The Horsefair, Broadmead, Bristol Bs1.

A Memory of Bristol

This 1953 photo shows Bristol's Horsefair in Broadmead not long before the rebuilding of Broadmead after the blitz of theSecond World War. Broadmead runs between Union Street and Penn Street, and was a part of the regeneration of the city centre following the destruction of the Second World War. Broadmead emerged as the central area for shopping in post-war Bristol. In the late 1990s a large shopping mall at Cribbs Causeway was developed and it soon became a major shopping centre for the region.

Broadmead - Bristol's first pedestrianised shopping centre. Bristol's post-war shopping centre turned out very differently than the dream of the bleak blitz years. The new-look Bristol was being considered as early as 1941, while Nazi bombers still flew overhead. But rows between the council and local businesses and the lack of expert councillors led to lengthy delays.

The government of the time was urging blitzed cities to look at rebuilding as urgently as possible. Bristol, where the planning officer was actually a traffic engineer, took years to come up with a realistic plan. It refused to allow the active but tactless Chamber of Commerce to take part in planning, which led to increasingly hostile opposition from traders and businessmen.

But the results revealed by the Evening Post, despite council attempts to keep them secret, stunned Bristolians. The key was the inner circuit road, circling the central area. The building of Bristol's new Broadmead shopping precinct after the war sadly the results were very inferior to the pre-war shopping centre it replaced. Today Bristol continues to change.

The latest areas to be re-developed are Harbourside and Broadmead. Both these areas will be lively leisure and shopping centers, just like Castle Park before the Blitz.

A memory shared by Paul Townsend , on Dec 28th, 2009.

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