Saturday, 19 March 2016

Bristol's Hidden Architecture

On Sunday L was appearing in a music production, which meant dropping him off and much hanging around in Bristol. Our first thought was, of course, tea and cake, but first, I thought I would show Jade Christmas Steps; a hidden shopping street on a very steep hill between Colston Hall and the Bristol Children's Hospital. It wasn't my brightest idea, as everywhere was shut, but the quirky shopfronts and hidden alleyways made us realise how we have never really stopped to appreciate the fantastic architecture that Bristol has to offer. Bristol has so many amazing features, even the grafitti is fascinating, that it is easy to overlook the obvious. So we spent quite sometime seeking out some really interesting examples of Bristolian building work.

Firstly, here is Christmas Steps. It's as pretty as the name suggests, but very, very steep! You can also see the ancient plaque commemorating when it was originally constructed, or 'steppered', in 1669. I imagine a few things have changed since then!

View from the top of Christmas Steps, Bristol

At the top of Christmas Steps is Colston Street, home of Bristol's main concert venue; The Colston Hall. About halfway along, around about the junction with Trenchard Street, is a really interesting juxtaposition, where very modern meets very old. If you look to the left, you can see these beautiful Almshouses, which date back to the 1400's. There are so many amazing features to these buildings. The stone carvings and gargoyles are incredibly detailed and each one is slightly different to its neighbour.

Almshouse, Colston Street, Bristol

This photo shows the middle part of the Almshouses, which is set back in a little courtyard and not visible from the road. I can't help thinking how fabulous it would be to live here!

Almshouse Courtyard, Bristol
If you turn slightly to your right, though, there's a pub and a whole lot of scaffolding. In the distance, you can see the back of the Colston Tower, which is actually pretty cool, but more about that later.

A Bristol pub next to a building under renovation
Whilst taking these photos, I couldn't help but notice these rather lovely lanterns, suspended from the building opposite. I have no idea how old they are, or if they are original, but I just really liked them.

Row of five lanterns hanging outside a building in Bristol

Back to the Colston Tower. Here it is from the front, framed by a stunningly blue spring sky. How majestic does it look? which just goes to prove, that architecture doesn't have to be old, to be interesting!

Colston Tower framed against a blue sky

On a final note, before I go... I have always maintained that Bristol is a friendly city, and here is the proof. Even the gargoyles are cuddling! 

Two gargoyles that look like they are cuddling on the side of a building.

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