Barb Drummond

Beyond Bristol History

'Bombs and Burgesses - A History of Castle Park'

On sale from Septermber 18th 2008

Castle Park is where the city of Bristol was born. Its Saxon castle was rebuilt by Normans but fell into repair by Tudor times and its demolition was ordered by Cromwell, the stone being recycled by locals.

It was the centre of the commercial district till well into the 18th Century when the wealthy citizens deserted the area for the healthy suburbs, so became home to Non-Conformists and their industries such as Champion's porcelain works and Wills tobacco. From the mid 19th century it became a popular shopping area, and until badly damaged in the Blitz, Castle Park was a favourite destination for shopping and entertainment on Saturday nights.

But it was also an area in longterm decline, so with much of the centre, the bombing created a chance for replanning. After the war the area was for many years a derelict site, then it became a short lived park, then again a carpark before a massive investment and relaunch in 1993. But despite protests in 2006, it is still under threat from development.

This book describes the ups and downs of this site which is rich in history, dotted with archaeological sites, two ruined churches and pieces of modern art. Its landscaping includes open areas, a paved square, a riverside walk/cycle path, a herb garden and sheltered areas for quiet relaxation. This  book will encourage locals and visitors to explore the site, and appreciate what is there before a possible loss of almost half the site is approved.

For more information on the battle to save the park,and for what little information is being provided on the current state of play,see park

Apparenty it was reviewed in the Bristol Evening Post. Review by Dr Steve Poole in 'The Regional Historian' Spring 2009

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Outside UK: £6.49 +£1 P&P


See also 'A Green Thumbprint on a Smudge of a City A Walking Guide to Castle Park', published April 2010 £5 - see walks page