For a city which is both incredibly proud and the worthy recipients of some of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s greatest creations, including a bridge, a ship and a railway station, the way that Bristol commemorates our most famous adopted son is curiously lacklustre.
There is a small and ugly statue of him on Temple Way behind Temple Meads, and a plaque hidden by some flowerbeds near the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Then there are the numerous businesses named after the great man, which a quick Google reveals everything from Brunel Ford Cars & Vans to the Brunel Darts League.
The Brunel pub on St John’s Road in Bedminster used to be called the Engineers Arms before being rebranded recently by owners Greene King. The frosted windows still display its old name as does the bus stop nearby.
Built in 1897, this pub is huge, but apart from those frosted windows, most of the original fixtures have been ripped out to create a rather boring and ubiquitous interior, although outside is still rather splendid, especially the black and white timber gables, large stone chimneys and curved snug.
Ruddle’s County and Best Bitter, Wadworth 6X, and Greene King IPA were the ales on tap when I visited last weekend, with Blackthorn and Thatcher’s Gold the ciders.
I counted three flat screens showing some football and Formula One, and there are two pool tables.
Old black and white photos of Bristol line the walls, while near the bar there is a huge photo of the Suspension Bridge at night, the most famous creation of the reckless engineer, who deserves to be more noticeably remembered.
The Brunel, 315 St John’s Lane, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 5AZ. 0117 966 3339.