A Year of Anniversaries

As if Bristol 650 wasn’t enough, the year also included a number of other anniversaries which are important to the city. 

200 years of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

The collections of the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery date back to 1823 when the Bristol Institution for the Advancement of Science and Art was founded at the bottom of Park Street as a home for collectors and a space for lectures and debates.

Today, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery tells the story of our world in every display, from the beginning of time to the present day. 19 galleries over 3 floors reveal fascinating cultures, ancient civilisations, human invention and creativity, as well as showcasing our beautiful and fragile natural world.

Find out more about the story of Bristol Museum & Art Gallery here


200 years of Business West

The Bristol Chamber of Commerce was set up in 1823 and had its first meeting on the 25th February 1823. Members were merchants, manufacturers, bankers, tradesmen and others centred around Bristol’s port. Today, Business West is active across Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and aims to make this area the best place to live and work. They work with 24,000 businesses to help them start and grow, as well as lobbying the government on their behalf. Profits are reinvested back into the business.


200 years of St George’s

Just off Bristol’s famed Park Street and a short stroll from the city centre, St George’s Bristol offers a fresh perspective as a creative space for music and ideas. World-renowned performers travel across the globe for the unique acoustic and beautiful parkland setting to bring audiences moments to remember. That’s over 250 amazing moments every year. In 2023, it will be St George’s 200th birthday…but it hasn’t always been a concert hall. The Grade II* listed building started its life as a church in 1823.


180 years since the launch of the SS Great Britain

On 19th July 1843, the SS Great Britain was launch for the first time. Visitors are invited to step aboard the ship to experience it decked out exactly as she looked on that date when Prince Albert came to Bristol for the momentous launch event. Explore the ship’s decks and cabins to be taken back in time to the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian life at sea. Delve deeper into the SS Great Britain’s story, including her remarkable working life, in the adjoining museums before uncovering Brunel’s wide-ranging engineering projects in the Being Brunel Museum.


150 years of the Bristol Trades Union Council

2023 marks the 150th anniversary of the Bristol Trades Union Council and Bristol Radical History Group are producing '150 Years of Struggle' - Find out more about the launch event here.


125 years of Cabot Tower

Cabot Tower, set in the gorgeous parkland of Brandon Hill near Park Street in the West End, is a 105ft tower built to commemorate John Cabot's famous voyage from Bristol and the continent of North America 400 hundred years earlier. Construction started in 1897 and was completed a year later. It still gives some of the best views of the city today.


Windrush 75 

The arrival of the ship HMT Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in 1948, bringing 500 passengers from the Caribbean, is a moment that shaped modern Britain. On 22 June 2023 the world marks its 75th anniversary.

Windrush Day has become a key symbolic moment in the story of the Black British contribution to this country and the broader post-war migration from across the Commonwealth and beyond that helped create the modern Britain that we share today.

The 75th anniversary year offers an unparalleled opportunity to deepen the public conversation about the past, present and future of modern Britain.

Activity will be taking place across the country as well as here in Bristol.


70 years of the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust

Clifton Suspension Bridge has been owned and run for the last 70 years by a charitable trust. Established by an Act of Parliament, the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust took over the maintenance and operation of Bristol’s unique landmark in 1953. Today, it is the Trust’s mission to preserve the Bridge “in perpetuity, to the highest possible standards, for the utility of the public”. Upkeep of the structure is funded entirely by the tolls paid by crossing vehicles. Each time you make that drive, you are helping to care for one of Europe’s few remaining historic iron chain suspension bridges, and one of Bristol’s most loved landmarks.


60 years since the Bristol Bus Boycott

The Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 is one of the most important moments in Bristol’s history - and in the history of the civil rights movement in the UK.

In common with other British cities, there was widespread racial discrimination in housing and employment. Many employers, including the Bristol Omnibus Company, imposed colour bars. White workers passed a resolution to ban Black and Asian people from working as bus conductors and drivers, only allowing them to work as maintenance staff at the depot. In a campaign led by young community worker Paul Stephenson and the West Indian Development Council, formed by Roy Hackett, Prince Brown, Audley Evans and Owen Henry, the city’s West Indian population stopped using the buses. They were soon joined by local white people including church groups, university students and local Labour MP Tony Benn. More marches and demonstrations followed. 

