The medieval town of Bristol was incorporated in 1155. The harbour was improved in 1247 by diverting the Frome to the west and building a stone bridge at the point of its former confluence with the Avon. During the reign of Edward III (1327–77) Bristol imported raw wool from Ireland and manufactured woolen cloth, which it sold to Spain and Portugal in return for sherry and port wine. By the 16th century Bristol had become a major port, a manufacturing town, and a distribution centre for both overseas and inland trade. The city also played a notable part in maritime history: from its port John Cabot sailed in 1497 on his voyage to North America. In 1552 the Society of Merchant Venturers was incorporated in the city; its hall, along with a number of other historic buildings, was destroyed by German bombing during World War II. Bristol was a Royalist stronghold during the English Civil Wars until it was captured by the Parliamentarians in 1645.

During the later 17th and the 18th centuries Bristol prospered as a processing centre for sugar and tobacco imported from Britain’s colonies in the Americas, to whom it supplied textiles, pottery, glass, and other manufactured goods. The import of Jamaican sugar and cacao from West Africa led to the creation of the “sugar houses” of Bristol and to chocolate manufacture. By the 19th century, however, the rise of the Lancashire cotton industry, together with the limitation on shipping imposed by the Avon Gorge below Clifton, led to the loss of much of Bristol’s trade to Liverpool. In 1809 tidal waters of the Avon and the Frome were diverted to create a floating, or tideless, harbour with a constant water depth. The engineer John Loudon McAdam improved Bristol’s roads (c. 1815) with his technique of laying raised-stone surfaces (macadamizing), and the Bristol roads became a model for road improvements throughout Great Britain. Bristol served as the launching point in 1838 for Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western, the second steamship to cross the Atlantic. The coming of the railway in 1841, followed by dock extensions at Avonmouth and Portishead, led to a revival of Bristol’s trade, and a suspension bridge across the Avon Gorge, designed by Brunel and completed in 1864, further encouraged traffic.

The Contemporary City

One of the UK’s 10 ‘core cities’, Bristol has a population of 454,200, which is forecast to rise to half a million by 2027. Greater Bristol provides a home to a population of a little over 1.1 million. Between 2011 and 2015, Bristol was the city with the strongest population growth in the UK after London, up 4.5% against a UK-wide average of 2.9%. Over the past few years around 33% more 30 to 50-year-olds switched London for Bristol compared to the inverse migration route and 46% of the city’s working age population is comprised of graduates, 10% higher than the national average of 36%. Bristol has also seen one of the biggest relative boosts to its population from immigration in the country with foreigners swelling the population by 6% over the past decade.

34.5% of Bristol’s population is under the age of 24 and, at 39.5%, 25-49-year-olds account for by far the largest demographic group in the city. Bristol’s average age is 33.1, one of the youngest regions in the UK, which has a country-wide median average age of 39.9. 68% of Bristol’s population is of working age compared to the 63% national average and 37% of the population is 24-39 years old against a national average of 26%.

Major infrastructure projects currently taking place in Bristol include the new Metrobus network, currently under construction. A rapid public transport system, Metrobus is designed to quickly transport large numbers of people around the area by using a combination of segregated busways and bus lanes and connected to the traffic light system to ensure a fast, reliable, express service between 94 strategically placed stops. The new system is expected to speed up journey times, relieve congestion and reduce levels of pollution.

A new 12,000 capacity venue, the Bristol Arena, is also due to open in 2020. The modern amenity is located next to the Temple Meads station.

Home to 2 major universities, the prestigious Bristol University and the University of the West of England, as well as several higher education colleges, Bristol is home to over 35,000 students, accounting for 8.3% of the city’s total population.Post-war reconstruction included the Council House (1956), other modern public structures, and a new shopping centre in Broadmead. The Royal Portbury Dock has been added to the port complex, whose imports now include refined petroleum products, animal foodstuffs, and forest products. Bristol’s exports consist mainly of manufactured goods from the West Midlands, notably automobiles, tractors, and machinery. Local industries include the refining of sugar, cocoa and chocolate making, wine bottling, and the making of fine glass (Bristol “blue”), porcelain, and pottery. 

The locality’s most notable industry today is aircraft design and construction at Filton. The construction of the Severn Bridge on the city’s northern outskirts and the completion of the M4 motorway to southern Wales greatly enhanced Bristol’s position as the principal distribution centre of southwestern England.

Bristol is also an education centre, its schools including Bristol Grammar School, the Cathedral School, and Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, all founded in the 1500s; Colston’s School (1708); and Clifton College, founded in the residential suburb of Clifton in 1862. The University of Bristol, founded as University College in 1876, was established in 1909.

