Bristol is South West England's primary business hub and one of the UK's most affluent and thriving cities, with a reputation as a creative and technology hub. With a population of 442,500, Bristol is the UK's sixth most populous city and one of the fastest growing. Bristol is a county, as well as a unitary authority, although the Greater Bristol area covers an area that spans the local authorities of North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Bristol dates back to the 11th century when a settlement was formed at the confluence of the rivers Avon and Frome, known as Brycgstow. It received a royal charter in the 12th century and remained from the 13th to the 18th century one of the top three cities in terms of tax receipts.
Bristol is steeped in nautical history and was one of England's greatest ports, serving a strategic role in the country’s economy. As a port the city played a huge role in the slave trade but today Bristol is one of the UK’s most ethnically integrated cities.
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Bristol is the home of Rolls Royce and, for this reason, was bombed heavily during the war (second only to Coventry and London in terms of bombs dropped on it). As the birthplace of Concorde and home to AirBus, aerospace engineering runs in the city's blood to this day.
Bristol is home to a huge range of businesses and in 2008 opened a £500 million shopping centre called Cabot Circus in its town centre. Business investment in the city has been growing and the city has been recognised as an entrepreneurial hub. In 2016 venture capital firm Downing named the city as one of the most attractive places for investment in startup companies in Europe.
Business growth has been centred around Bristol's Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, which is situated a stone’s throw from the city's historic Temple Meads railway station. Bristol business development has been citywide though, and the city boasts many burgeoning business parks and startup communities, from the Paintworks to the Bristol and Bath Science Park in Emersons Green.
Bristol is also home to Aardman Animation of Wallace and Gromit fame and the world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge built by the Bristol's engineering hero, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
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