Bristol is a city in the South West of England. In the past, it has been part of Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Avon but in 1996 it reverted to its historic position of being in the county of Bristol.
- Bristol In The 1920s
- Bristol In The 1930s
- Bristol In The 1940s
- Bristol In The 1950s
- Bristol In The 1960s
- Bristol In The 1970s
- Bristol In The 1980s
- Bristol In The 1990s
- Bristol Through The Ages
- Bristol In The 21st Century
A Quick Summary About The City
What does Bristol mean? In 1000AD a bridge across the River Avon lead to the Olde English name Brycgstow, meaning place at the bridge.
Bristol is famous for the Clifton suspension bridge which has become a symbol of the city, the thriving music and artistic communities, and the nationally celebrated political street artist Banksy.
The city’s major maritime trading port lead to a dark period of slave trading until slavery in England became illegal in 1833. The Port of Bristol continued to be a major source of trade and employment until the docks closed in 1975. Today, the harbourside is a visitor attraction, boasting a modern development filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels.
Despite the extensive bomb-damage suffered during the war, today many people flock to the city for work and study, attracted by the reputation of Bristol as a good place to live.
More than forty thousand full-time students attend the city’s educational institutions, which include the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England and the Bristol Old Vic Theatre school.
Bristol In The 1920s
11 Jun 2013 by Jisc.
From the Gaumont Graphic collection. A silent cinema newsreel launched in 1910, also available with sound from the late 1920s. The silent newsreel finally ceased production in 1934, giving way to the production company’s sound newsreel, Gaumont British News.
19 Mar 2008 by AztecWest2008.
Very rare moving pictures of Bristol (UK) filmed 80 years ago. A world in which old cars, buses, lorries, and motorcycles share the roads with trams and a surprising number of horses and carts. A charabanc and even a hand-pulled cart are glimpsed. Policemen direct traffic, women exhibit the ‘flapper’ look, men wear hats or caps. Clips feature The Centre, Corn Street, Bristol Bridge, Park Street, The Docks, Bedminster Bridge, Redcliff Hill, and Ashton Swing Bridge.
23 Jul 2014 by HuntleyFilmArchives.
This can includes two short separate films, both somewhat journalistic or public awareness-raising intent. Firstly, a few shots of Princess Mary visiting Bristol in 1927, then a few shots of the road in Bristol now known as the Portway, near the famous suspension bridge.
An embellished title card reads: “BRISTOL: Princess Mary has enthusiastic reception during a visit to open new Dockland Club.” A beautifully regal black horse-drawn carriage has pulled up outside a Victorian stone building and a youngish woman (around thirty) – undoubtedly the princess – dismounts with a bunch of flowers followed by an older man, well-dressed in a cloak and a wide three-cornered hat. The princess stands in front of the building with her flowers, her head bowed, flanked by the older man, who looks like and is dressed as the mayor, plus a few other richly clad upper-class people – they look like they could be praying. The princess briefly looks up. The group has finished their prayer and begin to move into the doorway behind them. The princess now walks through the middle of a large crowd of citizens (many of whom wear bowler hats) flanked by the mayor and another finely suited woman and followed by a further group of officials in black suits. Then black.
