Why do people Stand and Groan? And feel both faint and sick? Because amid buildings wrought of stone, The new one's built of brick!
Bristol Evening Post, 19 July 1950.
Bristol's new Council House on College Green was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1956 but its brick and concrete construction and the changes made to College Green met with public disapproval.
Work had begun on the building in the 1930s but came to a halt during the war. This new modern civic building was one of Bristol's biggest and boldest developments. A grand imposing crescent-shaped building, designed by architect Vincent Harris ,was to replace the old neo-Classical Council house on the corner of Broad Street and Corn Street, which for years had been much too small for such a large and growing city. In 1950, as construction looked close to ending, the Council unveiled plans to spend £10,000 on lowering College Green and removing all its much-loved trees and statues, as the architect wanted an unobstructed view of 'his building'. The use of brick for its exterior had already received criticism but the impact of remodelling the space around the building and the complete transformation of the city's grandest civic open-air space, College Green, caused the most outcry and controversy. In later years new trees were planted and Queen Victoria's statue returned but not so the High Cross.
After the election of George Furgeson, the city's first elected mayor, in 2012 the building was renamed City Hall.