Bristol

Bristol, Gloucestershire History

Historical Descriptions

Arrowsmiths Dictionary of Bristol 1884

BRISTOL is situated in north latitude 51° 27’ 6’3“ and west longitude 2° 35’ 28’6”. The city lies on low ground, in a somewhat triangular basin formed by the valleys of the rivers Avon and Frome; the latter a small tributary from the north east, which flows through the picturesque little valley of Glen Frome, and not to be confounded with the larger stream passing by the town of that name. Where the Avon debouches from the Conham gorge, it spreads into a broad valley which it has lined with alluvial deposits. On this low land much of the old city is situated, viz., the parts round Temple street, Marsh street, Queen square and Canons’ marsh, while High street and Redcliff hill stand on solid ground superior to the alluvial plain ; part of the latter is so little above the level of high tide—though the city is seven miles by water from the mouth of the river—that at spring tide the waters have been found to overflow and fill the cellars of the houses which line the river in the Hotwells and Quays. The river Avon which here divides the counties of Gloucester and Somerset, also separates the city into two portions. The artificial bed or New Cut is excavated in the new red sandstone, which is not left uncovered along the natural course of the river, i.e., the existing Floating Harbour.

But the population have long ago, in great measure, ceased to confine their dwellings to the low ground, and extending gradually up the hills now crown all the heights with their houses, so that the Clifton Union district contains twice as many inhabitants as Bristol.


These hills are more or less broad table-lands, and we may speak of them as the north-western, the eastern plateaus, and southern ridge. The steep acclivities on the north, which we ascend in leaving Bristol, are seen to be the edge of a large plateau or palaeozoic rocks structurally, though these are sometimes masked by later rocks, such as lias, lying upon them in discordant stratification; the inclines of Granby and Clifton hill (237 feet), Brandon hill (259 feet high), are descents from this high ground towards the Hotwells. Again, the end of this upland plateau extends eastward from here by Park street along Kingsdown parade (220 feet), from whose abrupt slopes the city, with its fine church towers, may be overlooked to great advantage. The whole of this ridge so far consists of the hard, siliceous beds of the millstone grit,—dipping at a high angle, with the rest of the palaeozoic beds,—and these same grits also face the edge of the plateau on the Leigh down side of the river. To this plateau belongs Durdham down (312 feet), which is intersected by the Avon gorge, and that in so picturesque a fashion that Clifton must always be famous for its river scenery. The high land on the Leigh side is to all intents and purposes one and the same table-land with Durdham down, for the Clifton gorge has little to do with the structure of the country,—its formation is entirely subsequent to the upraising of the anticlinal arch of old reef and carboniferous rocks which either continuously or in a series of echelons runs through the district from Clevedon to Tortworth. The renowned Avon gorge is but a notch in the ridge, a mark indeed of the tooth of time, but a small matter compared to the lengthened processes by which the old palaeozoic rocks were raised in dome-shaped ridges, and were then cut down some 5,000 feet lower by the inexorable plane of denuding agents, till the shorn-off edges of the uplifted strata were left as the level table of Durdham down. The height of the Observatory hill, Clifton, is 315 feet, and that of Ashton Tump 270 feet.

To the south of the town extend the swelling slopes of Knowle and Totterdown, which extend round Dun dry hill in a belt of intermediate height, and which has for its raison d’être the existence of nearly horizontal beds of lias limestones below, harder and more capable of resisting denuding forces than the clays which have been cut back at the intermediate base of Dundry hill. The summit of this hill is 769 feet above mean sea level; the solid Jurassic beds “which crown the ridge are in the same way the cause of the existence of this high ground, which bounds the horizon for a considerable sweep on the south.

On the east of the city we have irregular high land, with an average height perhaps of 180 feet. It extends from the river Frome on the northeast to the cliffs which bound the river Avon by Conham and Brislington : it consists for the most part of coal measures, and contains the sites of numerous coalpits. It is the hard sandstones (pennant) of the coal-period which are cut through by the Avon in the picturesque windings of the river by Conham.—E. B. TAWNEY, F.G.S., Bristol and its Environs.

Bristol’s crowded thoroughfares teeming with life and activity ; its busy marts of commerce, extensive manufactories, handsome public buildings and streets ; civic, educational, commercial, scientific, religious and philanthropic institutions; its rapid increase in population, both in the city and environs, sanitary improvements, extension of docks and railways, erection of new and the restoration of old churches; its magnificent suburbs, public recreation grounds and palatial residences of merchants, manufacturers, traders and others, together with other memorable instances, all point to the fact that the city and port of Bristol has made rapid strides and is fully alive to the competition of modern times, and that it still retains its ancient prestige as one of the most important centres of the kingdom.

Source: Arrowsmith’s Dictionary of Bristol. Edited by Henry J. Spear and J. W. Arrowsmith. Bristol 1884.

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Bristol, 114 miles W. London, and 34 m. S.W. Gloucester. Mrkt. Wed. Fri. & Sat. P. 140,158.

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850.

Bankrupts in Bristol 1820 to 1843

Below is a list of people from Bristol that were declared bankrupt between 1820 and 1843.

Abbot John Lewis, Bristol, saddler, March 9, 1827.

Acraman Daniel Wade; William Edward Acraman; and Alfred John Acraman; Bristol, merchants, July 1, 1842.

Acraman Daniel Wade; Wm. Edw. Acraman; Alfred John Acraman; William Morgan; Thomas Holroyd; and James Norroway Franklyn; Bristol, ship builders and engineers, July 1, 1842.

Adams James, Castle street, Bristol, grocer, Sept. 3, 1825.

Source: The Bankrupt Directory; George Elwick; London; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; 1843

Directories

Bristol - Commercial Directory of the Jews of Gt. Britain. 1894
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