Bristol Location

Bristol is located about 120 miles (190 km) west of London at the confluence of the Rivers Avon and Frome. Just west of the city, the Avon flows into the estuary of the River Severn, which itself empties into Bristol Channel of the Atlantic Ocean, about 8 miles to the northwest. Bristol is a historic seaport and commercial centre. Area 42 square miles (110 square km). Pop. (2001) 380,615; (2011) 428,234. Bristol is the largest city in the south west of England, with a population of approximately half a million. The city lies between Somerset and Gloucestershire and has been politically administered by both counties in part at various times.

Layout of Bristol

The city of Bristol is divided into many areas, which often overlap or have non-fixed borders. These include Parliamentary constituencies, council wards and unofficial neighbourhoods. There are no civil parishes in Bristol. Bristol is divided into four constituencies for the purpose of Parliamentary representation. These are:

Bristol West

Bristol East

Bristol South

Bristol North West

The city is split into 35 wards for local government. Like the parliamentary constituencies, their borders are rigidly defined.Bristol also consists of neighbourhoods, the borders of which are not fixed as they are mainly informal regions. Some of these areas overlap, or are contained within others, while others have more than one name.

The city of Bristol, England, is a unitary authority, represented by four MPs representing seats wholly within the city boundaries. As well as these, Filton and Bradley Stoke covers the northern urban fringe in South Gloucestershire and the north eastern urban fringe is in the Kingswood constituency. The overall trend of both local and national representation became left of centre during the latter 20th century, but there was a shift to the right in the 2010 general election (although this was not reflected in the local elections). The city has a tradition of local activism, with environmental issues and sustainable transport[1] being prominent issues in the city.

On 3 May 2012, Bristol held a referendum to decide whether the city should have a directly elected mayor to replace the leader elected by councillors. The result was announced on 4 May. 41,032 voted for an elected mayor and 35,880 voted against, with a turnout of 24%.[2] An election for the new post was held on 15 November 2012,[3] with Independent candidate George Ferguson becoming the first Mayor of Bristol.

In 2017 the West of England Combined Authority and Mayor of the West of England were created covering the local authorities of Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and Bath and North East Somerset. Powers include transport and strategic planning for the combined areas.

Because of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, elections for the Mayor of Bristol, Bristol City Council councillors, and the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner have been delayed from 2020 to May 2021, with current post holders terms extended by a year and the following terms shortened by a year.[4]

Bristol Climate

Bristol’s climate is unpredictable, much like the rest of the United Kingdom. Situated in the southwest of the country and sheltered largely by Exmoor and the Mendip Hills, Bristol is in fact one of the UK’s warmest cities.

The month with the most rainfall is January when the rain falls for 19 days and typically aggregates up to 73mm (2.9″) of precipitation. With an average high-temperature of 7.4°C (45.3°F) and an average low-temperature of 2.9°C (37.2°F), February is the coldest month in Bristol. July is the warmest month, with an average high-temperature of 22°C (71.6°F) and an average low-temperature of 14.3°C (57.7°F).

Summers are usually sunny and warm, while winters are cold and wet. Summer days, however, can start out overcast and damp, clearing later. In summer, temperatures average between 53°F (12°C) and 71°F (22°C); and in winter, temperatures average between 37°F (3°C) and 48°F (9°C). Rain is possible in any season, but late-autumn and winter are the wettest seasons.

The best time to travel to Bristol is during the summer (June to August) when it is usually warm and sunny. Winters are wet, but comparatively mild temperature-wise. A good time to plan a short break in Bristol is at the end of July when the popular Harbour Festival takes place, one of the largest free events in England with music on five stages, street theatre, markets, and a fireworks display.

Bristol Property

According to the Financial Times, “rightmove” reported that Bristol was the most searched-for location outside of Londonin 2019. This will not surprise people living in Bristol becauserising demand in the city has caused property prices to jump more than 50 per cent since January 2014.  This is according to Land Registry data. In recent years, with its multiculturalapproach and an abundance of Georgian and Victorian architecture, Bristol has become attractive to professionals leaving London. Properties in Bristol had an overall average price of £320,270 over the last year.

Most of the properties sold in Bristol during the last year were terraced properties, selling for an average price of £306,677with Semi-detached properties selling for an average of £328,397, with flats at £250,525.

Overall, sold prices in Bristol over the last year were 3% up on the previous year and 7% up on the 2017 peak of £300,353.

The current average value of a Bristol home is estimated at just under £350,000, which includes all properties.

For buying or renting a property, use Rightmove to look through the widest range and prices.

Rent property in Bristol

Rents in Bristol increased at one of the fastest rates in the UK last year, new research has found.

According to the latest Zoopla Rental Market Report, in December 2019, people in Bristol pay on average £983 in rent per month.

