The reason I’m writing about The Bearpit is because it’s right in Bristol’s city centre and it would be easy to inadvertently find yourself in a place that you wish you hadn’t.
The official name of this sunken pedestrian plaza is the St. James Barton Roundabout and is located at the point where several busy roads meet near to St. James’s Priory Church, which is generally regarded as Bristol’s oldest surviving building.
How the church managed to survive the air raids in WWII I’m not sure, because much of the densely populated area around it was flattened.
The area was left pretty derelict until the late 1960s when bold new plans were realised. These included Avon House and Avon House North, which as their names suggest, were huge administrative office blocks for the newly formed county of Avon.
The problem with 1960s architecture is that it all seemed such a good idea at the time: It was a time to forget the past and move on to a bright exciting future, and it was during this time that St. James Barton Roundabout was constructed.