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

Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built in the area around the confluence 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. From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities after London (with York and Norwich) in tax receipts. Bristol was eclipsed by 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 to the southeast and northeast, respectively. The city 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. Around 1500, it was the base for voyages of exploration to the New World: on a ship out of Bristol, John Cabot was the first European, since the Vikings 500 years earlier, to land in North America in 1497; and William Weston, a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America, in 1499. The Port of Bristol was originally in the city centre before commercial shipping moved from Bristol Harbour to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth. 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 been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture. The city has two universities and a variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues. In 2005, Bristol was named by the UK government 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. more about Bristol...

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Clifton Suspension Bridge
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge, which opened in 1864, spanning the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, linking Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset, England. Since opening it has been a toll bridge. The income from the tolls continues to provide funds for its maintenance. The bridge is built to a design by William Henry Barlow and John Hawkshaw, based on an earlier design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It is a grade I listed building and forms part of the B3129 road.

The idea of building a bridge across the Avon Gorge originated in 1753. Original plans were for a stone bridge and later iterations were for a wrought iron structure. In 1831, an attempt to build Brunel's design was halted by the Bristol riots, and the revised version of his designs was built after his death and completed in 1864. Two men were killed during the bridge's construction; since opening it has gained a reputation as a suicide bridge. The Clifton Bridge Company initially managed the bridge under licence from a charitable trust. The trust subsequently purchased the company shares, completing this in 1949 and took over the running of the bridge using the income from tolls to pay for maintenance. The bridge is a distinctive landmark, used as a symbol of Bristol on postcards, promotional materials, and informational web sites. It was also used as a backdrop to several films and television advertising and programmes. It has also been the venue for significant cultural events such as the first modern bungee jump in 1979, the last ever Concorde flight in 2003 and a handover of the Olympic Torch relay in 2012.

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A giant millipede kite at Bristol International Kite Festival, Ashton Court.
Credit: Linda Bailey

A giant millipede kite at Bristol International Kite Festival, Ashton Court.

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Edmund Burke
Edmund Burke
B. (1729-01-12)12 January 1729 – d. 9 July 1797(1797-07-09) (aged 68)

Edmund Burke PC (/bɜrk/; 12 January [NS] 1729 – 9 July 1797) was an Anglo-Irish statesman born in Dublin, as well as an author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who, after moving to England, served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party.

He is mainly remembered for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionaries, Catholic emancipation, the impeachment of Warren Hastings from the East India Company, and for his later opposition to the French Revolution. The latter led to his becoming the leading figure within the conservative faction of the Whig party, which he dubbed the "Old Whigs", in opposition to the pro–French Revolution "New Whigs", led by Charles James Fox. Burke was praised by both conservatives and liberals in the nineteenth century. Since the twentieth century, he has generally been viewed as the philosophical founder of conservatism.

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Great Gatehouse, Bristol

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  • St Mary Redcliffe was described by Queen Elizabeth I as "the fairest, goodliest, and most famous parish church in England."
  • Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament.-Edmund Burke in his Speech to the Electors of Bristol (1774-11-03)

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