‘Medieval market,’ ‘bustling High Street’, ‘wild west’, ‘a wasteland’, ‘massage parlours’, ‘gay area’, ‘up and coming.’ Old Market conjures a myriad of conflicting associations in the minds of Bristolians. There is some truth to all these associations. They reveal the story of Old Market’s brightest hour as part of Bristol’s shopping Golden Mile, the riotous inter war years, the impact of war, post war decline brought on by the redevelopment of the city centre, and revival as Bristol’s gay quarter.
Vice and Virtue details each phase, introducing the reader to the people, the institutions and the processes that have created Old Market’s rich heritage. The title is a playful nod to complex and interlinked themes that have defined this area for centuries.