Graffiti of Bristol
Bristol’s people past and present are a fascinating crowd. This is a city that’s has raised up men, women whose ideas and action have had a significant impact on human history. Mary Blackwell, the first female general practitioner, lived as a neighbour in Wilson Street to George Muller http://georgemuller.blogspot.co.uk/ the evangelist who provided homes for the city’s orphans. George Whitfield who was a, if not the, prominent leader of the eighteenth century Great Awakening who had audiences with princes and presidents, to graffiti artist Banksy. And there are unsung heroes, like the Landlord of the Seven Stars who shared information with abolitionist Thomas Clarkson about Bristol’s slave trade.
Bristol has been a centre of commerce and trade since Norman times. Up till the mid 1700s it was the second busiest port in the country. The M-Shed conduct regular historical walks.
St Mary Redcliffe With a Checkered Past
When Queen Elizabeth visited in 1574 she said that she considered St Mary Redcliffe, seen in the distance, one the finest parish churches in the nation. Bristol earned a substantial amount of its wealth through the slave trade. We built the ships transporting slaves from Africa to the West Indies, on those ships exported goods to Africa and imported sugar and other products from the plantations of the West Indies. The houses on the right are built on the site of where those ships were built. Wilberforce was the member of parliament and Christian who campaigned throughout his life for an end to the Atlantic Slave Trade. Much of the research into the trade was conducted by his supporters in Bristol. Twice his Bill was defeated in parliament before it was finally passed in 1805. Each time it was defeated the bells of St Mary were rung in celebration.
Below the hospital were commercial storage sites serving the docks.
Government’s entering into public private partnerships is not new. Below the Bristol hospital you can see the storage sheds used by the docks.
Named after the Velindra that sailed the twice daily Cardiff run.
The pub is named after a steam packet ship that twice each day on the high tide would sail to Cardiff from an adjacent jetty on the Avon Cut. The cut was dug by hand by Irish Navigators (Navies) who had for a generation been providing the labour force building the canal network. They had switched to the railways and in 1805 completed the Avon Cut.
How long do you imagine it took to change the rail link from Bristol to London from Brunel’s wide gauge to standard gauge around the same era? One weekend!
A school Built in the 19th century that served Bedminster until recent years.
Until the discovery of coal in 1805 Bedminster was a market gardening community of two to three thousand folks. As industry blossomed around the River Malago the population exploded to upwards of 80,000 people. The result was the filth and depravation iconic to the Industrial revolution including two devastating cholera outbreaks. There were eventually thirteen coal mines, tanneries, paper bag manufacturers and the huge Wills Cigarette factory employing thousands over several generations. The town sanitation, schooling and parks, were eventually developed to serve the community.
Tony Britt was a bundle of fun. A Bristolian with a great sense of the City’s history and a man with a heart for the marginalised, dispossessed, youth and families. He shared with me wonderful tales of his grandfather who fought in the first and second world wars and the times he spent with him on the road in his heavy haulage lorry. Tony was born in 1964 and reaches back to Cromwell’s time for the evidence that supports his ideas to improve and serve the people of Bristol. We had a great time in his local, the Old Stillage near Lawrence Hill Station, where he is definitely the man of the moment.
Luca offered some helpful insights into British culture from a Sicilian who has lived here for 5 years. He’s a pharmacist and has noticed the UK’s increased use of prescription medicines to combat depression. He reckons it’s to do with the weather and inclination to depend on the material world. He’s also been struck by the British inclination to binge drinking which he believes may stem from the exceptional demands of our working environment.
Luca has no doubt there is more to life than the merely physical. He’s was raised a Roman Catholic and sees that all of mankind falls short of ‘the standard’. He reckons the Christian Gospel makes sense and says that in Sicily there is a saying used for the Priests, ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Luca was a delight to chat with: open, honest and comfortable thinking through the knotty issue of belief.