Bristol 19th Century

Despite struggling to keep pace with the newer manufacturing centres of the North of England and the West Midlands during the early part of the Industrial Revolution, Bristol's population (66,000 in 1801) quintupled during the 19th century, supported by new industries and growing commerce.

The city was particularly associated with the Victorian era engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose designs included the Great Western Railway, the Clifton Suspension Bridge and some pioneering Bristol-built ocean going steamships. He also made improvements to the city's Floating Harbour, built in 1804-09 in an attempt to cater for the increasing number and size of ships docking at Bristol.

At the end of the 19th century the main industries were tobacco and cigarette manufacture (led by the dominant W.D. & H.O. Wills company), paper and engineering. Around this time the port facilities began migrating downstream to Avonmouth, where new industrial complexes were founded.