Bedminster, in the heart of what's now South Bristol, is recorded in the Doomsday book of 1086. Bristol wasn't - it was smaller at the time. Resources and hard work made it a power house of local industry in the 1800s, with mining, smelting, tanning, glue, paint and glass making. In 1832, Bristol reformed its' boundaries beyond Redcliffe and the river, to take in the prosperity in North Somerset. South Bristol was born.
South Bristol grew from a few thousand people to 80,000 - many in slums - over the 19th century, led by Tobacco and Paper Bag industries. Bedminster was the most heavily bombed part of Bristol in the Second World War blitz. The largest bomb dropped on the city landed in Knowle. The South Bristol area expanded rapidly with the creation of new and re-built housing estates in inter-war and immediate post-war years.
The Wills tobacco industry prosperity in South Bristol funded construction of the city's prestigious Museum & Art Gallery in central Bristol. Bristol's greatest modern day benefactor, John James, is the son of a Bedminster dock worker and grew up just off Bedminster Parade. South Bristol contributes just a quarter of the population of the City of Bristol, and less than a fifth of the greater Bristol urban area.
Only Fools & Horses was filmed extensively around South Bristol, including Nelson Mandela House, the market, the cafe, and pub car park. Oscar-winning animation firm Aardman - with box-office smashes Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, Shaun The Sheep - is on Spike Island. Production company Endemol has filmed popular Channel 4 game show "Deal or No Deal" in the area - first in Brislington, then Hengrove.
Art & Entertainment
A pioneer of Trip Hop, Tricky is from the Knowle West housing estate in South Bristol, and named one of his studio albums after the area. Europe’s biggest street art and graffiti festival, Upfest, takes place each year on the streets of BS3, with art covering buildings year round. Russ Conway, a chart-topping 1950’s and 60’s musician, was from Southville. Billy Butlin, founder of Butlins, started work in Bedminster.
Bristol’s most succesful football club, Bristol City FC, has always been based in the heart of South Bristol since its’ formation in 1897. Arthur Milton, from Bedminster, is one of only 12 people to play both international football and cricket for England. He played for Arsenal. Bristol’s Rugby Club also play at Bristol City FC’s Ashton Gate stadium. The stadium, holding 27,000, is the largest in the South West.
South Bristol is home to the world's fourth largest cigarette manufacturer, Imperial Tobacco - one of the UK's 25 biggest listed companies. The area boasts the world's largest producer of hot air balloons - with Europe's largest annual Ballooning event also on its' doorstep. New tech companies are also emerging. Bedminster’s FunkyPigeon was bought by WHSmith and Vouchercloud was bought by Vodafone.
In 2017 Bristol was named by Rough Guides as the 4th best city in the world to visit, while The Sunday Times named Bristol the 2017 best place in the UK to live, having won the award in 2014. A detailed analysis recently named it the 4th most inspiring city in the world too. In South Bristol, The Times named the Totterdown area the 5th hippest place to live in the UK - it is also home to the steepest street in the UK!