Bristol is a city in the South West of England with a population of approximately 450,000, and more than 1,000,000 in the surrounding urban zone. Bristol has been a highly influential city in the history of England and its motto “Virtue and Industry” is very appropriate.
Receiving its Royal Charter in 1155, Bristol has grown to become one of the 10 most populous cities in the United Kingdom largely due to its position as a major seaport. For almost 500 years from the 13th Century onwards, Bristol was the most significant commercial city in the United Kingdom after London, and continued to play an important part in the country’s development during the Industrial Revolution.
Bristol is also famous for its architectural and engineering history; being the home of 51 Grade I and almost 4,000 Grade II listed buildings. A full range of architectural styles can be seen in the city ranging from early medieval up to the present day.
The city is also closely linked to the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He has had a major influence on the city, leaving such examples of his work as the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Great Western Railway and two early steamships, the SS Great Britain and SS Great Western.
More recently, Bristol has become a cultural hotspot garnering fame for its output in music, film, theatre and modern art. A finalist for the 2008 European Capital of Culture, Bristol’s most recognisable name in art right now is Banksy, a former underground street artist who has now achieved worldwide fame for his guerrilla artwork.
Musically, Bristol has become associated with electronic style acts such as Massive Attack and Tricky. Meanwhile, in the world of comedy Bristol has had a large influence being the birthplace of Mark Watson, Justin Lee Collins, Russell Howard, Stephen Merchant, Chris Morris, Lee Evans and many others.
With a wealth of history behind it, Bristol continues to excel and innovate and be a city of great influence on the rest of the country.