Bristol in History

Historical Events


DiscoveryHistoric Expedition

1497-05-02 John Cabot's expedition departs Bristol searching for new lands across the Atlantic

Explorer John Cabot
Explorer
John Cabot
  • 1497-08-06 Italian explorer John Cabot returns to Bristol from North America (Newfoundland) - first European to do so since the Vikings
  • 1610-07-05 John Guy sets sail from Bristol with 39 other colonists for Newfoundland
  • 1645-09-11 Thomas Fairfax's New Model Army occupies Bristol

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1748-06-24 The Kingswood School is opened by John Wesley and his brother Charles Wesley in Bristol. The school later moved to Bath

Evangelist John Wesley
Evangelist
John Wesley
  • 1838-04-08 Steamship "Great Western" makes her maiden voyage from Bristol, England, to New York
  • 1845-03-17 Bristol man Henry Jones patents self-raising flour

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1864-12-08 The Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is finally opened in Bristol, England, 5 years after his death

  • 1885-05-08 Sarah Ann Henley survives 76-m jump from Clifton Bridge in Bristol, England
  • 1890-05-12 First official County Cricket Championship match begins; Yorkshire beats Gloucestershire by 8 wickets at Bristol; James Cranston scores first century (101) in the competition

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1895-05-17 W. G. Grace completes his 100th 100 v Somerset at Bristol

Cricketer W. G. Grace
Cricketer
W. G. Grace
  • 1909-05-24 Bristol University granted Royal Charter
  • 1909-08-26 Middlesex beat Gloucs (Bristol) by Inn & 31 in a single day
  • 1923-07-03 Dockers' strike in Hull/Grimsby/Cardiff/Bristol over to London
  • 1935-04-12 First flight of the Bristol Blenheim

'Hitler Will Have to Break Us or Lose the War''Hitler Will Have to Break Us or Lose the War'

1940-11-24 The Blitz: Luftwaffe bombs Bristol city centre, killing 200 people in the first German raid on the city

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Buckingham Palace is bombed. Churchill, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspect the damage. Photo: NPA Rota
Buckingham Palace is bombed. Churchill, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspect the damage. Photo: NPA Rota
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  • 1943-10-16 US 1st Army establishes headquarter in Bristol
  • 1944-05-14 91 German bombers harass Bristol
  • 1955-01-23 Express train travelling from York to Bristol derails, killing 14 and injuring many other passengers

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1958-12-05 Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.

Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II
Queen of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II
  • 1967-04-20 A Globe Air Bristol Britannia turboprop crashes at Nicosia, Cyprus, killing 126.
  • 1969-01-09 First trial flight of Concorde supersonic jetliner, Bristol, England
  • 1969-04-09 1st flight of Concorde 002 (Filton-Bristol)
  • 1993-09-09 Croupier of casino in Bristol, England, shoots a 4 a record eight times
  • 1997-12-02 For only the second time in English Football League history, 5 players are sent from the field; 4 Bristol Rovers players and 1 from Wigan are dismissed in the Division 2 match at JJB Stadium; four of the red cards come in 45th minute
  • 2003-11-26 Supersonic airplane the Concorde makes its last ever flight, returning to Bristol, England.

Famous Birthdays

  • 1612-02-22 George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol, English statesman (d. 1677)
  • 1621-04-23 William Penn, English admiral and politician, father of the founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, born in St. Thomas Parish, Bristol (d. 1670)
  • 1636-11-02 Edward Colston, English merchant, philanthropist and slave trader, born in Bristol, England (d. 1721)
  • 1662-05-18 George Smalridge, English bishop of Bristol (d. 1719)
  • 1665-08-27 John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, English politician, born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (d. 1751)
  • 1721-08-31 George Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol, British statesman (d. 1775)
  • 1724-05-19 Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol, British admiral and politician (d. 1779)
  • 1752-11-20 Thomas Chatterton, English poet (Christabel), born in Bristol, England (d. 1770)
  • 1755-09-09 Benjamin Bourne, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island), born in Bristol, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, British America (d. 1808)
  • 1757-12-11 Charles Wesley, English organist and composer, born in Bristol (d. 1834)
  • 1766-02-24 Samuel Wesley, British organist and composer referred to as "The English Mozart" (Exultate Deo), born in Bristol, England
  • 1769-04-13 Thomas Lawrence, English portrait painter, born in Bristol, England (d. 1830)
  • 1774-08-12 Robert Southey, English writer (The Story of the Three Bears), Poet Laureate (1813-43) and biographer (Nelson), born in Bristol, England (d. 1843)
  • 1783-08-23 William Tierney Clark, English civil engineer, born in Bristol, England (d. 1852)
  • 1789-09-28 Richard Bright, English physician (Bright's Disease/nephritis), born in Bristol, England (d. 1858)
  • 1795-03-14 Robert Lucas Pearsall, English composer, born in Bristol, England (d. 1856)
  • 1796-07-20 Edward Hodges, English organist and composer, born in Bristol (d. 1867)
  • 1796-09-19 Hartley Coleridge, English poet, born in Kingsdown, Bristol, England (d. 1849)
  • 1817-11-25 John Bigelow, American statesman and author, born in Bristol, New York (d. 1911)

