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14:18 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Inside Bristol's Georgian House

Georgian House

One of Bristol's often-overlooked museums can be found just off of Park Street, in the centre of the city.

The Georgian House Museum is of special interest for those finding out more about the city's links with slavery.

It was formerly a private residence, built in 1790 by John Pinney who earned his fortune from sugar plantations on the Caribbean island of Nevis.

It was also home to his personal valet - and slave - a man of African-Caribbean origin named Pero.

Pero was probably born on Nevis and was sold to plantation owner John Pinney when he was only 12, along with two younger sisters.

He soon learnt the trade of a valet, even how to pull teeth, something barbers traditionally did in those days before dentists.

He could read and had an eye for business, trading whenever he could in small goods on the plantation.

When John Pinney returned to live with his family in Bristol in 1783, he brought Pero with him, but left Pero's sisters behind.

Pero was eventually freed by his owner after years working at the Georgian House and died in 1798, aged 45, in Ashton, Bristol.

In 1999 the part he played in the city's past was acknowledged when a footbridge at the Harbourside was named Pero's Bridge in remembrance.

Drawing room House history

Now owned by the city council, the house is displayed as it might have looked in the 18th Century and provides an insight into life above and below stairs.

There are 11 rooms spread over four floors.

These include: the basement, where you can see the kitchen, housekeeper's room, pantry and John Pinney's cold water plunge pool; formal rooms including Pinney's office, two dining rooms, a library and two drawing rooms and the second floor bedroom.

There's also a small exhibition on the Pinney's involvement in the sugar trade and Pero.

Ironically a portrait of ardent abolitionist, playwright and religious writer Hannah More can also be found in the house.

On 1 August 2007, Emancipation Day, a new interpretation at the Georgian House was launched as part of the commemoration of 200 years after the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act.

Visitors can now learn more about how the profits from commercial trading and the transatlantic slave trade helped to shape the city of Bristol we know today.


You can find the Georgian House Museum at 7 Great George Street, Bristol BS1 5RR (just off Park Street)

General house enquiries: 0117 921 1362

When is it open?

Saturday - Wednesday: 10am - 5pm

Thursday and Friday: Closed

Christmas 2008: Closing at 1pm on Christmas Eve, then closed Christmas Day & Boxing Day

The Georgian House will be closed for cleaning from 22-30 January 2009 (inclusive).

Cost of entry?

Entry to all Bristol City Council museums is free.

Access information

Access is limited because of the age and layout of the house. There are three flights of stairs, no lift and no toilet.

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Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery (17 Dec 08 |  People and Places )

Georgian House

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