4 Awesome Facts About Bristol's History You Probably Didn't Know

Brunel's Bristol Suspension Bridge

We all know that Bristol has got a lot of history. From Brunel's bridges and ships to Concorde and the aerospace industry, we all know that the city is jam packed with historical significance. But there are a few things you probably don't know about the city. Here are 4 new interesting facts that you didn't know about Bristol's history.

Fry's Milk Chocolate Advertisement
© Bristol Culture

1. First Ever Chocolate Bar.

Did you know chocolate was originally consumed as a drink? This was until 1847 when Joseph Fry & Sons started to use excess cocoa butter to produce a paste that could be moulded into something you can eat and bam you've got your first chocolate bar. Fry's Cream stick was the first industrialised and mass produced chocolate bar that was actually affordable in 1853. In 1873, they went on to create the UK's first chocolate Easter Egg.

2. Stalin's Daughter Lived There.
Svetlana Alliluyeva the daughter of Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, left the Soviet Union in the late 1960s. She moved from Russia to the USA for a number of years before settling in Clifton. Not much is known of her time there but she is believed to have made it her home in 1990s.
Colin Pillinger's Beagle 2 lands on Mars
Artist's Impression of Beagle 2 Lander Image Credit: ESA/Denman Productions 

3. A Bristolian Sent a Satellite to Mars.
Bristol born and bred Professor Colin Pillinger was the principal investigator of the Beagle 2 Mars lander project which was part of the European Space Agency's 2003 Mars Express mission. After it's launch, Beagle 2 was expected to land on Mars on Christmas Day 2003 but there was no communication and it was presumed that the mission has failed. However, in 2014 NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took images of Mars, finding that it had in fact landed where it should have. You can see a full exhibition about Colin and Begle 2 at Kingswood Heritage Museum.

Refugees flee their homes in spanish civil war
Refugees during the Spanish Civil War© IWM (HU 34702)

4. Bristol and The Spanish Civil War

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) the Republicans and Nationalists fought against each other for control of the country. The right wing Nationalists were supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy whilst the left wing Republicans were supported by the Soviet Union, International Brigades and volunteer forces from throughout Europe. Thousands of Spanish children and teachers were evacuated to countries all over Europe, including Britain. The mayor of Bristol has agreed to accept 100 child refugees into the city. Due to public backlash against the acceptance of refugees, only 51 were evacuated to Bristol in 1936. Four Bristolians also went to Spain to fights against, Nationalist leader, Franco's forces. There is a plaque located in Castle Park to commemorate their work.

Further Reading
Fry's Chocolate http://museums.bristol.gov.uk/narratives.php?irn=13619
Scientists unravel the mystery of Mars lander Beagle 2   http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2016/november/beagle-talk.html
Beagle 2 https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/beagle-2/in-depth/

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