Unbuilt Bristol: The City That Might Have Been 1750-2050 by Eugene Byrne

Unbuilt Bristol: The City That Might Have Been 1750-2050 by Eugene Byrne

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The good, the bad, the ugly … the astonishing story of how Bristol might have looked … a bridge over the Avon containing chapels, workshops and houses … a scale model of the solar system spanning the entire city … a vast cemetery and botanical garden in St Pauls … an immense pyramid made from recycled wine bottles … a railway station in Queen Square … a barrage to turn the whole River Avon into a giant lake … a concert hall on Harbourside likened to an exploding greenhouse … Things that never happened range from the idealistic, through the commercially hard-headed, and onwards to developments which would have been brutally inappropriate or just plain mad.

Along the way, there are also plenty of speculative schemes which were lost because they were based on property booms which eventually turned to bust. In Unbuilt Bristol, journalist, author and historian Eugene Byrne looks at the different schemes, proposed and then abandoned, at various points over the last 200 years. Some – like the plans to concrete over whole stretches of the city docks, or proposals for a monstrous new hotel in the Avon Gorge – would have been a disaster. Others – like the exciting proposals for a stunning concert hall on the waterfront – were tragically killed off. Taken together, the visions outlined in this book form a narrative of a city that might have been, a city that would have been better in some ways, worse in others, but certainly very different.

128 pages, paperback