Dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, St Nicholas was given to the Abbey of St Augustine,
now Bristol Cathedral, in 1172 by Robert Fitzharding, third son of Robert, Lord Berkeley. In the
14th century the church was rebuilt on the city's inner wall and the gate beneath the chancel was
renamed St Nicholas' Gate. In 1760 plans for a new Bristol Bridge entailed the demolition of the
gate along with the nave and chancel of the church. In 1762 work began on a new church designed
by James Bridges, who was also responsible for the new Bristol Bridge. Bridges left Bristol in 1763
and the work was completed
by a local architect, Thomas Paty. The 15th century crypt was preserved
beneath the new
church, which was completed in 1769. St Nicholas was badly damaged during an
air raid on 24th November
1940, but temporary repairs allowed services to resume in 1941. In 1959
the parishes of St Stephen
and St Nicholas were merged, and in 1973 St Nicholas became a church
museum. The museum
closed in 1992 and in 1994 the church became the Tourist Information Centre,
but this later
moved to the new Harbourside development and the church is currently unused.