Help save The BRI Old Building from demolition

The Old Building c.1780 ( Upper Mauldin Street ) is the 4th oldest hospital in the UK and Bristol’s largest Georgian building by far.  In November its chapel was listed by Historic England, and in the disappointing absence of the BRI Old Building itself being nationally listed, Bristol City Council is now hoping to protect it by extending the boundary of the adjacent St. James’s Parade Conservation Area to include the BRI Old Building, its newly listed Chapel and the two splendid listed Georgian buildings at 16 & 17 Lower Maudlin Street, which are occupied by the Eye Hospital.


It is vital that all supporters of this proposal (both groups and individuals) respond to the consultation before the 9th August deadline, but sooner if possible.


Please click on the link just below and then the secondary links to study the proposal, and then submit your support if you wish.  Even a short word will do, as every individual response counts as one more towards a successful decision.


5 comments on “Help save The BRI Old Building from demolition”

The Old BRI Building is of national as well as local importance and a key part of Bristol’s heritage. It should be incorporated into the St James’s Parade Conservation Area. Its demolition would be a historical and cultural outrage.

23 July 2018

RE: The extension of the St James Parade Conservation Area.

As a longstanding resident of Kingsdown, I am writing to confirm my strong support for the St James Parade Conservation Area to be extended to include the Old Bristol Royal Infirmary. This is a building of great historical importance to the city of Bristol, both architecturally and socially, it loss would not be forgiven by future generations of Bristolians. Kingsdown lost much of its Georgian townscape in the 60’s and 70’s, and Bristol City Council has never been forgiven for this by many of the locals who live there, the same mistake should not be made again.

It is understood and accepted that much of the original late eighteenth century hospital has been altered and lost internally, however externally, behind superficial and reversible 20th century alterations, the facades retain most of their original historic character and are an important part of Bristol’s Georgian architectural history.

I do, however, support the redevelopment of the site and welcome student accommodation in such as sustainable location, but this should not be at the expense of the city’s heritage. This architecturally important building should be celebrated and included within any future redevelopment.


Tom Futcher

My understanding is that the Trust sold the old BRI building to Unite, in part on the basis that the wards were not up to modern standards, plus it put all of the clinical buildings on the same side of Upper Maudlin Street. Of course, it was also another way for a cash-starved public body to raise money, just as it has done with the sale of other “surplus” real estate. I don’t blame the trust but rather a government that is now 8 years into its austerity programme, at a time of increased need with an aging population.
The fact that Unite’s plans were just to bulldoze the whole site is the real problem. Fortunately the chapel was protected quickly after the wanton destruction of the early 17th century ceiling in Small Street last year by another developer. However the rest of the “Old Building remains unprotected.
The best suggestion would seem be to extend the St James Preservation Area to include the “Old Building” plus as noted the Queen Anne buildings of the Eye Hospital. This should allow for appropriate and sympathetic redevelopment of the “Old Building”, but save it from demolition.

The area behind the original RI building is becoming increasingly arid. The health trust has moved into property development big time, with little regard for its primary purpose and no sense of responsibility or sympathy for the local community. The original building and the “Eye Hospital” properties are significant humanising elements and it is perfectly possible for well motivated and imaginative people to devise alternative uses. The Health trust has already severely damaged the areas surrounding the BRI and developments such as this are exactly similar to the wreckings of Kingsdown which made Bristol internationally notorious in the past

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