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Creating a legacy (Nonesuch autumn 2014)

Nonesuch issue 9 cover design

Ciara Phelan

5 November 2014

Illustrator Ciara Phelan compiled a University of Bristol montage for the cover of our autumn edition of Nonesuch. Here's a guide to the different elements you'll find in her design (from centre working clockwise).

The Wills Memorial Building

For many, the Wills Memorial Building is synonymous with the University. Standing more than 65 metres tall at the top of Park Street, it was designed to compel attention to its existence, and evoke the ancient institutions of Oxford and Cambridge in the minds of all who saw it. 'The new buildings … are a conspicuous and beautiful landmark,' remarked King George V at its royal opening on 9 June 1925, 'and serve…to remind the friends of the University of their obligation to ensure that this gift, so nobly bestowed, be worthily used to the advancement of learning.'

The University of Bristol hot-air balloon

Designed by the city's gliding club, the 'Bristol Belle' was Western Europe's first modern hot-air balloon, making its maiden flight on 9 July 1967. Bristol hosted its first International Balloon Fiesta in 1979; 35 years later, the fiesta is Europe's largest annual hot-air balloon festival. Today, members of Bristol University Hot-Air Ballooning Society regularly fly the University's own famous red balloon.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, the Clifton Suspension Bridge was 24-year-old Brunel's first major commission, secured after he won a competition to design a new crossing over the River Avon. 

Jazmin Sawyers (LLB 2013-)

Student Jazmin Sawyers won a silver medal in the women's long jump this summer at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1929 until 1965. In 1953, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, 'for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values'.

The Matthew of Bristol

The Matthew of Bristol is a replica of the English ship, captained by John Cabot, that sailed from Bristol to North America in 1497.

The Victoria Rooms

Another familiar Bristol landmark, The Victoria Rooms first opened its doors in May 1842 and for many years served as the most important and lively cultural centre in the West of England. The original hall was destroyed by fire in 1934 and once restored, became the headquarters for the Students' Union until 1964. In 1996, it was re-allocated to the Department of Music.


The work of world-famous street artist, Banksy, has cropped up in London, LA and New York, as well as his home town of Bristol. 

Bark at Ee

In October 2013, the University bought one of the hugely popular Gromit Unleashed statues, helping to raise £2.3 million for Bristol’s Children Hospital. Bark at Ee, who has been homed in the Wills Memorial Building, was designed by Leigh Flurry, an illustrator and designer based in Bristol. Flurry incorporated Bristol phrases and expressions into the design.

Great George

Great George was cast in 1924 and is reputed to be the finest E-flat bell in Europe, and one of the deepest-toned bells in the world. It is the sixth-largest bell in England and can be heard 12 miles away. Great George was named after George V, George Oatley and George Wills. Follow him on Twitter @GreatGeorgeWMB.

David Walliams (BA 1992)

David Walliamscomedian, actor, presenter and author, studied drama at Bristol from 1989-92.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Victorian engineer and industrialist, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, began his extraordinary career in Bristol and has left a lasting mark on its landscape - in Clifton Suspension Bridge, the ss Great Britain and Temple Meads station. The University's Brunel Collection is described as the finest collection of original Brunel source material.

The Penguin Archive

In 1960, Sir Allen Lane, the Bristol-born founder of Penguin Books, donated his library of signed Penguin books to the University. Today the University houses the entire Penguin Archive - more than 2,000 boxes of letters, notes and other papers spanning the history of the company from its establishment in 1935 to the present day.

Paul Dirac (BSc 1923)

Paul Dirac (1902-84) graduated from Bristol with a BSc in Engineering in 1921, then studied mathematics at Bristol for a further two years. In 1933, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Erwin Schrödinger 'for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory'.

Royal Fort House

Royal Fort House was built in 1758-62 on the site of a Civil War fortification for Thomas Tyndall, a wealthy Bristol merchant. Today, the building is home to the University's Institute for Advanced Studies.

Graduating student 

Graduation is one of the high points in the academic year - an opportunity for students, along with their families, friends and University staff, to celebrate their achievement.

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