Person of interestElizabeth Blackwell

1821-02-03 Elizabeth Blackwell, English-American physician who was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, born in Bristol, England (d. 1910)

  • 1824-02-10 Samuel Plimsoll, inventor (Plimsoll line for ships), born in Bristol, England
  • 1840-10-05 John Addington Symonds, British historian and writer (Probs in Greek Ethics), born in Bristol, England (d. 1893)
  • 1841-11-28 E. M. Grace, English cricketer (one Test v Australia 1880, 36 & 0), born in Downend, Bristol, England (d. 1911)

Person of interestW. G. Grace

1848-07-18 W. G. Grace, English cricket all-rounder and captain (22 Tests; 54,896 runs over record 44 first class seasons; Gloucestershire), born in Bristol, England (d. 1915)

Cricketer W. G. Grace
Cricketer
W. G. Grace
  • 1850-12-13 G. F. Grace, English cricketer and brother of W. G. Grace), born in Downend, Bristol (d. 1880)
  • 1855-09-07 William Friese-Greene, British photographer and inventor (motion pictures), born in Bristol, England (d. 1921)
  • 1875-10-05 Cyril Rootham, English organist, composer, and educator born in Redland, Bristol (d. 1938)
  • 1876-11-07 Charlie Townsend, English cricketer, born in Bristol (d. 1958)
  • 1880-03-12 House Peters, British silent film actor (This Is the Life, Kansas Territory), born in Bristol, England (d. 1967)
  • 1880-04-10 Montague Summers, English clergyman and writer (Malleus Maleficarum), born in Clifton, Bristol, England (d. 1948)
  • 1886-04-30 Frank Merrick, English composer, born in Clifton, Bristol, England (d. 1981)
  • 1887-08-08 Malcolm Keen, British actor (The Lodger, The Manxman, The Murder Party), born in Bristol, England (d. 1970)
  • 1889-10-19 Uncle Art Satherley, British-American record producer (1968 Academy of Country Music Award), born in Bristol, England (d. 1986)
  • 1890-11-25 Isaac Rosenberg, English war poet (Poems from the Trenches) and artist, born in Bristol, England (d. 1918)
  • 1901-08-02 Charlie Caldwell, American College Football Hall of Fame coach (Williams, Princeton), born in Bristol, Virginia (d. 1957)

Person of interestPaul Dirac

1902-08-08 Paul Dirac, English physicist (quantum electrodynamics, Nobel 1933), born in Bristol, England (d. 1984)

Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Laureate Paul Dirac
Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Paul Dirac
  • 1902-09-21 Allen Lane, English publisher and founder of Penguin Books, born in Bristol, England (d. 1970)
  • 1903-11-11 Charles Bruce Perry, Professor of Medicine (Bristol University) (d. 1996)

Person of interestCary Grant

1904-01-18 Cary Grant [Archibald Alexander Leach], British-born American actor (Arsenic & Old Lace, North by Northwest), born in Horfield, Bristol, England (d. 1986)

