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Bristol Then & Now 1940 - 2010 | by brizzle born and bred
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Bristol Then & Now 1940 - 2010

Park Street Bristol BS1 Then & Now - Photographic merge of old & new


In Bristol, firemen in 1940 try to pull a car that has slipped into a crevice in the centre of city road Park Street, casting a ghostly image as they are surrounded by current day shoppers going about their business, unaware of the devastation that once brought Britain’s cities almost to their knees.


(copyright @ Barcroft Media


These raids were just a taste of what was to come. At 6pm on 24th November 1940 Bristol experienced its first Blitz. The raid lasted six hours and destroyed historic buildings, churches and a quarter of the medieval city, including the main shopping area which is known today as Castle Park. The city’s museum was destroyed. Historic buildings such as the Dutch House and St Peter’s Hospital were badly damaged. Most of Park Street and the Triangle were destroyed. Marsh Street, Union Street, St Nicholas Street, High Street, Bridge Street, Mary-le-Port Street, Wine Street, Castle Street, Union Street and Broadmead were all wiped out. Bombs were also dropped on Bedminster, Knowle, St. George and Clifton.


Two hundred and seven people were killed. One hunded and eighty seven were seriously injured. Over 10, 000 homes were damaged and 1,400 people were made homeless.


Google Historypin - Historypin invites you to dig out, upload and pin your old photos, as well as the stories behind them, onto the Historypin map. Uniquely, the site allows you to layer your old images onto modern Street View scenes, revealing a series of windows into the past.


From a lot testing, we found old photos are a great way of getting people talking about how their street used to look, what their grandparents were like and what's changed (or not) over time.


We decided to create a website where people everywhere could share their old photos and the stories behind them, pinning them to a map of the world.


We also thought it would be neat if you could compare these old photos with how the world looks today, making the site a bit like a digital time machine.


So we asked Google if they'd help. They let us use their map and Street View functionality and helped us build the site.


The great thing about Historypin is that when they're using the site, loads of people are spending time with someone from a different generation. Older people have attics full of old photos, younger people know when to click and when to double click.


Have a look, and while you're there, pin a piece of your own history to the world.


Compare photos with their modern day location...See my old photographs on Historypin - Two photographs depicting the same view, one taken a period of time after the other, give us an instantaneous impression of ' then ' and 'now '. Some comparisons show old views that are instantly recognisable, where the natural passage of time and technology has made only slight changes.


Other views illustrate major change and it can be difficult to comprehend that an area has altered so much. Unless you have lived through a change and can remember what was there before, there is often no reason to question what building was replaced or how the area functioned in the past.

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Taken on January 29, 2009