The boycott drew national attention to racial discrimination in Britain, and the campaign was supported by national politicians, with interventions being made by church groups and the High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago. The company backed down and overturned the colour bar four months later. Raghbir Singh, a Sikh, became Bristol’s first bus conductor of colour. A few days later, two Jamaican and two Pakistani men joined him. The Bristol Bus Boycott is considered by many to have been influential in the passing of the Race Relations Act 1965 which made “racial discrimination unlawful in public places” and the Race Relations Act 1968, which extended the provisions to employment and housing.

Find out more about the Bristol Bus Boycott in this story from Dr Roger Griffith MBE


55 years of Carnival

Since its beginnings back in 1968, St Pauls Carnival has grown in size and reputation to become one of the UK’s most accessible and inclusive events. Carnival 365 brings the history and heritage of Carnival to communities all year round. St Pauls Carnival celebrates the life and evolving stories of Bristol’s African Caribbean communities through the creative spirit of song, art, music and movement with key focus on Artistic, Cultural and Educational excellence, by providing an annual programme of activities culminating into a weekend of Carnival celebrations on the first Saturday of July in Bristol that is embedded into the cultural and artistic calendar.


50 years of DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol City Centre

The DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol City Centre started out as the exotically-named Dragonara and boasted of being the city’s largest hotel when it opened its doors in April 1973. The hotel was completely refurbished in 2013. The hotel’s Kiln Restaurant, is housed in a listed 17th century kiln that was originally used to make Bristol glass.


50 years of Clifton Cathedral

Clifton Cathedral was consecrated in June 1973. Find out more


35 years of Bristol Blue Glass

The Original Bristol Blue Glass Company was founded in 1988 and celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2023. Bristol Blue Glass itself was first made in Bristol during the 17th Century and swiftly gained a reputation for its stunning colour and for the quality and beauty of the glass. The Bristol Blue Glass range today combines traditional shapes and designs with clean lines to suit both period and contemporary settings. As genuine Bristol Blue Glass, it remains highly collectable and widely loved. Find out more about the history of Bristol Blue Glass here.


30 years of Bristol Ideas

Celebrating the work of great writers, commentators and thinkers in and around the city, Bristol Ideas hosts workshops, discussions and debates, posing urgent questions about the world we live in. As they celebrate their 30th anniversary, 2023 will see the organisation begin a period of transformational new leadership, embrace and develop new ways of working and embark on our most ambitious citywide multi-partner project for over a decade.


21 years of Tobacco Factory Theatres

Tobacco Factory Theatres produces and presents excellent art in unique, intimate spaces in a former tobacco factory on Raleigh Road in Bristol. The theatre space was created on the first floor of the building and the first performance was staged by theatre company Show of Strength who presented ‘A Journey to Bristol’ - a short 18th century comedy set in the city and performed in promenade across the whole building. Today, the theatre presents a jam-packed programme of diverse and exciting shows, workshops and events, from classic and contemporary plays, to shows for families, comedy, dance, music, opera and puppetry.


20 years of Festival of Nature

Festival of Nature is the UK’s largest free celebration of the natural world. The festival has run annually across the West of England region since 2003, organised by partners of the Bristol-based nature charity The Natural History Consortium. With an unmissable programme of vibrant city-centre events, family nature parties, wildlife workshops, walks and talks, film screenings, spectacular performances, and digital activities the festival offers an opportunity for visitors and residents of Bristol to learn about, get inspired by and take action for the natural world.


20 years of Bristol Film Office

The Outlaws, Doctor Who, Alex Rider, Chloe, Showtrial... just a handful of the popular shows you may have seen on screen recently that have filmed in Bristol. Since 2003, Bristol Film Office has been working to make Bristol one of the UK's most film-friendly cities, assisting TV and film productions of all sizes to source locations, secure permits, find local crew and arrange the logistics that make on-location shoots run smoothly. With productions like these estimated to generate almost £21m per year towards the city's economy, this Bristol Council service plays an important role in making our city one of the UK's most competitive filming destinations outside of the capital. Why are incoming film and TV productions good news for the city? Not only do they create employment for local freelance crews and film industry companies, they also bring knock-on benefits for other sectors like hospitality and transport, whilst also increasing screen tourism to the city. 


15 years of Ujima Radio

Ujima Radio is a local community radio station located in Bristol, serving the city within a 5 mile radius. It was founded in 2008. Ujima Radio CIC (Community Interest Company) celebrates African and Caribbean cultures through music and informative talk. It is a non-profit Social Enterprise that provides support and training for over 150 volunteers each year.

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