There are many facts about Bristol that are well known around the world; like our role in the UK’s maritime trade in tobacco, wine and cotton or that the famous the world’s most famous pirate, Blackbeard is thought to have been born in Redcliffe.
We’re here to tell you about the more obscure achievements, inventions and famous people that originated in Bristol, something to tell your friends about after your trip.
All the Random Inventions including Ribena
Bristolians are a very inventive sort. We are proud of the innovations we have given to the world and the huge difference they have made to the world we live in. Some of the more obscure inventions we claim as our own include fake snow, driverless pods, spitfire wings, non-stick chewing gum and a system for measuring volcanic ash – all invented by the talented students at Bristol University.
One of our proudest inventions is Ribena! It was originally developed as blackcurrant cordial to be added to milk and distributed for free to children and pregnant women as a source of Vitamin C during WW2. These days it is a delicious staple item of packed lunches everywhere.
The Progressive City
Bristol was a progressive city before it was cool! Our forward-thinking people have accomplished a lot. Hopefully, they have inspired other cities to be as accepting and progressive as we have always been. In 1946, the staff at the Bristol Royal Infirmary performed the first-ever gender reassignment surgery.
Michael Dillon’s transition was so successful that he lived the rest of his life without anyone knowing he had been born biologically female. We were also the symbolic home of the worlds first interracial film couple in the movie Java Head, a film from 1934, is set in 1850s Bristol. It could be said that equality has its British roots in Bristol too. The Red Lodge Museum on Park Row has a room. It was once the first school in England to educate girls.
The Leaning Tower of Bristol
If you’ve seen Tower Church in Bristol, chances are you haven’t forgotten it! Also known as Holy Cross Church, the current building stands on the ruins of a round church built by the Knights Templar, a famous medieval military order. The original church was bombed during the Second World War and gutted by the resulting fire. Construction began on the current building in the 1390s. Meanwhile, work was paused as the tower began to sink on one side. They optimistically continued, stabilising the five-foot lean to leave us with the church as we know it. Bristol’s very own leaning tower is just one degree less than the Leaning Tower of Pisa at 2.7 degrees.
Bristol as “The Home of Chocolate”
Birmingham claims to be the home of chocolate, with the world-famous Cadbury World as one of their main attractions, but even Mr Cadbury himself has Bristol to thank for his success. Joseph Fry, a Bristol resident, first discovered how to make liquid chocolate into a solid bar. This has led to a huge international industry boom.
Fry and his chocolate company are most famous for Fry’s Chocolate Cream. The first mass-produced chocolate bar which was launched in 1866. Meanwhile, Fry’s Turkish Delight was launched in 1914. Before this, all chocolate was enjoyed in a liquid form as a drink.
A Home to the First Modern Bungee Jump
While Bristol cannot claim to be an adventure capital, not many people know the world’s first bungee jump took place here. The first modern bungee jump was taken on 1 April 1979. It was from the 250-foot Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol by members of the Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club.
You’d have to be really brave to volunteer to go first! The jumpers were arrested shortly. They continued with jumps in the US from the Golden Gate Bridge and the Royal Gorge Bridge. Soon, moving on to jumps from mobile cranes and hot air balloons. We love that this exhilarating sport was born in Bristol!
Author Bio: Sarah Corcoran is a full-time travel blogger, which means writing adventures, travel spots, and accommodation reviews is her bread and butter. She currently writes for PREMIER SUITES Bristol Redcliffe, one of the leading serviced apartments in the city.