two universities and a variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues. In 2005, Bristol was named one of England's six science cities. It is connected with the surrounding region and the rest of the country by road and rail, including the M5 and M4 (which connect to the city centre by the M32 motorway and Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway railway stations). Bristol, which was named England's first cycling city in 2008, won the European Green Capital Award in 2015.

History[edit]

Fifteenth-century pictorial map of Bristol, radiating from the town centre
Robert Ricart's map of Bristol, drawn when he became common clerk of the town in 1478. His drawing was the first such map of an English town.[11]

Archaeological finds, including flint tools believed to be 60,000 years old made with the Levallois technique, indicate the presence of Neanderthals in the Shirehampton and St Annes areas of Bristol during the Middle Palaeolithic.[12][13] Iron Age hill forts near the city are at Leigh Woods and Clifton Down, on the side of the Avon Gorge, and on Kings Weston Hill near Henbury.[14] A Roman settlement, Abona,[15] existed at what is now Sea Mills (connected to Bath by a Roman road); another was at the present-day Inns Court. Isolated Roman villas and small forts and settlements were also scatted throughout the area.[16]

The town of Brycgstow (Old English "the place at the bridge")[17] appears to have been founded by 1000; by about 1020, it was a trading centre with a mint producing silver pennies bearing its name.[18] By 1067 Brycgstow was a well-fortified burh, capable of resisting an invasion sent from Ireland by Harold Godwinson's sons.[18] Under Norman rule, the town had one of the strongest castles in southern England.[19]

A yellow water taxi on the water between stone quaysides. The far bank has large buildings and in the distance is a three arch bridge.
Bristol Bridge, seen across the harbour

The port began to develop in the 11th century around the confluence of the Rivers Frome and Avon, adjacent to the original Bristol Bridge and just outside the town walls.[20] By the 12th century Bristol was an important port, handling much of England's trade with Ireland (including slaves). In 1247 a stone bridge was built, which was replaced by the current Bristol Bridge during the 1760s;[21] the town incorporated neighbouring suburbs, becoming a county in 1373.[22][23] During this period, Bristol became a shipbuilding and manufacturing centre.[24] By the 14th century Bristol, York and Norwich were England's three largest medieval towns after London, but one-third to one-half the population died in the Black Death of 1348–49.[25] This checked population growth, and Bristol's population remained between 10,000 and 12,000 for most of the 15th and 16th centuries.[26]

During the 15th century Bristol was the second-most-important port in the country, trading with Ireland,[27] Iceland[28] and Gascony.[24] It was the starting point for many voyages, including Robert Sturmy's (1457–58) unsuccessful attempt to break up the Italian monopoly of Eastern Mediterranean trade.[29] Bristol merchants then turned west, launching expeditions into the Atlantic in search of the phantom island of Hy-Brazil by 1480. These Atlantic voyages culminated in John Cabot's 1497 exploration of North America and subsequent expeditions to the New World underwritten by Bristol merchants until 1508.[30][31] A 1499 voyage, led by William Weston of Bristol, was the first English-led expedition to North America.[32] During the sixteenth century, Bristol merchants concentrated on developing trade with Spain and its American colonies.[33] This included the smuggling of prohibited goods, such as food and guns, to Iberia[34] during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604).[35] Bristol's illicit trade grew enormously after 1558, becoming an essential component of its economy.[36]

A stone built Victorian Gothic building with two square towers and a central arched entrance underneath a circular ornate window. A Victorian street lamp stands in front of the building and on the right part of a leafless tree, with blues skies behind.
West front of Bristol Cathedral

The Diocese of Bristol was founded in 1542,[37] with the former Abbey of St. Augustine (founded by Robert Fitzharding in 1140)[38] becoming Bristol Cathedral. Bristol also became a city and county that year.[39] During the 1640s English Civil War the city was occupied by Royalists, who built the Royal Fort House on the site of an earlier Parliamentarian stronghold.[40]

Renewed growth came with the 17th-century rise of England's American colonies and the rapid 18th-century expansion of England's role in the Atlantic trade of Africans taken for slavery to the Americas. Bristol and Liverpool became centres of the triangular trade. In the first side of the slavery triangle, manufactured goods were brought to West Africa and exchanged for Africans; the Middle Passage, or second side of the triangle, was their transport across the Atlantic under brutal conditions.[41] In the third side of the triangle, plantation goods such as sugar, tobacco, rum, rice, cotton and a small number of slaves (sold to the aristocracy as house servants) returned across the Atlantic.[41] Some household slaves eventually purchased their freedom.[42] During the height of the Bristol slave trade from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried a conservatively-estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas.[43] The Seven Stars public house,[44] where abolitionist Thomas Clarkson collected information on the slave trade, is still in existence.

 An engraving showing at the top a sailing ship and paddle steamer in a harbour, with sheds and a church spire. On either side arched gateways, all above a scroll with the word "Bristol". Below a street scene showing pedestrians and a horse-drawn carriage outside a large ornate building with a colonnade and arched windows above. A grand staircase with two figures ascending and other figures on a balcony. A caption reading "Exterior, Colston Hall" and Staircase, Colston Hall". Below, two street scenes and a view of a large stone building with flying buttresses and a square tower, with the caption "Bristol cathedral". At the bottom views of a church interior, a cloister with a man mowing grass and archways with two men in conversation.
An 1873 engraving of sights around Bristol

Fishermen from Bristol (who had fished the Grand Banks of Newfoundland since the 15th century)[45] began settling Newfoundland permanently in larger numbers during the 17th century, establishing colonies at Bristol's Hope and Cuper's Cove. Because of Bristol's nautical environment, maritime safety was an important issue in the city. During the 19th century, Samuel Plimsoll (known as "the sailor's friend") campaigned to make the seas safer; shocked by overloaded vessels, he successfully fought for a compulsory load line on ships.[46]

Competition from Liverpool (beginning around 1760) and disruptions of maritime commerce due to wars with France (1793) and the abolition of the slave trade (1807) contributed to Bristol's failure to keep pace with the newer manufacturing centres of Northern England and the West Midlands. The tidal Avon Gorge, which had secured the port during the Middle Ages, had become a liability. An 1804–9 plan to improve the city's port with a floating harbour designed by William Jessop was a costly error, requiring high harbour fees.[47] Bristol's population (66,000 in 1801), supported by new industry and growing commerce, quintupled during the 19th century.[48] The city was associated with Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who designed the Great Western Railway between Bristol and London Paddington, two pioneering Bristol-built oceangoing steamships (the SS Great Britain and the SS Great Western) and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. John Wesley founded the first Methodist chapel, the New Room, in Bristol in 1739. Riots broke out in 1793[49] and 1831; the first protested the renewal of tolls on Bristol Bridge, and the second protested the rejection of the second Reform Bill by the House of Lords.[50]

