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Beyond Australia & New Zealand A local perspective on what's happening overseas

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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:00 AM   #1
nmuzz
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Bristol UK in February 2008

Bristol – a brief introduction

Bristol lies approximately 105 mile (170km) west of London off the M4 motorway. It is the largest city in South West with a population of
410, 000 (550, 000 metropolitan) and the UK’s 8th largest. It is a unitary authority (Bristol City) but also straddles 3 other counties (South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset). This is where the metropolitan population comes from.

It lies on the Avon River and is east of the Severn River estuary. Within the city centre the Avon River forms Bristol Harbour and was one of the main shipping ports for trade to Ireland as well as home to John Cabot’s ship the Matthew which explored North America in 1497. It is also home to many of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s constructions such as The Clifton Suspension Bridge striding the mighty Avon Gorge, The SS Great Britain (the worlds first steam powered iron ship) and Bristol Temple Meads Station which was the end of the Great Western Railway before its extension to Exeter.

Bristol has quite a dark past as well as it was the centre for slave trade in the 17th Century and the tobacco industry. 2007 saw the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

During the late 1800s it ventured, as most British cities did, into an extensive tram network and the only system in England to have open top double-decker trams as their entire fleet. Sadly, WW2 ended the tram network as extensive bombing of the city destroyed the main depots and a large percentage of the fleet and tracks. An attempt to bring back trams to the city was thwarted by lack of funding from the ever generous Labour Government and most probably redirected to the London Olympics fund!

Not only that, but many wonderful old buildings were also destroyed by the Luftwaffe. The 1950s saw a complete regeneration of the city centre into the familiar boring architecture that is seen across the UK today. But now the city is making a come back.

Bristol has always been an engineering and aviation city and is home to BAE Systems, Airbus and Rolls Royce. The city is most notably the home on the ‘British’ Concorde. Concorde 216 G – BOAF is open to the public and rests at the end of Filton Airport.

The millennium saw massive investment in the city and the redevelopment of many run down areas and buildings. Most notably the Millennium Square Development, the Watershed in the city centre and the redevelopment of the Broad mead shopping district (called Cabot Circus) which has attracted one of the most famous department stores into the South West – Harvey Nicks!!

It has one of the largest collections of private schools outside London such as Clifton High School, Red Maids School, Bristol Grammar, Bristol Cathedral School, QEH (Chartered by Queen Elizabeth 1 and founded in 1590! Hugo Weaving attended this school too!), Redland High for Girls, Badminton School and Colston’s Girls School as well as two universities (the University of Western England and Bristol University).

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is a popular instituation as many famous actors have tread the boards. Actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Gene Wilder, Gretta Scacchi, Miranda Richardson, Patrick Stewart (make it so), Peter O’Toole and Sean Pertwee just to name a few!!
Many favourite British TV programs are filmed in and around Bristol such as ITV’s Afterlife, Channel 4’s Skins, and the BBC’s Holby City, Casualty and the brilliant comedies Only Fools and Horses and The Young Ones as well as Aardman Animation creators of Wallace and Grommit are based in Bristol!
There are some famous bands who hail from Bristol too such as Kosheen, Portishead and Massive Attack.
Also Francis Greenway, designer of Sydney’s first buildings was born in Bristol.

The city has a proud history of sport supporting two football teams: Bristol Rovers (the Gas Heads) and Bristol City (which Simon Chipperfield, an ex-Wollongong Wolves player played for). There is much rivalry between the two teams. But most notably the West Country and Bristol is known as a proud land of Rugby and cricket!

Bristol has such beautiful areas to visit and the pubs ain’t half bad either! Clifton (the upper class area of the city) is filled with quaint cafes, restaurants and shops and boasts possibly the best pub/hotel in the world – the White Lion at the Avon Gorge Hotel which over looks the Clifton Suspension bridge and the 75m gorge below. The Downs is a large park (a bit like Clapham Common in size) where many festivals take place throughout the year. Park Street has excellent shops and cafes as does St Nicholas Markets in the city centre. Ashton Court is a 15th Century Mansion house surrounded by 210 hectares of parkland and hosts the Bristol International Balloon Festival every August.

I suppose, from my point of view Bristol is brilliant because you get a great city feel, surrounded by beautiful parks and scenery which is literally 10mins away from the city centre. West Country folk (and Bristolians) are lovely warm people that enjoy a good yarn and a healthy pint of ciderrrrrrr! (Oohh Ahrrrrr!)
I hope you enjoy the tour.
nmuzz

First, the city centre and the redevelopment of the Bristol & West Building Society HQ.


Looking up to College Green and the Bristol Marriott Royal

The City Centre




Looking across to one of Bristol's theatres - the Hippodrome

Denmark Street (no imprtance really, just small and windy)

Crossing from the Watershed to Queens Square (funky bridge)

Baldwin Street (one of Bristol's busiest)


Statue of Neptune looking out to the harbour

The White Lion pub in Rupert Street

The Watershed on the right (full of pubs, clubs and bars! Brilliant spot!)
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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:07 AM   #2
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lol cider, bloody women

when I was working at RBS, we used to have people who lived in Bristol and commuted up to Edinburgh (their HQ is in Gogarburn right next to EDI) on Easyjet everyday... I thought they were completely barmy. Nevertheless, Bristol & Bath will be getting a look in soon enough.

You left Temple Meads off!
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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:13 AM   #3
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Walking up Corn Street.





Looking down Leonard Lane


Looking down St Nicholas Street


St Nicholas Markets






St Nicholas Church


St Stephens Church

Looking down St Stephens Street


The Walkabout Pub (one of two Ozzie bars in Bristol!!)

and more to come, including Temple Meads...
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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:23 AM   #4
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Walking up to College Green, Bristol Cathedral and Bristol City Council building.
Cathedral Steps.