Title card: “The Road: a Bristol-Avonmouth Study.” Another title: “One of the most striking (but almost unnoticed) revolutions in Britain since the war has been the growth of new wonder-roads -“. Continuing: “This great low-level road is one of the new traffic arteries which will make our country fit for modern wheels to turn in.” A van and several cars travel down a wide road with trees on the side and in the distance – it is the road in Bristol now known as the Portway (part of the A4), which runs under Brunel’s Suspension Bridge and out from the docks to Avonmouth. A steam cargo tug boat is towing a couple of loads on a pair of shipping vessel hulls behind it as a pedestrian watches from the road, a high hill of trees on the bank behind it. Another title: “Hewn through rocky cliffs and in face of many problems few roads combine the charm of river and winding gorge as this Bristol and Avonmouth one does -“. We see a fairly sizable house on the road next to a small metal bridge crossing the river, with acres of lush bushy trees behind. A magnificent white metal ship proceeds along the river in a valley flanked by rocky cliff faces and greenery; in the foreground, a man sits behind railings by the roadside watching the boat pass. For a tiny moment, we glimpse the Suspension Bridge over the gorge with men standing on the road below. Now from the bridge’s height, we see a steep cliff face leading down to the Portway road, which a couple of cars are driving along, looking tiny from this great height. From a similar viewpoint, we see the road split into two, the main leg continuing around the cliff beside the river and the other branch leading uphill and around the trees – this road emerges at the top of the hill in Clifton by the downs (as the area is known nowadays).
10 Apr 2018 by HuntleyFilmArchives. Bristol. A huge pageant 1920’s. Physical exercise routine. Then a re-enactment of the life of Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh. A cast of thousands and lots of costumes.
Bristol In The 1930s
23 Oct 2013 by HuntleyFilmArchives. 1930’s record of some aspects of the City of Bristol.
17 Dec 2014 by HuntleyFilmArchives.
Streets of Bristol decorated for King George the Fifth’s Silver Jubilee celebrations of 1935. Various shots of parades, marches and/or carnivals going on. Good shots of flag banners over roads (though quite brief).
A tram followed by a string of cars proceeds through a city centre street underscores of banners suspended between the buildings carrying flags (the Union Jack, St. George’s red cross, commonwealth flags and so on). Another road is elaborately dressed the same way. A crowd of people surround the Victoria Rooms building in Clifton – it has several tall pillars along the front and a tall statue of a king (possibly Edward VII ?), engulfed by flowers. Nearer the thick ample flowerbeds. Pan around yet more flower beds. A few people walk past a tall and wide monument with a cross on it. A vast row of commemorative flowers stands along the roadside outside the Kings Cinema. Close-up of the flowers blowing in the breeze. Title card: “The Jubilee Carnival on the Downs.” Sadly this is not here – there is a gap.
Another title: “A Military Parade was held at Bristol Cathedral.” A long crowd is assembled in front of several large bushy trees to see a few very smart guards escorting a man in fine robes and a three-cornered hat (possibly the mayor or even George V himself) across the road. Several other robed men start to cross. Two or three clergymen also do so. Briefly, we see a saluting military man marching along the road. A marching band, mainly with drums, go past along the street. They are followed by a parade of naval officers. Now more marching musicians, this time with brass instruments. Now some soldiers. And another brass band, led by players of huge tubas. More saluting soldiers. And another drumming band.
21 Aug 2015 by HuntleyFilmArchives. Bristol. Amateur home movie.
West Of England College of Art. Flowers and fountains at the Victoria Rooms. Highly decorated streets with bunting, Cotham Hill, the Triangle, Park Street. Horse carriages cross Clifton Suspension Bridge. Really good street party for the coronation of King George VI in 1937.
Bristol In The 1940s
30 May 2016 by JayBee6011. A short account of the blitz on Bristol which began on the evening of Sunday 24th November 1940.
23 Jun 2014 by Charlie Dean Archives.
‘From its source in the Cotswolds, the Wiltshire Avon winds through quiet scenery, presently reaching Bath, a city renowned for its architecture and its healing mineral springs. The Avon flows through industrial Bristol, the gateway to the Americas. Beyond Bristol, the river broadens; seven miles downstream are the great modern docks of Avonmouth.’
(Films of Britain – British Council Film Department Catalogue – 1941)
6 Mar 2015 by HuntleyFilmArchives. Amateur home movie.
Bristol during World war Two, the blitz and home front conditions, bombed-out houses and the dead received from the ruins. Dunscombes Photographic shop. Park Street, Hatchet Inn, Masonic Lodge, City Museum, Buses with bus conductors, Queues, Triangle cinema and the Prince’s Theatre both bomb-damaged.