An old ordnance survey map of Bristol, showing roads, railways, rivers and contours.
A 1946 map of Bristol

In 1901 Bristol's population was about 330,000, and the city would grow steadily during the century. Its docklands were enhanced during the early 1900s by the Royal Edward Dock.[51] Another new dock, the Royal Portbury Dock, opened during the 1970s.[52] With the advent of air travel, aircraft manufacturers built new factories in the city during the first half of the century.[53]

Bristol's educational system received one boost in 1909 with the formation of the University of Bristol[54] and a second in 1925, when the university's main building opened.[55] A polytechnic university opened in 1969, giving the city a second institute of higher education which would become the University of the West of England in 1992.[56]

Bristol was heavily damaged by Luftwaffe raids during World War II; about 1,300 people living or working in the city were killed and nearly 100,000 buildings were damaged, at least 3,000 beyond repair.[57][58] The original central market area, near the bridge and castle, is now a park containing two bombed churches and fragments of the castle. A third bomb-damaged church nearby, St Nicholas, has been restored and is a museum housing a 1756 William Hogarth triptych painted for the high altar of St Mary Redcliffe. The museum also has statues of King Edward I (moved from Arno's Court Triumphal Arch), King Edward III (taken from Lawfords' Gate in the city walls when they were demolished about 1760) and 13th-century statues of Robert (builder of Bristol Castle) and Geoffrey de Montbray (who built the city's walls) from Bristol's Newgate.[59]

The rebuilding of Bristol city centre was characterised by 1960s and 1970s skyscrapers, mid-century modern architecture and road improvements. Since the 1980s some main roads were closed, the Georgian-era Queen Square and Portland Square were restored, the Broadmead shopping area regenerated and one of the city centre's tallest mid-century towers was demolished.[60] Bristol's road infrastructure changed dramatically during the 1960s and 1970s with the development of the M4 and M5 motorways, which meet at an interchange just north of the city and link Bristol with London (M4 eastbound), Swansea (M4 westbound across the Severn Estuary), Exeter (M5 southbound) and Birmingham (M5 northbound).

The 20th-century relocation of the docks to Avonmouth Docks and Royal Portbury Dock, 7 miles (11 km) downstream from the city centre, has allowed the redevelopment of the old dock area (the Floating Harbour). Although the docks' existence was once in jeopardy (since the area was seen as a derelict industrial site), the inaugural 1996 International Festival of the Sea held in and around the docks affirmed the area as a leisure asset of the city.[61]

In sport, the Bristol Rugby club has often competed at the highest level of the sport since its formation in 1888.[62] The club played at the Memorial Ground, which it shared with Bristol Rovers F.C. since 1996. Although Bristol Rugby owned the stadium when the football club arrived, a decline in the rugby club's fortunes led to a transfer of ownership to Bristol Rovers. The Rovers had spent the previous 10 years playing their home games outside the city after the 1986 closure of their Eastville stadium.[63] In 2014 Bristol Rugby moved to their new home, Ashton Gate Stadium (home to Bristol Rovers rivals Bristol City F.C.), for the 2014–15 season.

Bristol Rovers have generally been overshadowed by Bristol City. City's first season in the Football League First Division was in 1906, when it finished second. City lost the 1909 FA Cup Final, and was relegated to the Football League Second Division two years later; they did not win promotion back to First Division until 1976. They were again relegated in 1980, the first of three successive relegations which dropped the club into the Fourth Division in 1982. Although they were promoted in 1984, City were in the league's third tier until 2007. They were then promoted to Second Division, regaining First Division in 2013. Since 1900 City's home games have been played at Ashton Gate,[64] although plans have been suggested to move the club to a new, larger stadium.[65]

Government[edit]

A large brick building, built in a shallow curve, with a central porch. In front of that a pool and a water fountain. Autumn trees on the right and a blue sky with some clouds above.
City Hall, the seat of local government
A tall church spire over a quayside with wooden sheds and boats covered with tarpaulins. In front of these on the water a twin masted sailing boat and a narrowboat
St Mary Redcliffe church and the Floating Harbour, Bristol
Main article: Politics of Bristol

The Bristol City Council consists of 70 councillors, representing 35 wards. They are elected in thirds, with two councillors per ward serving four-year terms. Since wards do not have both councillors up for election at the same time, two-thirds of the wards participate in each election.[66] Although the council was long dominated by the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats have grown strong in the city and (as the largest party) took minority control of the council after the 2005 election. In 2007, Labour and the Conservatives united to defeat the Liberal Democratic administration; Labour ruled the council under a minority administration, with Helen Holland as council leader.[67] In February 2009, the Labour group resigned and the Liberal Democrats took office with a minority administration.[68] At the 4 June 2009 council elections the Liberal Democrats gained four seats and, for the first time, overall control of the city council.[69] The most recent city-council election was in May 2014.

On 3 May 2012, Bristol held a referendum on the question of a directly-elected mayor replacing one elected by the council. The results, announced the following day, were 41,032 votes for direct election and 35,880 votes against with a 24-percent turnout. An election for the new post was held on 15 November 2012, with Independent candidate George Ferguson becoming Mayor of Bristol.[70]

The Lord Mayor of Bristol, not to be confused with the Mayor of Bristol, is a figurehead elected each May by the city council. Councillor Faruk Choudhury was selected by his fellow councillors for the position in 2013. At age 38, he was the youngest person to serve as Lord Mayor of Bristol and the first Muslim elected to the office.[71]

Bristol constituencies in the House of Commons crossed borders with neighbouring municipalities until, after the 2010 general election, their boundaries coincided with the county boundary. The city is divided into Bristol West, East, South and North West. After the 2010 election the cith had two Labour members of parliament (MPs), one Liberal Democrat and one Conservative;[72] the Conservatives gained Bristol North West from Labour.[73]

The city has a tradition of political activism. Edmund Burke, MP for the Bristol constituency for six years beginning in 1774, insisted that he was a member of parliament first and a representative of his constituents' interests second.[74][75] Women's-rights advocate Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence (1867–1954) was born in Bristol,[76] and veteran left-wing politician Tony Benn was MP for Bristol South East from 1950–60 and 1963–83.[77] In 1963 the Bristol Bus Boycott, following the Bristol Omnibus Company's refusal to hire black drivers and conductors, drove passage of the UK's 1965 Race Relations Act.[78] The 1980 St. Pauls riot protested racism, police harassment and mounting dissatisfaction with the social and economic circumstances of the city's Afro-Caribbean residents. Local support of fair trade was recognised in 2005, when Bristol became a Fairtrade zone.[79]

