I’m not really a big city sort of girl, preferring these days the peace and quiet of the countryside, small market towns or picturesque harbour villages. Years ago it would have been the other way around. To the twenty year old me, living in the city meant fabulous shops and exciting nightlife on tap and the bigger the city was the better. Which is probably why I upped sticks and left for London at the ripe old age of 18. That first trip on the Underground to Oxford St for a bit of late night shopping was such an amazing experience, especially discovering Top Shop. I still remember fondly the quilted cotton jacket I bought on that Thursday night as well as discovering MacDonalds and the Big Mac!
There is one big city though that I’m more than happy to visit and its still the place I call home. That city is Bristol and its also the place where I was born way back in the late 50’s. I’m proud to be a Bristolian and to me it’s one of the finest cities you could ever get to visit. I’m in danger here of turning this post into one big plug for why you should visit the city, so many apologies if I do !
I grew up on the outskirts of the city. Turn left out of our road, go under the bridge and you were out into the countryside. I had the best of both worlds. A huge common to play on when I was younger and “town” to mooch around when I was a teenager. We never called Bristol, Bristol. It was always “town” to me, my family and my friends.That was some time ago and much has changed in Bristol since then, but then again, much has not! As a fourteen year old, I can’t say that the history or architecture of the city interested me one bit. Like any 14 year old girl I was only really interested in the shops and there was only one place to go and that was Broadmead! Two department stores dominated Broadmead. Lewis’s and Jones’s.They seemed enormous to me and had lifts and escalators. Pretty exciting stuff back then! Me and my mates used to feel grown up drinking squash in the self service restaurants of British Home Stores, Littlewoods or good old Woolies! The best shops were C&A, Miss Selfridge and Tammy. Chelsea Girl always seemed a bit dark and mysterious. A bit like going into Hollister today.
Rodway Common. Just a stones throw away from home.
When I left school and went to college I made new friends that my parents would describe as posh. In other words spoke without a broad Bristolian accent and lived in the poshest place going…Clifton! No longer did I stick to good old Broadmead but ventured to The Centre, up Park Street and into Clifton. From then on I fell in love with the area and to this day it still is to me the most desirable area I would ever live in if I were to decide to live in a city again! To live in Clifton meant that you had made it!
Oops..enough of my reminiscing.I’m afraid I do tend to go all nostalgic every now and then. Let’s get back to the present when I try and sell you Bristol. An exciting, beautiful and diverse city. Big on history, big on culture and ..well big on everything. Except maybe football, but the city can’t get everything right! Mr R and I decided to go for a mooch around my favourite city on Sunday. I took my camera meaning to take lots of arty photos to include in this little post but quite frankly the ones I took are pretty dire and do the city an injustice. So hands up to admitting the following photos aren’t mine. Here then is why I love Bristol, or if you just happen to speak Bristolian…Brizzle!
A city on water
A city of festivals and carnival
A city of shops. Big and small.
But best of all…..It’s where my lovely mum and dad still live and it’s my city!
…Brights and Taylors and Maggs department stores in Queens Road
…The Centre full of flowerbeds
…green Bristol buses
…dancing to jazz bands on The Centre in Bristol Rag Week
…schooners of sherry at Berni Inns
…Carwardines and Caroline’s Cake Shops
…music in the Corn Exchange and the Granary
…the car park that is now Castle Park
…riding on the elephant in Bristol Zoo
…tubes of money whizzing on overhead wires in Morgan’s department store.
(Ask your parents – they’ll remember!)
Now we have cleaner air and buildings, wonderful festivals, diverse shopping, richer culture and more tolerance. Bristol has certainly changed for the better over the last 50 years, except for the traffic!
Aah…so many memories ! Yes, I remember Maggs. The Centre as it was. I still haven’t worked out the road lay out. Loved the green buses. Loved Bernis but hated Sherry after getting drunk on it at my nan’s shop in Eastville at 11 (don’t ask!) Head banging at the Granary but preferring the disco in The Glen at the top of Blackboy Hill (now a private hospital) Never rode the elephant but remember the white tigers. Must look up Morgans. Must be before my time. Do you remember Fairfax House? Always got lost in there? Xx
Lovely post. Nice that you still have ties and a reason to visit. I’ve been to Bristol on several occasions and enjoyed it.
Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. Graham and I have often talked about moving there. It would e great to have lots of great restaurants, cafes, theatres on our doorstep. Not sure though if I would be happy driving in a city. I’m a complete wuss when it comes to getting behind the wheel! xx
I am also fond of Bristol. @Bristol was loads of fun when I’m younger, and now it makes for nice days out, even if I barely manage to get those lately!
How many times did we go to @Bristol Jack? Which do you prefer? Bristol or Bath? Xx