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Bristol's Lost City

by Clive Burlton

This fascinating book examines Bristol's transition from peacetime to wartime, looking at how differently spaces within the city were put to use in these disparate contexts. Specifically focusing on a 30-acre site in Bristol that was originally transformed in 1914 for the Bristol International Exhibition and was then repurposed to house and train the many new volunteer soldiers after the outbreak of war. An intriguing insight into an often overlooked space in Bristol.
SKU: 293

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In 1914 a 30-acre site in Bristol, between Ashton Gate and Cumberland Basin was transformed into the Bristol International Exhibition. It was an optimistic celebration of the achievements of Britain's empire and dominions, half trade fair half theme park with a roller-coaster ride, daily pageants and even a troupe of lions.  Due to run from May to October the ambitious project included as replica of Bristol Castle, a mock-up of Shakespeare's England, Drake's ship Revenge and a series of giant white pavilions all constructed within the space of 10 weeks. ᅠ

Bristol people nicknamed it 'White City'. It soon hit financial difficulty and when war was declared on August 4, 1914 the exhibition was doomed and closed. ᅠNeeding somewhere to house the volunteer soldiers who had been recruited top join Kitchener's New Army the exhibition buildings were transformed for military use. The site became a barracks where soldiers learned how to dig trenches and practice rifle drills in front of surreal structures.

This book, lavishly illustrated with contemporary pictures, maps and documents, tells the story of how Bristol's transition from peacetime to wartime.

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