The City of Bristol

Extract from Webster & Co.'s Postal and Commercial Directory
of the City of Bristol, and County of Glamorgan, 1865.
Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013

BRISTOL is situated at the southern extremity of the county of Gloucester and the northern of that of Somerset, on the south side of the junction of the Severn with the Bristol Channel, in latitude 51° 27' 63", and longitude 2° 35' 28", in a valley eight miles from the mouth of the tidal river Avon, at the junction of that river with the Frome, on ground of variable elevation.

This inland free port is entirely independent of the counties between which it is situated, having jurisdiction of its own, but the bishop's see is joined to that of Gloucester. It has been appropriately called "The Metropolis of the West", and its venerable antiquity, the advantages of its situation, the beauty of its edifices, its historical associations, and the intelligence and untiring energy of its inhabitants, entitle it to rank high among the famous cities of the world.


*Aberdare59  Highbridge27  Reading84½
*Abergavenny49  Leeds208  Sheffield179 
 Bath11½  Lincoln191½  Shrewsbury118¾
 Birmingham91  Liverpool180 *Swansea87 
*Bridgend60  London118¼  Swindon41 
*Cardiff40  Manchester172  Taunton45 
 Cheltenham44 *Merthyr Tydvil59 *Tredegar53 
*Chepstow18 *Monmouth55  Torquay100 
 Didcot68 *Neath79 *Usk46 
 Edinburgh385  Newcastle-on-Tyne309  Warwick112 
 Exeter75½ *Newport (Mon.)29  Windsor103 
 Glasgow389  Oxford78¼  Wolverhampton100 
 Gloucester37½  Plymouth128½  Worcester66 
 Hereford67½ *Pontypool39  York221¾
* Via Bristol and South Wales Union Railway.


The commerce of Bristol is promoted. by the advantages it possesses for an extensive internal communication. The rivers Severn, Avon, Wye, and Usk, together with the numerous canals connected with them, afford a ready conveyance for the several manufactures and imports of Bristol, and bring to it the multifarious productions of the surrounding counties, while the Great Western, Bristol and Exeter, Midland, and Bristol and South Wales Union railways have effected a rapid means of communication with the metropolis, and open up an intercourse with the great manufacturing districts of the kingdom.

"The Bristol and South Wales Union Railway" was opened for traffic September 8th, 1863. The facilities afforded by this new route to the South Wales district tend greatly to the increase of commerce with this great city.

"The Port Railway" was constructed under the powers of the "Port Railway and Pier Act, 1862", for the purpose of furnishing to merchants, shipowners, and others, rapid means of conveyance between the city and the Channel Dock. The line is five and a half miles in length, and there are four stations, viz., at Hotwells, Sea Mills, Lamplighters (Shirehampton), and Avon Mouth.

"The Port Extension Railway Act" was passed in July, 1864. The object of the company is to connect the three great railways with the Port and Channel Dock Railway. This railway will extend about two and a half miles, the principal part of which will be by tunnel through the city, having the station at Rupert-street.

"The Bristol and Portishead Pier and Railway Company" were empowered by Act of Parliament in 1864 to construct a floating pier, and a railway to connect such pier with the railways terminating at Temple Meads. The line will be about ten miles in length, and will afford to the public a short route from the south of Ireland and South Wales to Bristol and London.

"The Bristol and North Somerset Railway Company " was incorporated in 1863, for the purpose of making a railway from this city to the parish of Radstock, in the county of Somerset.


Bristol was called by the ancient Britons "Caer Oder", afterwards "Caer Brito", but its present name is supposed to be derived from "Brightstowe", meaning the bright place, or place of great beauty. Many writers assert that Bristol was founded more than 300 years before the Christian era, by Brennus, the supposed first king of the Britons, assisted by his brother Belinus. It was a Roman settlement, and Gildas, a British monk of the sixth century, includes "Brito", or Bristol, in his list of fortified cities as a place of great importance when the Romans abandoned the island. In the year 584 Crida, king of the West Saxons, took possession of it.

During the sovereignty of the Saxon king Edward this place suffered much from numerous fierce bodies of the Danes, who ventured up the Bristol Channel, spreading devastation and death on both its shores; but Bristol was the spot chosen for the full development of their blood-thirsty disposition. They were defeated by Edward, who afterwards erected five castles on the banks of the Avon.

In A.D. 1062 the sale of slaves was carried on to a great extent, it being a convenient port for exportation to Ireland, but the market was abolished in the twelfth century. Florence of Worcester states that in 1063 Harold set sail from "Bristowe" to invade Wales. No doubt can exist as to its having been a place of great strength; its castle at the death of William I. was fortified and held by Godfrey, on behalf of Robert, the king's eldest son. The space occupied by the castle was about six acres, the walls were twenty-five feet thick at the base, and nine and a half feet at the top; on different occasions it was garrisoned and besieged, and in 1654 was demolished and razed to the ground by Oliver Cromwell; and so effectually was this order executed, that only a few vestiges of the foundation, incorporated with other buildings are now to be traced. Amongst the illustrious prisoners confined within the walls of this extensive castle was Eleanor, a beautiful princess of Brittany; also Stephen, after the battle of Lincoln in 1140, who was incarcerated till the following year, when he was exchanged for Earl Robert of Gloucester. In its dungeon King John caused the well-known deed of barbarity to be perpetrated on the person of an unfortunate Jew, named Abraham, of extracting a tooth per diem, until he paid the sum of 10,000 marks, which he did after the seventh day. In 1247 the suburb of Redcliffe was made a part of the borough of Bristol and joined by a bridge. In 1243 it is recorded that Bristol soap was first sold in London, and soon after its cloth and glass. In the time of Edward III. Bristol was made a staple town for wool, and the first blanket is said to have been manufactured here by a Mr. Blanket, who named that useful article after himself. By the Charter of Edward III. Bristol was made a distinct county of itself, with a sheriff of its own. In the reign of Henry VIII. it was made a city and the seat of a bishop, and it was by this monarch the great convent of St. Augustine was suppressed. It was from this port Sebastian Cabot, a citizen of Bristol, in the year 1609 equipped for his hazardous voyage and discovered Newfoundland, which contributes immensely to the wealth of the city. In 1695 the mint was established here, and during its short existence of about two years, it had coined nearly forty millions sterling. In 1753, great riots originated owing to the high price of bread; and in 1792 others arose for abolishing the tolls demanded at Bristol bridge, during which many were killed and wounded by the Hereford militia. These were insignificant to the great riots in 1831, in which property to the extent of £200,000 was burnt and destroyed, and many lives lost; the Custom House, Excise Office, Bridewell, and other buildings were consigned to the flames. By the readjustment of dioceses, Bristol bishopric has been united to Gloucester. Bristol confers the titles of Earl and Marquess upon the distinguished family of Hervey.


Bristol is governed by a mayor, sixteen aldermen, and forty-eight town councillors, with a recorder, sheriff, and his deputy, and the officers usually appended to a civic government. The town is regulated by the Municipal Act of 1835, and under its provisions is divided into ten wards. By the Reform Act for parliamentary representation the following districts were added to the city: Clifton; that part of St. Philip and Jacob hitherto without the boundaries of the ancient city; the district of the united parishes of St. James and St. Paul, and parts of the parishes of Westbury and Bedminster. It returns two members to Parliament. The police force consists of a superintendent, five inspectors, four mayor's officers, twenty-four sergeants, and about two hundred men. The recorder presides as judge at the quarter sessions, and by virtue of his office is judge of the Tolzey Court, which has jurisdiction over the city and county of Bristol, and the amount recoverable in it, either as debt or damage, is unlimited. The bankruptcy court is held at the Guildhall; the county court sits twice a week and determines plaints for any amount not exceeding £50. The magistrates sit to administer justice daily. Owing to the great riots in 1832 the assizes were transferred to Gloucester, but it has been recently decided to again hold them at Bristol.


