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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Discover Bristol's eclectic charms, 11 Sep 2005
By 
M. Matthews "mikematt101" (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bristol (Pevsner Architectural Guides: City Guides) (Paperback)
Andrew Foyle's Bristol is an in-depth guide to the architecture of "England's historic second port". In his introduction, Foyle quotes Sir John Summerson: "If I had to show a foreigner one English city and one only, to give him a balanced idea of English architecture, I should take him to Bristol, which has developed in all directions, and where nearly everything has happened". Foyle adds that "Bristol's uniqueness lies in the range and extraordinary juxtaposition of its buildings, constantly surprising with their richness of texture". Unlike the serene uniform beauty of neighbouring Bath, Bristol is a city where architecture of different periods and styles sit side-by-side. It is also a city that suffered enormously at the hands of brain-dead post-war developers who had no qualms about erecting grey concrete monstrosities next to attractive and important 17th and 18th century buildings.
Bristol is a fascinating account of the city's architectural history. It covers the city's major buildings (the Cathedral, St Mary Redcliffe, the Suspension Bridge, etc) and its churches before going on to describe other buildings in a series of walks covering areas such as the City Centre, Hotwells, Clifton and Kingsdown. The book ends with brief descriptions of other important sites on the fringes of the city, such as Blaise, Arno's Vale and Tyntesfield.
As a relative newcomer to architectural history, and as a native of Bristol, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although I do have a few minor quibbles. Firstly I can't really see it working as a walking companion as its too big and the spine is far too stiff. It would've worked better if each section had been published individually as walking guides. Secondly I found the glossary at the back somewhat lacking and often found it hard to envisage a building purely from Foyle's description. As a result Bristol probably would not appeal to someone looking for an accessible and undemanding guide to the city's buildings. I also thought that some of Foyle's descriptions were rather pompous, such as his description of the design of Dorset House in Litfield Place as "perverse" simply because it has a 1:2:3:2:1 arrangement of bays! Although I loved his scathing comments about the post-war developments, such as the Students' Union Building on Queen's Road ("perhaps Clifton's most bruising post-war intrusion") and the "windswept canyons" of Lewins Mead and Rupert Street.
One thing I particularly enjoyed about Bristol was discovering its colourful cast of characters - the architects who created the city, most of whom I had not previously heard of. The Paty family, Sir George Oatley, Charles Holden, Richard Shackleton Pope, Charles Dyer, George Edmund Street, Charles Underwood, George Tully and, of course, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Without these and other men, the Bristol we see around us today would look very different.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Bristol's buildings, 3 Jan 2010
By 
Gordon (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bristol (Pevsner Architectural Guides: City Guides) (Paperback)
I've just come back from a weekend in Bristol, where I impulse-bought this book. I found it a fascinating companion to a trip to the City. At times I wished for more detail - for example, the description of Bristol Temple Meads could have done with a diagram. But generally, I thought it was an approachable, interesting book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading!, 31 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Bristol (Pevsner Architectural Guides: City Guides) (Paperback)
Visited Bristol as tourists recently even though we only live 45 mins away!
There is SO much to see so bought this book so I can be better informed on our next visit.
Easy to dip in to and good walks to follow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice!, 8 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Bristol (Pevsner Architectural Guides: City Guides) (Paperback)
I love the architecture in Bristol! Bristol is such a beautiful city. The guide provides lots of insight of those beautiful buildings.
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Bristol (Pevsner Architectural Guides: City Guides)
Bristol (Pevsner Architectural Guides: City Guides) by Andrew Foyle (Paperback - 24 Aug 2004)
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