Bristol heroes Brunel and Banksy named among ‘England’s finest’

April 21, 2014

Brunel’s engineering masterpieces in Bristol and graffiti artist Banksy’s street art have been named among England’s greatest achievements in a list based on votes by the public.

The two Bristol heroes will now star in a Hall of Fame showcasing England’s finest alongside Robin Hood, Sir Isaac Newton, The Beatles, the sandwich and a raft of other greats.

Brunel and Banksy achieved gold and bronze awards respectively in the competition staged by tourist board VisitEngland to come up with a list of ‘England’s finest’.

Nearly 1,000 entries were received and the category winners are being promoted at a week-long, free Hall of Fame exhibition at Observation Point on London’s Southbank,  which started on Wednesday – St George’s Day.

Details of the winners’ achievements also appear in a Hall of Fame app, giving tourists a must-see list of places to visit in England.

The appearance of two highly-influential Bristol figures on the list has been welcomed by Bristol’s tourist chiefs who see it as giving the city’s profile another significant boost.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Bristol engineering masterpieces including Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain achieved Gold in the Inventions & Discoveries category while Banksy scooped Bronze in a category named The Great, the Good and the Notorious.

Somerset’s Glastonbury Festival landed Bronze in the culture & entertainment section.

Destination Bristol head of marketing Kelly Ballard said: “It’s great to see two of Bristol’s heroes coming top of this prestigious list. While Brunel was more popular than Sir Isaac Newton the most interesting result was Banksy achieving a Bronze over the Queen and James Bond. It really does show how Banksy’s work has the ability to reach the hearts and minds of people.”

Other suggestions from the public in the six categories, which did not win medals, included Harry Styles, the mini skirt and the tuxedo.

The public was also given a vote to find The People’s Choice – revealed on Wednesday as William Shakespeare.

England’s ultimate Hall of Fame consists of:-

Inventions & Discoveries:-
Isambard Kingdom Brunel's engineering masterpieces in Bristol, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain passenger steamship.
Silver – Sir Isaac Newton’s family home at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire, where the English physicist and mathematician first discovered his theory of gravity.
– England as the birthplace of the steam locomotive, whose steam train attractions can be found chugging around the country including Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge, Shropshire.

The Great, the Good and the Notorious:-
– Founder of the National Trust, Octavia Hill, whose museum is in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
Silver Robin Hood, whose legend is rooted in Sherwood Forest near Nottingham.
Bronze – Elusive graffiti artist Banksy, whose original murals can be spotted on a guided tour of Bristol’s street art.

Culture & Entertainment:-
The Beatles, whose irresistible tunes have remained popular since the 1960s.
Silver – Hampshire’s elegant Highclere Castle, real-life location of ITV’s Downton Abbey.
BronzeGlastonbury, the granddaddy of all festivals on Somerset’s Worthy Farm.

History & Heritage:-
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the world’s oldest industrial complex and a crucial part of England’s naval heritage.
Silver – The sweeping vistas of England’s landscaping master, Capability Brown, as seen at Northumberland’s Kirkharle Lake and Courtyard.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Bronze – The four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta, sealed in 1215 at Runnymede, Surrey, and regarded as the foundation of constitutional liberty in the English-speaking world.

Food & Drink:-
The sandwich, named in honour of its ingenious inventor John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich.
Silver England’s oldest working gin distillery in Plymouth, whose guided tours provide a glimpse into the centuries-old process of gin making.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Bronze – The Bakewell Pudding, first made at a local inn in Derbyshire during the 19th century.

Sport & Leisure:-
Gold – The accidental birth of modern rugby during a football game at Rugby School in Warwickshire.
Silver – The home of tennis, from Hampton Court Palace in Richmond-upon-Thames, where the sport is thought to have been invented, to Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
Bronze – The annual BNY Mellon Boat Race (Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race), established in 1829.


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