26 Oct 2011 by britainonfilm.
Stephen Richards in the YouTube Comments section: “My Grandmother was killed on one of these buses. Left my mum an orphan as 2 years previous she lost her father in the merchant navy after his ship was torpedoed by german U-Boat and lost at sea. You can visit the graves of the people killed on these 3 buses at Greenbank cemetery by the war graves.”
11 Oct 2018 by Sudden Pine. UWE filmmaking project.
23 Aug 2017 by moviescan.co.uk.
This silent film follows a sailor returning home at Bristol Docks. He stops at the Llandoger Trow pub for a pint near Welsh Back but has a few too many before staggering back to his house – which looks like the meeting place for the Cine Circle club who shot this film. The code on this 16mm film suggests it was made between 1945 and 1947.
The sailor walks around the dock area in Bristol where various businesses are running including Warren & Co, Charles Hill & Sons and FC Brummell & son.
The original film is Kodak 16mm digitised and restored by Moviescan.
3 Mar 2010 by University of Bristol.
On 12 April, after one of the worst bombing raids during the ‘Bristol Blitz’, Sir Winston Churchill confers honorary degrees on the American Ambassador to Britain, John Gilbert Winant, and the Australian Prime Minister, Robert Gordon Menzies.
13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé.
Churchill in Bristol ceremony. Unused / unissued material – dates and locations unclear or unknown.
Various shots of the Winston Churchill pulling up in horse-drawn carriage with mayor outside the stately building. Bomb damaged buildings in the background. Crowds line street. Various shots of procession moving down street. More shots of crowds waving. Churchill with other dignitaries inside the stately building. Churchill seated in front of a table. Mayor next to him gives a speech. L/S as Churchill stands up and signs the book. Shots of audience. Churchill shaking hands with the mayor and looking at the scroll. L/Ss of Churchill making a speech. Audience clapping.
29 Dec 2014 by HuntleyFilmArchives. Amateur home movie c. 1949. London and Bristol.
Steps in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. An oldish woman poses in a park. Views of Saint James’ Park. An older man with a pipe walking along the Mall by Buckingham Palace. Hyde Park corner, lots of Routemaster red buses. People by fountains in Trafalgar Square on a sunny winter day. Horseguards Parade.
Bristol, Avon Gorge with the camera obscura on the top. Clifton Suspension Bridge. Views of Clifton and the Avon Gorge Hotel from the bridge.
A Cotswold village, Castle Combe with old stone houses by a stream. Thatched house. An older woman and a younger couple stand outside a country pub. Quaint village scenes. Old folks stand for the camera. Stately home (name?). Family scenes, women sitting on the grass.
24 Aug 2011 by 1st Take Ltd.
After it was devastated by the Luftwaffe’s bombing raids during the Second World War, much of Central Bristol was rebuilt in the 1950s, and a new shopping centre emerged in Broadmead. Illustrated by evocative archive film, never previously released on DVD, and stunning period photographs, this is the story of how and why the city underwent such massive changes.
Until it was virtually wiped out in 1940, Castle Street was Bristol’s principal shopping area. The planners decided that Broadmead was to be the post-war retail centre, and stores such as Woolworths and Marks & Spencer were among the first of the new arrivals in the early 1950s. Towards the end of the decade, the huge structures of Lewis’s and Jones’ dominated the scene. You will also see glimpses of pubs, streets, and businesses that were swept away by these new developments.
The story is enhanced by interviewees who remember the city at that time, and modern film which provides a comparison with many of the places depicted in the archive footage. Produced in association with Bristol Record Office, and narrated by eminent local historian and author Mike Hooper, this documentary will be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in Bristol, past or present.
1 Jul 2013 by 1st Take Ltd.
The second volume of a series which explores how Bristol arose in the 1950s from the ashes of the Blitz. New places to live and work were desperately required, as were improved road systems.
