City of Bristol Flag

A proposal by Thomas Rasche   Facebook

Inspired by recent flag competitions and the Ted talk by Roman Mars, I thought I'd consider whether the City of Bristol could benefit from having a city flag. Currently, it does not have a flag. Having a flag can give the community of Bristol a clear sense of community and a shared expression of identity: it is often unclear in people's minds if the City of Bristol is also a county, or if it's still Avon, or Gloucestershire/Somerset.

To encourage local communities, Eric Pickles MP said in 2012 "If people want to flying a flag they should be able to do so... We will make it easier for people to celebrate their allegiance to a cause, a county or a local organisation if they choose to do so."

The City of Bristol does have a coat of arms and a similar looking seal, but no Banner of Arms (i.e. a flag, derived from the coat of arms), or flag. It is possible to buy an unofficial flag which has a coat of arms on a white background and the text 'England Bristol' on it. Bristol City Council has a logo (alt) based on the coat of arms/seal and an emblem (alt). Images of the Coat of Arms can be seen around the city, such as on municipal buildings, bridges and the SS Great Britain. The coat of arms is an image consisting of a golden ship leaving the water gate of a silver coloured castle, with two unicorns on either side. The coat of arms can also be referred to as a crest, emblem or blazon.

However, as both Roman Mars and the Flag institute describe, this image is too much detail for a flag. A flag should be much simpler in design: simple, meaningful, limited use of colours, no lettering or seals and relate to what it represents...

To give some context, the City of London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, York and Belfast all have have city flags. Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire have county flags. Historic regions such as the black country, Mercia and Wessex have regional/provincial flags. England, Wales and Scotland have national flags. Bristol's City Hall has flown other flags, such as the Wessex Flag - a yellow dragon (griffin/gryphon) against a red background.

Wouldn't it be great if the City of Bristol had it's own flag?

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Here's the 1569 description of Bristol's Coat of Arms:

Gules [Red] on a mount vert [Green], issuant out of a castle silver [Silver/White] upon wave [Blue], a ship gold [Gold]...upon the heaulme in a wreathe golde and gules; issuant out of the cloudes two armes in saltour charnew, in the one hand a serpent vert, in the other a pair of balance gold; supported with two unicornes seant gold mained, horned; and clayed sables mantled gules dowbled silver." Bold brackets added.

Wikipedia Coat of Arms
Bristol Coat of Arms
About Bristol
Bristol Coat of Arms
in the city
BCC Emblem
Bristol City
Council emblem



News and updates...

Interview with Laura Rawlings on BBC Radio Bristol (interview starts at 1 hour 36 minutes, but discussed from start), on 19th September 2015.

The (first) Petition submitted to Bristol City Council for a flag design competition (now ended).

For further information and links:

Online Petition with Bristol City Council: ends Fri 18th Sept 2015

Bristol Flag discussions on facebook

UK Flag Institute, an adviser to the UK Parliamentary Flags & Heraldry Committee. It has "no results" when searching for "Bristol".

Heraldry wiki for Bristol coat of arms/blazon and seal images.

About Bristol for coat of arms examples around the city of Bristol.

Wikipedia for haraldic tinctures (colours).

Online shops selling Bristol flags: World of Flags and Flags of the World Shop.

British county flags.