That was up from £932 a year before, meaning average rents are 5.5 per cent higher than in December 2018 and put Bristol in the top 20 cities with the highest rental growth. Bristol is also among the 20 cities with the highest percentage of earnings spent on rent.

Buy property in Bristol

Back in January 1995, the country was still struggling with the aftermath of the slump following Britain being dumped out of the ERM, and a recession that followed. John Major’s Government was limping on, but there were signs of a recovery, and average earnings for men in 1995 were just over £19,500 a year. In some parts of Bristol, that meant a flat or terraced house was fairly easily affordable for people on even the lower-paid jobs, who could get a mortgage at two or three times their salary and buy their first home.

Today, average salaries have increased by around 50 per cent to somewhere between £28,000 and £33,000, depending on how it is measured.

Working in Bristol

The finance sector is a major employer and Bristol, which has one of the highest concentrations of finance jobs in the UK. A much higher than average share of creative businesses and start-up companies is another noticeable feature of the economy. The local council’s decision to place Bristol’s ‘enterprise zone’ in the city centre rather than as an out-of-town business park, the most common model, has proven to be a masterstroke with the area attracting quickly growing companies who appreciate the vibrant city centre located next to the train station.

Bristol 75.6% employment, the best employment rate of the UK’s ten core regional cities, comfortably ahead of the 73.9% UK average. Bristol’s unemployment benefits claimant rate is also, at 1.8%, the lowest of the 10 core cities and below the nation-wide 2% average. As of March 2017, Bristol’s unemployment rate was at a 12-year low of 4.7% to the UK’s 4.5% average.

Average weekly wages in Bristol are among the best of the UK’s core cities with workplace averages behind only Manchester and resident averages the highest outside of London at £454 a week. The gap between resident and workplace averages is also the narrowest indicating that most people working in Bristol also live there. According to the Sunday Times ‘Best Places to Live’ guide, Bristol was named the best place to live in the UK in 2017.

Praised for it’s big city feel but small size, it was also named as the fourth best city in the world to visit by Rough Guides. 

“Bristol stands as a shining example of one of the UK’s most forward-thinking, innovative and dynamic small cities.” Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees said. 

“Pinpointing what makes Bristol special isn’t easy. It’s a combination of many things from the people to the place itself, but at the heart of it is our cultural diversity and independent spirit.”

As well as being a good place to call home, Bristol also shows signs of positive working environments. The unemployment rate for residents of Bristol has fallen to 4.7%, the same as the national average.

Slightly fewer than one third of workers in Bristol ply their trade in health and social care (15%) or retail and motor repair (14%) and the average annual salary is £28,220 – more than the UK national average of £27,600.

Buying a car in Bristol

BRISTOL is set to become the UK’s first city to ban all diesel vehicles in a bid to improve air quality.

Privately-owned diesel vehicles will be banned from entering a central area of the city between 7am and 3pm every day.Bristol City Council voted on Tuesday to introduce the restrictions across the city from 2021.

The council has also adopted a wider charging zone for commercial vehicles which don’t meet specific emissions standards, with vans and taxis facing a £9 fee and HGVs facing a £100 charge.

A car scrappage scheme to help diesel car owners buy a more environmentally friendly vehicle is set to be introduced as a part of the ban.

Drivers who ignore the restrictions would be fined using similar cameras which have been installed across London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which came into action in April this year.

Universities in Bristol

University of Bristol.

UOB is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK, ranked in the world’s top 60 in the QS World University Rankings 2021. We are one of the most popular UK universities, attracting on average eight top-quality applicants for every place, and our graduates are among the most sought-after by employers across the globe.

The University is a chartered corporation and an exempt charity, whose legal status derives from a royal charter granted in 1909. The University’s objects, powers and framework of governance are set out in the Charter and supporting statutes and ordinances, which are published annually in the Statutes, Ordinances, Regulations and Official Record.

The Charter and Statutes require the University to have four separate bodies – Court, Board of Trustees, Senate and Convocation – each with clearly defined functions.

The Senior Staff oversee the governance arrangements and ensure that all agreements are fit for purpose.

University of West of England

University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is a modern and dynamic University welcoming students from 140 countries. With over 30,000 students and 3,200 staff it is one of the largest and most popular universities in the UK. You can study for UWE Bristol awarded degrees at our UK campus in Bristol or with our global study partnerships located across the world. We will help you realise your full potential, give you opportunities to attend distinguished guest lectures, work placements and more – all the support you need to kick start your career.

The University is a chartered corporation and an exempt charity, whose legal status derives from a royal charter granted in 1909. The University’s objects, powers and framework of governance are set out in the Charter and supporting statutes and ordinances, which are published annually in the Statutes, Ordinances, Regulations and Official Record.

The Charter and Statutes require the University to have four separate bodies – Court, Board of Trustees, Senate and Convocation – each with clearly defined functions.