I stayed in the Old City during my stay in Bristol and I became familiar with the area. The Old City runs from the North East of St Augustine's Reach and Floating Harbour. The main areas are Queen Square (please see separate tip), Corn Street, St Nicholas Market (please see separate tip), King Street and Welsh Back (please see separate tip). The area mainly comprises of offices, independent shops, cafes, bars, historic pubs and restaurants.
I got to appreciate the Old City even more during our walking tour of Bristol. Here are my observations:
On the guided walking tour we wandered around the Old City with its cobbled streets. We admired the buildings on Broad Street, Corn Street, St Nicholas Market, King Street and Welsh Back. We saw the old Corn Exchange building on Corn Street and the historic Llandoger Trow on King Street.
St John the Baptist
This is the only church left built in the city's walls during the 12th Century. It served part of Bristol's defences from attack and also a place for travellers to pray before their journeys to the unknown! The present building has been there since the 1300s with its tower and spire above the North Gate of the wall. There is a former prestigious burial place below the church and is the place for a water conduit in the 13th Century. Today the church is available for hire for cultural events.
Tel No. 07872 502118
The Exchange Building
John Wood the Elder built the The Exchange in 1741-43 on Corn Street. It was originally used for corn and general trade exchange but now is part of St Nicholas Market. Following intensive renovations including the lowering of the roof over the 19th Century. The clock on the building shows both the Greenwich Mean (by the extra hand) and Bristol Times. Greenwich Mean Time was used for railway timetables (effect from 14th September 1852) so people knew when they had to catch the trains as Bristol time was approximately 11 minutes behind.
This historic pub is one of the oldest in Bristol and was originally built in 1664. Fully restored it's a fascinating place to visit for a drink or a meal. There are many legends about the building and it's also said to be haunted.
I visited Queens square on my way to Redcliffe Church. We walked through the Old Town so we were surprised of the size of the square. It is a beautiful wide Georgian square that was built at the beginning of 18th century in popular of that era way with tree-lined walks.
There are benches to sit so we stopped for a while and we watched the houses around but also the statue of King William III in the middle of the square (pic 2). The statue was made in 1730 by Rysbrack but seriously damaged in world war II. It was repaired in 1948. We talked a bit with an old lady that told us that during summer period the people come here for several events or just lying on the grass…
In one of the oldest areas of Bristol. Originally known as Queene Street, and used to be the route north out of Bristol.
At the foot of the steps can be seen Tudor framed buildings, at the top are the Fosters Almhouses, next to The Chapel of the Three Kings of Cologne (1490)
Nowadays, the buildings on either side of the steps offer retail therapy, and restaurants.
Some interesting places apeared to be a Turkish restaurant Sas, which features a belly dancer on certain nights and a cheap rice/noodle bar..eat in/take out
The Queen Square is a public park in the centre of Bristol that dates back to beginning of the 18th Century. Much of the houses were destroyed in the Bristol Riots of 1831, and much of the greenery was destroyed in 1937 when some smart planner allowed the inner city ring road to pass diagonally across the square. Luckily, the road was removed in 2000 and now the square is again a peaceful green oasis the the centre of the town.
In the centre of the square there is an equestrian statue of William III erected in 1736 to signify the city's loyalty. The square is surrounded by beautiful buildings, most of them from the 19th Century. Today many of them are converted into offices. On the southern side one of the houses stands at the place where the first American Consulate once stood - the first US consulate opened in the UK in 1792.
St Peter's church was bombed during the WWII and was left as a ruin to serve as a monument to the victims of war. The church has Saxon foundations and originates from the 12th century.
St. Peter's church is located in the middle of the Castle Park, located next to the Broadmead shopping centre and overlooking the Floating Harbour. The park was created after the WWII bombing destroyed most of the mediaeval buildings which stood here, including the Bristol Castle.
Unfortunately it seems that the Bristol City Council has decided to develop around one third of Castle Park into new shops, offices and residential accommodation. I think this is a shame since the park is one of the nicest green areas in Bristol.
OK, perhaps I have already presented enough churches on my Bristol pages. But it is interesting to see the different ways the churches sruvived the centuries. St. John the Baptist did not suffer the same fate of St. Peter or St. Mary Le Port which were almost destroyed during WWII. However, it had another enemy: City planners. Around this church, many ugly buildings were constructed, so that St. John the Baptist is hidden somewhere between them now.
Like St. Nicholas, it was built into the city's fortification, hence its nickname St. John on the Wall. The present church was built in the late 15th century, but there was already a church there in the early 12th century. The spire looks modern from far (some may even say as ugly as the office buildings...), but is indeed the only medieval spire remaining in Bristol.