Bristol is unusual in becoming a city and a county when Edward III granted it a county charter in 1373. The county was expanded to include suburbs such as Clifton in 1835, and it was named a county borough in 1889 when that designation originated.[23] On 1 April 1974, Bristol became a local-government district of the short-lived county of Avon.[80] The city regained its independence and county status on 1 April 1996, when the county of Avon was abolished and Bristol became a unitary authority.[81]

Geography and environment[edit]

Boundaries[edit]

Bristol's boundaries are defined in several ways, depending on whether they are those of the city, the developed area or Greater Bristol. The narrowest definition of the city is the city council boundary, which includes a large section of the western Severn Estuary up to (but not including) the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm.[82] A slightly broader definition used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) includes developed areas adjoining Bristol but outside the city-council boundary, such as Whitchurch village, Filton, Patchway and Bradley Stoke, excluding undeveloped areas within the city-council boundary.[83] The ONS has defined a Bristol Urban Area, which includes Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Stoke Gifford, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Almondsbury and Easton in Gordano.[84] Greater Bristol, used by the Government Office of the South West and others,[85] is the city and portions of the three neighbouring local authorities (Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire)—an area sometimes called the "former Avon area" or the West of England.[86] The North Fringe of Bristol, a developed area in South Gloucestershire between the Bristol city boundary and the M4 and M5 motorways, was so named as part of a 1987 plan prepared by the Northavon District Council.[87]

River flowing though a steep sided valley. In the distance is a suspension bridge supported by towers. In the left foreground is a handrail.
The Avon Gorge, home of several unique plant species

Physical geography[edit]

Bristol is part of a limestone area running from the Mendip Hills in the south to the Cotswolds in the northeast.[88] The rivers Avon and Frome cut through the limestone to the underlying clay, creating Bristol's characteristically hilly landscape. The Avon flows from Bath in the east, through flood plains and areas which were marshes before the city's growth. To the west the Avon cuts through the limestone to form the Avon Gorge, aided by glacial meltwater after the last ice age.[89] The gorge, which helped protect Bristol Harbour, has been quarried for stone to build the city and its surrounding land has been protected from development as The Downs and Leigh Woods. The Avon estuary and the gorge are the county boundary with North Somerset, and the river flows into the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth. Another gorge, cut by the Hazel Brook (which flows into the River Trym), crosses the Blaise Castle estate in northern Bristol.[89]

Climate[edit]

Located in southern England, Bristol is one of the warmest cities in the UK with a mean annual temperature of 10.2–12 °C (50.4–53.6 °F).[90] It is among the sunniest, with 1,541–1,885 hours of sunshine per year.[91] Although the city is partially sheltered by the Mendip Hills, it is exposed to the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel. Annual rainfall increases from north to south, with totals north of the Avon in the 600–900 mm (24–35 in) range and 900–1,200 mm (35–47 in) south of the river.[92] Rain is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, with autumn and winter the wetter seasons. The Atlantic Ocean influences Bristol's weather, keeping its average temperature above freezing throughout the year, but winter frosts are frequent and snow occasionally falls from early November to late April. Summers are warm and drier, with variable sunshine, rain and clouds, and spring weather is unsettled.[93]

The weather stations nearest Bristol for which long-term climate data are available are Long Ashton (about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of the city centre) and Bristol Weather Station, in the city centre. Data collection at these locations ended in 2002 and 2001, respectively, and Filton Airfield is currently the nearest weather station to the city.[94] Temperatures at Long Ashton from 1959 to 2002 ranged from 33.5 °C (92.3 °F) in July 1976[95] to −14.4 °C (6.1 °F) in January 1982.[96] Monthly high temperatures since 2002 at Filton exceeding those recorded at Long Ashton include 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) in April 2003,[97] 34.5 °C (94.1 °F) in July 2006[98] and 26.8 °C (80.2 °F) in October 2011.[99] The lowest recent temperature at Filton was −10.1 °C (13.8 °F) in December 2010.[100] Although large cities experience an urban heat island effect, with warmer temperatures than their surrounding rural areas, this phenomenon is minimal in Bristol.[101]

Climate data for Bristol Weather Centre (11 m asl) 1971–2000
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.5
(45.5)
7.4
(45.3)
10.1
(50.2)
12.7
(54.9)
16.5
(61.7)
18.9
(66)
22.0
(71.6)
21.0
(69.8)
18.4
(65.1)
14.7
(58.5)
10.5
(50.9)
8.9
(48)
14.1
(57.4)
Average low °C (°F) 3.8
(38.8)
2.9
(37.2)
4.9
(40.8)
5.6
(42.1)
9.0
(48.2)
11.9
(53.4)
14.3
(57.7)
14.0
(57.2)
12.0
(53.6)
9.7
(49.5)
6.3
(43.3)
5.3
(41.5)
8.3
(46.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 73
(2.87)
48
(1.89)
51
(2.01)
52
(2.05)
54
(2.13)
64
(2.52)
64
(2.52)
52
(2.05)
50
(1.97)
59
(2.32)
52
(2.05)
59
(2.32)
626.8
(24.677)
Source: MeteoFrance[102]
Climate data for Long Ashton (51 m asl) 1971–2000, extremes 1959–2002 (sunshine 1971–1989)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.2
(57.6)
18.3
(64.9)
21.7
(71.1)
23.0
(73.4)
26.5
(79.7)
32.4
(90.3)
33.5
(92.3)
33.3
(91.9)
28.3
(82.9)
26.1
(79)
17.5
(63.5)
15.8
(60.4)
33.5
(92.3)
Average high °C (°F) 7.5
(45.5)
7.7
(45.9)
10.0
(50)
12.4
(54.3)
16.0
(60.8)
18.7
(65.7)
21.1
(70)
20.7
(69.3)
17.9
(64.2)
14.1
(57.4)
10.5
(50.9)
8.3
(46.9)
13.7
(56.7)
Average low °C (°F) 2.1
(35.8)
1.8
(35.2)
3.4
(38.1)
4.5
(40.1)
7.3
(45.1)
10.2
(50.4)
12.4
(54.3)
12.2
(54)
10.2
(50.4)
7.4
(45.3)
4.5
(40.1)
3.0
(37.4)
6.6
(43.9)
Record low °C (°F) −14.4
(6.1)
−9.7
(14.5)
−8.3
(17.1)
−4.7
(23.5)
−2
(28)
0.6
(33.1)
4.7
(40.5)
3.9
(39)
0.6
(33.1)
−3.2
(26.2)
−6.5
(20.3)
−11.9
(10.6)
−14.4
(6.1)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 94.36
(3.715)
65.47
(2.5776)
73.73
(2.9028)
50.46
(1.9866)
61.30
(2.4134)
68.33
(2.6902)
52.23
(2.0563)
75.02
(2.9535)
85.95
(3.3839)
92.08
(3.6252)
91.62
(3.6071)
102.78
(4.0465)
913.33
(35.9581)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 50.53 66.39 108.19 165.3 192.82 198.0 208.01 196.23 147.9 97.65 64.8 43.09 1,538.91
Source #1: Met Office[103]
Source #2: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute[104]

