The Palace Hotel was built in 1869 for the wine and spirits merchant, John Sharp – and you can still see his name and profession etched into the stone facade. At that time it was thought that a new Great Western Railway main station was going to be established nearby. For that reason it was to have been called the Railway Hotel – but Brunel's great Temple Meads Station was built half a mile south, so the Palace missed out. A smaller Midland Railway terminus, St Philip's Station, was opened nearby but this was closed in 1953 and subsequently demolished. In any case it was never on the scale which the owners of the Palace Hotel had hoped for. In 2000 Thomas Brooman CBE, co-founder and managing director of WOMAD (World of Music and Dance), took charge of the Palace. He spent much time and money bringing the place up to the high standard for which it is worthy but after 5 years decided it was time to move on. The Palace finally closed its doors in mid-2005 and was sold. The following year the new owner submitted a planning application to change its use to an estate agent's office. In August 2008, further applications were pending, with vigorous counter moves to restore it to a pub. In November 2008 it was announced that the owners of the Bristol Bear Bar across the road had bought the lease and, following a period of decoration in which maintenance of the pub's original features was a priority, it is now up and running as a pub.