Heritage of Bristol

 

The History of Bristol is a long and interesting one; Bristol began life as a village
called Brigg stow, which means the meeting place at the bridge in the old Saxon language. At some point, a wooden bridge was erected across the Avon.  The bridge was used as a meeting place and a village grew up by it. In time the name Brigg Stow changed to Bristol.

By the 10th century, Bristol had grown into a town. By the early 11th century, there was a mint in Bristol so it was already a place of some importance. There would have been a weekly market in Old Market, Bristol. Because of its position in the West Bristol was well placed to trade with Dublin, Somerset, and North Devon. You can read the full story of Bristol’s history here.

20 centuries later, the young people of Bristol are heavily investing in its history, with many young people wanting to know more about it’s heritage and how that can be shared in a more modern way. Heritage for young people means an understanding of where their families have come from, inheriting things from ancestors, sharing knowledge and stories, cultures, traditions and attitudes.

Young people were interested in, and showed a degree of pride in, the development of Bristol and especially in communicating that:

Young people's thoughts on how Old Market and other parts of Bristol have changed and why

‘It’s easier in Bristol to get people interested in pursuing history because we’re from here, we’re already tied to it. We already feel like we’ve got these connections that we don’t know about….’. Young person on film, April 2022
‘It's good to be able to share what Bristol was and is now. Young person comment in interview, April 2022
‘I guess it is important to keep Bristol's heritage and not change it too much like the Cathedral and the docks. Young person comment in interview, April 2022
‘I like learning about industrial side of Bristol, what we used to build and make - cigars, tobacco, cars, chocolate, watches, cheese is made locally etc.’ Young person comment in interview, April 2022
‘It’s important to preserve it [local heritage] as best we can. Tourism is important. It’s good to be able to share what Bristol was and is now.’ Young person comment in interview, April 2022

Though less popular than the other themes, interest was still notable surrounding the Slave trade; below are some thoughts that young people shared with us,

Bristol’s history built from wealth from the slave trade

‘Getting equal history of our past. For instance when we talk about the slave trade all we hear is bad things bad people what about the heroes who fought for justice. We need more good history about our past.’ Young person comment in interview, April 2022
‘As someone detached from my family, I don’t have much connection to my own but I think of challenging the Colonialist past of my White British Culture and championing other’s oppressed past tradition a lot.’ Young person comment in interview, April 2022

Young people were keen to see their own migration story told as part of the long history of Bristol’s wider migration story.  Sometimes this was expressed as about immediate family history, sometimes as part of a much longer historical narrative:

Young People's thoughts on Bristol's migration story

‘It’s where you're originally from and family are from. I was born in Holland and my family are Somalian.’ Young person comment in interview, April 2022
‘My great nan coming over on a boat from Hungary. She had lots of siblings some got shipped to England because of all the boats coming through Europe.’ Young person comment in interview, April 2022
‘Caribbean history. My culture being in Bristol and Jamaican culture’. Young person comment in interview, April 2022
‘Heritage and history pre-colonial Africa. An unknown place when it was thriving and my tribe was around and at its peak. That's my heritage.’ Young person comment in interview, April 2022