Abstract for Conference Bristol Second City
Bristol’s use of the past
How Braun and Hogenberg’s (1572-1617) view of Bristol among 400 other cities of the world may have affected Bristol’s history to date and into the future
David M Bruce, MA MPhil MRTPI MCILT, MTS
Visiting Research Fellow in Tourism, UWE, Bristol
“BRISTOVVE…la plus renômmée & marchande d’Angleterre exceptè Lôdres,…” is how the old French version of Braun and Hogenberg’s one page potted history of Bristol begins. Clearly perceived by a European observer ‘the most renowned and mercantile city in England except London’ this is the endorsement of ‘second city status on which the city so long relied. However topographically inexact and Bristol Museum’s caption for the map republished in Braun and Hogenberg is less than complimentary, Bristol inclusion has arguably been significant for its subsequent history. This paper will therefore put Bristol into the context of a range of cities from those illustrated in that first urban atlas – Braun and Hogenberg 1572-1618[iii] – and examine how, along with its walled city core, that inclusion has helped shape its modern history and contributed to its current identity. The tourism or visitor value of the original walled city will be contrasted with the negative connotations of walls as barriers, both historically and in the 21st Century with due emphasis on the dissonance, which may have resulted[iv].
The Urban Atlas was published with great success over a near fifty year period of pen and ink letter networking with the 400 towns involved. The city atlas itself claimed to be an exercise in armchair travel “in one’s own home far from all danger” as Georg Braun put it in the preface to book III in 1581[vii] and when more general order and peace returned in the second half of the 17th and particularly in the 18th Century, it has been seen as a critical stimulus to and planner for the Grand Tour (Nuti 1984 cited in Pagani 1990)[viii]. Inclusion was a mark of an authentic historic city then as now.
[iii]Fuessel S (Ed) (2008) Braun and Hogenberg Cities of the World: complete edition of the colour plates 1572-1617 Taschen Cologne
[iv] Bruce, D.M., & Creighton, O. (2006). Contested identities: The dissonant heritage of European town walls and walled towns. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 13(3), 234–254.
[vii] translated in Skelton 1968
[viii] Pagani L., Ed (1990), Cities of the World: Europe and America, English edition translated S. Knight, Magna Books, Leicester (selectively copied plates from Braun and Hogenberg and introduction).