The trade of the port of Bristol is principally with Australia, Canada, South America, the West Indies, Africa, the Mediterranean, and Ireland. The imports are chiefly timber, grain, sugar, fruit, rum, brandy, tea, and tobacco. The exports are principally coal and iron, together with great quantities of manufactured articles. About 12,000 tons of coal and 15,000 tons of iron are annually exported from this place. In consequence of its geological position, as the centre of an important coal-field, that useful article can be obtained at a low rate. To the abundance of coal may be attributed in a great measure the manufactures of the city, which are very extensive.

The following brief outline will give but a faint idea of their magnitude. The manufacture of earthenware is carried on to a great extent; a visit to the numerous potteries in the district will amply gratify the curiosity of the stranger. The principal manufacturers are Messrs. Pountney and Co., of the Bristol Pottery, Temple-back, where may be seen both useful and ornamental articles, from the common willow-pattern plate to the beautiful china vases and specimens of Parian. Stoneware is largely manufactured by Messrs. Joseph and Charles Price and Brothers; also by Messrs. William Powell and Sons, of Temple-street. In addition to these there are also potteries at Baptist Mills and Redcross-street. The glass-bottle works of Messrs. Powell and Ricketts are very extensive; the floor-cloth works of Messrs. Hare, at Temple-gate, are well known for the superiority of their products; pieces 180 feet in length by 27 feet wide are painted in the richest patterns.

Bristol is the great seat of the leather, timber, wool, and sugar trades. The sugar refineries of the city, from their superior methods, have obtained a considerable reputation, the eminent firm of Finzel employing several hundred hands, - the establishment itself being the most extensive and complete of the kind in the world. The manufacture of leather has long been noted; the March and September fairs are the most important in the kingdom, and the tanneries are very numerous. Bristol has been famed for the manufacture of soap for several centuries; the works of Messrs. Christopher, Thomas and Brothers, and those of Messrs. Shaw, Phillips, and Billings, deserve notice. The city is equally celebrated for its tobacco and snuff, Messrs. W.D. and H.O. Wills, and Messrs. Purnell, Webb, and Clarke, and others, being large manufacturers. Vinegar is made by a patent process by Messrs. Panter, Woodward and Co., who have extensive works in Holton-street. The great engineering works of Messrs. Bush in Cheese-lane, and the Avon-side Engine Company Limited, (late Slaughter, Gruning, and Co.), are celebrated. At these, land, marine, and locomotive engines, steam boilers, and all materials for railway purposes are constructed. We must not omit to mention amongst the engineering establishments of note the new and complete one of Messrs. Fox and Walker, Atlas Iron-works, situate in the parish of St. George, adjoining the Midland Railway. These works are capable of turning out locomotives and engines of all descriptions, and of superior workmanship. The first brass made in this country was produced from foundries originally at Baptist Mills, the workmen having been brought from Holland. The manufacture now is considerable. Amongst the principal founders are Messrs. Llewellins and James, Messrs. Newton, Sons, and Heanes, Messrs. Hale and Sons, and others. The other manufactures may be comprised in. chemical works, alkali, oil of vitriol, alum, and Epsom salts, artificial manures, copper, lead, and shot works, silver works (Messrs. J. and J. Williams), breweries (the firm of Charles Garton and Co. were awarded the Prize Medal, International Exhibition, 1862, for the great excellence of their beer), mailings, saw-mills, cooperages, roperies, sail lofts; flint glass, tobacco-pipe making, iron-works and foundries; nails, anchors, chain cables, and edge tools; machine works, hats, boots,:and ready-made clothes; a small manufacture of woollen, worsted, paper, silk, flax, and linen; stained paper, pins, buttons, corks, starch, &c.

Another source of opulence to the city is ship-building, which is conducted on an extensive scale on the banks of the floating harbour. As early as 1668 Bristol ranked high in respect of ship-building. Those magnificent steam vessels, the "Great Western", 1400 tons, and the "Great Britain" iron ship, 3800 tons, were built here, at a cost respectively of £61,000 and £120,000. The large docks were commenced in 1803 and were not completed until 1809: the construction, with the iron bridges over the Avon, cost upwards of £600,000. The old channel of the river Avon and a branch of the Frome were converted into a floating harbour; the extent of the whole harbour is about two miles in length. A few years since the dock-gates were enlarged so as to admit first-class steam-ships and trading vessels of 2000 tons burden; but further very extensive improvements of the port are in progress.


The market accommodation of Bristol is superior to that of most towns. The principal market is in High-street; it is a spacious quadrangle at the back of the Exchange, containing four arcades, besides shambles for every description of provisions, &c. It is held daily, but the chief days are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. There are similar markets, but not so extensive, in Nicholas-street and Union-street. The cheese market is held on Wednesdays and Fridays. The cattle market is held on Thursdays. The market-place in Temple-meads covers four acres of ground, and is advantageously situated near the railway terminus and on the borders of the Avon. There is accommodation for 7000 sheep, 5000 pigs, 300 horses, and upwards of 1000 head of cattle. There are two annual fairs held here, on the 1st and 2nd of March and the 1st and 2nd of September, for horses, cattle, sheep, &c. A pig market is held every Monday in West-street. The coal and hay markets are held in the Horsefair, opposite St. James's churchyard, on Tuesdays and Fridays. The corn market is held under the Exchange Piazza every Thursday. The leather market, which is extensive, is held at Back Hall, Baldwin-street, every Thursday. The hide and skin market is in West-street and Waterloo-road. Sales are held every Saturday, and wool sales periodically. Mr. Geo. Richards is the broker.


The appearance of the city, with its busy streets and well-stocked shops, its handsome squares, noble crescents, terraces, &c., is highly interesting and picturesque, presenting a happy combination of aristocratic grandeur and commercial activity. Possessing peculiar natural advantages, both for luxury and commerce, and adorned by art, it must ever continue a place of interest and importance. Camden and other writers assert that in 1651 Bristol was a clean and healthful city. The city itself stands in a valley, but on its immediate outskirts you ascend some lofty eminences. The principal streets in the city are Wine-street, Corn-street, Clare-street, Broad-street, High-street, Bridge-street, &c. The city and vicinities are well lighted with gas by "The Bristol United Gas Light Company." The charge to consumers is 3s. 9d. per 1000 feet. Gas was first used in Bristol in 1811, by John Breillatt, Esq., C.E., the founder of the present works. The capital of the company is £179,800. There is also an abundant supply of water. Down to the year 1847 the city chiefly depended upon the numerous wells for its water, but in that year the city was first supplied by "The Bristol Water-works Company", who obtained an act in 1846. The sources from whence the company derive their water supply are the springs at Barrow Gurney, Harptree Combe stream, and the streams forming the River Chew at Linton and Chewton Mendip. The reservoir at Barrow is 300 feet above the level of the floating harbour. There is a reservoir in Whiteladies-road, from which the water is further raised by steam power to the high level reservoir on Durdham Down, and from which the most elevated spots are amply supplied. The company has a capital of £400,000, and the number of houses supplied by them is about 18,000. The company are also constructing additional reservoirs, in order to have a sufficient supply to meet the increased demands for many years to come.


