Thursday, 7 April 2011

Those Places Thursday: Bristol - Somerset or Gloucestershire?

I haven't lived in Bristol for over thirty years now so my memories are perhaps distorted by the rose-tinted glass of time, but of all the places I have visited it is the most special.  In my Bristol a forest of church spires reach into an endlessly summer sky, flocks of starlings swoop to rest at Temple Meads Station and the statute of Neptune stares contendedly across "the Centre", alive with double-decker buses.  Just past the Centre Lewis' department store looks like a liner ready to set sail, the quarter jacks at Christchurch tirelessly swing their hammers and the spire of Temple Church, despite the best efforts of the Luftwaffe, remains precariously upright - just.

So, where exactly is Bristol - Somerset or Gloucestershire?  Don't get me started!  It is, as far as I am concerned, and notwithstanding the Local Government reorganisation of 1974, a City and County, courtesy of Edward III by Royal Charter in 1373.  From 1974 to 1996 the county of Avon was in existence and Bristol lay within it - thankfully that County is abolished now. I get quite cross with Ancestry when I type in "Bristol" and it tries to default to "Bristol, Somerset".  You might think me pedantic, but I am actually a rank amateur - there are veritable (bad-tempered!) essays and counter-essays with breathtaking amounts of detail on this subject to be found on the Internet!

I think I have made my position (and hopefully that of Bristol) quite clear.  I have way more to say on the subject of Bristol - its beautiful places, its famous sons, its past and its frankly shocking dialect, but I will save that for next week.


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