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.950–1800

  • 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.

1800–1900

1900–2000

2000-2020

  • 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 Guardian.
  • 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.