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Bristol explored: new book highlights city’s rich architectural heritage

Image showing the cover of Bristol Explored featuring the Eye on Glass Wharf

The book's cover features the Eye on Glass Wharf, a recent addition to the cityscape Timothy Mowl

Press release issued: 27 March 2015

A new book by Timothy Mowl, Emeritus Professor at the University of Bristol, reveals secrets of the city’s diverse architectural heritage, its maritime past and rich social history, describing twelve walks that showcase Bristol’s fascinating built environment.

Where in Bristol can you find the remnants of a Sixties walkway in the sky? Or a huge altarpiece painted by Britain’s greatest satirist?  Which 18th-century pub played a part in the nascent anti-slavery movement?  And did you know the cables holding up Clifton’s Suspension Bridge are second-hand?  

Bristol Explored encourages the walker to view the city through fresh eyes, to take pleasure in its historical idiosyncrasies, to challenge accepted wisdom on matters of urban style and, above all, to experience Bristol’s many changing faces.

As well as walks in the centre, harbourside and Clifton, the book also highlights less familiar paths around the city, including an exploration of Bristol’s ‘island of alternative living’ – St Paul’s, Stokes Croft and Montpelier – and a venture into a forgotten pedestrian route through the Sixties concrete landscape of the Cumberland Basin Flyover Complex.

It highlights many of the city’s hidden treasures including William Hogarth’s stupendous 1755-6 altarpiece of the resurrection and ascension of Christ which once hung in St Mary Redcliffe and, since 1993, has been housed in St Nicholas Church.

Witty, informed and opinionated, the book includes a host of facts about the city’s famous landmarks as well as lesser known gems – from the Clifton Suspension Bridge with its second-hand chains, originally part of Brunel’s Hungerford Bridge, to The Seven Stars pub, where Thomas Clarkson, a leading campaigner against the slave trade, attended a famous meeting in 1787.

Professor Mowl said: “I thought I knew my city well until I got out of the car and began to walk it.  I hope this book will encourage others to see Bristol in a new light too.”

Bristol Explored is published by Stephen Morris, £10.00 (£12.00 including p&p); order direct from or via  Copies can also be bought from Durdham Down Bookshop

About the author

Timothy Mowl is Emeritus Professor of History of Architecture & Designed Landscapes at the University of Bristol and the author of over thirty books on architecture, landscape, historic gardens and conservation.  Throughout his career, first as a journalist, and latterly as an academic and historic buildings consultant, he had been concerned with the defence of places threatened by the pervasive British uncertainty on all matters of architectural style and urban values. 

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