Foremost amongst the baths opened for public accommodation are- The Turkish Baths Establishment, situated in College-place, near College-green, which are under the personal superintendence of Mr. Bartholomew and Dr. Belcher. The interior is constructed upon the best principle, and the general arrangements, both for ladies and gentlemen, combine every convenience found in the most approved establishments of the kind; while the exterior forms a striking and tasteful addition to the architectural embellishments of the town. In addition to the Turkish baths, there are also hot and cold water baths, tepid swimming baths, douche baths, the Russian bath, and vapour baths. For the convenience of bathers and patients from a distance, the Bristol Great Western Hotel, under the same roof; has recently been re-opened, on the temperance principle.

In addition to these there are the Victoria Swimming Baths, in Oakfield-place, Clifton; Sion Baths, Sion-hill, Clifton; the College-green Baths, near the Cathedral; and Rennison's Baths, Montpelier. There are also the Public Baths and Wash-houses on the Weir, erected in 1850 by the corporation of Bristol for the use of the poor. These are open from seven a.m. till half-past eight p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays till half-past nine p.m. The washing department has every accommodation. Each woman has a place to herself, hot and cold water, steam for boiling linen, separate horse for drying clothes, with convenience for ironing. Charge, one penny per hour.


Foremost amongst the public buildings is the Exchange, situated in Corn-street. This handsome structure was built in 1742 by the Corporation, at a cost of £50,000; at the opening of which all the poor debtors in the city prisons were released. In the Piazza the corn market is held every Thursday. The building extends 148 feet in length from north to south, and 110 feet in breadth from east to west. The front is filled with carvings representing Great Britain and the four quarters of the world, with the products and manufactures of each country.

The Guildhall, in Broad-street, is a noble building, erected in 1843, from designs by R.S. Pope, Esq., of this city. It is a splendid specimen of the Tudor style of architecture. The niches in front are occupied by statues of Queen Victoria, Edward III., Sir Michael Foster, Right Hon. John Dunning, Edward Colston, and Alderman Whitson. The interior contains the assize, bankruptcy, and county courts, with rooms for judges, mayor, jurors, &c.

The Council House, situated at the corner of Corn-street and Broad-street, is a chaste structure, erected in 1827, at a cost of £14,000. The basement consists of the mayor's court, offices of the town clerk and magistrates' clerk, and rooms for the police officers; above which are the treasurer's offices, committee rooms and the council chamber, which contains several portraits of royal personages and benefactors of the city. The staircase is beautifully decorated, and the steps inlaid with brass devices. On the exterior cornice is a fine figure of Justice, executed by E.H. Baily, Esq., R.A., a native of Bristol.

The Commercial Rooms in Corn-street are the usual resort of the merchants and principal business persons of the city. Here every facility is afforded for obtaining every kind of commercial and political information. Telegraph messages are constantly received, and books of reference, newspapers, &c., are regularly supplied. This handsome pile was erected, in 1810, at a cost of £17,000, raised in upwards of 700 shares. The large reading room is fifty feet in length, forty feet wide, and twenty-five feet in height. There are also a library and sale rooms.

The Post Office in Corn-street is a neat stone structure, but not of adequate size for the amount of business transacted in it; therefore a new one is contemplated.

The Bristol Fine Arts Academy in Queen's-road is a magnificent structure in the Italian style of architecture, of the Venetian school, built from designs by Messrs. Hirst and Underwood, architects, of Clifton, who rendered their services gratuitously. The building originated in 1844; Mrs. Sharples, the founder, in that year gave £2000, and dying in 1847, left the bulk of her property to the trustees for its benefit. It was opened in 1858. The cost of the building (exclusive of the site) amounted to about £5000, and the number of pupils under instruction is upwards of 2000. The building comprises large exhibition rooms, class rooms, and rooms for the accommodation of visitors on public occasions. The whole of the sculpture was by the late John Thomas, Esq., who kindly presented the statue of Flaxman, as a gift to the academy. Opposite are-

The Victoria Rooms, an elegant pile of buildings, situated at the junction of the Clifton and Durdham Down roads, erected in 1842 at a cost of £20,000. The principal entrance is under a very fine portico of Corinthian columns. The tympanum of the pediment is richly ornamented with sculpture. The principal room is 117 feet 6 inches long, 54 feet 6 inches wide, and 47 feet high. There is also an octagon room, cloak-room, reception-room and gallery (70 feet by 30 feet), and a committee room. They are chiefly used for balls, soirees, concerts, public meetings, &c.

The Bristol Institution in Park-street was established, in 1823, for the advancement of science, literature, and the fine arts. The building is rendered conspicuous by its fine circular portico, supported by handsome Corinthian columns. It contains the museum, lecture theatre, reading rooms, laboratory, and a philosophical instrument room. The museum is highly interesting to the antiquary, artist, geologist, mineralogist, and zoologist. In the zoological room is the celebrated piece of sculpture "Eve at the Fountain", executed by E.H. Baily, Esq., R.A., a citizen of Bristol. In the long room is a collection of many thousands of fossils of shells, fish, and plants. Upon the walls are some of the finest specimens of ichthyosauri and plesiosauri; and skeletons of the elephant, whale, horse, &c., may be seen on the floor. The museum is open daily from ten till dusk; admission by subscriber's ticket.

The Bristol Athenæum, situated in Corn-street, with an entrance in Nicholas-street, was erected in 1854 by a company of shareholders, at a cost of £5000. It comprises a lecture hall, reading, class, and chess rooms, committee rooms, and a commodious refreshment room; while the library contains nearly 8000 standard and popular works. The reading rooms are supplied with the London and provincial, foreign and colonial newspapers, and all the literary journals, reviews, and magazines. The building is elegantly and conveniently fitted up; the lecture hall is used for public meetings, concerts, &c., and classes are conducted for instruction in the modern languages, science, and the fine arts. The subscribers number about 1200. In the vestibule is a very handsome model of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, constructed by Mr. James Lane, of the Grove, Battersea-rise, and the property of the mayor and corporation of Bristol. Near the Athenæum is -

The Bristol Law Library, in Corn-street, which contains over 3000 volumes, and is conveniently situated for reference by the legal profession. This room is very ancient, and Queen Elizabeth, on her visits to Bristol, entered it. The panels on the walls are richly carved oak, as is also the ceiling; the city arms and scales of Justice are prominently set forth.

The City Free Library, in King-street (opened in 1740), is a handsome stone building, with emblems of literary genius in front, erected at a cost of £1300. It contains about 7000 volumes of rare and very valuable works, and is under the superintendence of Mr. George Pryce, F.S.A., the author of a modern history of Bristol. The library is open from 11 till 4, and from 6 to 9 in the evening, and is visited by upwards of 30,000 readers annually.

The Working Men's Club and Institute, adjoining the Turkish baths in College-place, was established in 1864 for the social enjoyment, improvement, and recreation of the working classes. It is under the management of Mr. George E. Melville.

The Merchant's Hall, King-street, (erected in 1701), is a beautiful structure; in 1790 it was considerably enlarged, and it has recently been tastefully decorated. The vestibule is 24 feet long by 19 feet wide. The reception hall is 24 feet by 50 feet; the banqueting hall, 27 feet by 50 feet; and the drawing room, 27 feet by 20 feet. It contains some fine portraits of celebrated personages, amongst them Her Majesty the Queen and H.R.H. the late Prince Consort, who was an honorary member of the society. "The Master Wardens and Commonalty of Merchant Venturers of the City of Bristol" are trustees of Colston's Hospital, for the educating, clothing, and maintenance of 120 poor boys; also trustees of Colston's Almshouse, St. Michaels Hill, for twelve men and twelve women; and of the Merchant's Almshouse, for eighteen men and twelve women.

The Theatre, situated in King-street, was opened in 1766. It has been the nursery of many celebrated artists, and is under the management of its present lessee, Mr. James Henry Chute.