Using previously unreleased archive footage, our journey begins in Temple and proceeds to Redcliffe, which was transformed in this period as small Georgian streets were obliterated to make way for maisonettes and flats. Moving towards Temple Meads Station, we see the many changes in the Victoria Street area and then head to Jacobs Wells Road, where St Peter’s House and Brandon House were being built.
A brief visit to Clifton shows the construction of the Maples store on The Triangle, before heading to Kingsdown, Bristol’s first planned suburb in the 18th century. You will enjoy fabulous views from the top of St Michael’s Hill and see how much of the housing here was swept away for the expansion of Bristol University and nearby hospitals.
Via Stokes Croft, we then move on to St Judes, where slums were cleared in the 1930s and flats were built in the post-war period. The 1950s scene in Barton Hill was particularly dramatic, with people looking for firewood amongst rubble alongside the building of the first tower block outside London.
Turning to the south of the city, we visit Bedminster, and see how areas such as York Road and St Lukes Road were affected, along with the building of new industrial estates around Whitehouse Street. This odyssey of Bristol’s post-war history ends in Brislington, as what was once a tranquil North Somerset village became dominated by a large trading estate.
Local historian Mike Hooper guides us through these dramatic changes and, in addition to almost an hour of archive footage, the extensive use of maps and modern film provides the perfect ‘past and present’ comparison. Interviewees with other local historians and local residents.
11 Aug 2016 by HuntleyFilmArchives. Bristol in the late 1940s.
Clifton Suspension Bridge. Hotwells. The Centre. Church. Streets. Docks. Colonnade in Clifton. Slum housing. Bomb damage in the centre. View from the Cabot Tower. Saint Michaels Hill and a postman on his bicycle delivering letters. Workers leaving a factory, a close shot of men and women leaving factory gates right to left, some are running.
Traffic in the Centre. Aerial view of Avonmouth docks. Ships being loaded and unloaded. Harveys, wine tasting by candlelight. Tobacco importing and a cigarette factory. Cocoa imports and chocolate manufacture. Chocolates on a conveyor belt. A printing press in action. Industry. High angle shot of workers leaving a factory at walking pace. Covered goods yard, overhead view of produce being moved around on sack barrows. Traffic on the outer city-wide road. A plane takes off from the airport.
Avon Gorge. Children play. Parklands and Clifton/Bristol Zoo. Good footage of visitors close up to zoo animals. Horses on the Downs. Wills Building of University. West of England College of Art in Clifton. Theatre. Old Vic actors on stage. Speedway at night. Nightime, city lights and signs. Neptune statue. Filton Aerodrome and Brabazon aircraft. People on the streets look up and point at the aircraft. Good aerial view over Avon Gorge and Clifton Bridge and city. John Wesley statue. Edward Colston statue. Edmund Burke statue. City Council leaves a church service. A policeman holds onlookers back. Swords of state.
Formal council meeting. Fire engine races down the road. Ambulance in a residential area. A policeman directs traffic. Road sweeper – a man with a broom. Sewer worker emerges from manhole. Gardener at work in landscaped grounds. Kids play in slum streets. Council plans and models for good living. Building the Henbury estate, surveyor using theodolite, builders, bricklayers. Schools and a mass exodus of kids at home time.
Elderly people on grounds of a stately home, perhaps now a nursing home? Mothers with babies going into child health care clinics. Weighing of babies. A young girl receives a dental health check. Boy having an eye test. The doctor checks the boy’s glands. Kids play with a stethoscope. Children playing. Town plans and an aerial view of new housing estates and the city centre. Man cycles along the city centre street. Boat on the river.
Bristol In The 1950s
6 Nov 2013 by PublicEnquiry.
13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé. Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol.
