Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Guildhall, Broad Street


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1282368.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 27-Sep-2021 at 21:36:31.


Statutory Address:
Guildhall, Broad Street

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

City of Bristol (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
ST 58789 73083


ST5873SE 901-1/11/538

BRISTOL Centre BROAD STREET (South East side) Guildhall (Formerly Listed as: SMALL STREET (North East side) The Assize Court) (Formerly Listed as: BROAD STREET (South side) The Guildhall)


GV II* Guildhall and assize courts, now courts. 1843-46. By R.S Pope. Statuary by Thomas of Bristol. Stained glass by Rogers of Worcester. Assize Courts attached to the rear, 1867-70, by T.S Pope and J Bindon, reconstructed internally 1961. Squared limestone ashlar, ashlar gable stacks and a slate roof. Axial through passage and stairs, offices and courts either side, and left-hand courtyard. Tudor Collegiate Gothic Revival style.

Guildhall of three storeys, attic and basement; seven window range. An ornate, symmetrical front has a moulded plinth, two bands over the ground floor windows with folded scrollwork, beneath one with sunken panels with shields and Tudor roses, first and second floor sill bands, cornice and a parapet with sunken trefoil-headed panels separated by raised semicircular-arched sections. A central four storey square entrance tower has a cornice, raised up to a central balustrade section as the parapet, with diagonally-set square stacks on the corners; at each end is a two storey octagonal oriel turret with blind Perpendicular Gothic panelling. Tudor-arched doorways to the middle and at each end with splayed, panelled reveals, hoodmoulds and doubledoors with strap hinges; the larger central one has square ground-floor buttresses each side with octagonal upper sections. Mullion windows have ogee trefoil heads, panel tracery above, and moulded cills and surrounds with leaded casements. The tower has a two storey oriel bay on thick brackets, paired corner colonnettes to round finials and a balustrade; a large Tudor-arched cross window has four paired lights. The tower above has a rectangular three-light window with label mould and a band above of scrollwork. Two two-light ground floor windows are separated by diagonally-set square panels with shields; two-light first floor and three-light second floor windows have paired panels between with shields. The sections between the upper windows have shallow buttresses flanking first floor statues of Queen Victoria, Edward III, Foster and Dunning, and Colston and Whitson in shallow statue niches with hands above holding suspended shields.

The former Assizes' elevation to Small Street is an asymmetrical twelve window range, 3:3:6 windows as the front with red sandstone relieving arches to the upper floors. Plinth, ground-floor band, and a blind parapet with octagonal buttresses between panelled sections. The entrance tower has one window sections set back to each side. The left-hand section has three steep gables behind the parapet, with a full-height canted bay with cross windows at the left end; between are paired Tudor-arched doorways set in a raised section with sunken panels in a crenellated top, left-hand double doors, right-hand blocked with a C20 window.

Tudor-arched main doorway as the front, beneath a first floor crenellated oriel with attached colonnettes to the corners; the tower has a three-light window and flanking statue niches with canted canopies, and a pyramidal roof with three steep dormers with sunken quatrefoils to each face. Right-hand section is articulated by full-height attached colonnettes, with four-light windows between, beneath the string course on the ground floor, and mullioned to the second floor. Right-hand carriage arch as the front set in a single-storey coped wall with the Royal Arms over the arch.

INTERIOR: courtrooms extensively modernised, with most original decoration in the stair wells. Central hall leading to an open-well stair with cantilevered stone treads and wrought-iron barleysugar balusters with leaves, a first floor band of quatrefoils, rear Tudor-arched window with a statue, and a Tudor-arched ceiling with moulded ribs on corbels; similar statuary to central front rooms, with Tudor-arched vaulting on second floor with carved bosses, three statues to the sides and front and panelled window reveals.

Court 6 has a fine relocated Jacobean-style fire surround dated 1626 from a house on Welsh Back with paired Ionic columns to an entablature, with carved frieze and acanthus modillion cornice, and a top frieze with acroteria; Court No.1 has a four bay timber panelled roof with arch-braced ties, three-light mullion and transom windows all along each side with blind panels; jurors' assembly room with painted legal corbel heads to a timber beams.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: pair of attached wrought-iron lamp standards outside the main Small Street entrance with barleysugar standards, scrolled brackets and globe lanterns with crown decoration.

The Guildhall was the earliest Gothic town hall in England, effectively incorporating decorative elements into the facade. The Assizes were influenced by Godwin's Congleton Town Hall; they incorporated a late Norman hall in the Law Library, destroyed in the internal reconstruction of 1961. The Small Street front is set back, with the returns of the neighbouring buildings Nos 17 and 22 Small Street (qv) rebuilt in random ashlar to match the Guildhall. A hall house of c1100, altered C16, was incorporated into the Assizes design, and destroyed 1961. Although separately built, the Guildhall and former Assizes internally and functionally now one building.

Listing NGR: ST5878973083


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Crick, C , Victorian Buildings in Bristol, (1975), 17
Crick, C , Victorian Buildings in Bristol, (1975), 50
Gomme, A H, Jenner, M, Little, B D G, Bristol, An Architectural History, (1979), 299
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (1958), 414


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 23 May 2006
Reference: IOE01/15522/27
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Michael Perry. Source Historic England Archive
Archive image, may not represent current condition of site.
To view this image please use Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge.

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].