Brandon Hill, Bristol facts for kids
The upper part of the hill is a steep park, divided into informal gardens, a small nature reserve and open grassland. The two-hectare nature reserve has been run since 1980 by the Avon Wildlife Trust who have their headquarters beside the park. The wildflower meadow includes ox-eye daisies, yellow rattle and knapweed. A pond provides a breeding site for frogs, toads and smooth newts. The butterfly garden supplies food for caterpillars and many kinds of butterflies. Birds such as jay, bullfinch and blackcap are seen in the reserve. Native trees and shrubs have been planted, and the meadow is cut for hay in July.
The lower slopes of the hill were developed in the 18th and 19th centuries. St George's Church lies on Great George Street on the eastern slope, Berkeley Square is on the northern edge, and the school buildings of Queen Elizabeth's Hospital are on the western side.
Brandon Hill was granted to the council in 1174 by the Earl of Gloucester, and used for grazing until 1625 when it became a public open space, possibly the oldest municipal open space in the country. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century it was a popular venue for public meetings by reform groups like the Chartists. In 1832, the hill was the location of the Great Reform Dinner, which was famously gatecrashed.
From 1840 onward Brandon Hill was improved with walls and walks. A crowd of 30,000 watched the launch of SS Great Britain from the hill on 7 July 1843. It remained a site of popular protest however, with 20,000 unemployed workers gathering at the top the hill in January 1880 to protest their situation.
Brandon Hill, Bristol Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.