The Assembly Rooms, in Prince-street, and the Royal Albert Rooms, in College-green, are principally used for lectures, exhibitions, &c.; the Public Rooms, in Broadmead, were erected in 1843, and are capable of holding about 2000 persons: A New Public Hall, entitled "The Colston's Hall", is in course of erection in St. Augustine's-place, the principal room of which is to accommodate 3000 persons. The Arcades were opened in 1852, and are situated in the vicinity of Broadmead.

The Rifle Drill Hall and Club House (opened in 1862) is a spacious building situated at the top of Park-street, the property of the City of Bristol Volunteer Rifle Corps. Adjoining is -

The Bristol Library (established 1772), which is supported by subscription. Its records contain the names of Coleridge, Southey, Davy, and Prichard; and possessing 20,000 volumes, ranging over the domains of history, philosophy, science, poetry, and art, acquired at a cost of scarcely less than £15,000, it must be regarded as one of the most important provincial libraries in the kingdom. J. B. Atkinson and Lewis Fry, Esqs., are its honorary secretaries.

The Custom House and Inland Revenue Office, both in Queen-square, are neat and convenient erections, built upon the site of the old buildings, which were destroyed by fire during the great riots in 1831. Bristol contains two prisons: viz., the Bridewell and the Gaol, both modern buildings. The former is situated in Bridewell-street, and is devoted to the confinement of criminals accused of minor offences; the latter, situated on the New-cut, is used as a place of punishment for more dangerous characters.

We must not omit to mention among the public buildings of the city that of the Royal Insurance Company, in Corn-street, which is a magnificent structure, and its handsomely carved front is an ornament to the city.


The banks of Bristol are upon a scale commensurate with the requirements of such a populous and commercial city.

The Branch Bank of England, situated in Broad-street, was opened for business in November, 1849. It is a commodious building in the Grecian style of architecture. The front is ornamented with a number of handsome Doric pillars.

The West of England and South Wales District Bank, in Corn-street, is one of the most elegant banks in the kingdom. It was erected from the designs of Messrs. Gingell and Lysaught, architects, of Bristol, and opened for business in February 1857. The cost of the building is estimated at about £30,000. Its façade, for architectural and sculptural beauty, is admitted to have no rival nearer than the marble palaces of Venice. The front is Venetio-Italian; the lower order of the façade is Doric, the upper Ionic. In this front are sculptured figures, emblematical of the towns and counties in which the company have their chief branches. The keystones are carved heads, representing the Bristol Channel, and the Avon, Severn, Taff, and Usk rivers. Here also are groups of boys (life-size) paying, receiving, and storing money, die-sinking, coining, and printing notes. The dexter side represents merchants trading with the people of Europe and Asia; and the sinister end, merchants trading with the natives of Africa and America. The interior has a circular vestibule of great height; the ceiling is decorated in gold and colours. The floor is of Minton's encaustic tiles, exhibiting the Bristol Arms, with the title of the company. The board-room ceiling is richly panelled and decorated. The banking room is seventy feet by forty feet, and forty feet high. The whole structure is fire-proof. The sculpture was under the management of the late John Thomas, Esq., of London.

The National Provincial Bank of England (Branch) is in Corn-street, and has been recently completed, from the designs and under the superintendence of William Bruce Gingell, Esq., of Bristol. The façade is in the Italian style, and is very chaste and effective. The lower story presents three deeply sunk and arched recesses, the piers and voussoirs decorated with moulded and vermiculated rustics. Each recess contains four small Doric columns of polished red granite, supporting an entablature, from which springs a richly diapered archivolt. The principal story presents engaged columns on piers, wrought to form quarter-pilasters on each side, the whole having vermiculated rustics thereon, about two-thirds of their entire height, and finishing with groups of rich Ionic capitals, which support a bold entablature, the frieze whereof is full of sculpture and architectural carving, the central compartment showing an excellent bust of the Queen, and those on either side female busts, representing Peace and Plenty. Elegant vases stand above each column and add much to the importance of the story. The attic has rusticated piers over the columns, supporting an entablature, on which is a balustrade with pedestals, carrying carved terminals. The façade is recessed, and protected by bronzed iron palisading and gates of very elegant design. A handsome corridor and vestibule lead to the banking room, which is a large and superb apartment, lighted entirely from above by a dome and other lights, filled in with blue and gold stained glass with brown interlacing borders, and forming prominent features in a ceiling of very novel design and great beauty. All the ground floor is finished with fine tesselated pavements. The fittings of the banking room are in excellent keeping with the architecture, and these, with every minute detail of the structure, have been specially designed by the architect. The sculpture and carving were executed by Mr. T. Colley, of London. The entire building is fire-proof.

Messrs. Stuckey's Bank is the handsome pile of buildings opposite the National Provincial Bank.

The Bristol Bank (Miles, Miles, Savile, Harford, and Miles), in Corn-street (facing the Commercial Rooms), is a commodious stone structure.

The Bristol Old Bank (Messrs. Baillie, Baillie, Cave and Co.) is in Corn-street. The London and South Western Bank is situated in High-street.

The Counties Joint Stock Banking Company, Limited, have recently erected commodious premises in High-street. The bank was opened in February, 1865, and is under the management of Charles Dowell, Esq.

The Bristol Savings Bank in St. Stephen's-avenue, was established in 1812, and is under the management of trustees. Sums as low as 1s may be deposited. The days of business are Wednesday and Thursday, from 12 to 2, and on Saturday, from 1 to 2, and 6 to 8 p.m. There is also established at the Guildhall, Broad-street, a Penny Savings Bank, open on Monday evenings for receiving deposits as low as one penny.


Bristol is unsurpassed by any city in the kingdom for its charities; it is said that the funded charities of the city of Bristol exceed the aggregate charities of the whole of France. Its merchants and wealthier inhabitants have for many years been distinguished by their thoughtful care and kind provision for the widow, the aged, and the poor, as well as by the extensive provision of educational advantages for the young. Of these benevolent institutions -

The Bristol Royal Infirmary, in Marlborough-street, is the greatest in magnitude and importance. This noble institution is distinguished as being the first provincial asylum established in the United Kingdom for the relief of the sick and wounded poor. It was founded, in 1735, by John Elbridge, Esq.; in 1784 the foundation-stone of a larger building was laid; to this structure several improvements have since been added, thus forming the present extensive pile of buildings. It is supported by annual subscriptions, donations, legacies, &c. It has accommodation for nearly 250 in-patients; the average annual number admitted is about 3,000, whilst more than 17,000 out-patients receive gratuitous medical advice and medicine every year. Attached to the building is a museum and library, also a chapel, for the patients.

The Bristol General Hospital, at Bathurst Basin, was erected in 1858 from the designs of W.B. Gingell, Esq., architect, of Bristol. This charity was founded in 1832, and for many years occupied extensive premises in Guinea street, until the present handsome structure was completed. In 1845, Mr. Joseph Eaton, a citizen and member of the Society of Friends, offered £5000 towards the erection of a new building, upon condition of a further sum of £10,000 being raised for the same object. An appeal was made to the public, and so liberally did the citizens come forward that in an incredibly short space of time an amount was raised far exceeding the stipulated sum. In 1853, contracts to execute the works for £14,959 were entered into; the entire cost of the building, including site, furniture, &c., was about £25,000. The building is in the Italian style of architecture, and forms three sides of a quadrangle; a bold, lofty, octagonal tower rises at the south-west front angle, finished with a carved cupola. The principal fronts of the building are built with blue Pennant stone, relieved with Bath stone dressings. The interior is carefully and skillfully laid out; accommodation is provided for 170 in-patients, whilst relief is afforded to about 1,200 in, and 16,000 out-patients, annually.