M/S First electrician lowering the bulbs down to him. L/S From the top of bridge river. M/S Man walking and partly sliding down the suspension rail. The camera pans with him revealing a long shot of the bridge. Low angle shot, looking up to a man on rail fixing lamps. Close top shot, looking down to man fixing lamps pan over to river and roadway below. M/S High angle, a man sitting astride rail. Pan across to another rail another man fixing lamps. M/S Workmen on the pavement below fixing lamps in sockets.
C/U and L/S Man fitting lamps into a socket. Low angle, to top of the rail, a man pulling up lamps. M/S Man on the ground sending up lamps to the man on rail pan up with wire to the man on rail at the top. High angle shot, the man on rail with ropes. Shot from the top of the bridge over the adjacent countryside, river, etc. High angle, shot, two men on top of rails fixing lights. C/U One man on rail fixing lamps. Low angle shot, bridge pillion against the sky. L/S Bridge across the gorge, panning. Top shot of the bridge. L/S Bridge from ground level.
29 Jun 2016 by HuntleyFilmArchives.
Bristol, UK. A road, with many houses. To the right, austere houses of many different sizes. Terraced houses in front. More houses; some tall ones to the right, on a corner of the road; pan left to see more houses and a wide road; men walking along the pavement at night. Factories to the left of the river; a spire seen over them. A river at the front left; to the right, buildings, and a large factory. Houses on the left, an industrial chimney at the back; pan left to a house. The ruined wall of a one-time factory by the river.
A street with a big chimney. Another street with a large chimney visible in the distance. An elegant house with trees to its left and right. The same from a distance. A building in a Greek style, with pillars at the top and bottom. The merchants’ coat of arms on the wall. An elegant house in the distance. Outside; pan right to the gate, with a lion statue on a plinth, beneath a willow tree.
26 Oct 2012 by Anthony Blake. A scan of a postwar street with repetitions and added music.
Bristol In The 1960s
4 Sep 2015 by Bristol Guy. A drive around Bristol. Includes the docks, St Mary Redcliff, Bridewell, Temple Way to Lawrance Hill.
21 Dec 2014 by SwanEntertainment1.
13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé.
No 16 Caledonia Place, Bristol. MS. Pan with Edwin Hopper leaving his house and getting into his 1929 Rolls Royce estate car. He checks oil etc. before climbing in. M.S. Edwin as he leaves newsagents shop with a bag of papers and gets into Rolls and drives off. V.S. Edwin on his rounds. He has to cross Clifton Suspension Bridge. He delivers to all types of houses on his long drive. C.U. Sign ‘Ashton Park Secondary School’. V.S. Edwin arriving at the school in his Rolls after picking up his sister (they are both 6th formers).
13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé. Bristol, Avon
26 Apr 2014 by Tom Andrews.
“Construction of the M32/Parkway motorway filmed in colour between 1968-1971 by the Stoke Park Institute. Footage includes The Dower House set in it`s grounds before the motorway was built, the emptying of the original Duchess`s lake, the demolition of the thirteen arches in Eastville and the opening of this stretch of the motorway in 1971. Plus incredible footage of this whole stretch of motorway from Dower House to Junction 2 in Eastville before construction started. Watch and weep….”
13 Apr 2014 by British Pathé. Bristol, Avon. Date found in the old record – 17/07/1967.
Various shots of boys and girls students on parade outside Bristol Council offices. They carry brooms and litter sacks and wear T-shirts with the slogan ‘I Am Not An Untidy So And So’. They march off accompanied by Lord Mayor of Bristol, Alderman F. C. Vyvyan-Jones. Various shots of the students at work with dustpan and brush in the streets of Bristol. CU. New litter bin in shape of a pelican in which the public is encouraged to place litter into the beak. CU. Anti litter week posters on display in council windows. MS. Bristol wreck car tip. Various shots of a bulldozer at work on Bristol rubbish tip while tippers bring rubbish.
