College is an municipal open space in Bristol where The Council House is situated in the north west; the Cathedral is one the south side and adjacent to the Abbey Gatehouse and Central Library; and also the Lord Mayor's Chapel is opposite the Cathedral, in the northern end of the space.
Two statues of interest are the Queen Victoria at the corner of the green where the Cathedral is and Raja Rammohun Roy, a social reformer, at the south-western corner near the Central Library.
In October 2011 the College Green hosted Occupy Bristol who protested against social and economic inequality. Following the removal of the protesters, the Green was cordoned off for remedial work and it was re-opened again in April 2012.
My observations about The Lord Mayor's Chapel when we visited the College Green on our walking tour:
St Mark's - The Lord Mayor's Chapel
The chapel is the remaining building of Hospital of Saint Mark which was found in the 13th Century (a daughter house of Saint Augustine's Abbey) by Maurice de Gaunt. The chapel was converted to a community house by Robert de Gournay in 1230 for which it provided food and care for poor people until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. Since 1541 the hospital and grounds were sold to the City Council.
I didn't get opportunity to visit the chapel but I understand it's opened from Wednesdays to Saturdays and for worship on Sundays.
Please check out the blog to find out what the significance of the Shoe Tree is.
Founded as The Abbey of St Augustine during the 12th and declared a Cathedral in 1542 following the dissolution of the Monasteries this great building is certainly worth a look, we did not go inside as in was late and nearly Evensong but the exterior is lovely and so is the surrounding area called College Green.
A church has stood on this site for over a thousand years. In 1148 the Abbey of St. Augustine was founded. The abbey was dissolved in 1539 by Henry VIII's commissioners and the nave destroyed. It then became the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in 1542. In the 19th century the nave was rebuilt and two towers added.
Bristol Cathedral is a bit of a mixed beast. Founded in the twelfth century as the church of Bristol abbey, it only gained cathedral status in the sixteenth century after the dissolution of the monasteries. Much of what you see from the outside is in fact Victorian Gothic Revival, and I'm always depressed by the number of tourists I see photographing the eastern end: neither using their eyes nor their guide books.
The entire nave is the work of G E Street, (responsible for London's wonderful Law Courts, whose facade forms the north of the bottom of Fleet Street). This makes a nonsense of the overall effect of the interior: the vista east down the aisle is underwhelming in the extreme., but the real main space of the building is the choir, best viewed on a diagonal from the choir stalls (which are fabulous examples of wood carving).
The Elder Chapel, on the north side immediately east of the transept is the original place of worship of the abbey and is most charming: very good early C13 carvings, and rather curious windows: a pair of slim pillars supports the inner face of each window embrasure, corresponding to the mullions of the lancet windows. The other side chapels are also worth looking at.
The most interesting bit of the building is probably the chapter house, which is the oldest part of the building that the public has access to. (Unfortunately very difficult to photograph owing to the way it's lit.) It's reached via a cloister which has some very ancient fragments of stained glass and, among the other memorial plaques, a particularly unusual and beautiful mosaic Art Nouveau memorial to the choristers who died in the Great War depicting an angel with a halo made of mother-of-pearl.
There's a cafe and a very tranquil little garden tucked away behind the cathedral, reached from the same cloister as the chapter house.
This isn't a thing to do - not that most things to do tips are - but rather a place to hang out, particularly for skateboarders. Who have claimed a circular paved area at the apex of the green as a place to showcase the fanciest methods of falling off their boards. But the green itself is a nice big area of grass to sit on and do nothing, and, weather permitting, is very well used as such.
It's dominated by the Council House, a spectacularly unsucessful building. Before this was built College Green was about two metres higher than it is today: the architect had it lowered in order to inprove the view of his work. Bristol city council's website describe it as 'A unique and dignified civic centre'. Which judgement says more about Bristol City Council than it does abou the building. In this context for 'unique' read 'it's so ugly nobody has built anything remotely like it'. The green is also flanked by Bristol's mediocre cathedral and, more or less next to that, the central library, worthy of a tip in it's own right: the reference library upstairs is a spectacular bit of Edwardiana.