The Bristol Asylum, or, School of Industry for the Blind, situated at the top of Park-street, is a handsome pile of buildings in the early English style of architecture, well adapted in all its departments for the industry therein taught in the manufacture of various articles of household requirements. This charity was instituted in 1793, and incorporated in 1832 by authority of Parliament. It owes its origin to the benevolent exertions of two members of the Society of Friends, Messrs. Bath and Fox, and it now stands second to none of its kind in the kingdom. It has about 50 pupils, of both sexes, who are employed chiefly in basket and mat making. The pupils are also taught reading by embossed Roman character, singing, organ, pianoforte, &c., and every Monday afternoon assemble in the music room for the performance of sacred music, when strangers are admitted free. The religious and moral culture of the pupils receives careful consideration. The affairs are managed by a committee, and the institution is supported by subscriptions, donations, &c.

The Orphan Houses, on Ashley Down, are a magnificent pile of buildings, erected by the Rev. George Muller, for the reception of destitute orphans. The institution was opened in 1849, and there are about 1,200 orphans fed, clothed, and educated by this charity. Its foundation was commenced in 1834, for thirty children, but has gradually increased to its present number. Orphans are received from their earliest days and from any place, without any sectarian distinction, and are cared for and educated until they are capable of taking situations as servants or being apprenticed to a trade. The annual expense of maintenance of the orphans is about £12,000. This vast establishment is under the management of the Rev. Mr. Müller, a native of Germany, the originator of this praiseworthy scheme, and the whole expenditure is defrayed by voluntary contributions, which flow in from time to time, "the result of prayer to God".

The Orphan Asylum at Hook's Mills, Ashley Vale, is designed to rescue destitute girls from idleness and vice, and qualify them for servants in respectable families.

The Bristol Dispensary, Castle-green, was established in 1775 for the purpose of the medical officers attending sick persons of both sexes and lying-in women at their own dwellings, and for supplying them with such medicines as their cases may require. This institution is supported by subscription as are also the dispensaries at Dowry-square, Hotwells (for Clifton district); St. James's-square, for children and women; and the one at Redland for children.

The Bristol Eye Hospital, in Lower Maudlin-street, and the Eye Dispensary, Frogmore-street, are excellent institutions for the relief of the suffering poor. Many persons from the Principality of Wales and the counties of Gloucester and Somerset repair hither on account of the skill of its medical attendants in that particular branch of disease.

The Deaf and Dumb Institution, in Park-row, was founded in 1841, for the instruction of children of both sexes who are thus afflicted, from seven years old and upwards.

The Bristol Sailor's Home, situated on the Grove, is a neat structure, fitted up with due regard to the comfort of its inmates. It was opened in 1853, and is a most invaluable institution for protecting the sailor from vicious associations on his landing in a populous seaport.

The charitable institutions of Bristol merit a more detailed description and a more elaborate panegyric than we can dedicate to them in this work; suffice it to say, they are as extensive in their operations as the objects for which they were founded are meritorious.

The Almshouses are more than twenty in number. Amongst the leading charities for various objects are: Queen Elizabeth's, Colston's, Foster's, Ridley's, Whitson's, White's, Jackson's, Brown's, Chester's, Thurston's, Harrington's, Hook's, Rogers's, Carr's, Kitchen's, Holbin's, Young's, Ludlow's, Haviland's, Peloquin's, Merchant Venturers', &c. In connection with, and forming part of the above, are various


Colston's School, formerly in St. Augustine's-place, but now removed to a commodious brick building (the late residence of the bishops of the diocese) at Stapleton. This charity was founded in 1708, for clothing, educating, and maintaining 100 boys, by Mr. Edward Colston, a citizen and wealthy merchant, who died October 11th, 1721. Boys are admitted at seven years of age, and continue till they are fourteen, when they are apprenticed.

Queen Elizabeth's Hospital (commonly called the City School), situated on Brandon-hill, was founded in 1586 by Mr. John Carr; but the present handsome structure was not opened till 1847. It was built from the designs of Thomas Foster, Esq., architect, of Bristol. The cost of the building, including the land (4 acres), was about £21,000. It accommodates nearly 200 boys, who are clothed, fed, and educated, as in Colston's School.

The Grammar School, in Unity-street, College-green, is a commodious structure, founded by Robert Thorne in the year 1536. This establishment is actively and well conducted, and affords instruction to pupils of a higher grade. The education includes the English, Latin, French, German, and Greek languages, mathematics, &c.

The College Grammar School, situated in Lower College-green, was founded by Henry VIII., for educating six boys, choristers of the Cathedral. By permission of the Dean and Chapter, the school is open to other children and boarders, as well as day scholars.

The Baptist College, in Stokes-croft, was established for the purpose of educating young men for the Baptist ministry.

The Red Maids' School, Denmark-street, was founded and endowed by Alderman Whitson in the year 1627, for the education, maintenance,

and clothing of 130 girls. The present school-house was built in 1843, at a cost of about £7000.

Colston's School, in Temple-street (better known as the Blue School), was founded and endowed by Edward Colston, for clothing and educating forty boys. The foundation-stone of a new building has recently been laid on the site of the old school-house.

In addition to the above there are endowed schools in Pile-street; St. Augustine's Charity Schools, in Wells-street; Elbridge Charity School, for girls, St. Michael's-hill; Unitarian Charity School, Stokes-croft, &c.

The Sunday and National Schools, belonging to the different places of worship, and others unattached to any particular sect, are too numerous to be here enumerated.

The Bristol Trade, Mining, and Navigation Schools, in Nelson-street, were established in 1852, for the education of boys, sons of artizans and tradesmen. The object of the Trade School is to prepare boys for apprenticeship to the mechanical trades, by adding to the usual course of teaching in elementary schools instruction in mathematics, chemistry, mechanical and experimental physics, mechanism, descriptive geometry, and machine drawing. The object of the Mining School is to instruct young men intended for mining pursuits in the sciences allied to their future profession. The school offers peculiar advantages: it is in the centre of the active mining operations in the Gloucestershire and Somersetshire coal-fields; its pupils have the use of one of the best provincial geological and mineralogical museums; there is a spacious laboratory; and its staff is larger than that of any school of the kind except that in the metropolis. The object of the Navigation School is explained by the name. It was until very recently held in King-street, but this branch is now united with the Trade and Mining School.

The Bristol Medical School, Old Park, is a branch of the University of London. Here students are admitted to examination for degrees in medicine, and for honours, rewards, and scholarships granted by the University of London. Amongst its teachers are William Herapath, Esq., F.C.S. (the celebrated professor of chemistry, and the only toxicologist in the West of England recognised by the medical corporations), Dr. William Bird Herapath, and G.F. Burder, Esq.

The Bristol School of Chemistry, on Kingsdown-parade, conducted by Dr. F.W. Griffin, is celebrated for its analysis of mineral and other poisons.


Bristol contains about fifty places of worship of the Established Church, many of which are characterised by great architectural elegance.

The Cathedral, situated in College-green, is a noble structure, dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity. It was originally the collegiate church of the monastery of St. Augustine, and was founded by Robert Fitzhardinge in the year 1142, who came into England with William the Conqueror. It was so far advanced in the year 1148 as to be ready for consecration. The nave was taken down some years previously to the dissolution of the monastery in 1539, up to which time extensive improvements and alterations had been going on, and it has never been rebuilt. The chapter room and the abbey gateway at the western end of the cathedral are beautiful specimens of the Anglo-Norman style of architecture. In 1860 the cathedral underwent a thorough repair and alteration; all the old pews and benches were removed, and the seating is now effected by means of chairs, whereby the accommodation is much improved and increased. It will easily hold 1000 persons; the edifice is 174 feet in length, and 56 feet in height. The chancel, choir, ante-choir, and aisles are of the same height. The tower rises to 127 feet. The chancel contains several stained glass windows, the work of Mr. Bell, artist, of Bristol. The edifice also contains many handsome and interesting monuments, executed by Chantrey, Bacon and others. By the Bishop's Throne, a very handsome brass has been placed to the memory of Bishop Butler, who lies buried here.

