Hugh Owen (English, 1808-1897)
Queen Square, Bristol
Albumen print, 1860s-1870s, from a paper negative, before 1855
15.4 x 20.3 cm mounted on 26.0 x 28.3 cm album sheet
Numbered "56" in pencil on mount
Queen's Square, named after Queen Anne who visited Bristol in 1702, was the home of the city's merchant elite for much of the eighteenth and early 19th century. In 1831 a riot to protest local political opposition to the Reform Bill erupted and destroyed more than half of the buildings located on the North and West side of the square. Despite a rapid effort to rebuild, the area never again attained the same residential popularity. In the early 1860s it was proposed to turn the area into the location of Bristol's central railway station, a plan which ultimately did not come to fruition. Owen's decision to capture the square in this particular print may have been influenced by the specter of its possible demise.