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Royal York Crescent

Perhaps the most well-known of the terrraces is Royal York Crescent. Set on the hillside, it is majestically visible from the gorge below and across the harbour.

The Royal York Crescent is the highlight of Clifton's urban planning. This is apparently the longest Georgian crescent in Britain, although the one in Bath is probably more famous. The terrace houses are built on the hillside and offer majestic views over the steep drop of the Avon river.

Building began in 1791 over gardens and orchards belonging to a mansion built by a 17th century landowner. In 1812 three unfinished houses were being advertised in the London newspapers by a builder named Westcott, stating that the situation was now better in Bristol. The designs of the houses vary slightly as different builders were involved but all in all the ensemble gives an impression of harmonious urban complex.

In fact the crescent was not completed until 1820, due to money problems brought on by war with the French. During this time the site with its unfinished houses was bought by the War Department who considered building barracks there. Persuaded by public opinion against this scheme, they sold it to a developer who finished the work.

The front doors of the houses open out on to a raised pavement or terraced walk. Beneath this are basements and vaults. The designs of the houses vary slightly as different builders were involved.
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