Environment[edit]

Bristol was ranked as Britain's most-sustainable city (based on its environmental performance, quality of life, future-proofing and approaches to climate change, recycling and biodiversity), topping environmental charity Forum for the Future's 2008 Sustainable Cities Index.[105][106] Local initiatives include Sustrans (creators of the National Cycle Network, founded as Cyclebag in 1977)[107] and Resourcesaver, a non-profit business established in 1988 by Avon Friends of the Earth,[108] and the city received the 2015 European Green Capital Award.[109]

Demographics[edit]

Bristol population data
Year Population Year Population
1377 9,518[110] 1901 323,698[111]
1607 10,549[112] 1911 352,178[111]
1700 20,000[111] 1921 367,831[111]
1801 68,944[111] 1931 384,204[111]
1811 83,922[111] 1941 402,839[111]
1821 99,151[111] 1951 422,399[111]
1831 120,789[111] 1961 425,214[111]
1841 144,803[111] 1971 428,089[111]
1851 159,945[111] 1981 384,883[111]
1861 194,229[111] 1991 396,559[111]
1871 228,513[111] 2001 380,615[111]
1881 262,797[111] 2012 432,500[113]
1891 297,525[111]

In 2008 the Office for National Statistics estimated the Bristol unitary authority's population at 416,900,[114][115] making it the 47th-largest ceremonial county in England.[116] The ONS, using Census 2001 data, estimated the city's population at 441,556[117] and that of the contiguous urban area at 551,066.[118] In 2006 the ONS estimated Bristol's urban-area population at 587,400,[119] making it England's sixth-most-populous city and ninth-most-populous urban area.[118] At 3,599 inhabitants per square kilometre (9,321/sq mi) it has the seventh-highest population density of any English district.[120]

According to the 2011 census, 84 percent of the population was White (77.9 percent White British, 0.9 percent White Irish, 0.1 percent Gypsy or Irish Travellers and 5.1 percent Other White); 3.6 percent mixed-race (1.7 percent white-and-black Caribbean, 0.4 percent white-and-black African, 0.8 percent white and Asian and 0.7 percent other mixed); 5.5 percent Asian (1.5 percent Indian, 1.6 percent Pakistani, 0.5 percent Bangladeshi, 0.9 percent Chinese and one percent other Asian); six percent Black (2.8 percent African, 1.6 percent Caribbean, 1.6 percent Other Black), 0.3 percent Arab and 0.6 percent with other heritage. Bristol is unusual among major British towns and cities in its larger black than Asian population.[121] These statistics apply to the Bristol Unitary Authority, excluding areas of the urban area (2006 estimated population 587,400) in South Gloucestershire, BANES or North Somerset—such as Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Filton and Warmley—bordering the city.[111]

Economy and industry[edit]

Main article: Economy of Bristol
Two ornate metal pillars with large dishes on top in a paved street, with an eighteenth-century stone building behind, upon which can be seen the words "Tea Blenders Estabklishec 177-". People sitting at café-style tables outside. On the right are iron railings.
Two of the four Nails (bronze tables used for conducting business) in Corn Street

Bristol has a long history of trade, originally exporting wool cloth and importing fish, wine, grain and dairy products;[122] later imports were tobacco, tropical fruits and plantation goods. Major imports are motor vehicles, grain, timber, produce and petroleum products. Since the 13th century, the rivers have been modified for docks; during the 1240s, the Frome was diverted into a deep, man-made channel (known as Saint Augustine's Reach) which flowed into the River Avon.[123][124] Ships regularly departed Bristol for Iceland as early as 1420, and speculation exists that sailors from Bristol made landfall in the Americas before Christopher Columbus or John Cabot.[20] Beginning in the early 1480s, the Bristol Society of Merchant Venturers sponsored exploration of the north Atlantic in search of trading opportunities.[20] In 1552, Edward VI granted a royal charter to the Merchant Venturers to manage the port. By 1670 the city had 6,000 tons of shipping (of which half was imported tobacco), and by the late 17th and early 18th centuries shipping played a significant role in the slave trade.[20] During the 18th century, Bristol was Britain's second-busiest port;[125] business was conducted in the trading area around The Exchange in Corn Street over bronze tables known as Nails. Although the Nails are cited as originating the phrase "cash on the nail" (immediate payment), the phrase was probably in use before their installation.[126]

The city's economy also relies on the aerospace, defence, media, information-technology, financial-service and tourism industries.[127] The Ministry of Defence (MoD)'s Procurement Executive, later known as the Defence Procurement Agency and Defence Equipment and Support, moved to its headquarters at Abbey Wood, Filton in 1995. The organisation, with a staff of 7,000 to 8,000, procures and supports MoD equipment.[128]

In 2004, Bristol's gross domestic product was £9.439 billion. Its per capita GDP was £23,962 ($47,738, €35,124)—higher than the UK as a whole, 40 percent above the national average, the third-highest of any English city (after London and Nottingham) and the fifth-highest of any city in the United Kingdom (behind London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and Nottingham).[129] Bristol's March 2007 unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, compared with four percent for South West England and the national average of 5.5 percent.[130]

Although Bristol's economy no longer relies upon its port, which was moved to docks at Avonmouth during the 1870s[131] and to the Royal Portbury Dock in 1977 as ship size increased, it is the largest importer of cars to the UK. Until 1991, the port was publicly owned; it is leased, with £330 million invested and its annual tonnage increasing from 3.9 million long tons (4 million tonnes) to 11.8 million (12 million).[132] Tobacco importing and cigarette manufacturing have ceased, but the importation of wine and spirits continues.[133]

The financial-service sector employs 59,000 in the city,[134] and 50 micro-electronics and silicon design companies employ about 5,000. In 1983, Hewlett-Packard opened its national research laboratory in Bristol.[135][136] As the UK's seventh-most-popular destination for foreign tourists, the city has nine million visitors annually.[137]

During the 20th century, Bristol's manufacturing activities expanded to include aircraft production at Filton by the Bristol Aeroplane Company and aircraft-engine manufacturing by Bristol Aero Engines (later Rolls-Royce) at Patchway. Bristol Aeroplane was known for their World War I Bristol Fighter[138] and World War II Blenheim and Beaufighter planes.[138] During the 1950s they were a major English manufacturer of civilian aircraft, known for the Freighter, Britannia and Brabazon. The company diversified into automobile manufacturing during the 1940s, producing hand-built, luxury Bristol Cars at their factory in Filton, and the Bristol Cars company was spun off in 1960.[139] The city also gave its name to Bristol buses, which were manufactured in the city from 1908 to 1983: by Bristol Tramways until 1955, and from 1955 to 1983 by Bristol Commercial Vehicles.

