In August 2010, the Stokes Croft Museum opened: an unfunded venture, established to showcase the diversity of life in an area of Bristol renowned for its music and graffiti, but also its problems of crime, addiction and prostitution. Rose Wallis looks at this new 'single-room' heritage attraction, and how it reflects the many identities of the area.
'If the maintenance of order on the streets of early nineteenth century Bristol was never a simple matter, the constantly shifting presence of large visiting communities of seafaring Europeans cannot have made it any easier. With inns, lodging houses, streets and quays frequently awash with colourfully vibrant but uncustomary sights and sounds, social tensions and conflicts between host and 'outlandish' communities were rarely far beneath the surface. Often the detail of these cultural tensions went unrecorded but, as Steve Poole shows here, papers from a coroners inquest kept at the Bristol Record Office, bring them vividly back to life'.