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Conference Venues Bristol
The history of Bristol
Bristol has a long and interesting history dating back to Anglo-
The city owes its status to the sea. It was a port in Saxon times and it still remains a port today. Bristol prospered on trade. Throughout the medieval period it vied with York as the largest English city after London. Today it is the largest city in South West England.
Bristol was well placed to trade with Ireland. In those days a major export was Slavery was part of Saxon society and although things are greatly more civilised now this was a way of life.
The sea can bring raiders as well as trade, but Bristol, set on a tongue of land between the Rivers Avon and Frome, had natural defences. The Normans improved on nature. A was built to guard the landward approach to Bristol. The town itself was walled around too. Moreover siege tactics would be wasted on Bristol, which could bring in provisions by water.
Bristol was so successful a port that it needed to expand. By diverting the River
Frome in 1239, the burgesses more than doubled their wharf space. It was an impressive
feat of civil engineering for those times. At the same time the old Saxon bridge
was replaced. The bridge linked the old town with the growing suburb of Redcliffe
on the southern bank of the Avon. The development of Redcliffe meant that Bristol
was divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset -
By the 18th century Bristol was the principal British port for trade with the American colonies and the West Indies. Once again the city was involved in the . A common trade pattern was the transatlantic triangle. Manufactured goods from Bristol's rising industries were shipped to Africa, where slaves were picked up for transport to the West Indian and American plantations. Ships then returned to Bristol laden with sugar, molasses, tobacco, rum and cocoa. These imports fuelled the development of related industries in Bristol: sugar refining, chocolate making and cigarette making.
Bristol had grown wealthy through its harbour. Yet for centuries strong tides left
vessels half buried in mud at low water. The problem was solved in the early 19th
century, when a stretch of the River Avon was enclosed to create a deep water pool