Bristol Marriott Royal on the Green


Bristol City Council Chambers (oops! And my little chookie!)






Looking back into the City Centre.


Looking up Park Street to Bristol University (where the tower is)


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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:36 AM   #5
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Harbourside is the newest area of the city completely redevoloping the old docks with residential complexes, hotels, commercial buildings (lots of banks have big offices here such as HBOS and Lloydds TSB) and of cources bars and restaurants.
Walking from the Watershed to Millenium Square








Cathedral Walk, Harbourside

















Last edited by nmuzz; February 10th, 2008 at 01:08 AM.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:45 AM   #6
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Broadmead is the main shopping district in the city. The eastern end is being completely redeveloped (thank god) as you will see some of the post war architecture in need of a lot of attention.






Debenhams Department store.


High Street


Looking down past Debenhams to House of Fraser.


House of Fraser which will move it's premises into the Cabot Circus shopping centre at the eastern end of Broadmead


John Wesley's first chapel in England


In dire need of love and attention!

Last edited by nmuzz; February 10th, 2008 at 12:52 AM.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:57 AM   #7
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The Clifton Suspension Bridge from the Cumberland Basin (on your way out of Bristol)


House in Hotwells, just below Clifton.


These are the pics I managed to sort out tonight I have more to share with shots from Clifton Village, the Suspension bridge and Temple Meads Station. Hope you've enjoyed it so far!
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Old February 10th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #8
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Bristol Temple Meads Station

The platforms are arranged in pairs, with odd-numbered platforms located at the east end of platform faces, and even-numbered at the west end. Platforms 1-4 are located on the main entrance concourse; platforms 1 and 2 being bay platforms. The other platforms are on three islands, containing platforms 5-8, 9-12, and 13 and 15 respectively.
It's estimated that nearly 7 million passaengers will use the station between 2007 and 2008. First Great Western is the main train service that runs through the station as well as Virgin Trains and Wessex Trains.
Most of these are taken from flickr and a couple from Bristol Mike's thread.














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Old February 11th, 2008, 03:24 AM   #9
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Thanks for the tour nmuzz!
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Old February 11th, 2008, 03:38 AM   #10
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Great tour indeed! Thank you!
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Old February 13th, 2008, 12:56 AM   #11
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nmuzz, do they have a surburban rail system in Bristol?
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Old February 13th, 2008, 01:55 AM   #12
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nmuzz - I lived in Bristol from 2000 to 2002. Was one of the best times of my life - I love the place! I went back in 2006 to visit friends and was glad to see that half of Broadmead demolished!

I loved wandering around the docks, the view from Cabot Tower, the streets of Montpelier, the Downs, the Ashton Court Festival and all the pubs!

Thanks for the pics and the walk down memory lane!
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Old February 13th, 2008, 01:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisbanite View Post
nmuzz, do they have a surburban rail system in Bristol?
They don't have a true suburban rail as such, just the regional trains in the area that I guess people use to commute from nearby places like Bath, Gloucester, Taunton, and south Wales. There is a under utilised line to Severn Beach that runs across the northern part ofthe city, but services are limited. When I was there they were continually talking about light rail..........
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Old February 13th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 17 floors up View Post
They don't have a true suburban rail as such, just the regional trains in the area that I guess people use to commute from nearby places like Bath, Gloucester, Taunton, and south Wales. There is a under utilised line to Severn Beach that runs across the northern part ofthe city, but services are limited. When I was there they were continually talking about light rail..........
Yeah you're right. Not really a suburban rail system, more like stations on the existing national rail lines. However, Portishead is a growing area in North Somerset and a strong commuter town into Bristol and they've been going on about reopening the Bristol to Portihead rail line. It's been in the news again recently and seems to be a step closer than before.
Traffic in Bristol is a nightmare - the second worst city in the UK after London for traffic congestion!!
But the bus services are fairly decent.
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Old October 11th, 2008, 07:17 PM   #15
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Cabot Circus

Today the wife and child and I went for a look and some retail therapy around Bristol's new £500million Cabot Circus development to the North of the cities main shopping district, Broadmead. And wow, what a fantastic design it all is. I managed ot take a few snaps on my phone to show how cool the architecture is and judging by the amount of shoppers there were the Credit Crunch seemed to be a bit of a myth. Hope you enjoy!


Getting off the Park'n'Ride outside Cabot Circus.


Entering Cabot Circus


Front of Harvey Nichols














Under the atrium.

Funky window over looking the car park. It actually shattered glass.


Cabot Circus Car Park


Looking up towards the pedestrian bridge


Philadelphia St towards Quakers Friars and Harvey Nichols tower.
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Old October 12th, 2008, 02:32 PM   #16
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I never made it to Bristol. Looks nice. It actually looks more like a mainland Euro city rather than the typical northern English cities. I gather by the amount of post-war buildings, it must have been heavily bombed during the wars. Seems to be located in a nice little valley

Id like to visit on the way to beautiful Cornwall, if I ever get back to Europe
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Old October 12th, 2008, 02:56 PM   #17
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Nice update of the major developments (Cabot Circus).

In response to eastadl, I'd not say it looks like a mainland city at all, it looks very much like a well-to-do southern city, as it indeed is. Brissle has an abundance of terraced housing unlike most continental cities which sets it firmly apart.

I remember the traffic around Bristol all too well though! Many a time have we been stuck on the M5 southbound on our way to Devon. The almondsbury interchange was brutal.
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