The church of St. Mary Redcliffe is a magnificent cruciform structure in the Gothic style of architecture, and is considered the finest parish church in England. It was designated by Chatterton

"Ye pryde of Bristowe and ye western londe."

It is supposed to have been founded by Simon de Burton in 1293; others assert William Canynges (bailiff of Bristol in the year 1369), to be the founder, and that it was afterwards finished by his grandson, assisted by the corporation, in the reign of Henry VI. It contains two monuments to the memory of its noble benefactor: by one he is represented in the habit of chief magistrate, having served the office of mayor of the city, and on the other he appears in ecclesiastical robes, as having entered into holy-orders in the latter part of his life. Here is also a monument erected to Sir William Penn, knight, vice-admiral of England and father of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, who was a native of Bristol. It also contains several magnificent stained-glass windows, one of which has recently been erected as a memorial to Handel, the great composer and musician. The window, which is by Clayton and Bell, is placed in the east end of the north aisle, and contains three lights, the subjects chosen being from the Musianic prophecies of Isaiah. The funds to defray the cost were obtained by subscription. The interior of the building is very beautiful; the roof is elaborately groined and finished with surpassing elegance. This noble building has been some years under restoration, but it will be many more before it is completed. The tower, which rises at the west end, is lofty and of fine proportions. In the year 1445, the spire was thrown down by lightning. In the tower the early ambition of Chatterton gave way to literary forgery. In 1840 a monument was erected to his memory in the north-east part of the churchyard. He was born in 1752 and died in 1770. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol; the annual value is about £230.

All Saints' Church, in Corn-street, is an ancient structure, with steeple, though not so large, resembling that of St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, London. Within its walls that noble benefactor of the city, Edward Colston, Esq., lies interred, and a marble monument, by Rysbrach, is erected to his memory. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Bristol; annual value, £160.

Christ Church (Broad-street) is a handsome edifice, remarkable for its fine spire (160 ft. high) and musical peal of ten bells. The present building was erected in 1790, upon the site of the old church, which was taken down for the purpose of widening the street. The rectory of Christ church, with the rectory of St. Ewen annexed, value £390 per annum, is in the patronage of, and enjoyed by, the Rev. James Robertson, M.A.

St. Werburgh's, situated in Corn-street, was the first church in which John Wesley preached. The present structure was erected in 1761, upon the site of the old building, which is supposed to have been built in 1190. The living is a rectory in the gift of the Lord Chancellor; value about £70 per annum.

St. Stephen's, situated in Clare-street, is adorned by a very handsome and lofty tower, with pinnacles, described as "the fairest form ever erected by the taste and skill of the last Gothic school." The body of the church was erected in the thirteenth century by John Shipward, one of the "merchant princes" of Bristol. It was rebuilt in 1470. It is now undergoing entire restoration, together with the tower. The living is a rectory, value £292 per annum, in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor.

St. John the Baptist (Broad-street) is a small neat structure, founded by Walter Frampton, who was mayor of the city, and whose remains were interred in the church in 1357. The spire is built upon one of the ancient gateways of the city. In the archway are two ancient figures of the reputed founders of Bristol - Brennus and Belinus. The living is a rectory, with that of St. Lawrence annexed, in the patronage of J.S. Harford, Esq., and trustees; annual value, £150.

St. James's Church is a fine specimen of the Anglo-Norman style of architecture, erected about the year 1347. Its reputed origin is remarkable, for it is said that in the erection of the castle at Bristol every tenth stone was appropriated to the building of this church. It has recently been repaired and renovated, and a new aisle added, under the superintendence of Messrs. Popes and Bindon, architects, of Bristol.

The living is a perpetual curacy, value £551 per annum, in the patronage of J.S. Harford, Esq., and trustees.

St. Nicholas, near Bristol bridge, has a beautiful spire about 200ft. high, and an elegant interior, unsupported by pillars. In the tower is a deep-toned and musical peal of eight bells. Below the church is a very spacious and well-built crypt, capable of holding a goodly congregation; lectures are frequently delivered and meetings held therein. The living is a vicarage united to that of St. Leonard, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Bristol; annual value, £253.

Temple (otherwise Holy Cross) Church, situated in Temple-street, was founded by the Knights Templars in the year 1145. It is remarkable for the singular position of its leaning tower, which, when the bells are rung, moves, as Camden expresses it, "huc et illuc" - here and there. It leans to the south-east, and is four feet out of perpendicular. The interior is beautifully decorated, and the altar is adorned with four fine paintings. The living is a vicarage, value £390 per annum, in the patronage of J.S. Harford, Esq., and trustees.

St. Thomas's Church (Thomas-street) is a very ancient building. The living is a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, value about £120 per annum.

St. Augustine's Church, situated near the Cathedral in College-green, was founded by the abbots of St. Augustine's monastery, and is mentioned in Gaunt's deed in 1240. The present structure was built in 1480, and has been considerably enlarged at subsequent periods. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Bristol; annual value £345.

St. Mark's, or the Mayor's Chapel, in College-green, is a beautiful structure in the later style of English architecture. It was once the chapel to an hospital, founded in 1299 by the Gaunt family. It is supported by the Gaunts' estate, and belongs to the Corporation of Bristol. It has an elaborately ornamented roof, wrought screens and canopies, and numerous fine monuments. A marble bust (by Tyley, the Bristol sculptor), of Sir John. Kerle Haberfield, Knight, who was six times mayor of Bristol, and died in 1857, is much admired.

St. Michael's, on St. Michael's Hill, is a plain edifice erected in 1777, upon the site of a former church dedicated to the same saint. The tower, which is lofty, is part of the old church. The living is a rectory, value £370 per annum, in the gift of J.S. Harford Esq., and trustees.

Mary-le-Port Church, in Mary-le-Port-street, is a very ancient structure, with square embattled tower. The living is a rectory, in the patronage of Isaac A. Cooke, Esq.; annual value £150.

St. Peter's, an ancient building, situated in Peter-street, has lately been altered and considerably improved. The living is a rectory in the patronage of trustees, value about £240 per annum.

The Church of St. Philip and Jacob, Jacob-street, is a plain structure in the early English style of architecture. The living is a vicarage in the patronage of J.S. Harford, Esq., and trustees, value £440 per annum.

The Church of Holy Trinity, St. Philip's, situated in New-road, is a noble edifice, and one of the largest in. the city. The living is a perpetual curacy, value £400 yearly, in the patronage of J.S. Harford, Esq., and five trustees.

St. Paul's Church, Portland-square, was erected in 1794. It is a commodious structure, and has a handsome lofty tower. Over the communion table is a fine painting of "Paul preaching at Athens", by Edward Bird, a Bristol artist. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Isaac A. Cooke, Esq., and trustees; annual value, £400.

St. Raphael's Church, Cumberland-road, is a very handsome edifice, erected in 1859 at the sole expense of the Rev. Robert H. W. Miles, rector of Bingham, Notts. It is in the early Decorated style, and cost, including six almshouses for aged seamen, which adjoin it, £8000. It was intended chiefly for the use of the sailors of the port of Bristol.