Actor Cary Grant
Actor
Cary Grant
  • 1907-12-18 Christopher Fry, playwright (Ring Around the Moon), born in Bristol, England
  • 1908-03-20 Michael Redgrave, British actor (Browning Version, Lady Vanishes), born in Bristol (d. 1985)
  • 1912-11-24 Joan Sanderson, English actress (Please Sir!), born in Bristol, England (d. 1992)
  • 1913-08-31 Sir Bernard Lovell, English radio astronomer, founded Jodrell Bank Observatory, born in Oldland Common, Bristol (d. 2012)
  • 1914-04-22 C. H. Sisson, British author (Christopher Homm), born in Bristol, England (d. 2003)
  • 1917-12-12 Edward Firth Henderson, British diplomat and arabist, born in Bristol (d. 1995)
  • 1918-06-21 James Bysse Joll, British historian, born in Bristol, England (d. 1994)
  • 1918-11-06 Ronnie Brody, British actor (Superman 3, What's Up Nurse, Ritz), born in Bristol, England (d. 1991)
  • 1921-07-16 Trevor Illtyd Williams, scientific writer, born in Bristol, England (d. 1996)
  • 1923-09-08 Alan Weeks, English sports commentator (BBC), born in Bristol. England (d. 1996)
  • 1925-05-13 Anthony Milner, British composer, born in Bristol, England (d. 2002)
  • 1928-07-03 John Wills, Lord-Lieutenant of Avon 1974-96, born in Bristol (d. 1998)
  • 1928-12-20 Charles Donald Adams, British bass-baritone opera singer (D'Oyly Carte Opera Company,; Gilbert and Sullivan For All), born in Bristol, United Kingdom (d. 1996)
  • 1929-03-23 Michael Manser, English architect, born in Bristol (d. 2016)
  • 1929-04-18 Peter Jeffrey, British character actor (Dr Phibes Rides Again, Twinsanity), born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, (d. 1999)
  • 1931-07-14 Sir Robert Stephens, British actor (Uncle Kurt-Holocaust, Chaplin, QB VII, Cleopatra), born in Bristol, England (d. 1995)
  • 1932-08-11 Angela Rumbold, British politician (C), born in Bristol (d. 2010)
  • 1934-10-05 David Smith, English cricket fast bowler (5 Tests), born in Fishponds, Bristol (d. 2003)
  • 1935-10-29 David Allen, English cricketer (England off-spinner of 60's), born in Horfield, Bristol, England (d. 2014)
  • 1938-05-23 Graham "Johnny" Ball, British TV personality and mathematics educator (Play School), born in Bristol, England
  • 1939-06-30 John Fortune [John C. Wood], English satirist and comedian (Bremner, Bird and Fortune), born in Bristol, England (d. 2013)
  • 1939-08-01 Stephen Sykes, Church of England bishop, born in Bristol, England (d. 2014)
  • 1941-11-01 John Pullin, English rugby union hooker (42 caps; British Lions 7 caps; Bristol RFC), born in Aust, Gloucestershire, England (d. 2021)
  • 1942-05-03 Lynn Farleigh, English actress (Lovers of Their Time), born in Bristol, England
  • 1944-05-03 Ian Peter Leslie Smith, British journalist, born in Bristol, England (d. 1997)
  • 1946-05-06 Susan Brown, English actress (The Iron Lady, Game of Thrones), born in Bristol, England
  • 1949-04-20 Veronica Cartwright, English-American actress (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), born in Bristol, England
  • 1952-03-31 Mike Rafter, England Rugby Union flanker (England 17 caps), born in Bristol, England
  • 1954-09-15 John Hervey, 7th marquess of Bristol, English flamboyant peer who lost his fortune to drug addiction, born in Bury St Edmunds, England (d. 1999)
  • 1955-07-13 Chris White, British jazz-rock saxophonist (Dire Straits), born in Bristol, England
  • 1957-08-17 Robin Cousins, British figure skater (Olympic gold 1980), born in Bristol, England
  • 1960-07-27 Jo Durie, English tennis player, born in Bristol
  • 1961-04-02 Keren Jane Woodward, English rock vocalist (Bananarama - "Venus"), born in Bristol, England
  • 1961-12-17 Sara Dallin, British musician (Bananarama), born in Bristol, England
  • 1962-02-02 Andy Fordham, English darts player (BDO World Champion 2004), born in Bristol, England
  • 1964-01-25 Billy Andrade, American golfer (4 PGA Tour wins), born in Bristol, RI
  • 1965-06-07 Damien Hirst, English artist (animals in formaldehyde artworks), born in Bristol, England
  • 1966-01-17 Trish Johnson, British golfer (3 LPGA Tour titles; 19 LET wins), born in Bristol, England
  • 1966-11-27 Chryssandra Hines, American team handball wing (Olympics 1996), born in Bristol Connecticut
  • 1972-11-07 Marcus Stewart, English football player, born in Bristol, England
  • 1974-05-02 Andy Johnson, Welsh soccer midfielder (15 caps; WBA, Nottingham Forest), born in Bristol, England
  • 1974-07-28 Justin Lee Collins, British radio host, actor and comedian, born in Southmead, Bristol
  • 1975-02-13 Ben Collins, English auto racer (ASCAR Racing Series 2003) and stunt driver (former Top Gear 'Stig'), born in Bristol, England
  • 1975-08-28 Jamie Cureton, English footballer (Bishop's Stortford), born in Bristol, England
  • 1979-02-15 Josh Low, English footballer, born in Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 1979-07-16 Jayma Mays, American actress (Glee, Heroes), born in Bristol, Tennessee
  • 1981-10-02 Luke Wilkshire, Australian soccer defender (80 caps; Dynamo Moscow, Bristol City), born in Wollongong, New South Wales
  • 1982-11-10 Clayton Fortune, English footballer (Bristol City), born in Forest Gate, England
  • 1985-12-14 Tom Smith, Welsh rugby union footballer, born in Bristol, Somerset

Person of interestMaisie Williams

1997-04-15 Maisie Williams, English actress (Game of Thrones), born in Bristol, England


Famous Weddings

  • 1795-10-04 "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" poet Samuel Coleridge (22) marries Sarah Fricker in Bristol, England

Famous Deaths

  • 1677-05-20 George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol, English statesman (b. 1612)
  • 1719-09-27 George Smalridge, English Bishop of Bristol (b. 1662)
  • 1751-01-20 John Hervey, 1st Earl of Bristol, English politician, dies at 85
  • 1779-12-23 Augustus Hervey, 3rd Earl of Bristol, British admiral and politician (b. 1724)
  • 1996-03-12 Charles Bruce Perry, Professor of Medicine (Bristol University), dies at 92
  • 1999-01-10 John Hervey, 7th marquess of Bristol, English flamboyant peer who lost his fortune to drug addiction, dies at 44