11 fascinating ‘then and now’ pictures showing Bristol in the 1980s compared to today

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Using archive pictures, we can see how Bristol city centre has changed

Bristol city centre was a different place back in the 80s; there was no Banksy art for a start. Regeneration was starting along the harbourside and there wasn’t a Cabot Circus shopping centre.

Here we look back through 11 pictures at how our street scenes have changed:

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Bottom of Park Street: The seasons have changed and unfortunately we can’t see the Royal Hotel today in this picture due to the tree leaves - however, the road layout has barely changed, even the clock face above Costa (today) is still there on the shops facing College Green.

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Christmas Steps: In the 1980s picture it appears to be summer with people enjoying a drink outside The Three Sugar Loaves, later to become called The Christmas Steps. Shoppers can also be seen about to brave the steep rise up the hill.

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Colston Street: Not much has changed here - although fewer cars were around 40 years ago!

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Corn Street: This wonderful picture from the 80s shows a man standing in the street with Lloyds Bank on the lefthand side, which later closed in 2014. Just out of the picture on the left is Midland Bank, which has also since closed.

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Lewins Mead: Little has changed in this scene which is opposite the NCP car park in Rupert Street. Number One Bristol residential block is now seen on the righthand side.

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Lower Park Row: Who remember CHAS (Bristol Housing Advice Service)? Today’s picture shows the service has long since moved although The Ship pub next door is still there.

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Old Market Street: The cars and shop fronts maybe different, but Old Market Street remains a busy retail street off the city centre. The road layout has changed with a bus lane in the centre of the highway today.

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Richmond Terrace: The line of town houses with vaults below remains unchanged - even the one-way signage is still there for Richmond Drive. A postbox has appeared and The Clifton Wine bar, formerly the Clifton Vaults, can be seen in the bottom right.

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Whiteladies Road: Here’s the scene next to Lower Redland Road. Tesco has replaced Gateway. Sadley, Kitchen Cookshop, seen on the right, closed recently after 50 years of business in the city.

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Cornwallis Crescent: This crescent, looked down on from Goldney Avenue, has changed little. Even the garage and window on the right remain up against the wall. No Mini Cooper today, though!

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Portland Square: This line of darkened, deteriorating Georgian houses has thankfully been restored. Back in the 80s, the square had a reputation for drug-dealing, but after major restoration work in the 90s, it looks very different today.

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