St. George's, Great George-street, Park-street, is a fine building. The living is a vicarage, value £285 per annum, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Bristol.

The Blind Asylum Chapel, top of Park-street, is a beautiful erection, and the service in this church is admirably chanted by the pupils of the Blind Asylum.

Many of the Dissenting congregations possess elegant buildings for their worship.

The Presbyterian Church, St. James's-parade, is a handsome building, in the early Decorated style of Gothic architecture. It was erected in 1858 from the designs of Joseph Neale, Esq., architect, of Bristol, at a cost of about £6000.

Brunswick Independent Chapel, situated in Brunswick-square, was erected in 1834, at a cost of about £5000.

Arley Chapel, Stokes-croft-road, is a handsome structure, in the Italian style of architecture, erected in 1855.

The Wesleyan Chapel, Portland-street, was erected about the year 1796 by Lieut. Thomas Webb, the founder of many early Methodist chapels in England.

The Wesleyan Chapel, Old Market-street, was erected in 1817, and can seat about 2500 persons.

The Baptist Chapel, Broadmead, is one of the oldest in the city, having been founded as early as 1671.

Highbury Chapel, Cotham (Congregational), is a handsome building, capable of seating about 700 persons. It was built by public subscription at a cost of about £3000, and has recently been considerably enlarged. It will ever possess a peculiar interest to all lovers of religious liberty, since it was erected on the spot where five persons were burnt at the stake for conscience sake. The remembrance of their faith and heroism is perpetuated by a tablet placed in the chapel.

The most ancient dissenting place of worship is the Pithay Chapel, which was built in the year 1650 by a few Baptists who had seceded from the Established Church. In the course of time, the congregation becoming too large for the building, a more commodious chapel was erected for the purpose in King-street.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral, Park-place, attached to which is the residence of the bishop, is one of the most elaborate structures in Bristol. It is dedicated to the Twelve Apostles.

St. Mary's Catholic Chapel, situated on St. Augustine's-back, is a handsome building in the Grecian style of architecture. It was opened in 1843, and accommodates about 700 persons.

St. Joseph's Catholic Chapel is in Trenchard-street, and St. Nicholas is situated in Pennywell-road.

The Bristol General Cemetery is situated at Arno's-vale, about a mile from Bristol, on the Bath-road. It was established by a company under the "Bristol Cemetery Act, 1837". The spot chosen is very picturesque, and covers about twenty-seven acres of land. The grounds are tastefully laid out, and contain a great number of elegant monuments. The cemetery is open for inspection from eight a.m. till dusk.


Bedminster, the southern suburb of Bristol, is a large and populous parish, important on account of its collieries, tanneries, market gardens, &c., which contribute much to the Bristol markets. There are three handsome and commodious churches, all of recent date. The parish church is dedicated to St. John. The living is a vicarage, value £300 per annum, in the gift of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol, and held by the Rev. Henry G. Eland, M.A.

The church of St. Paul is situated. in Coronation-road; the living is a perpetual curacy, worth £300 yearly, in the patronage of the bishop and incumbency of the Rev. J.F. Marillier, M.A.

St. Luke's is situated in York-road; the living is a perpetual curacy, enjoyed by the Rev. D.A. Doudney.

There is a chapel of ease at Bishopsworth, dedicated to St. Peter; the Rev. H.C. Randall, M.A., is the officiating minister.

There are chapels for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, Methodists, and Roman Catholics.


Clifton, the fashionable suburb of Bristol, is picturesquely situated among the rocks on the banks of the Avon. The rock on which Clifton stands is limestone or marble, with veins of various hues, very hard and capable of a high polish. Concealed among the crannies of these rocks lie an abundance of quartz crystals (Bristol diamonds), and other native brilliants, rivalling in appearance the costly productions of India. Surrounded by scenery of the most exquisite description, and embellished by all that art and luxury can supply, it now forms an attractive focus of fashion, wealth, and beauty. Its invigorating atmosphere being highly conducive to health, there is a continual influx of affluent visitors, whose shattered nerves render an abode at this temple of hygeia absolutely essential. It has been justly called "the Montpelier of England." The delightful views from the Clifton and Durdham downs, with Cook's Folly and St. Vincent's Rocks on one side of the river, and the Leigh woods opening into the Nightingale and Salvator Rosa valleys on the other, together with a myriad of other attractions for the visitor, render it still more worthy of public resort. Perhaps the greatest object of attraction is its magnificent Suspension Bridge over the river Avon, which now unites the counties of Gloucester and Somerset. It was opened on December 8th, 1864, and is considered superior to any bridge of its kind in the world. Its span is 703 feet, and its height above high-water mark 245 feet. In the year 1753, Mr. William Vick, wine merchant, and alderman of the City of Bristol, bequeathed the sum of £1000 to the Society of Merchant Venturers in Bristol, for the purpose of erecting a "stone bridge" over the river Avon, from Clifton Down to the opposite side on the Leigh Down, for carriages as well as foot passengers, toll free. This, he conjectured, could be accomplished for less than £10,000. He therefore directed his legacy to be placed out at interest by the Society of Merchants until it should accumulate to the required amount. The money was accordingly invested by the Society of Merchants, and in 1830 the aggregate amount of interest and principal was £8000. By this time the citizens began to feel anxious the work should be undertaken, and a committee was appointed to take into consideration the best course to be adopted for commencement. It was, however, decided that an iron bridge should be substituted for stone, the estimate for the latter being £90,000. Before adopting any plan, the trustees determined to apply for an act of Parliament, which was obtained (though not without some slight opposition), and received the royal assent on May 29th, 1830. Designs were furnished by several eminent engineers, but the one selected was that of the late I.K. Brunel, Esq., C.E., F.R.S., at an estimated cost of £57,000. The foundation stone of the Leigh Wood abutment was laid amidst much splendour on August 27th, 1836, by the Most Hon, the Marquis of Northampton, on the occasion of the meeting of the British Association in Bristol, of which his lordship was president. The land required for the bridge, road, and approaches on the Clifton side was liberally presented by the Society of Merchants, the lords of the manor. The piers of solid masonry were constructed, and up to the year 1853, the total sum expended amounted to £45,000, when an insufficiency of funds stopped the further progress of the works.

In 1860, an opportunity was afforded of applying one of the modern works of Brunel to span the Avon. The Hungerford Suspension Bridge (erected in 1845) was about to be taken down to make way for a railway bridge across the Thames, and it so happened it was peculiarly adapted for completing the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Altogether the opportunity was so favourable, that the principal members of the Civil Engineers' Institute, who had an interest in the work as completing a monument to their late friend, I.K. Brunel, Esq., F.R.S,, and at the same time removing a slur from the engineering talent of the country, thought that so magnificent a work should not remain in an incomplete state. They accordingly purchased the chains and materials of the Hungerford Bridge, at a cost of £5000 (subject to the purchasers being at the expense of taking down and removing them), and entered into negotiation for the transfer of the works at Clifton to a new company. On the 28th of June, 1861, the Act incorporating "The Clifton Suspension Bridge Company", received the royal assent, and John Hawkshaw, Esq., C.E., F.R.S., and W. H. Barlow, Esq., C.E., F.R.S., were appointed engineers; Messrs. Osborne, Ward, and Co., solicitors; Captain Claxton. R.N., secretary; and John Curtis, Esq., accountant to the company. The contractors for this stupendous undertaking were Messrs. Cochrane and Co. The whole of the iron work of the bridge is about 1500 tons. Of these 1100 tons consist of plates and pins, constituting the main chains, and there are about 20 tons of suspension rods. The capital of the Company is £30,000. The total cost of the work was about £80,000. The motto on the corporate seal of the company is "Suspensa vix via fit". It may well be said the work is without a parallel in this kingdom, and it reflects great honour upon those who have been instrumental in its erection. The bridge opens a direct road from Clifton to the agricultural district of Somersetshire. The bridge will throw open building sites probably not to be surpassed, commanding extensive views of the Bristol Channel. In addition to this, the Somersetshire side of the Avon will be much resorted to by visitors. The scenery on that side is very celebrated, and the shaded walks and drives are numerous and delightful.