This is, in my view, an appalling piece of architecture, a ghastly combination of leaden aspiration to be neo-Georgian and architectural whimsy. Started in 1938 but not finished until the 1956. The war, don’tcha know.
Apparently built of brick, it’s actually a concrete framed building clad with bricks. And not just any old bricks: specially made, they are very long and thin. The cladding is an expensive disaster: the proportioning of the bricks emphasises the already excessive horizontality of the building which totally contradicts the idea of exquisite proportioning upon which the success (or failure) of Georgian buildings rely. The centrepeice of the façade is a ludicrously ill-proportioned neo-Byzantine porte-cochere, a straight Lutyens crib. The steeply-pitched leaded roofs on the clumsy end blocks, surmounted with a pair of gilded unicorns, (more medaeval in inspiration than anything else) are possibly the buildings only true success: charming if (or because) incongruous. And incidentally the subject of censure when the building was new for their extravagance. The whole is fronted by a curved ‘moat’ which has the traditional effect of a moat, to wit obstructing entry to the building - speaks volumes about the Council’s attitude towards the public- and which also generally serves as a home to a selection of unsightly flotsam. (it’s not deep enough for supermarket trollies)
I really don't like this building, but as Jerry Lee Lewis said, 'be thou hot or cold, for if you are lukewarm the Lord shall spit thee forth from His mouth'
It was designed by E V Harris, who built many town halls and other large civic buildings in a wide variety of styles, from the Art Deco of the Ministry of Defence in London ( long time Thamesside favorite of mine) to the wonderful neoclassical rotunda of Manchester’s Central Library via the extraordinary Leeds Civic Hall. So he could obviously design: maybe what he perpetrated in Bristol was the result of having to deal with Bristol City Council.
Bristol cathedral or to give it, it’s full name “Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity” was founded in 1140 as the Abbey of St. Augustine (The Chapter House and Abbey Gatehouse still remain). The cathedral became the seat of the bishop and cathedral of the new Diocese of Bristol in 1542 after partially being rebuilt. In 1868 the Nave was rebuilt to it’s original medieval design.
Although the Bristol's Cathedral is impressive I was disappointed of Bristol Cathedral because I’ve been told that it is the major example of a “Hall Church” in UK. There was a church at the same site for a thousand years but what you see today came to prominence in 1140 when R.Fitzhardinge founded the Abbey of St.Augustine. The hall is large because the Nave, Chor and Asles are all the same height. Actually most of the cathedral we see is the Victorian restoration that took place many years after. I like the lights on it when we returned back to our hotel late at night, the area in front of the cathedral was isolated because of the cold but it was so beautiful…
Portishead’s music came to my mind again…
Dreams and belief have gone / Time, life itself goes on (“Half Day Closing”)
It’s opened Monday-Saturday 8:00-18:00 and on Sunday 07:20-17:00 and there’s no free entrance
This neo-georgian building is the dominating structure at College Green. It was designed in the 1930s, but due to WWII, it was not finished until 1956. The building is extensively decorated with the guilded unicorns being one of the most remarkable items on this building. Today, it is the seat fo the local government.
College Green is, especially in summer, a popular place for young people to hang out. The place, situated between the cathedral and the Council House, is nice to lay down for sunbathing, picnicking or whatever you would like to do. College green is also popular with skateboarders so that you have to be careful about your place of choice. However, it is nice to watch them doing their tricks while you see a couple of impressive buildings in the background.
On College Green, you will also find a statue of Queen Victoria (nothing unusual in the UK...). But under this one, a time capsule was found during recent conservation works. The capsule went afterwards to the museum of Bristol, but was not opened. The statue was erected for Queen Victoria's golden jubilee.
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