St Paul’s Bristol History In Old Photos And Film

St Paul's Bristol England UK

Just to the northeast of Bristol city centre is the inner suburb of St Paul’s. 

Despite being badly bombed in the Second World War, St Paul’s received little of the investment of other local neighbourhoods. The inferior housing and environment meant rents were more affordable for the Jamaican and Irish immigrants arriving in Bristol, and the area quickly established a diverse population.

While Bristol’s involvement with slavery was long gone, racism persisted. The Bristol Omnibus Company refused to employ non-white bus crews, leading to resentment and protest culminating in the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott.

Almost two decades later, the area drew further national attention with the St Paul’s riot on 2 April 1980. Police officers raided the Black and White Café looking for drugs, the situation quickly got out of hand and a crowd of youths fought against the police. 

The community pulls together for the annual St Paul’s Carnival. It started in 1968, pausing only in 2015-2017. Crowds of up to 40,000 people each July now gather to enjoy the festivities, making it Bristol’s largest annual cultural event.

With thanks to Luke Nicholas from Pixabay for the photo above.

The Bristol Bus Boycott 

Uploaded to YouTube on 2 Mar 2010 by blackhistorywalks.

“Absolutely brilliant documentary with amazing rare footage from 60’s and 70’s Bristol. Features Paul Stephenson This clip details the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 when black people were banned from jobs on the buses. Paul Stephenson, ex RAF, organised a bus boycott which changed the practice and led to the Race Relations Act of 1968.”


St Pauls Bristol Part 1 (1980) 

Uploaded to YouTube on 5 Feb 2011 by sledgehead2000.

This is Part 1 of a 5 part video about St Paul’s in the autumn of 1980, 6 months after the riot.

St Pauls Bristol Part 2 (1980) 

Uploaded to YouTube on 6 Feb 2011 by sledgehead2000.

Part 2 of a 5 part video.

St Pauls Bristol Part 3 (1980) 

Uploaded to YouTube on 6 Feb 2011 by sledgehead2000.

Part 3 of a 5 part video.

St Pauls Bristol Part 4 (1980) 

Uploaded to YouTube on 8 Feb 2011 by sledgehead2000.

Part 4 of a 5 part video.

St Pauls Bristol Part 5 (1980) 

Part 5 of a 5 part video.

St Pauls (1980s)

Uploaded to YouTube on 28 May 2013 by the Kinolibrary.

This footage shows the clear deprivation of St Paul’s area in the 1980s. The multicultural community lived in streets with boarded up shops and rundown buildings.

St Pauls (1980s) & Speakers’ Corner (2002)

Uploaded to YouTube on 7 May 2009 by jooksy7.

Junior Chin At Bristol Carnival (1994)

Uploaded to YouTube on 15 Aug 2018 by Saffron Saffron.

“Wicked little clip of foundation singer Junior Chin – live on Love Express Sound (from Birmingham, UK) – playing at Bristol Carnival, UK in 1994…………Junior Chin was a singer on Youthman Promotion & Sir Coxsone sound back in the 1980s – before founding the popular UK juggling sound Asher World Movement in 1990. He later joined Qualitex sound in Bristol, UK around 1993 /1994 – and is still an intergral part of the Qualitex crew at present.”

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