Bristol

1893 Industrial & Fine Arts Exhibition

These pages were written because of emails I received from Allan Wathan and Hugh Watkins who both wanted information about the 1893 Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition. Strangely enough information about the exhibition is hard to come by, I'd appreciate it if anyone who knows anything more about it would email me at

The exhibition was held in a specially built wooden hall at the bottom of Colston Avenue near St. Augustine's Parade. The hall was 110 feet wide and 520 feet long and cost £11,000. It was lit by 20 electric and 400 gas lamps. The hall featured the first electric clock in Bristol. The exhibition itself was part promoted by J. W. Arrowsmith who owned Arrowsmith's the printers. It was opened by the Mayor, Mr. (later Sir) R. H. Symes. The exhibition made a profit of £2,200 which was donated to local charities. Around half a million people visited the exhibition during the five months it was open. The only trace of the exhibition now is a fountain by the Colston statue.

The exhibition hall nearing completion

The exhibition hall nearing completion
(Image from Reece Winstone's "Bristol in the 1890's")

The nearly complete exhibition hall

The nearly complete exhibition hall showing the newly finished St. Augustine's Bridge
(Image from Reece Winstone's "Bristol in the 1890's")

The completed exhibition hall

The completed exhibition hall and Bristol's first electric clock
(Image from Reece Winstone's "Bristol in the 1890's")

The opening ceremony
(Image from Reece Winstone's "Bristol in the 1890's")

The exhibition hall

The exhibition hall
(Image from Reece Winstone's "Bristol in the 1890's")

Lavandière en bord de rivière by Dutch artist Klaes Molenaer

"Lavandière en bord de rivière" by Dutch artist Klaes Molenaer (1630-1676)
One of the paintings on show at the exhibition

Glasses commemorating the 1893 Bristol Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition Glasses commemorating the 1893 Bristol Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition

Glasses commemorating the 1893 Bristol Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition
Photos by kind courtesy of Allan Wathan

This page created October 15, 2003, last modified October 29, 2022