Known as the capital of the West of England, the City and County of Bristol sit on the River Avon bounded by the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire. With a current population of 433,000 the city is the second largest in the South of England, coming after London.
Starting out as a Saxon village called Brigg Stow, it did not take long for the name Bristol to come into use and by the 10th century it had become a town.
In the 11th century a mint was introduced and a weekly market was started, already indicating the importance of the town. Trading in wool and leather was begun and the goods were being sold in Somerset, Devon and even Dublin.
In 1066, when the population had reached about 4000, the town was absorbed by William the Conqueror and a wooden fort was built by the king.
After England invaded Dublin in 1171 that city was given to Bristol as a colony and many Bristolians moved there.
In 1154 when Henry II arrived on the throne as King, he was also ruler of South West France. Bristol imported wines from the region and another trade for the city was formed. This was followed by wines from Spain and Portugal in the middle ages, and woad for dyeing. Mediaeval Bristol also started rope, sailcloth and lead industries. The wooden fort was replaced with a stone castle.
In 1542 the town was made a city and a bishop was installed.
In Tudor times the city suffered with the plague in 1575 and 1602-04.
The English civil war saw the city initially held by the Parliamentarians in 1642 and by July 1643 was in Royalist hands. After falling back into Cromwell’s hands in 1645 he ordered the destruction of the castle.
In the 17th Century when African slavery was just beginning the city, because of its western location, became a major port importing tobacco and sugar. A new glass industry also flourished.
The 18th century with slavery at its height saw the prosperity of Bristol accelerate. Timber from Scandinavia fed the shipbuilding industry, cannons, chains and anchors were manufactured and a brewing industry was founded.
By 1801 the population had reached 68,000 and fine buildings were constructed for trade and administration purposes.
New docks were built in Avonmouth and railways reached the city from London in 1841. Shortly after trains would connect Bristol to Exeter and Plymouth. Two major ships were built in the city. One in 1837 was the Great Western, followed by the Great Britain in 1844.
The twentieth century saw much change. Many of the old industries went into decline but were replaced by aircraft, chocolate and furniture manufacturing.
The population had reached 330,000 and a respected university was introduced.
The city, because of its industry, was badly damaged in WW2.
Post war, with the city centre re-built, and into the 21st century, the city has become a prosperous regional capital with industrial and financial industries, together with tourism, shopping and culture to the fore.
Things to do:
As a major city there is much for a visitor to the city to enjoy. Recommended would be the following:-
Clifton Suspension Bridge:
Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s iconic bridge high above the River Avon was completed in 1864, after the engineer’s death.
SS Great Britain:
Moored in the dock in the city centre, a visit on board another Brunel project, is an interesting experience.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery:
Located in a fine Edwardian building in Queen’s Road the gallery contains nineteen galleries over three floors. It is renowned for its art, archaeology, geology, natural history and invention displays. To complete the visit is a shop and a café.
There are various ways of exploring the Bristol waterways. They include Packet Boat Trips, Ferry Boats and boats operated by Number Seven and Avon River Cruises.
Located on College Green in the centre of the city it started out as an Augustinian Abbey in mid 12th Century. The building expanded and a great mediaeval “hall church” emerged, one of the finest in England and Europe. After the Abbey was dissolved in 1539, by Henry VIII, it became a “new foundation” cathedral in 1542 and named the Holy and Undivided Trinity.
A panoramic view of the city can be gained by climbing the spiral staircase in this 105 ft. tower which is located on Brandon Hill park land near to Park Street.
Other Places of Interest:
These include Queen’s Square Park, St. Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol Zoo and Georgian House Museum.
Near to the city and easily accessible are Bath, Cheddar Gorge, Cotswolds and its villages and the Somerset coast.
Bristol is a big Rugby Union city, is the home of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club and of course is known for its two professional League football clubs, City and Rovers. Sadly Rovers were relegated out of the League into the Conference in 2014.
A range of other sports and activities are available.
Musicals and London West End shows are performed at the Bristol Hippodrome. The Tobacco Factory Theatre is a popular theatre and café bar.
Colston Hall is a major concert hall for rock concerts and classical performances.
Bristol Old Vic is a leading theatre for cutting edge drama.
The Watershed on the Harbourside in the city centre is an independent film venue plus being a major digital media centre.
Bars and Pubs:
The city has a thriving night scene with pubs, bars and clubs located throughout the city especially at Harbourside, Old City and Clifton areas. There is also a gay scene with a few pubs and clubs catering for same.
With a multi cultured population it is natural that ethnic eating is a feature of the culinary scene. Restaurants, cafes and bars are located throughout the city. These establishments are also located in the same areas as the bars and pubs.
Bristol being a Regional capital is also a major Regional shopping centre. All the major British department stores and chain stores are located in the many shopping areas of the city. The central shopping area covers Broadmead, Cabot Circus, The Galleries and Quakers Friars.
Interesting independent shops are found in Park Street and Clifton area.