Clifton contains many handsome and noble mansions, crescents, terraces, &c., also numerous well stocked shops for the use of visitors and inhabitants. In 1862 a company was formed with a proposed capital of £40,000, entitled "The Clifton Hotel Company, Limited", for the purpose of erecting a first-class family hotel for the accommodation of visitors to this charming suburb. The site for this desirable undertaking is one of the most conspicuous and commanding places in Clifton, being near the Suspension Bridge. The Clifton Down Hotel is rapidly progressing, and when completed will afford accommodation equivalent to the first-class metropolitan hotels.

The Queen's Hotel is a handsome building, situated near the Victoria Rooms, and adjacent to the Fine Arts Academy. At the back of the hotel is an extensive park, called Tyndall's Park, which commands a delightful view.

The Clifton and Durdham Downs have from time immemorial been resorted to as places of recreation. They are the property respectively of the Society of Merchant Venturers and the Corporation of Bristol, but are under the management of the Downs committee.

The Zoological Gardens on Clifton Down and a short distance from the Suspension Bridge, were opened in 1836, and are very attractive. They are open daily (Sundays excepted). The grounds are laid out with exquisite taste, and the lion house, bear pits, and reptile house, with the marine aquarium, are objects of great interest. In the latter by suitable machinery. A little to the north of the gardens is -

The Clifton College, a handsome building, instituted for the education of young gentlemen, upon the same admired plan as the Bath and Cheltenham colleges.

The Observatory, on Clifton Down, contains a large camera obscura and other scientific instruments. From the basement is a circular flight of stone steps leading to a subterranean passage, ending in a flight of steps at the entrance to a cavern called Ghyston's or Giant's Cave. At the western extremity there is an opening with railings in front, which overlooks the Avon and the new railroads recently constructed, which are more than 200 feet below. From the Observatory can be seen Dundry Tower (built in 1482), south-east; Bristol on the east; Redland to the north; Kingsweston park and Durdham down north-west; and the Bristol Channel, with the Welsh hills, on the west. From the Observatory you descend the Zigzag to the -

Hotwells.-The medicinal qualities of the mineral waters at the Hotwells having attained such universal celebrity, they scarcely need comment. The most ancient record of this spring is that of William Wyrcester, in 1480. Tradition attributes its original discovery to sailors who had contracted scurvy from long voyages, and found themselves benefitted by drinking freely and washing in the water. The eminent physician, Dr. John Rutty, of Dublin, in his elaborate "Synopsis of Mineral Waters " (published in 1757), states, "The water may be drunk at a distance from the spring with good effect, as a sweetening, drying, and healing medicine." Dr. Edward Jordan, of Bath, in 1632, and Dr. George Randolph, a local practitioner, in 1750, with many other authors, at various periods, have made the Spa of Clifton their theme, and enlarged upon its efficacy in various diseases, both externally and internally. The temperature of the Hotwell Spa was proved by Dr. Carrick, Dr. Dobney, and Mr. Clayfield in 1821. In the open atmosphere the thermometer stood at 61°, in the well at 70°, and down the water at 76°; being, in fact, 23° cooler than milk when fresh taken from the cow. The taste of the water is agreeable; many who have drank of it speak highly of its superiority when compared with other medicinal waters. The old Hotwell House was built in 1696 by some enterprising citizens; but there was only a narrow passage by the house, as the rocks projected to the river bank. These were removed in 1816; and the present well-arranged pump-room, baths, and other appendages have since been erected. Private baths of every description are always ready. The swimming-bath is 34 x 18 ft., and every arrangement is conducted with the utmost good taste and decorum.

Clifton Parish Church is dedicated to St. Andrew. It was built in 1816, and stands in the churchyard, which is beautifully planted with trees. The living is a perpetual curacy, value about £800 per-annum, in the patronage of Simeon's Trustees, and held by the Right Rev. Bishop Anderson, D.D.

St. John the Evangelist Church, Durdham Down, was built about twenty-five years ago; but, in consequence of the inhabitants of the district having so greatly increased, it was found too restricted for its congregation. A subscription was set on foot, and it has recently been enlarged by the addition of transepts and extension of the chancel. The flat ceiling has been removed, showing the timbers of the roof; and the church has been reseated throughout, the cumbrous high pews being replaced by comfortable open benches. The living is a perpetual curacy, annual value £120, in the patronage of the Bishop, and held by the Rev. H.G. Walsh, M.A.

Christ Church, Clifton-park, is a handsome structure with lofty spire, commanding an extensive view of the Bristol Channel. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Simeon's Trustees, and incumbency of the Rev. Mourant Brock, M.A.

St. Paul's is a district church situated in Victoria-park. The living is a perpetual curacy, enjoyed by the Rev. F. Vaughan Mather, M.A.

St. James's Church is a modern erection, built as a memorial to the late Canon Hensmen, who was for many years incumbent of Clifton parish church. The Rev. Beedham Charlesworth, M.A.) is the curate in charge.

Trinity Church, situated in Hotwell-road, is a neat structure. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of trustees, and held by the Rev. H. Allen, M.A., canon and rural dean.

There are several dissenting places of worship in Clifton. The principal are Victoria Chapel (Wesleyan), Whiteladies-road, adjacent to the Fine Arts Academy; Buckingham Chapel (Baptist), near Richmond-terrace; and Hope Chapel (Independent), on Granby-hill; all of which are elegant structures.

The principal seats in the neighbourhood of Bristol are: Ashton Court, the noble mansion of Sir John Greville Smyth, Bart., designed by the celebrated Inigo Jones; Blaize Castle, Henbury, the seat of John S. Harford, Esq., famous for its woods and walks, which are tastefully laid out, and open for inspection to the public during the summer months; Leigh Court, the seat of Sir Wm. Miles, Bart., M.P., a handsome mansion, containing some splendid paintings by celebrated artists, The gallery of paintings is open for inspection on Thursdays (when the family are at home) by application at the Bank (Sir W. Miles and Co.), in Corn-street; Stoke House, in the parish of Stoke Gifford, was built by Sir Richard Berkeley, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. It is a stately mansion, and was formerly the residence of the Dowager Duchess of Beaufort; Heath House, Stapleton, is the seat of Matthew Davenport Hill, Esq., Q.C., Recorder for Birmingham and Commissioner of the Bristol Court of Bankruptcy; Cook's Folly, situated on the Down, is the frequent resort of visitors, on account of its high situation, from which is an extensive view.

Amongst the worthies the City of Bristol has had the honour of producing we may mention the name of Colston, the philanthropist, and, more recently, those of Hannah More, Robert Hall, and the Misses Porter; Coleridge, the metaphysician; Chatterton and Southey, the poets; Bailey, the sculptor of "Eve"; John Herapath, the author of "Mathematical Physics"; William Herapath, the chemist and analyst; Pritchard, the great modern ethnologist; and Conybeare, the geologist.


Bristol.122,196137,328 154,093
Bedminster.17,86219,429 22,345
Total 154,235174,391197,813

Transcribed by Rosemary Lockie in June 2013.

This is a Genealogy Website
URL of this page:
Logo by courtesy of the Open Clip Art Library