A view from below of an aeroplane in flight, with a slender fuselage and swept back wings.
Final Concorde flight on 26 November 2003, shortly before landing on the Filton runway from which it first flew in 1969

Filton played a key role in the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic airliner project during the 1960s. The Bristol Aeroplane Company became part of the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC); Concorde components were manufactured in British and French factories and shipped to final-assembly plants in Toulouse and Filton. The French manufactured the centre fuselage and centre wing, and the British manufactured the nose, rear fuselage, fin and wingtips; manufacture of its Olympus 593 engine was divided between Rolls-Royce (Filton) and Snecma (Paris). The British Concorde prototype made its maiden flight from Filton to RAF Fairford on 9 April 1969, five weeks after the French test flight.[140] In 2003 British Airways and Air France decided to discontinue Concorde flights, retiring the aircraft to locations (primarily museums) worldwide. On 26 November 2003 Concorde 216 made the final Concorde flight, returning to Bristol Filton Airport as the centrepiece of a proposed air museum which is planned to include the existing Bristol Aero collection (including a Bristol Britannia).[141]

The aerospace industry remains a major sector of the local economy.[142] Major aerospace companies in Bristol include BAE Systems, a merger of Marconi Electronic Systems and BAe (the latter a merger of BAC, Hawker Siddeley and Scottish Aviation). Airbus[143] and Rolls-Royce are also based at Filton, and aerospace engineering is an area of research at the University of the West of England. Another aviation company in the city is Cameron Balloons, who manufacture hot air balloons;[144] each August the city hosts the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, one of Europe's largest hot-air balloon festivals.[145]

A £500 million shopping centre, Cabot Circus, opened in 2008 amidst predictions by developers and politicians that the city would become one of England's top ten retail destinations.[146] Bristol was selected as one of the world's 2009 top-ten cities by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness series of guides for young adults.[147] The Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, focused on creative, high-tech and low-carbon industries around Bristol Temple Meads railway station,[148] was announced in 2011[149] and launched the following year.[148] The 70-hectare (170-acre) Urban Enterprise Zone has streamlined planning procedures and reduced business rates. Rates generated by the zone are channelled to five other designated enterprise areas in the region:[150] Avonmouth, Bath, Bristol and Bath Science Park in Emersons Green, Filton and Weston-super-Mare.

A panoramic view looking over a cityscape of office blocks, old buildings, church spires and a multi-story car park. In the distance are hills.
Panorama of Bristol in 2004

Culture[edit]

Main article: Culture of Bristol

Arts[edit]

An imposing eighteenth-century building with three entrance archways, large first-floor windows and an ornate peaked gable end above. On the left, a twentieth-century grey brick building with a gilded crest; on the right a cream-coloured building with four pitched roofs. In front, a cobbled street.
The Coopers Hall, entrance to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Royal complex
A long two-storey building with 4 cranes in front on the quayside. Two tugboats are moored at the quay.
Site of the former Bristol Industrial Museum, now the M Shed
A painting on a building showing a naked man hanging by one hand from a window sill. A man in a suit looks out of the window, shading his eyes with his right hand, behind him stands a woman in her underwear.
One of many Banksy artworks in the city, which has since been vandalised with blue paint (partly cleared by the city council)

The city is famous for its music and film industries, and was a finalist for the 2008 European Capital of Culture, but the title was awarded to Liverpool.[151] See No Evil, a street art event in Bristol, started in 2011. Bristol is also home to one of the seven national Foodies Festivals,[152] taking place 13–15 July 2012, with master classes by Levi Roots and Ed Baines, as well as city beaches, restaurant tents, pop-up cinemas and burlesque shows. The city's principal theatre company, the Bristol Old Vic, was founded in 1946 as an offshoot of The Old Vic company in London. Its premises on King Street consist of the 1766 Theatre Royal (607 seats), a modern studio theatre called the New Vic (150 seats), and foyer and bar areas in the adjacent Coopers' Hall (built 1743). The Theatre Royal is a grade I listed building[153][154] and is the oldest continuously operating theatre in England.[155] The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, which had originated in King Street, is now a separate company. The Bristol Hippodrome is a larger theatre (1,951 seats) which hosts national touring productions. Other theatres include the Tobacco Factory (250 seats), QEH (220 seats), the Redgrave Theatre (at Clifton College) (320 seats) and the Alma Tavern (50 seats). Bristol's theatre scene includes a large variety of producing theatre companies, apart from the Bristol Old Vic company, such as Show of Strength Theatre Company, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and Travelling Light Theatre Company. Theatre Bristol is a partnership between Bristol City Council, Arts Council England and local theatre practitioners which aims to develop the theatre industry in Bristol.[156] A number of organisations within the city support theatre makers. The Residence "artist led community", for example, provides office, social and rehearsal space for several Bristol-based theatre and performance companies.[157] Equity, the actors union, has a general branch based in the city.[158]

Since the late 1970s, the city has been home to bands combining punk, funk, dub and political consciousness. Among the most notable have been Glaxo Babies,[159] the Pop Group[160] and trip hop or "Bristol Sound" artists such as Tricky,[161] Portishead,[162] and Massive Attack;[163] the list of bands from Bristol is extensive. It is also a stronghold of drum and bass with notable artists such as the Mercury Prize winning Roni Size/Reprazent[164] as well as the pioneering DJ Krust[165] and More Rockers.[166] This music is part of the wider Bristol urban culture scene which received international media attention in the 1990s.[167]

Bristol has many live music venues, the largest of which is the 2,000-seat Colston Hall, named after Edward Colston. Others include the Bristol Academy, The Fleece, The Croft, The Exchange, Fiddlers, Victoria Rooms, Trinity Centre, St George's Bristol and a range of public houses from the jazz-orientated The Old Duke to rock at the Fleece and Firkin, and indie bands at the Louisiana.[168][169] In 2010, PRS for Music announced that Bristol is the most musical city in the UK, based on the number of its members born in Bristol in relation to the size of its population.[170]

The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery houses a collection of natural history, archaeology, local glassware, Chinese ceramics and art. M Shed, the museum of Bristol, opened in 2011 on the site of the former Bristol Industrial Museum.[171] Both museums are operated by Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives, which also runs three preserved historic houses – the Tudor Red Lodge, the Georgian House and Blaise Castle House – as well as Bristol Record Office.[172] The Watershed Media Centre and Arnolfini gallery, both in disused dockside warehouses, exhibit contemporary art, photography and cinema, while the city's oldest gallery is at the Royal West of England Academy in Clifton.[173] Antlers Gallery, Bristol's nomadic gallery opened in 2010, moving around the city into empty spaces on Park Street, Whiteladies Road and Purifier House on Bristol's Harbourside. The commercial gallery represents Bristol based artists through exhibitions, art fairs and private sales.