Services are not held any longer in this church, at least not regularly. The church is in the hands of the Chuches Conservation Trust and is sometimes even open for visitors.
This georgian Square is one of the most central places in Bristol. Although College Green, St. Augustine's Parade and @Bristol have attracted many visitors, Queen's Square remains to be a lively place. Many events, such as open air Shakespeare plays or markets, take place here. On the day I visited Bristol, there was a market of french products - including take-away hot meals.
Queens Square was built in 1727 and was a popular adress for companies invloved in overseas business, especially slave trading. Queens Square and its buildings were damaged several times by floods and riots. That and the smelly harbour mdae the companies move away to Clifton.
Although it is named Queen's Square, you will find the statue of a king, William II, on its center...
Close to Bristol Brige, you will find many churches in Bristol's old town. Some of them were destroyed and left as a mounment, some of them are not in use anymore. One of the churches I saw was St. Nicholas, which is the closest one to the bridge. St. Nicholas is a medieval church with its crypt dating from the 13th century. Like many other churches, it was rebuilt and altered several times during the centuries, especially after rebuilding of Bristol bridge which made a partly destruction of the church necessary. The final fate of St. Nicholas was sealed during the german bombing of 1940. On Novembner 25th, the inner of the church burnt out. It lasted over 30 years until rebuilding was completed. The church was never used as a church again, but opened in the early 1970s as an ecclestial museum. Later, it was used by the tourist office and in 2000 Bristol Archeology Services moved in. The crypt is not in accesible for visitors anymore, but a walk around the church is also nice. St. Nicholas church has also given its name to a popular market which takes place nearby.
The church of All Saints is one of Bristol's medieval churches, but it is - like some others - not in use any longer. It was already mentioned before the Norman Conquest, but was altered several times during the centuries. So, most parts now visible are from the 12th century or younger. The tower was built in the early 18th century, replacing an older structure. The mixture of style is visible from outside, while the interior is said to be predominantly perpendicular gothic. In the 1970s, the church was finally closed.
Today the church is used as a center for religious education. It is not open for public.
The corn exchange was built in 1753 to replace older facilities. Although, of course, corn was traded, the hall was used by merchants to sell and trade different kind of goods. During the decades, goods from overseas trade became dominant. Today, the exchange is part of St. Nicholas' markets, which has become quite popular.
In front of the corn exchange, you can still see some pillars, sometimes called "nails", which were used in many english markets. After bargaining, business was completed by putting money on this pillar. The term "to pay on the nail" comes from these transactions.
Take also a look at the clock. It has two hands shwoing the minutes. While the black hand shows Greenwhich Mean Time, the red one shows "Bristol time". As Bristol is located 200 kms west to London, the sun rises and sets 9 minutes later than in London. Such different times were common until the introduction of new means of communications and faster means of transport (railways) made a standardisation of time necessary. Today, nobody uses "Bristol time" of course, but the red hand is still an interesting remain of past times.
What now is castle park, was once one of the most oldest and beautiful parts of Bristol. It was heavily bombed in WWII. Unfortunately, there was not much interest in preserving the ruins. In the 1970s, most of the destroyed buildings were pulled down. Today, it is a park in the heart of the city center. Some castle ruins are still visible, together with two churches: St. Mary le Port and St. Peter's.
St. Peter's church dates back to the 11th century, although there are evidences of an older, saxon church on that place. Many parts were rebuilt in the 14th century, with some minor changes taking place in the 17th century. Like most of the surrounding buildings, it was heavily damaged in WWII. In 1975, the walls were reinforced and the church ruin became a monument for the victims and against war, just like Berlin's Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche. Further reconstruction did not take place, so that the church has no roof and no glass windows, similar to other churches with the same function. St. Peter's is seen as the central point of castle park and is sometimes still in use for cultural or commemorative events.
I kept on walking, enjoying the sights of the buildings that I saw around Bristol...The houses, restaurants, pubs all have some ole-world charm about them.
Here's a photo that I took of a restaurant/pub along my walk around Bristol.
The name of the building is Llandoger Tow & it has been around since 1664 !
It may have provided the inspiration for Admiral Benbow in Treasure Island !
Another sight of a building that I saw in Bristol. Could be a house & I don't mind living there...Bristol is not a busy town at all but many people told me that Bristol will shine through & through when the sun set in on the horizon !
Too bad that I didn't wait that long...CONTINUE WITH MY PHOTOS AROUND BRISTOL... [Please click]
Then, I came to a square called Queen Square.
There, stands a statue : The Equestrian Statue of King William III; Which dated from 1730 by Rysbrack.
This statue was damaged during WW II, so it was removed to Badminton Park but was repaired & moved back to The Queen Square in 1948...