Johnny Ball. Popular children’s television presenter who presented many programmes that helped make maths accessible, including the classic Think Of A Number. Ball was also a presenter of Play School. Johnny Ball is father of Zoe Ball, who followed in her father’s footsteps by becoming a television and radio presenter. Both father and daughter are veterans of Strictly Come Dancing.
Banksy. The elusive graffiti artist has transformed the streets of Bristol and other cities with huge works of street art. He has always protected his identity, and the anonymity of the artist has strengthened the mystique and popularity of his work, which now attracts international acclaim. Legend has it that Banksy was born in Bristol.
Blackbeard. Whilst not a certainty, is seems likely that the infamous pirate Blackbeard – real name Edward Teach - was born in Bristol. The black haired and bearded pirate plundered ships in the Americas and the Caribbean. It may be that mythology and folklore have added to and enhanced his exploits, for many see Blackbeard as a model pirate...
Robin Cousins. Figure skater who gained a Gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. Cousins also won several World Championship and European Championship medals. Cousins continued his skating career by turning professional and has appeared in and directed ice shows; other work includes acting, sports commentating and judging celebrity contestants on the TV show Dancing on Ice.
Paul Dirac. Paul Dirac was a man who forged breakthroughs in science, yet few have ever heard his name. His academic talents - honed through schooling at Bishop Road Primary School and the Merchant Venturers’ School – led to Dirac’s studying mathematics at the University of Bristol when he was sixteen years old. Paul Dirac gained the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933.
W G Grace. An outstanding cricketer, W G Grace was born in Downend. Grace’s cricketing career lasted more than four decades, ending in 1908; he maintained amateur status in the sport as his main profession was as a doctor. W G Grace captained local and national cricket teams and was admired for his skill in all areas of the sport.
Cary Grant. An iconic actor who made his name in Hollywood, Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach in Horfield, Bristol. He was expelled from Fairfield school in Montpelier at the age of fourteen. Leach joined Bob Pender’s group of travelling performers, and was selected to be one of the performers that toured in America. Stage work eventually gave way to screen; when Leach gained work with Paramount Pictures he changed is name to Cary Grant. The rest is history...
Isaac Rosenberg. A casualty of the war about which he wrote, Isaac Rosenberg was an artist and poet, best known for his evocative First World War poetry. Rosenberg’s family moved from Bristol to London in 1897, in hope of better prospects. Rosenberg studied at the Slade School of Art, but was always drawn to writing – his first poetry book was published two years before the outbreak of the First World War.