Stop frame animation films and commercials produced by Aardman Animations[174] and television series focusing on the natural world have also brought fame and artistic credit to the city.[175] The city is home to the regional headquarters of BBC West, and the BBC Natural History Unit.[176] Locations in and around Bristol have often featured in the BBC's natural history programmes, including the children's television programme Animal Magic, filmed at Bristol Zoo.[177]

In literature, Bristol is noted as the birthplace of the 18th century poets Robert Southey[178] and Thomas Chatterton.[179] Southey, who was born on Wine Street, Bristol in 1774, and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge married the Bristol Fricker sisters.[180] William Wordsworth spent time in the city,[181] where Joseph Cottle first published Lyrical Ballads in 1798.[182]

The 18th- and 19th century portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence and 19th century architect Francis Greenway, designer of many of Sydney's first buildings, came from the city, and more recently the graffiti artist Banksy, many of whose works can be seen in the city.[183] Some famous comedians are locals, including Justin Lee Collins,[184] Lee Evans,[185] Russell Howard,[186] and writer/comedian Stephen Merchant.[187]

University of Bristol graduates include magician and psychological illusionist Derren Brown;[188] the satirist Chris Morris;[189] Simon Pegg[190] and Nick Frost of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz;[191] and Matt Lucas[192] and David Walliams[192] of Little Britain fame.[192] Hollywood actor Cary Grant was born in the city;[193] along with Dolly Read, UK Stars Ralph Bates and Norman Eshley. Peter O'Toole, Kenneth Cope, Patrick Stewart, Jane Lapotaire, Pete Postlethwaite, Jeremy Irons, Greta Scacchi, Miranda Richardson, Helen Baxendale, Daniel Day-Lewis and Gene Wilder are amongst the many actors who learnt their craft at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School,[194] opened by Laurence Olivier in 1946. The comedian John Cleese was a pupil at Clifton College.[195] Hugo Weaving studied at Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School[196] and David Prowse (Darth Vader, Star Wars) attended Bristol Grammar School.[197]

Architecture[edit]

A seventeenth-century timber-framed building with three gables and a traditional inn sign showing a picture of a sailing barge. Some drinkers sit at benches outside on a cobbled street. Other old buildings are further down the street, and in the background part of a modern office building can be seen.
The Llandoger Trow, an ancient public house in the heart of Bristol.

Bristol has 51 Grade I listed buildings,[154] 500 Grade II* and over 3,800 Grade II buildings,[198] in a wide variety of architectural styles, ranging from the medieval to the 21st century. In the mid-19th century, Bristol Byzantine, an architectural style unique to the city, was developed, of which several examples have survived. Buildings from most of the architectural periods of the United Kingdom can be seen throughout the city. Surviving elements of the fortified city and castle date back to the medieval era,[199] also some churches dating from the 12th century onwards.[200]

Outside the historical city centre there are several large Tudor and later mansions built for wealthy merchants.[201] Of particular note is Kings Weston House in the north of the city, designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and the only Vanbrugh building to be found in any UK city outside London. Almshouses[202] and public houses of the same period still exist,[203] intermingled with modern development. Several Georgian-era squares were laid out for the enjoyment of the middle class as prosperity increased in the 18th century.[204]

Kings Weston House, Bristol., by Sir John Vanbrugh. The Garden Front.

During World War II, the city centre suffered from extensive bombing during the Bristol Blitz.[205] The central shopping area around Wine Street and Castle Street was particularly badly hit, and architectural treasures such as the Dutch House and St Peter's Hospital were lost. Nonetheless in 1961 Betjeman still considered Bristol to be 'the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England'.[206]

The redevelopment of shopping centres, office buildings, and the harbourside continues apace.

Sport[edit]

In the foreground twentieth century housing can be seen amidst trees and on the right a tower block of flats. In the middle distance a complex of red coloured buildings can be seen and behind that a steep sided gorge with a suspension bridge spanning it. Eighteenth century terraces on the right side of the gorge, the slopes of which are heavily wooded and a tower can be seen in the distance on the skyline.
Ashton Gate Stadium with the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the background over the Avon Gorge

Bristol's only Football League club is Bristol City. Other, non-league, football clubs include Bristol Rovers, Mangotsfield United, Bristol Manor Farm and Brislington F.C.. Bristol City was formed in 1897, became runners-up in Division One in 1907, and losing FA Cup finalists in 1909. They returned to the top flight in 1976, but slowly descended to the bottom professional tier where, after bankruptcy in 1982 they reformed and climbed the league again. They were promoted to the second tier of English football in 2007. The team lost in the play-off final of the Championship to Hull City (2007–08 season). City announced plans for a new 30,000 all-seater stadium to replace their home, Ashton Gate.[64]

Bristol Rovers is the oldest professional football team in Bristol, formed in 1883. During their history, Rovers have been champions of the third tier (Division Three South in 1952–53 and Division Three in 1989–90), Watney Cup Winners (1972, 2006–07), and runners-up in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. The Club has planning permission to build a new 21,700 capacity all-seater stadium on land at the University of the West of England's Frenchay campus. Construction of the new stadium was due to commence in Summer 2014 but, as of March 2015, doubts exist about the sale of the Memorial Stadium site which is needed to finance the new stadium.[207][208]

The city is home to Bristol Rugby club.[209] Formed as Bristol Football Club in 1888 when the Carlton club merged with rival club Redland Park to create a united Bristol team. Westbury Park having refused to merge then folded and many of its players subsequently joined Bristol.

A cricket match with fielders and batmen wearing coloured kit. A bowler delivers a ball to one of the batsman. Some of the crowd can be seen behind advertising hoardings and in front of trees and a scaffold construction.
The County Ground, Ashley Down

The city is also home to a first-class cricket side, Gloucestershire C.C.C.[210] and a Rugby League Conference side, the Bristol Sonics. The city also stages an annual half marathon, and in 2001 played host to the World Half Marathon Championships. There are several athletics clubs in Bristol, including Bristol and West AC, Bitton Road Runners and Westbury Harriers. Speedway racing was staged, with breaks, at the Knowle Stadium from 1928 to 1960, when it was closed and the site redeveloped. The sport briefly returned to the city in the 1970s when the Bulldogs raced at Eastville Stadium.[211] In 2009, senior ice hockey returned to the city for the first time in 17 years with the newly formed Bristol Pitbulls playing out of Bristol Ice Rink.

