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24 September 2014
BBC Bristol: The website that loves Bristol: A Sense of Place

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A mind's eye view of Bristol
13 May 2002 0922 BST

How does Bristol look to somebody without sight?

Malcolm Chappell tells A Sense of Place how he views the city.
Being part of A Sense of Place helped Malcolm to picture Clifton Suspension Bridge.
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Hear the FULL A Sense of Place programme from Fergus Colville about Malcolm's view of Bristol.
(Dur 30 minutes)

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As a blind person, I find the city of Bristol a lively and vibrant place.

There is always the background noise of traffic, people milling about and the day to day hustle and bustle of a busy city.

What I do miss not being able to see the city where I live are the buildings and architecture. It makes it difficult to get a sense of proportions and size.

I was asked to take part in the BBC's A Sense of Place programme and to give my mind's view of Clifton Suspension Bridge - a prominent Bristol icon which I have walked across but never seen.

Sketch of bridge

I was asked to draw with pen and paper, how I pictured Brunel's magnificent structure and then show it to the bridge master, John Mitchell.

The sketch I had drawn was indeed a suspension bridge but it did not resemble the one that spans the Avon Gorge.

John took me on a tour of the bridge where I was able to touch the two large brick pillars that support the heavy steel chains that hold the bridge.

Everything was much larger than I had imagined.

On my picture, I had drawn four quite small pillars, one on each corner of the bridge.

The size of the steel chains was a bit of a shock to me, I hadn't expected them to be structured in the way they are.

I sat down with John and drew another picture of the suspension bridge and this time it resembled Brunel's masterpiece much more.

It was a great experience being part of the programme and an ideal opportunity to fill in one of the blank jigsaw pieces in my mind.

You are in:
:: A Sense of Place
FootballThe city is split - are you blue or red?
A Sense of Place delves into the simmering rivalry between City and Rovers fans in Bristol.
  Detail from Clevedon PierPeople and places, pier to pier
Go on a voyage of discovery along the Severn Estuary from Clevedon to Weston, with A Sense of Place.
  A Mind's Eye View
Malcolm Chappell tells us how somebody with no sight sees Bristol.

Do you speak good Brizzle?
A Sense of Place looks at the unique Bristol accent and some of the words we use.

Listen to A Sense of Place on BBC Radio Bristol and the BBC Bristol website:
28 April:
Bristol Derby Passion
5 May: The Bristol English Dictionary
12 May: Blind Bristol
19 May: Pier to Pier
26 May: A Picture of Bath
2 June: The Front Line
:: Talk Bristol
Do you have a view on this story? Why not tell the rest of Bristol on BBC Bristol's very own chat forum, Talk Bristol.

  :: Live today
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