The Changing Face of Bristol

Bristol England reflections of a bygone age

This Website was first created Oct 2001 by Paul Townsend Local Historian - www.bristolpast.co.uk

The social history of Bristol, England is brought to life with striking visual impact in these photograph albums. Over 9000 free to view historic images of buildings, people, fashions, customs, families, children, shops, warehouses, factories, streets, pubs, schools, churches etc, now long forgotten or barely remembered, flattened by concrete or bulldozed out of sight are now collated in a readily accessible reference source. This will be most valuable for social, regional and urban historians, geographers and all those with an interest in the past as seen through photographic evidence.

Over the generations the buildings of Bristol have been tinkered with and trashed, blitzed and brutalised. Destruction of the city's architectural heritage has not been confined to this century, although the damage inflicted in the last fifty years is more evident through looking at photographs of what is and what once was.

This website is for both new and native Bristolians. The photographic collection of over 9000 photographs shows Bristol, and the areas that surround the city, over the decades. The collection is organised into themes, such as ‘Bristol’s Historic Pubs’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’.
Many of the photos are captioned with interesting facts about the places and people they show.

The whole recent history of the city is shown, right the way through the 19th and 20th centuries to the present day. There are pictures of generations of Bristolians at work and play, in factories, schools, carnivals and festivals. The dark side of the city’s history is there too, perhaps most poignantly in a photo of a headstone in Henbury churchyard. It is the grave of an African slave nicknamed Scipio Africanus by his owner, Charles William, the seventh Earl of Suffolk. He died aged 18, in 1720.

Before the internet, old photographs like these would sit in dusty boxes in forgotten attics. At best they’d be shown in a museum display stand. Now they can be viewed by anyone, anywhere, and their backstories can be told in captions.

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