Motor racing has strong roots in Bristol with Joe Fry setting many records in the Freikaiserwagen and events held around the city. Speed trials have been staged in Clapton-in-Gordano, Shipham, Backwell, Naish, Dyrham Park, Filton Airfield and in Whitchurch (then Bristol's airport). A stage of the 1983 RAC Rally was held in the Ashton Court Estate. To this day, a sporting trial is held in woodland on the outskirts of the city and a classic trial is held in the hills surrounding the city.

The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, a major event for hot-air ballooning in the UK, is held each summer in the grounds of Ashton Court, to the west of the city.[212] The fiesta draws substantial crowds even for the early morning lift beginning at about 6.30 am. Events and a fairground entertain visitors throughout the day. A second mass ascent is made in the early evening, again taking advantage of lower wind speeds. Until 2007 Ashton Court also played host to the Ashton Court Festival each summer, an outdoor music festival known as the Bristol Community Festival.

For mountain biking in Bristol, the main area is around the Ashton Court estate, with the Timberland trails being the main route. There are also routes across the road in the Plantation, the 50 acre wood and Leigh Woods.[213]

Media[edit]

Bristol has two daily newspapers, the Western Daily Press and the Bristol Evening Post; a weekly free newspaper, the Bristol Observer; and a Bristol edition of the free Metro newspaper, all owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust.[214] The city has several local radio stations, including BBC Radio Bristol, Heart Bristol (previously known as GWR FM), Classic Gold 1260, Kiss 101, The Breeze (formerly Star 107.2), BCFM (a community radio station launched March 2007), Ujima 98 FM,[215] 106 Jack FM,[216] as well as two student radio stations, The Hub and BURST, and an internet radio station from the Jewish and Muslim communities of the city, Radio Salaam Shalom. Bristol also boasts television productions such as ITV News West Country for ITV West & Wales (formerly HTV West) and ITV Westcountry, Points West for BBC West, hospital drama Casualty (which has moved filming to Cardiff since 2012)[217] and Endemol productions such as Deal or No Deal. Bristol has been used as a location for the Channel 4 comedy drama Teachers, BBC drama Mistresses, E4 teen drama Skins and BBC3 comedy-drama series Being Human (which has since moved to Barry from series 3 onwards).

Independent publishers based in the city have included the 18th century, Bristolian Joseph Cottle, who was largely responsible for the launch of the Romantic Movement by publishing the works of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.[218] In the 19th century, J.W. Arrowsmith published the Victorian comedy classics Three Men in a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome, and The Diary of a Nobody, by George and Weedon Grossmith.[219] Current publishers include the Redcliffe Press, which has published over 200 books on all aspects of the city.[220]

Bristol is home to the YouTube video-game group The Yogscast. Co-Founders, Simon Lane and Lewis Brindley moved operations from their shared house in Reading to Bristol in 2012.[221]

Dialect[edit]

A dialect of English is spoken by some Bristol inhabitants, known colloquially as Bristolian, "Bristolese" or even, following the publication of Derek Robson's "Krek Waiters peak Bristle", as "Bristle" or "Brizzle". Bristol natives speak with a rhotic accent, in which the post-vocalic r in words like car and card is still pronounced, having been lost from many other dialects of English, notably BBC English, or RP, i.e., "received pronunciation". The unusual feature of this accent, unique to Bristol, is the so-called Bristol L (or terminal L), in which an L sound appears to be appended to words that end in an 'a' or 'o'.[222] There is some dispute about whether this is broad "l" or "w".[223] Thus "area" becomes "areal" or "areaw", etc. The "-ol" ending of the city's name is a significant example of the occurrence of the so-called "Bristol L". Bristolians using the dialect tend to pronounce "a" and "o" at the end of a word almost as "aw", hence "cinemaw". To the stranger's ear this pronunciation sounds as if there is an "L" after the vowel.[224][225]

Further Bristolian linguistic features are an additional "to" in questions relating to direction or orientation, or using "to" instead of "at" (features also common to the coastal towns of South Wales probably reflecting the use of "tu" in Welsh, e.g., "Y mae efe tu maes" – "That is he to outside" = "He/It is outside"); and using male pronouns "he" and "him" instead of "it".[226] For example, "Where is it?" would be phrased as "Where's he to?" and "Where's that" as "Where's that to", a structure exported to Newfoundland English.[227]

Until recent times the dialect was characterised by retention of the second person singular as in the famous piece of doggerel, "Cassn't see what bist looking at? Cassn't see as well as couldst, casst? And if couldst, 'ouldn't, 'ouldst?" Notice the use of West Saxon "bist" for English "art".[228] Children could be admonished with, "Thee and thou, the Welshman's cow". As in French and German, use of the second person singular to a superior or parent was not permitted in Bristolese (except by Quakers with their notions of equality for all). The pronoun form 'thee' is also used in the subject position (e.g., 'What bist thee doing?') while 'I'/'he' are used in the object position (e.g., 'Give he to I.').[229]

An ornate brick tower surrounded by trees. The tower has balconies and is surmounted by a pitched roof with an ornate figure at the apex.
Cabot Tower viewed from Brandon Hill park.

Stanley Ellis, a dialect researcher, found that many of the dialect words in the Filton area were linked to work in the aerospace industry. He described this as "a cranky, crazy, crab-apple tree of language and with the sharpest, juiciest flavour that I've heard for a long time".[230]

Religion[edit]

In the United Kingdom Census 2011, 46.8% of Bristol's population reported themselves as being Christian, and 37.4% stated they were not religious; the national England averages are 59.4% and 24.7% respectively. Islam accounts for 5.1% of the population, Buddhism 0.6%, Hinduism 0.6%, Sikhism 0.5%, Judaism 0.2% and other religions 0.7%, while 8.1% did not state a religion.[231]

The city has many Christian churches, the most notable being the Anglican Bristol Cathedral and St Mary Redcliffe, and the Roman Catholic Clifton Cathedral. Nonconformist chapels include Buckingham Baptist Chapel and John Wesley's New Room in Broadmead.[232] St James's Presbyterian church was bombed on 24 November 1940, never to be used as a church again.[233] Its bell tower remains but the nave has been converted to offices.[234]

In Bristol, other religions are served by eleven mosques,[235] several Buddhist meditation centres,[236] a Hindu temple,[237] Progressive and Orthodox synagogues,[238] and four Sikh temples.[239][240][241]

Education, science and technology[edit]

 A Palladian style nineteenth century stone building with a large colonnaded porch. In front a large metal statue on a pedestal and fountains with decorations.
The Victoria Rooms, owned by the University
Main article: Education in Bristol

