Local history

  • Bristol Through Maps: Ways of Seeing a City

    This book may well be unique. There are books on maps that describe nothing other than the maps themselves, and others that use old maps to talk solely about the history of a town or city. Bristol Through Maps includes 24 maps, in full colour, starting with the earliest known (or surviving) town map in the UK – from 1480 – which happens to be of Bristol. The book then brings things up to date with maps from 1480 to today and even looks at a form of map of Bristol’s future. The book discusses the different types and purposes of maps, provides information about many of the mapmakers and also includes information (some offering rather contrary views) about Bristol at the time of each map. And the maps are not just formal ones; the book includes mental maps drawn by local people, artists’ maps, planners’ maps, the ‘Pubstops’ map of Bristol, visitors’ maps and developers’ maps (or brochures). There are many different ways of seeing a city, as this book demonstrates in fascinating ways.







  • Knightstone: The Story of Weston-super-Mare’s ‘Island’ Theatre

    Today the former Knightstone Theatre is part of a modern housing development standing sentry at the north end of Weston Bay. But to thousands of residents and holidaymakers of a certain age its preserved shell is a poignant reminder of the decades of glorious entertainment enjoyed within its walls.

    They fondly recall the top-flight variety stars, dazzling holiday shows and brilliantly-inventive pantomimes that graced its stage. A younger generation remembers its brief revival as a pop concert venue.

    This book tells its complete story for the first time, from the nineteenth-century controversy over where to site Weston-super-Mare’s prestigious new pavilion, to the battle to save the theatre that questioned the town’s survival as a traditional seaside resort, recounting along the way the cherished and often amusing memories of many of the stars and stagehands who shaped its history.

  • Literary Bristol

    Literary Bristol: Writers and the City
    Ed. Marie Mulvey-Roberts

    Literary Bristol tells the story of Bristol through its writers.  Bristol has been recognised as a thriving port and commercial and industrial centre, as well as a city of churches, yet insufficient attention has been paid to its literary importance, even though more writers are connected to this ‘Venice of the West’ than almost any other city in England, apart from London. There are over a hundred significant authors, poets and playwrights linked to Bristol, which allow it to take its place as one of the world’s great literary centres. Bristol can lay claim to a significant number of literary firsts in poetry, prose and drama.

    This book takes the reader on an armchair tour of Bristol, linking writer and place from the late eighteenth century up to the present day. Leading experts on Bristol’s literary tradition act as virtual tour-guides, pointing out the Romantic poets, early women writers, Gothic novelists, Victorian authors, dramatists and modern novelists who have left their mark on Bristol’s cultural cityscape. The relationship between writing and place is explored in innovative ways, drawing together neglected and famous writers connected with Bristol.



  • Women and the City: Bristol 1373-2000

    Edited by Madge Dresser, with contributions by Madge Dresser, Peter Fleming, June Hannam and Moira Martin.

    Women and the City is the first sustained study of the history of the women who lived in Bristol.  Lavishly illustrated, it charts the changing lot of ordinary women in one of Britain’s most important cities over the past 600 years, and seeks to document the expanding channels of female influence on the city’s economic, cultural and political life since medieval times.


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