Pero’s Bridge Installation

The Bristol-based team have decided to focus their part of the project on Bristol’s docks, and the way that the dock area (now called the Harbourside) has changed its character so dramatically over the last 50 years. All three art pieces will be within a small area around Pero’s Bridge.

Pero’s Bridge Installation

Pero’s Bridge Installation Soundscape. Speakers will be mounted underneath Pero’s Bridge and through the speakers we will run a 20 minute looped soundtrack which recaptures the noises of a working dock. As pedestrians cross the bridge they will hear cranes, hoists, trolleys, goods trains, ships engines, hooters etc and will, we hope, experience with new eyes and ears the surrounding cityscape and the traces of Bristol’s docking past that remain.
Pero’s Bridge was built in 1999 and named after a man known as ‘Pero’ who lived from around 1753 to 1798. He was an enslaved man who was the personal servant of a very rich Bristol merchant called John Pinney (1740-1818).

Pero came to England in 1783. By 1791 he was the servant of the Pinney family in Bristol, in their house near the top of Park Street. Naming the new bridge ‘Pero’s Bridge’ was an important act by Bristol City Council for three reasons:

  • It showed that the contribution of black people to the development of the city was recognised;
  • It showed that Slavery had helped make Bristol a wealthy city in the past;
  • It showed that the City wanted people to know that it was sorry for the suffering that this had caused and that the racism of the past would no longer be ignored or hidden.

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