One of the country’s largest shopping malls, Cribb’s Causeway is located in the north of the city and again has a diverse range of department stores and chains.
The city is just 90 minutes from London Paddington station and is a major rail hub in the country. Temple Meads is the famous Great Western station and through trains from London to South Wales stop at Bristol Parkway. The rest of the UK is well served by trains to and from Bristol.
The M4 (London to Swansea) and M5 (plus M6- Exeter to Carlisle) motorways cross in the north west of the city so making access to the city by road very convenient.
National Express similarly cover the country with their routes.
The city has an extensive bus system which operates through the centre and suburbs.
Park and Ride is also a good alternative to access the city centre.
Bristol Airport has a large range of national and international routes operating to and from this city facility.
All the major hotel chains are represented in the city covering all price ranges.
Guest houses are also plentiful, more so in the suburbs and Clifton.
Stadium: Ashton Gate Stadium. Bristol. BS3 2EJ.
Joined League: 1901
Chairman: Stephen Lansdown
Manager: Lee Johnson
Current League: Championship
Phone number: 0117 963 0600
Starting out as Bristol South End FC in 1894 at St. John’s Lane, Bedmister, the club changed its name to Bristol City in 1897 and joined the Southern League. In 1900 the club merged with Bedmister who played their matches at Ashton Gate. In 1901 they joined the Southern League. Election to the Football League was welcomed in 1901 and the team took their place in Division 2.
After fluctuating playing at St. John’s and Ashton Gate, in 1904, the latter was decided as the club’s final home.
The 1905/06 season saw City win the Division 2 Championship and the following season ended up as runners up in the top flight of the Football League, their highest historical position.
1909 and the club reached its first FA Cup final and were beaten 1-0 by Manchester United at Crystal Palace.
In 1913 a first international match was played at Ashton Gate, between England and Wales.
The 1920’s saw very mixed fortunes. After relegation to Division 2 in 1911 City were relegated to Division 3 South in 1922. In 1923 they became Division 3 Champions and were promptly relegated back in 1924. In 1927 they became Division 3 South Champions again, scoring a record 104 goals on the way.
In 1934, City beat Tranmere Rovers, to win the Welsh Cup and 1935 saw a record attendance of 43,355 in a FA Cup tie versus Preston North End.
From the thirties to the seventies the club had mixed results but did reach the top level again in 1976. However, the eighties saw three successive relegations to the Fourth Division.
After mixed fortunes since then the club are currently playing in the Championship, the second tier of the League.
Fans of Away teams should purchase tickets from their own clubs.
Home supporters can purchase tickets by phone on 0117 963 0600 or by visiting the club superstore Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
Away fans are accommodated in the Atyeo Stand.
For further ticket information contact the club by phone or email, details above.
The stadium location allows for getting to a match easily by bus, train and car.
Service buses 24 and 25 run from Horfield to Ashton Vale via the City centre. The stops for the stadium are just a 5 minute walk away and located in Frayne Road, Bath Street and Durnford Street.
A special A bus is run on match days from Brislington via Bath Road, Temple Gate, Temple Way, Haymarket, St. Augustine’s Place and Hotwell Road. The service A costs £1 and runs one hour before kick off. Further information can be obtained from www.abus.co.uk or by phoning 0117 977 6126.
The city of Bristol is a rail hub, based on its famous Great Western Railway station at Temple Meads. This acts as a terminus for trains from throughout the UK.
To the north of the city Bristol Parkway is a station on the London Paddington route to Cardiff, Swansea and South Wales.
From the stations take a bus or taxi, whichever is appropriate, to the stadium.
On the Temple Meads to Weston-Super-Mare route is a station called Parsons Street which is a 15 minute walk to Ashton Gate.
To obtain further rail information call National Rail on 0845 748 4950.
If you have satnav enter the post code as above.
If travelling from South Wales, London or south of England you will almost certainly use the M4 motorway. If so, leave at junction 19 and head to the city centre via M32. Then follow signs to Bond Street, Temple Circus gyratory, Temple Gate , York Gate and Brunel Way. The stadium.
From the north, using the M5, leave the motorway at junction 18 and travel along the A4 (Portway). Pass under Clifton Suspension Bridge, turn onto Brunel Way and cross into Winterstoke Road.
From the south west use the M5 as above or the A38 which will take you to the end of Winterstoke Road.
There are six car parks around the environs of the stadium and further details are available on the club’s official web site.
Ashton Gate is currently being redeveloped. This section will be uploaded once details of works are known and completed.
Stadium: The Memorial Stadium. Filton Avenue. Bristol. BS7 0BF.
Joined League: 1920
Chairman: Steve Hamer
Manager: Graham Coughlan
Current League: League 1.
Phone Number: 0117 9096648
Email: see club website for relevant email address.
