Bristol has been an important city and port for centuries but in earlier times there had been a problem with tides, that ships would be stuck waiting for the tide to be at the right height in the deep natural harbour… however in 1809 a floating harbour was created – for a while I stupidly misunderstood her term; of course it means a harbour in which ships could float. 80 acres of tidal river was used to create the harbour which enabled ships to remain afloat all the time.
This led to an absolute boom in shipping, trade and commerce for the city; once the Great Western Railway was established thanks to the giant of nineteenth century industrial architecture and engineering, Brunel the city expanded beyond any expectation. This was reflected in the buildings from the time which had a certain style, with Byzantine, Moorish and Venetian style of architectural design of many commercial buildings such as warehouses and factories. The style is very distinctive, described as “robust and simple” and using bricks with bold distinct colours, particularly red, yellow, black and white brick. Sometimes the style included archways and upper floors which had a particular of horizontal or vertical arrangement windows.
Architects and influences of this style included Richard Shackleton Pope, William Venn Gough, Archibald Ponton, and John Addington Symonds . Sir John Summerson may have been the person who named this distinctive Bristolian building style, and it perfectly describes the elegant and handsome buildings you can still see today.
I have borrowed this from Wikipedia with thanks:
Bristol Byzantine is a variety of Byzantine Revival architecture that was popular in the city of Bristol from about 1850 to 1880. Many buildings in the style have been destroyed or demolished, but notable surviving examples include the Colston Hall, the Granary on Welsh Back, the Carriage Works on Stokes Croft and several of the buildings around Victoria Street. Several of the warehouses around the harbour have survived including the Arnolfini, which now houses an art gallery. Clarks Wood Company warehouse and the St Vincent’s Works in Silverthorne Lane and the Wool Hall in St Thomas Street are other survivors from the 19th century…
Bristol Byzantine has influences from Byzantine and Moorish architecture applied mainly to industrial buildings such as warehouses and factories. The style is characterised by a robust and simple outline, materials with character and coloured polychrome brickwork including red, yellow, black and white brick primarily from the Cattybrook Brickpit. Several buildings included archways and upper floors unified through either horizontal or vertical grouping of window openings.