Memories : Bristol, 1984

King Street Bristol 1984

We’re in ‘Brizzle’ and it’s a warm day in September 1984. It’s one of the most complete 17th century streets in the UK, and is packed with historic buildings from the banks of the Avon to its end at Broad Quay House, where the road intersects Prince Street. As you can see from the image above, it’s a genteel part of the city, packed with bars and other long-established businesses and, on a day like today, it’s a wonderful place to take a stroll away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The UK is currently reinvigorating at an impressive rate, with cities across the land receiving investment from the Government in an attempt to inject life into them after years of stagnation – and it’s working, especially in Bristol. The mood of the country is optimistic, too, with unemployment falling, new businesses opening, and a sense that the future is beginning to look rosier than it has for quite some time.

A modern Britain is starting to emerge, too – sixth in line to the throne, and Diana Princess of Wales’ second son, Prince Harry, is born, while the UK and China finally agree the terms upon which Hong Kong can be handed back in 1997. It’s not all good news, though, as the ongoing Miners’ Strike, which has been rumbling on since March, is declared unlawful by the High Court. Why bad news? Because it just forces Margaret Thatcher and Arthur Scargill to dig their feet in all the more. It would continue until March 1985 and the outcome would impact upon millions of people and their communities for more than a generation.

So, tell us about the cars

There’s a nice selection here, starting with a lovely late-Series 1 Opel Manta B in Berlinetta form, ahead of a Ford Escort Mk2 Estate, an Escort Mk3 GL with dealer-fit driving lights, a late Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1 on ATS alloy wheels, a Princess L with the passenger door open, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W116) ahead of a BMW 635CSi and a Saab 900 double parked just behind it.

On the side nearest the photographer is a 1971 Mini 1000 with a sizeable dent in the front wing, a Ford Escort Mk2 four-door saloon in what looks like GL form, a MkIV Ford Cortina Estate, a Datsun 180B and another Mk2 Escort behind that. Does anyone know what the motorcycle is at the front?

If you enjoyed this, let us know in the comments and, if you have any pictures you’d like featuring, drop me a line via any of the links below. And to see how King Street looks today, scroll down for a view from Google Streetview.

How it looks today

Keith Adams


  1. Know Bristol very well from my time working with VOSA at its Headquarters in Croydon St and my love for Bristol Rovers

  2. I think the bike is a Kawasaki Z550ltd..
    Definitely a Kawasaki going by the indicators, and definitely a Ltd…

  3. I had an Opel Manta exactly like that. It was a superb car to drive and one of the best cars I’ve owned. The thinking man’s Capri.

  4. We operated coaches at our satellite depot in Fishponds from the early 60’s. Work was mainly holidays and private hire. The area along by the waterfront, now near the Imax was not a place to visit at night, but was a main coach drop off area. We were also the Vauxhall/ Bedford dealers in Fishponds, at the end of Causeway for around 6 or 7 years.

    Bristol has become a fashionable city now, but the worry is, it can become over fashionable, which can spoil it.

  5. Ah, my home town, and Prince Street has good memories for me. In the early ’90s, I worked for JA Devenish, our regional offices were above the Bristol Clipper pub which would be just out of shot on the right. I spent a lot of time in company hostelries round those streets, and the City Centre. Working as a supplier to the Courage pubs in the area during the ’80s.

    You’re right though Nick Warner, my old home town has become a bit “gentrified” in the last few years. It’s certainly not the place I grew up in. Don’t they say, if your town appears on a list of good places to live, it won’t stay that way for long?

    • And another thing…
      I used to park my company Montego Estate in Queen Charlotte St NCP, just behind and round the corner. After a few post-work beers on a Friday in one of the company pubs, I left the car there and came back for it the following morning, only to find it had gone. It was stolen and used in a ram-raid. Apparently the staff at the NCP used to clock off at 10PM and just leave the barriers up!

      • I suppose every cloud has a silver lining 😀 (Sorry I also had a Montego, although it was the Turbo)

        • LOL! This was a late 2.0 SLXi and it did 93k in 18 months before meeting its untimely end. never let me down, and just got quicker the more miles I put on it. Replaced with a new Seat Toledo GT.

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