Sharing memories of St George’s

June 22 2017

St George’s Bristol is one of the country’s most revered concert halls, but the venue on Great George Street once had a very different life. For over 160 years it was a Church, originally serving as a ‘Chapel of Ease’ to the nearby (and long-since demolished) St Augustine-the-Less, and then a Parish Church in its own right.

St George’s Bristol is one of the country’s most revered concert halls, but the venue on Great George Street once had a very different life. For over 160 years it was a Church, originally serving as a ‘Chapel of Ease’ to the nearby (and long-since demolished) St Augustine-the-Less, and then a Parish Church in its own right.

 As St George’s embarks on an exciting new chapter in its story – foundations are already laid for the venue’s new two-storey extension – staff at the venue are keen to know more about the building’s past. As such, an oral history project is in the works and the team is on the hunt for former Parishioners who have memories of their visits to the church, or were around when its doors finally closed in 1984.   

Leading the project is the venue’s Content & Engagement Manager, Michael Beek, and he is convinced there could be plenty to learn from Bristol residents. 

“We’re fascinated by this building, the way it looks and the things it has likely been witness to. Bricks, mortar and the odd photograph can only go so far in telling the story, so voices are key to humanising its past. Of course we can’t speak to anyone who was here in 1823 when the church was first opened, but there will surely be people in the city – and perhaps beyond – who knew the Church of St George Brandon Hill in its later years. It’s those people we want to find, and speak to,” he said.

 The oral history project forms part of a larger Heritage Interpretation initiative, which will see the creation of a permanent space for visitors to learn about the story of the building, and a public programme of events, lectures and tours. The visitor space is set to open in late February 2018, alongside the new extension.

 If you attended St George’s Brandon Hill and have an interesting story to share, please get in touch with Doreen Pastor – Community Learning & Volunteer Coordinator – on 0117 929 4929, or email doreen.pastor@stgeorgesbristol.co.uk