As one of the UK’s oldest cities, Bristol has had plenty of time to produce some interesting talents, facts, events and places. And whilst this list is far from extensive, we’ve compiled a variety of interesting things that the city is famous for that we think are worth knowing.
Formed in Bristol back in 1988, trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack have enjoyed considerable commercial and critical success. Their debut album Blue Lines, released back in 1991, along with Mezzanine (1998) feature in the Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, an impressive testament to the quality of their musical output.
If you’ve ever even seen a book in the UK, there’s a good chance Penguin Books published it. Founded in 1935, Penguin Books were the first affordable and well-made paperbacks made available to the British public. Sir Allen Lane, who co-founded the publisher with his two brothers Richard and John, was born in Bristol and educated at Bristol Grammar School, thus cementing Bristol’s place in UK literary history.
Brunel’s SS Great Britain
We couldn’t possibly cover what Bristol is famous for without mentioning this. Rated as the #1 thing to do in the city on TripAdvisor, the SS Great Britain marks an important moment in shipping history. Known as ‘the greatest experiment since the Creation’ when it was launched back in 1843, it’s now a museum and hosts various events throughout the year. These events include music gigs, wedding fairs and plenty that are suited to children.
A vibrant art scene
Bristol has been awarded UNESCO City of Film Status, an accolade held by only 13 cities around the world! This is believed to be influenced by the cities rich history of film and television. For example, Aardman Animations, producers of Wallace & Gromit and Early Man are based in Bristol, whilst 25% of the world’s nature documentaries were produced at the BBC Natural History Unit, which is located on Whiteladies Road.
The world’s first IVF baby
Louise Joy Brown, also known as the first baby in the world to have been conceived via IVF, was originally from Bristol. Although she was born in Oldham, her parents lived in Whitchurch. According to estimates taken in 2013, more than five million people across the world have now been born via this process.
And the first female doctor
Born in Bristol in 1821, Dr Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate from medical school. Apparently, she had previously been rejected from 29 other medical schools, with the one that accepted her doing so as ‘a joke.’ Well, looks like the joke was on them, as she now has a national holiday dedicated to her to celebrate her work in medicine called National Women Physicians Day. This day falls on February 3rd and has been celebrated since 2016.