It’s been a long time coming and it took a pandemic to get it over the finishing line, but here it is… Manson’s Bristol Miscellany.
Michael Manson is one of Tangent Books’ most prolific authors with three novels (Where’s My Money, Rules Of The Road and Down In Demerara) to his name, plus various reference books including Riot! and the Hidden History Of St Andrew’s.
He’s been working on the Miscellany for at least 10 years when some of his research appeared in a regular column in the Bristol Review Of Books magazine. He’s been based at the Tangent office on and off for the last 12 years.
The Miscellany began simply as a compilation of things that piqued Manson’s curiosity as he wandered around the streets he has called home for 45 years in a quest to find the ‘soul of the city’.
He said: “I’m still finding new corners, new streets, new communities even. I’d be delighted if the Miscellany helps readers to see their environment just that little bit more clearly, and maybe embark on their own voyage of discovery.
“The toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in the city centre last June prompted an increased interest in Bristol’s history. It made me think that it was time for a revaluation, and I’ve very much tried to look at Bristol from ‘below’, hence the items included in the book.
From hidden rivers, medieval walls and public protests to links with slavery, prisons and the treatment of mental illness, Michael’s search for the soul of the city has resulted in a ‘curiosity shop’ compendium of interesting snapshots of the city.
He added: ““It was thanks to being in lockdown that I gained the motivation to pull all the loose ends of my compilation together and finish the Miscellany.”
Sometimes informative, frequently fascinating, occasionally shocking, the book is extensively illustrated with some striking images to help recount the city’s power and politics, business and trade, markets and fairs, law and order, mines, plague and much more.
From Britain’s first female doctor to Bristol Cars, even people who think they know Bristol well are likely to discover something new to them in this book’s clearly-written, bitesize sections.
Did Bristol once have its own time zone? Why is the city’s High Cross 40 miles away? Did a Bristol citizen really invent the blanket? It’s all here, and plenty more besides.
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