Bristol is home to two major institutions of higher education: the University of Bristol, a "redbrick" chartered in 1909, and the University of the West of England, formerly Bristol Polytechnic, which gained university status in 1992. In addition the University of Law has a campus in the city. Bristol also has two dedicated further education institutions, City of Bristol College and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, and three theological colleges, Trinity College, Wesley College and Bristol Baptist College. The city has 129 infant, junior and primary schools,[242] 17 secondary schools,[243] and three city learning centres. It has the country's second highest concentration of independent school places, after an exclusive corner of north London.[244] The independent schools in the city include Clifton College, Clifton High School, Badminton School, Bristol Grammar School, Redland High School, Queen Elizabeth's Hospital (the only all-boys school) and Red Maids' School, which claims to be the oldest girls' school in England, having been founded in 1634 by John Whitson.[245]

A tall stone nineteenth century with shields on the visible sides and a pepperpot upper storey. In front, traffic and pedestrians on a busy street.
The Wills Memorial Building on Park Street belongs to the University of Bristol. The tower was cleaned in 2006–2007.

In 2005, Gordon Brown, then Chancellor of the Exchequer recognised Bristol's ties to science and technology by naming it one of six "science cities", and promising funding for further development of science in the city,[246] with a £300 million science park planned at Emersons Green.[247] As well as research at the two universities, Bristol Royal Infirmary, and Southmead Hospital, science education is important in the city, with At-Bristol, Bristol Zoo, Bristol Festival of Nature and the Create Centre[248] being prominent local institutions involved in science communication.

The city has a history of scientific luminaries, including the 19th century chemist Sir Humphry Davy,[249] who worked in Hotwells. Bishopston gave the world physicist Paul Dirac, who received the Nobel Prize in 1933 for crucial contributions to quantum mechanics.[250] Cecil Frank Powell was Melvill Wills Professor of Physics at Bristol University when he was awarded the Nobel prize for a photographic method of studying nuclear processes and associated discoveries in 1950. The city was the birthplace of Colin Pillinger,[251] planetary scientist behind the Beagle 2 Mars-lander project, and was home to the neuropsychologist Richard Gregory, founder of the Exploratory, a hands-on science centre, precursor of at-Bristol.[252]

Initiatives such as the Flying Start Challenge help encourage secondary school pupils around the Bristol area to take an interest in Science and Engineering. Links with major aerospace companies promote technical disciplines and advance students' understanding of practical design.[253] The Bloodhound SSC project, aiming to break the land speed record, is based at the Bloodhound Technology Centre on Bristol's harbourside.[254]

Transport[edit]

Main article: Transport in Bristol

Bristol has two principal railway stations. Bristol Temple Meads, near the centre, sees mainly First Great Western services, including regular high speed trains to London Paddington, as well as other local, regional and CrossCountry trains. Bristol Parkway, to the north of the city, is mainly served by high speed First Great Western services between Swansea, Cardiff Central and London Paddington, and CrossCountry services to Birmingham and the North East. A limited service to London Waterloo via Clapham Junction from Bristol Temple Meads is operated by South West Trains. There are also scheduled coach links to most major UK cities.[255]

 A railway station with curved platforms under an arched iron framed roof with roof-lights. A passenger train stands at the platform on the right and on the left passengers waiting for a train.
Temple Meads station

The M4 motorway connects the city with an east-west axis from London to West Wales, while the M5 provides a north–southwest axis from Birmingham to Exeter. Also within the county is the M49 motorway, a short cut between the M5 in the south and M4 Severn Crossing in the west. The M32 motorway is a spur from the M4 to the city centre.[255]

Bristol Airport (BRS), at Lulsgate, has seen substantial investments in its runway, terminal and other facilities since 2001.[255]

An aerial view of an airport with one main runway, car parks on the left and right, and aircraft parked outside terminal buildings on the right.
Bristol Airport, Lulsgate

Public transport in the city consists largely of its bus network, provided mostly by FirstGroup, formerly the Bristol Omnibus Company. Other services are provided by Abus,[256] Wessex Star (Operated by Wessex for the two universities),[257] and Wessex.[258] Buses in the city have been widely criticised for being unreliable and expensive; in 2005 First was fined for delays and safety violations.[259][260]

Private car usage in Bristol is high. The city suffers from congestion, costing an estimated £350 million per year.[261] Bristol is motorcycle friendly; the city allows motorcycles to use most of the city's bus lanes, as well as providing secure free parking.[262] Since 2000 the city council has included a light rail system in its local transport plan, but has so far been unwilling to fund the project. The city was offered European Union funding for the system, but the Department for Transport did not provide the required additional funding.[263] As well as support for public transport, there are several road building schemes supported by the local council, including re-routing and improving the South Bristol Ring Road.[264] There are also three park and ride sites serving the city, supported by the local council.[265] The central part of the city has water-based transport, operated by the Bristol Ferry Boat, Bristol Packet and Number Seven Boat Trips providing leisure and commuter services on the harbour.[266]

Bristol's principal surviving suburban railway is the Severn Beach Line to Avonmouth and Severn Beach. The Portishead Railway was closed to passengers under the Beeching Axe, but was relaid for freight only in 2000–2002 as far as the Royal Portbury Dock with a Strategic Rail Authority rail-freight grant. Plans to relay a further 3 miles (5 km) of track to Portishead, a largely dormitory town with only one connecting road, have been discussed but there were concerns about insufficient funding to rebuild stations. However the work is now scheduled t be completed by 2019.[267] Rail services in Bristol suffer from overcrowding and there is a proposal to increase rail capacity under the Greater Bristol Metro scheme.[268]

Bristol was named "England's first 'cycling city'" in 2008,[269] and is home to the sustainable transport charity Sustrans. It has a number of urban cycle routes, as well as links to National Cycle Network routes to Bath and London, to Gloucester and Wales, and to the south-western peninsula of England. Cycling has grown rapidly in the city, with a 21% increase in journeys between 2001 and 2005.[261]

Twin cities[edit]

The walls and tower of an old ruined church set in a paved area and surrounded by a park. On the left is water with some pontoons moored and in the background office blocks, streets and church spires.
St Peter's ruined church in Castle Park, Bristol

Bristol was among the first cities to adopt the idea of town twinning. Its twin towns include:

Other twinnings include:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lord-Lieutenant of the County & City of Bristol. Retrieved 20 August 2014
  2. ^ "Historical Weather for Bristol, England, United Kingdom". Weatherbase. Canty & Associates. June 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2007. 
  3. ^ "The Population of Bristol August 2013" (PDF). Bristol City Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 February 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°27′N 2°35′W / 51.450°N 2.583°W / 51.450; -2.583