Saturday, 22 January 2011

Bristol - a walk away from town (2)

In the first part of the walk, I took a very loosely based circular trip around the various shopping centres and pointed other things of interest in that part of town.
For the second part of this walk, I have returned to my starting point at the main waterfront ferry landing. The walkway from Pero's bridge (seen in an earlier post) leads into a modern development called Millenium square. The most striking building is the Planetarium Dome which is part of the interactive family museum called "@ Bristol".

This area is so new that it has not yet realised it's full potential at it stretches west along the north side of the harbour side. Bristol is famous for the creation and animation of the cartoon characters Wallace and Gromit and I was privileged to see some of the film sets for "Curse of the Were Rabbit" that were on display in this building for a short time. The following short film clip (the train chase in "The Wrong Trousers" appeals to my sense of humour with a travel slant on it !!
Apologies to international viewers who are not permitted to see this (thanks to Cranberry Morning for letting me know) ...

Wallace & Grommit (youtube clip) (embedding unavailable)

I will not be beaten into finding something that is available and even though it is not quite the characteristics that you can expect from the animation, here is a sample...

On the other side of the building is an interesting sculpture called "Small worlds" which commemorates the work of physicist Paul Dirac.

The reflection of Bristol Cathedral is seen across the road from the window of the @ Bristol complex

It seems that the continual construction and upgrading of the city is also seen in the history of Bristol Cathedral ! Originally built between 1140 and 1148 AD in the Norman style (like Durham) with later smaller adjacent buildings joining it that still survive today. About 150 years later, an Abbot felt the need to rebuild it in a Gothic style with the central tower being added later in the 15th century. It was unfortunate that when the monasteries were all closed in 1539 that some of the half finished building work was destroyed. Like many other buildings of that time, it was not until Henry VIII decided to convert it to Cathedral status that it was completed. There was a Gothic revival in the 19th century and most of the building was modified once more with the final structure being finished in 1888.

Despite being told that College green was a place for celebrations and protests, I only ever saw it as a place of relaxation and that is how I choose to remember it ... where you can put your feet up and relax...

Facing the Cathedral on the opposite of the Green is Bristol council offices where the city is organised !!

Unusually, it is called The Council House which has a bit of laughable irony to those who know what that kind of structure is here in the UK. It took 18 years to build and was opened in 1956.

I am not going to wax lyrical about 20th century council offices but there is one story of interest that concerns the items placed on the roof...

Two 12 foot Unicorns were unknowingly ordered for the roof. The chairman of the council building committee discovered the two animals about to be hoisted up into place and stopped the project until he found out who had authorised it. The man who eventually claimed responsibility was on holiday at the time .... maybe that's because they cost an amazing £2,400 (1950 price). He thought that the gilt painted animals would look better than an ornamental ridge albeit at a greater cost. So much for councils trying to save money at every opportunity .... Council House, indeed !!!

Bristol is also famous for the the production of sherry (Harvey's Bristol Cream) and on numerous occasions I tried to find the museum that was signposted but the trail went cold as I got near. It turns out that it closed just before I started travelling to Bristol but a lot of the signs were still in place. I located the street and could only assume that the building had been turned into luxury housing.

Bristol has a few Tudor buildings like this public house nearby dating back to 1606. It is said that this building is haunted, has human skin on the door beneath the paint and a rat pit at the back.

I retrace my steps (from the right hand side of the above picture) to Park street where the imposing building of Bristol University stands at the top. The street is full of vibrant small boutiques and associated student shops. I make a quick detour to the left to see the disappointing Cabot's Tower (seen and mentioned in the Bristol Maritime post). However, the hill park that it is built on seems to be more of a place to go and feed the local squirrels.....

The creature is wise as I did not have food for him, that he retreated to a safe viewpoint and the comfort of his lounge.  !!

It is time to climb Park street to visit the Art Gallery beyond the University to see something very unusual. A small clue here about the next post....

Banksy is a famous "irreverently tasteful" (my words of description) street graffiti artist that  demonstrates the urban underground scene of Bristol. Unfortunately on this occasion, he was a victim of his own success as the work on the end of a large plain windowless wall at the bottom of Park street was damaged by a less artistic graffitist.


  1. I would not recognise Bristol, J_on_tour! So many new street works of art. The photo with the Cathedral, the one with people on grass, made me smile. Here, nothing is changed. I have a similar one! And the Cabot Tower! I passed nearby every day in my way to the University. Thanks!

  2. I like the picture of The Hatchet Inn. Although, the description of it is less than appealing!

  3. The dome would have kept me amused for an hour or so. Informative entertaining and excellent pictures. Not a tower crane or building site in sight. How did you manage that feat of illusion.

  4. Very nice sculptures and church in Bristol, it's great can visit a beautiful city!

  5. I've been really enjoying the posts of Bristol, great photos and interesting info. Re-visited your Glasgow post - you have a great "eye". Thanks.

  6. That's an interesting mix of old and new. I liked the unicorn, even if it was pricey.

  7. This post is full of 'gems'. I like each and everyone of them. Your pictures could serve as a perfect advertising of Bristol , touristic city.

  8. Great and eclectic series of photos. Well captured.

    Darryl and Ruth : )

  9. Really nice post...loved the last pic :)

  10. It's Monday again....bleah....cold and a great, snow, stormy, ugly winter!
    If (for next year) I will write a 'How to prepare a winter survival kit ' I will put the link to this wonderful post of yours at the bottom!
    Wonderful sunny days here...grass, Cathedral, a little bit of rain, a Unicorn, Art Galleries...
    Well, I will get deep into my monday ...If I will not answer it means that I am still there....I hope not forever!

