'The Modern Bridge' from John Latimer, The Annal of Bristol in the Eighteenth Century, vol. 4 (1893), extra-illustrated by Priscilla Fry. Courtesy of the University of Bristol's Special Collections.
The new bridge was built in 1768 to replace the medieval stone bridge which, with its shops, houses and 75 foot chapel, created a huge obstacle to increased traffic. The new bridge was designed by the aptly-named John Bridges, who, frustrated by it taking so long for the Council to obtain funding for the building, had left Bristol for the West Indies. The Council decided to raise a toll to pay for the expenses which was the catalyst for the 1793 Bridge Riots.