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History of Bristol - Broad Quay Panels

Year Completed : 1982

Size : 15 panels each measuring 1500mm x 1000mm

Client : Standard Life Developments

Location : Broad Quay House, Broad Quay, Bristol, BS1 4DJ

Current Status : Daniel has recently seen this in 2014

History of Bristol - Broad Quay Panels13th Century - Merchant Ship. A Merchant Ship approaching Bristol City Walls - note eel in the water.
(From the Common Seal of the Burgesses of Bristol)13th/14th Century - Intertwined Dragon Roof Boss. From the Bombed out church St Nicholas.
(In St Nicholas Museum)15th Century - St Katherine's Wheel. Badge of Bristol's Guild of Weavers.
(From St Nicholas Museum)15th Century - The Matthew. Based on the Admiralty Court seal and contemporary drawings.16th Century - Elizabethan Seal. Of the Burgesses of Bristol. Dated 1569.
(Bristol City Museum)16th/17th Century - St Mary Redcliffe. At the time that the tower was not there.  Queen Elizabeth said it was 'The fairest and goodliest and most famous parish church in England'
(From the 17th century Millerd's map of Bristol)17th Century - Coin . Minted in Bristol when it was held by the Royalists during the Civil War or possibly the Roundheads, you must check!!
(I imagine seen in Bristol City Museum)17th/18th Century - Trade Token. Issued by a public house The Mermayd (spelled wrong) on the Backe
(Trade tokens were issued when small change was in short supply, especially in 18th & 19th centuries. I remember the original was the size of my little finger nail.)
(In Bristol City Museum)17th/18th Century - Tobacco Plant. A Tobacco Plant forms the background of this panel. With the figure of a black boy which would have stood outside an 18th century tobacconist's shop. Everyone was anxious to avoid reference either to tobacco or to slavery but since they were both very seminal to the trade of Bristol we managed to infiltrate this design.
(References from Wills Tobacco Museum.  Does it still exist?)18th Century - Penny Token . Showing the Corn Exchange. There was some discussion that the date was wrong, because the building was opened some years before this. We reproduced the token exactly as we found it.
(Bristol City Museum)19th Century - A Glass Kiln . Celebrating the Bristol Glass Industry. Based on a 19th century Trade Token.
(Bristol City Museum)19th Century - SS Great Britain. Based on a contemporary print and with a swan taken from the prow of the ship.19th/20th Century - Corn Sheaf. The original symbol associated with the Cooperative Society. This building was erected on the site of the old Bristol Cooperative Society Headquarters.20th Century - Jet Intake. From the engine of Concord

In 1980, when the building was still at planning stage, we were commissioned by Standard Life Developments to do fifteen panels for Broadquay House in central Bristol. The panels (each 1500mm x 1000mm) were to be integrated in to the building’s fabric at first floor level, clearly visible from the busy pavement beneath. The development was in an historic position, just on the central dock area of the city, on the site of the old CWS (Cooperative Society) headquarters for the South West of England. A theme was chosen of Bristol's history, and we spent several weeks researching suitable images and themes. The Coulstons were a famous Bristol family who gave generously to the city over the centuries and we decided to link the various – often quite different, images with a repeating cartouche based on the Coulston family crest. Two sea-lions from this crest support a central roundel which we filled with fifteen different designs. These were based on features sourced from museums, buildings, documents and coins from all over Bristol. We worked in contrasting buff and terracotta clays, and selectively used a reduced palette of copper and manganese glazes. The panels caused a great deal of interest when the building was first opened, and continue to be a landmark in the city, Guides use them to point out different aspects of Bristol's history, and they have been incorporated into books about the city's unusual features. Done many years ago now, they remain some of the work of which I am most proud. The first panel (shown above) depicts the great stone keep of Bristol castle (13th Century) from the Common Seal of the Burgesses of Bristol. Descriptions of the other panels can be found by clicking on the images below.

Lat/Long : 51.451742, -2.596763

Green - mural exists and with good access

Mural still exists and with good access it can be easily seen by the public


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Philippa Threlfall
Black Dog
Tor Street

01749 672548