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Historic public houses recognised in new Bristol register

Eight historic Bristol pubs have been placed on a register to give them extra protection under planning policy, safeguarding the city’s cultural and architectural heritage.

Bristol City Council has published the latest additions to the city’s Local List of valued buildings. It recognises buildings and monuments not already listed to preserve their quality, style or historical importance.

This year’s list focused on the contribution of public houses to the historic Bristol environment.

Entries were nominated by members of the public and assessed by an independent panel. Eight historic public houses are recognised, giving them more protection under local planning policy.

Some of the most well-known landmarks recognised are The Merchant’s Arms on Stapleton Road, The George in Shirehampton, Highbury Vaults on Cotham Hill and the Queen’s Head in Eastville. The list also highlights less familiar venues; The Avonmouth Tavern, designed by eccentric architect Frederick Bligh Bond, who once owned a pet lemur, and the Cambridge Arms on Coldharbour Road with its exuberant signage.

Cllr Nicola Beech, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning and City Design, said: “Pub closures is an issue across Bristol. Pubs are an established feature of many communities and are often architecturally distinctive, or historically important in their own right. This year’s local list has focused on pubs as an at-risk building type and responds to many calls from the public to protect treasured local landmarks. This is a celebration of some of the city’s most interesting examples.”

The Three Crowns, Blackswarth Road, which closed suddenly in October and has been the focus for a community campaign to reopen it, has also been included in the list. The pub dates to the Reign of William IV, but the assessment panel noted that its Edwardian frontage and well preserved bar interiors were important features to protect.

Two buildings were included that might not initially appear historic but were considered to represent some of the best of post-war development in the city. The Giant Goram pub built in Lawrence Weston in 1958, and the four quarters of the Broadmead hub, established in 1950, were both listed.

Cllr Beech added: “Some people still remember these buildings going up. Although most people do not give them a second look, they represent the optimism and confidence of the era in which they were built, and are architecturally distinctive. Hopefully the new designations will help people see them in a new light and recognise the contribution they make to the Bristol’s story.” 

The hub in Broadmead was central to Bristol’s reconstruction plans after the war. First conceived in 1946 by city architect J. N. Meredith, it was built between 1950 and 1956. The four quarters were completed to a unified modern design that echoed classical temple fronts and the Georgian circuses of Bath. Work has started recently on altering the north-east pavilion. The buildings and the public space they enclose have been the backdrop to the lives of many Bristolians.

Notes to editors:

The full Bristol Local List can be accessed at:

To download pictures of some of the new pub listings go to: