Bristol Bearpit

The Bearpit is a park in Bristol, circular in shape and with roads surrounding it; It’s like being in the middle of a large roundabout and in fact it is the St. James Barton Roundabout. All entrances are by underground passage.

It is in an area that is the historical center of the city. After being badly damaged by aerial bombing raids during WW2 , not much was done with it until the late 1960s when new roads and office blocks were built. The bearpit was designed as a pedestrian friendly area, a city park but soon became a place where no one felt safe. In 2011 it was voted the worst place in Bristol . Over the years a number of groups tried to clean up the park and make it a welcoming place for people – with mixed success.

In May of 2017 when I was there it was a place to hang out. It was also a place for political protest.

tables and planters at Bristol bearpit, park, with a mural of flowers.  In the background a sign, political poster, and in he background, Debenhams store
VOTE – “It ain’t much, but it’s all we have against the Greedheads” Hunter S. Thomson

May 2017 was in the midst of campaigning for the the UK General Election of 8 June 2017. Theresa May (Conservative) was Prime Minister. May had became PM after David Cameron resigned because of the Brexit vote. Jeremy Corbyn was leader of the Labour Party. The Conservatives won the election with 317 seats although Labour was close behind. Like most elections, this one can’t be summarized in a few sentences but if you are interested in more details, there are lots of places to look on the internet.

below: A large Corbyn rat poster by political art John D’Oh with the slogan/phrase “Make June the end of May”.

large poster by John D'Oh political humour for the 2017 UK election
political poster save the NHS vote Labour, picture of a woman on the phone, by John D'oh
In paradoy of newspaper Daily Mail, text on graffiti says Daily Fail, with three stencil faces

below: Mural by SP_ZERO aka Keith Hopewell

mural by SP_ZERO,
graffiti of face of young girl with braids tied with ribbons, and wearing a red bandana mask over her nose and mouth, on a green tile wall beside stairs

government is theft graffiti

street art by a tree in the bearpit area of Bristol, a person in a grey hoodie is spray painting a black line, beside a stencil of a man with long beard and mustache that says beard envy
graffiti on a tile wall beside stairs, an electrical two pronged plug with little legs, running, with broken electrical cord as a tail
A group of young men sitting on benches in a park, with a street art wall behind them, space aliens and creatures
street art wall with imaginative and creative space aliens and creatures
The screams of social media users.

below: Mural by LAIC217

Where’s the toilet paper? Is there any significance to the Adidas clothing and shoes?
Mural with orange headed devil with horns, yellow eyes, and skull like face, with bony hnads on shoulder of graffiti artist, caption says For using stencils you will go to hell
For using stencils U will go to Hell.

below: While we’re on the subject of Hell, a poster playing on the word exposure by Georgie aka georgieartist.  I love the fact that someone has written “Story of my fucking life” on it.

below: A broom with heart by qwert art

whimsical graffiti by qwert art of a broom with a white skirt and long skinny arms holding up a red heart where a face would be

below: Mural by Kid Crayon of Eat Crew.  Just above the mural you can see part of the black and white bear sculpture/statue that used to stand in the park.

In 2019 the Bearpit was “cleaned up” i.e. all the graffiti and street art was removed as were the squatters. A quick check of the area on Google Street View shows that as of March 2021 the park was still graffiti free.

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