3 Jul 2011 by Paul Townsend. “The worst storm in living memory.”
Bristol In The 1970s
8 May 2012 by Bristol Film and Video Society.
Made in 1973 to record the celebrations marking the 600th anniversary of the granting of the charter by King Edward III which gave Bristol the right to call itself a County.
This is a 4-minute clip from the film.
11 Dec 2015 by Powerboat Archive.
6 Jan 2012 by Keith Rodgerson. Documentary made in 1973 about production at BBC Bristol.
26 Nov 2015 by moviescan.co.uk.
Vintage home movie footage of Bristol around 1973 showing the street scenes, people and cars of the city. Shops have changed hands in Park street and the roads are busier now. This was taken on colour 9.5mm film which is unusual for the 70s as most people shot in the more popular 8mm. Roughly 1974.
18 Aug 2014 by London Play. This film made the case for committed funding for Adventure Play, back in the 1970s.
11 Dec 2015 by Powerboat Archive.
11 Dec 2015 by Powerboat Archive.
28 Apr 2015 by Bristol City Eastend WTMS. Bristol City Bus Tour 1976 Promotion.
19 Aug 2012 by ROCKPROF. Old cine footage found on a reel at a car boot. Some interesting shots of Bristol City Centre. Drones by Anthroprophh.
11 Dec 2015 by Powerboat Archive.
Bristol In The 1980s
2 Nov 2007 by The Stuntabiker. “In the 1980’s BMX was growing fast and UK TV shows were featuring BMX riders left and right. So much different than today but these TV shows were important to the growth of BMX in the UK and from 1980 to 1985 BMX ruled in the UK!”
4 Oct 2008 by MikesMovies. A presentation set to movie showing a trip to Bristol Temple Meeds station, Cardiff and Severn Tunnel Junction in 1984 BR Blue reigned supreme.
7 Sep 2012 by ROCKPROF. A film from 1986 of the Bristol free festival found on a VHS tape. It also includes some student film based on the nativity with plastic toys.
16 May 2018 by Bricktop1967. “Not long bought my Sony Handycam and was busy testing it out on my more than willing Sister and Father!!!”
Bristol In The 1990s
19 Sep 2014 by JayBee6011. A look at Bristol’s maritime history. Filmed in the late 1980s/early 1990s?
2 Dec 2014 by thekinolibrary. 1990s Bristol, street scenes.
12 Dec 2014 by thekinolibrary. 1990s Bristol at night.
12 Dec 2014 by thekinolibrary. 1990s Bristol shopping centre at Christmas.
Bristol Through The Ages
21 Feb 2013 by aifammafiaaifam. UWE Project.
3 Sep 2018 by NORMAN DATE. Original photos.
28 Aug 2014 by REDCLIFFE BRISTOL. A documentary about the history and activities of members of Henleaze Swimming Club Bristol.
Bristol In The 21st Century
9 Apr 2007 by braiscelme. “My life in Bristol.”
30 Nov 2007 by Yezidism07. Bristol Banksy City.
20 Mar 2008 by bobs3dot. Bristol’s first People Freeze took place on the 15/03/2008 at 13:30 in the city centre of Bristol.
1 Mar 2009 by Mathew White.
Feb 28th, 2009. Just 1 month after starting his Flashmob group and event on Facebook, creator, Mathew White had 2500 people! The aim? To create one of the best FlashMob scenes so far – and this was the result! Close to a thousand people frozen in place for 5 minutes in Bristol’s Cabot Circus shopping mall!
20 Jan 2011 by Bristol Zoo. Footage from the Bristol Zoo archives from as early as the 1920s.
19 Jun 2013 by RataplanFilms. The Croft – End of an Era. A short film about one of Bristol’s most loved music venues with interviews from those who knew it best, looking at what made it special and what’s next now it’s closed its doors.
22 Sep 2013 by JayBee6011. Demolition of the old bonded warehouse in Bristol City docks. Huge crowds turned out to see this tremendous event.
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Image by Maritime_Filming_UK from Pixabay