This film is part of Free

Dead Centre

Blitz-scarred Bristol's redevelopment programme was blighted by a succession of disputes, explored in this campaigning film

Documentary 1958 9 mins Silent


This innovative campaigning film, made by the Bristol Architects Forum, gets to the heart of a bitter postwar dispute between locals and Bristol City Council over the redevelopment of the Blitz-scarred city centre. Tracking shots of shoppers, animated architectural models and an inventive soundtrack enhance the commentary supplied by various aggrieved architects.

The film addresses what became known as the 'Wine Street Controversy' which arose in the spring of 1958 when local architects discovered that Bristol City Council were secretly planning to lease off key sites to private London-based developers. This went against the previously agreed decision for local architects to design a retail, social and cultural hub, but the architects lost out to the London developers. The Bank of England and Norwich Union buildings that the council authorised stand derelict today.