    I wish you neverending perfect days!

  11. I guess the video clip doesn't trust Americans. :-) This video contains content from Lionsgate, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.. We love Wallace and Grommit and have 3 of the movies in the house, but didn't realize they were created in Bristol. I think the same guy did a short movie, 'The Silent Years,' which we purchased at Fountains Abbey, but it was mailed to us and got destroyed in the scanner. Too bad, for it was really cute. These are beautiful photos, although the strange gherkin-type structure with the cathedral in the background just jars my senses. I am thrilled to see the unicorns on the roof of the council house. What a great, albeit expensive, touch of whimsy! I'm also very fond of the 'black and white' buildings in that part of the country. Lovely post!

  12. Haven't been blogging much lately, therefore I haven't been checking out your blog lately. I see I have a lot to look through & read up on! Gorgeous photos as always- now to read up...

  13. finally back from my holidays, I discovered all your lastest photos and travel, and as always an very pleasant style !! bravo, dear J ! :))


  14. I don't know why we haven't visited Bristol but now we will add it to the list of places to go. Lot's of good info in this post.

  15. Such old, stately, beautiful buildings! And, I love the sculpture "Small Worlds". I can appreciate both old and modern works-- they both have unique and wonderful things to offer. Will your travels ever take you to Liverpool? Sorry, but it's just that American fascination with the Beatles!

  16. Great shots -- from the sublime to the ridiculous! Love them all!

  17. decided! i will go bristol if i ever go to london again

  18. I enjoyed the ride through Bristol!
    The Gothic cathedral reminds me of

  19. We know Park Street well, having lived in Cardiff for 10 years, Howard wanted to buy limited edition prints, Bristol was the closest place that had new artists showing there work, so we would to go to the Art gallery in Park Street to buy them, we have about 10 in total this is going back 15 years, so I have enjoyed seeing your photos to see how it has changed, Love the small worlds sculpture.
    Thanks for you comment. Its not easy getting the camera setting right, and having a moving dog in the equation!!

  20. Love the contrast of modern structures such as the Planetarium Dome against the older buildings such as the Bristol Cathedral.
    Another informative tour with wonderful pictures!

  21. Great post, very good shots!

  22. I missed the naked man mural when I was in Bristol last month...

  23. I love all the photos esp the 13th image, the colors on that photograph is just perfect. The pattern created on the 14th image is wonderful.

    Hahaha. The last photo made me laugh out loud. Hahaha. Good way to start my day - laughing. Have a nice day, my friend.

  24. Traveling Hawk...Thanks, I'm so pleased to update your memory.

    Farmchick... Thanks, Yes, historical buildings are not always as nice as they seem in modern times.

    Adrian... Thanks, I lost count of the photos I took here on several occasions. It is unbelievable how I didn't get any cranes in the reflection or post for that matter. I got some scaffolding instead.

    Rafael Lam... Thanks, A lot of interesting features here.

    Marian... Thanks, I've got more Glasgow photos up my sleeve from a previous trip (River & Rennie Mackintosh and possibly another trip in the spring.

    JoLynne Lyon... Thanks, The Unicorn is a slightly different kind of story and quite prominent from the bottom of the street shown in the other photos.

    DUTA... Thanks, I'm covering most aspects in these posts instead of revisiting it later. It does seem a bit touristic but I enjoyed my time here while it lasted.

    Darryl and Ruth... Thanks, pleased you liked it.

    Sidhartha Joshi... Thanks for your comment and visit.

    Wind... Thanks, Sorry I can not offer you another post to read this monday. I too am looking forward to the sun and getting out again places. Hope you have a good week.

    Cranberry Morning... Thanks, I thought a lot about the variety of pictures in this post, pleased you enjoyed it. It'a a shame about the Youtube clip.... it was the train ride scene in The wrong Trousers.

    Denise... Thanks, Yes time is sometimes difficult when blogging and catching up. Hope you enjoyed this set.

    Mahon...Thanks, Hope you had a great and refreshing holiday.

    Midwest to Midlands... Thanks, there's plenty to see. You just need to do your research first on where the places are you want tio see. Some are a lot more difficult to find than others.

    forgetmenot... Thanks, I wasn't keen on modern sculptures at first until they put some up in my city... they grow on me... after a while. They are ideal for photographic pieces from different angles. It's been a while since I was at Liverpool and no digital pictures ( looking at a converter). There is a lot of potential here as it was European city of culture a while back. I have friends that organise days out to cities in the North. Liverpool is not on the list for the first half of the year anyway. Your comment has inspired me to return although I'm not sure when it will be yet.

    Vicki Lane... Thanks, the ridiculous are ridiculous but give a smile... I hope.

    Lily Riani... Booking ahead with First Great Western it is possible to get a return of £20. Nearby Bath is nice as well. Then again if it is not possible, this is your virtual tour.

    Monika... Thanks, pleased you enjoyed it. The Cathedral is not something that is advertised very well as an attraction in Bristol for some reason.

    George the Lad... Thanks, pleased you had good memories. I always had a walk up Park street on a friday afternoon when I was there. Fopp DVD shop was my first port of call for an hour or so !

    Sweet Virginia Breeze... Thanks, I tried to pack a lot of variety in here as this is the last post in the group of three about the town.

    Andras... Thanks for your nice comment.

    1ondoncalling... Thanks for your visit and comment, The mural is at the bottom of Park street (hill) on the right hand side just after College green, Cathedral and council offices on the left.

    Rizalenio... Thanks, If you like the last photo, you are going to love the next post.


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