Bristol….looking out to the sea

When thinking of Bristol, the largest city in South West England, one immediately thinks of the city and the sea. With its position on the River Avon running out into the Severn Estuary, Bristol’s prosperity is inextricably linked with seafaring activity and the trading of goods by ship with the outside world. Due to its importance as a port and later as a centre for shipbuilding, Bristol, from the 13th century and for the next five hundred years, was ranked among the top three English cities after London in terms of economic importance. It was only the rapid rise of the great northern cities during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century that Bristol lost its high status. Of course, with the impact of technology and globalisation, in more recent years the city’s economy has shifted away from the port and the sea to landlubber industries such as creative media, electronics and aerospace with the old city centre docks now a tourist attraction as a centre of heritage and culture. Having said that the port is still important as exemplified by the fact that through its port facility at Avonmouth, the city is currently the largest importer of cars into the UK.

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