Steep Street: Why this key Bristol road was destroyed and lost forever

Steep Street was a key route in and out of Bristol before a decision was made to destroy it

Bristol’s winding roads and twisting footpaths can be tricky to navigate at times but be thankful you don’t have to navigate the city during the Victorian era.

The remnants of this period can still be found in plenty of places although some of its architecture has been lost for several reasons. Many areas were destroyed during the Second World War during the Blitz, others were revamped by the city’s council for future-proofing.

In 1865, acting as the Bristol Local Board of Health, the authority appointed a Streets Improvement committee regarding widening and improving public streets and building new streets. As part of the committee’s work, one of the key routes in and out of Bristol was shaped and, ultimately, removed.

Steep Street was located in the area which is now known as Colston Street and Trenchard Street, near Park Row. Aptly named for its tiresome gradient, Steep Street had aging houses lining its curved cobbled pathway. For centuries, it was the main route through the city and northwards towards Gloucester. An entrance to the Ship Inn pub, in Lower Park Row, was also located on the street as well as multiple chimney sweeps.

In 1871, Colston Street was created to create a more amenable route connecting the city centre and St Michael’s Hill. And so, Steep Street was erased from Bristol’s maps forever. As part of the development, the street was partially levelled. Today, the Grython pub is based at the junction, as seen in the then and now picture below - swipe the cursor to compare the images.