History of Bristol
Bristol’s a city of pioneers, engineers, explorers and adventurers – rebellious, restless spirits who changed the world around them. So you’ll be in good company…
- c.950 – Bristol grows into a busy market town.
- 1140 – St Augustine's Abbey is founded (and later becomes known as Bristol Cathedral).
- 1216 – First Bristol mayor is appointed.
- 1373 – King Edward III grants Bristol county status.
- 1497 – John Cabot sails out of Bristol to try and discover a new route to Asia and discovers Newfoundland.
- 1595 – Bristol Society of Merchant Venturers' Navigation School formed, an important moment in UWE Bristol's history.
- 1698 - Bristol’s first slave ship The Beginning sails from Bristol to the African coast.
- 1795 – Poet William Coleridge gives an anti-slavery lecture in Bristol.
- 1807 – An Act of Parliament signals the end of the British trade in enslaved Africans.
- 1809 – Bristol Floating Harbour opens.
- 1836 – Bristol Zoological Gardens opens.
- 1843 – The SS Great Britain is launched.
- 1864 – Clifton Suspension Bridge opens.
- 1897 – Cabot Tower is built high on top of Brandon Hill to commemorate the 400th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage to Newfoundland.
- 1910 – Bristol Aeroplane Company is founded at Filton.
- 1967 – St Paul's Carnival is held for the first time.
- 1969 – Concorde makes its maiden flight from Filton.
- 1970 – The SS Great Britain returns home to Bristol for the last time.
- 1997 – Local artist Banksy paints his first major mural.
- 2002 – Bristol shortlisted for European Capital of Culture.
- 2003 – Concorde makes its last ever flight to Filton.
- 2008 – Bristol becomes the UK's first Cycling City and is shortlisted for European Capital of Culture.
- 2008 – International graffiti artists paint the city in the first–ever Upfest.
- 2009 – Bristol is named 'European City of the Year'.
- 2010 – Bristol is named 'Britain's most musical city'.
- 2012 – Bristol’s first elected Mayor takes seat, architect and entrepreneur George Ferguson (independent).
- 2013 – Bristol is ranked as the best city to live in the UK.
- 2014 – Bristol is awarded title of European Green Capital for 2015.
- 2016 – Bristol pioneers community energy supply with the Bristol Energy company.
- 2017 – Bristol is ranked best place to live by The Sunday Times.
- 2019 – Bristol becomes home to the first inland surf lagoon, The Wave.
- 2020 – Bristol hosts Greta Thunberg at one of the UK’s biggest school strikes.
- 2020 – Bristol launches the Interactive Light Festival, connecting technology and culture.
- 2020 – Black Lives Matter protestors bring down statue of Bristol slave trader Edward Colston.
You may also be interested in
A selection of facts which prove that Bristol is one of the best cities to live, work and study in the UK.
Bristol art and culture
From Wallace and Gromit to the street art of Stokes Croft, there’s culture around every corner.