Brislington has a history dating back to Roman times with the remains of a Roman villa being discovered when Winchester Road was being built in 1899. The town of Brislington grew up around a bridge over Brislington Brook and during medieval times was known as a place of pilgrimage due to a holy well near the Chapel of St-Anne-in-The Wood.

By the 18th century, Brislington had become a fashionable haven for Bristol merchants, while it also became known for two buildings. Brislington House was the first mental asylum for the humane treatment of the insane built by Quaker Dr Edward Long Fox, while the second was the Arno Group of buildings including “The Black Castle” built by the eccentric foundry magnate Copper Quaker, William Reeve,

In the 19th century, it was known as “the prettiest village in Somerset”. In the 1890s, it began to grow rapidly and Sandy Park was also developed.

According to, in the early 20th century, the industry began with the CWS butter factory on Whitby Road, Motor Constructional Works (later Bristol Commercial Vehicles), St Anne’s Board Mills ad Robertsons Jam Factory, Smiths Crisps and John Wright and sons. . Many buildings were lost to bombing during the war and in the 1980s, most of the major industries were closed and many of the original buildings were demolished.

Today, Brislington is a busy suburb in the south-east of Bristol. We take a look at our archives at moments in the history of this suburb that has such a vibrant heritage.

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Cheung’s Kitchen opened in 1961 in Brislington as a Chinese and fish and chip bar.

(Image: Cheungs Kitchen)

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St Anne’s Park (Jonathan Rowe, Brislington History and Conservation Society)

(Image: Jonathan Rowe)

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An undated photo of snowy weather

(Image: Jonathan Rowe)

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Snow in Brislington

(Image: Jonathan Rowe)

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Around 1968, Harlech Television was a new ITV station for Wales and the South West of England and was named after Lord Harlech, a director of the company. The board included names like Harry Secombe and Richard Burton, but the television station did not last long.

(Image: Bristol Post)

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Photo of Ralph Egarr taken from his St Luke’s 5th Bristol Bonville Scouts home on West Town Lane, St George’s Day 1964. In the background are the former Rowan Walk prefabs (with garden sheds made from converted Anderson Shelters). These were demolished in 1974 to make way for new houses on Turnberry Walk.

(Image: Brislington History and Conservation Society)

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The old Ritz cinema, seen from Warrington Road, 1968, the year it closed. It was partially demolished a couple of years later and the site was turned into a DIY store.

(Image: Brislington History and Conservation Society)

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The square in the 1960s

(Image: Brislington History and Conservation Society)

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Robertson’s Jam Factory offices in Water Lane, year unknown. The factory, once the largest jam factory in Europe, closed in 1980 and a Tesco store was built on the site in 1985.

(Image: Brislington History and Conservation Society)

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Peter Lee this photo of his mother, saying: ‘My mother didn’t cycle around the world, but she drove her trusty Ford ‘Y’ type she did during the 1930s and during the war delivered the Night World at Totterdown, Knowle and Brislington of the family kiosks owned by John Stanley Garlick.The photo was taken outside the Raglan Pub in 1937. These kiosks became Rowberrys.

(Image: Peter Read)

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Brislington Hill, 1971, when the shops were all new and there was a Macfisheries on every High Street

(Image: Jonathan Rowe, © Brislington Historical and Conservation Society)

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School children photographed in the village of Brislington, 1910s

(Image: Mirrorpix)

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The original Brislington school block in 1956

(Image: public domain)

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Brislington House, believed to be the first purpose-built asylum for the humane treatment of the insane, built by Cornish Quaker Dr. Edward Long Fox. It closed in 1952 and was converted to flats in 2001

(Image: Welcome Images)

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1980 Sandy Park Road, where Mary Bull, who worked there, said: “They call me Mary at the co-op, I don’t think anyone knows my last name.”

(Image: Bristol Post)

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The Brislington Scout Jamboree held at Victory Park in June 1944

(Image: Jonathan Rowe)

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Sandy Park, Brislington, Bristol, around 1900

(Image: Mirrorpix)

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The tram depot, Sandy Park, Brislington, Bristol, around 1900

(Image: Mirrorpix)

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Nelson’s Glory, Brislington, a house continuously inhabited by the same family for 150 years

(Image: Bristol Post)

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Some Brislington girls in costume for Peace Day 1919. Photo taken in the back garden of a house on Bellevue Terrace

(Image: Jonathan Rowe)

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Peace Day 1919. Bristol and District discharged band of sailors and soldiers on Brislington Hill en route to Brislington Hall. The high wall of Brislington Hill House was demolished in 1969 to make way for the current shops, Gilton House tower and Merryweathers senior flats.

(Image: Jonathan Rowe)

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On Wednesday June 25, 1959, Bristol was hit by torrential rain and flooding. Brislington

(Image: Bristol Post)


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