Rovers started its existence as the Black Arabs in 1883 after a meeting held in Stapleton Road, Eastville. Their first ground was Purdown but they also played at Three Acres, The Downs and Rudgway by the early 1890s and on the way changed their name to Eastville Rovers. 1n 1897 the club moved to a new venue which became Eastville Stadium and for the 1898/99 a change of name to Bristol Rovers. In 1899 Rovers joined the Southern League and in 1920 were invited to play in Division 3 of the Football League.
Their first decade of League football was not spectacular but on 3rd March 1928 a Football League record was set which still stands today. A young player named Ronnie Dix became the youngest ever Football League player to score a League goal when he netted against Norwich City aged 15 years and 180 days.
Rovers remained in Division 3 up to World War 2 but on the way they beat the Dutch national team 3-2, in the Netherlands, in November 1930. Season 1931/32 saw the introduction of the famous blue and white quartered shirts and white shorts.
In 1932 an event occurred which would have significant effect on The Gas fifty years ahead. Bristol Greyhound Racing Association gained a position where by they could buy Eastville at any time they wished and eventually they took this up.
In April 1936 Rovers suffered their biggest ever defeat, losing 0-12, at the hands of Luton Town. Town player Joe Payne scored 10 of the goals which is still a League record for number of goals scored by a single player.
Post WW2 the club’s playing fortunes began to improve and in 1953 Rovers won promotion from Division 3 South to Division 2. They remained in this League until 1962 when relegation sent them down to Division 3. During their sojourn in Division 2 they did have an impressive 4-0 win over Manchester United, in 1955, in a FA Cup tie. Five of the United players in that match were killed in the Munich air disaster. In 1956 and 1959 the club reached their highest ever League position, 6th in Division 2.
The first half of the 1970s saw Rovers in the third tier still but in 1974 regained their Division 2 status again for seven seasons, before relegation struck again.
The 1980s saw the saga over the stadium, which began in the 1930s, come to a conclusion. After omitting to sign a new lease on Eastville, and then a fire at the ground, saw the club play 5 unpopular games at Ashton Gate, home of rivals Bristol City. The club returned to Eastville until 1986 when they took up a ground share with Bath City at Twerton Park. During this period they did achieve three seasons back in the second tier.
1996 saw a return to Bristol, this time sharing with Bristol Rugby Club, at the Memorial Stadium. This move did not help the club’s League performances as they bobbed between the bottom two levels of the League, which ended with a disaster in 2014 when they were relegated out of the League into the Conference. However, impressively, they bounced back into the League after just season away. Then, after a solid season, they gained promotion to League 1 at the end of 2015/16 season.
Away fans should check with their own club about buying tickets.
There are various ways of purchasing tickets. Option 1 is to visit the official club website and follow the ticket purchase route. Option 2 is by visiting the two ticket outlet counters, either at “Pirate Leisure” at the Memorial Stadium or at the supporter’s club shop at 199 Two Mile Hill Road, Kingswood. BS15 1AZ. Alternatively, you can phone 0117 909 6648 to purchase, or pay on the gate, with cash at the turnstile, at the match.
If you arrive at Bristol Temple Meads station use routes 71 and 506. From the city centre (Haymarket) you can use routes 70, 71, 73 and 75. From Bristol Parkway station use route 19.
If your journey by train to the Memorial Stadium concludes at Temple Meads or Parkway stations, you can take buses as described above.
Alternatively, a taxi can be used.
Please note the car park is generally reserved for the season with no close parking for visiting fans.
However, if travelling from the City Centre take the A38 Gloucester Road to the suburbs and when you meet the Filton Avenue junction on your right, signs for the stadium will appear. When travelling from the south west, use the M5, leave at the A38 junction to the city centre and follow the Gloucester Road route as above.
From the North, East and West use the M4 and leave at the M32 junction and travel south. Leave the M32 at the B4469 junction, pass under the motorway and travel north west along the B4469. Turn left onto Downend Road and the stadium is signed on your right.
From Bristol Airport, to the south west of the city, take the A1 shuttle bus to the city centre and then on by buses described above.
Taxis from throughout the city will take you to the stadium.
After all the years playing at Eastville and then Twerton Park, Bath, The Gas settled into the 12,000 capacity Memorial Stadium in 1996. The four sides of the ground are a bit of a mish mash but it works.
The tallest stand is the Uplands which has seating at the rear and terracing to the front. There is also terracing to either side of the stand. The dugouts are located to the front of the stand. However, the changing rooms are to be found in the opposite, West Stand, which contains executive boxes to the rear, a few rows of seats in front and some terracing. The TV gantry and electronic scoreboard are also housed here. At each end are the Blackthorn Stand and South Stand.
Away supporters are located in open terracing to the side of the Uplands Stand. The food on offer is of generally good standard but no alcohol is available to away fans in the ground. There are however a few reasonable pubs to be found nearby on the A38, Gloucester Road.
The future, well there are plans afoot for the club to relocate to a new stadium in the next decade.
BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER
67-69 Queens Road, Bristol
0117 929 0035