Clifton, a watering place of Gloucestershire, England, now forming a suburb of Bristol; pop. in 1871, 20,701. It is built on the southern acclivity of a steep cliff, nearly at the top of which is York crescent, a fine row of houses. Above this are Clifton down and St. Vincent rocks, 300 ft. high, crowned by an observatory. In some places the rock rises perpendicularly, and the Avon flows through a deep gorge, which is crossed by a suspension bridge of 702 ft. span and 200 ft. above the river. The bridge was built after designs by Brunei, and partly from funds left by Alderman Vick in 1753; but owing to lack of money it was long in an unfinished state, and was not completed till 1864. Clifton is the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop, and near it is Staple-ton, the palace of the Anglican bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. Clifton college occupies an area of 15 acres, and comprises a gymnasium, boarding houses, schools, and chapels. There is a fine zoological garden. The scenery of the neighborhood is romantic. The hot spring, situated at the foot of St. Vincent rocks, lias a temperature of 76° F., and discharges about 40 gallons a minute. The principal mineral ingredients of the water are salts of lime, and when it is drawn into a glass a few bubbles of carbonic acid gas are emitted.
The water is useful in many disorders. The spring has been known for centuries, but was first enclosed by the corporation of Bristol in 1690. There are now a pump room and hot and cold baths. The climate is salubrious, though strong winds prevail from the west and southwest. Rain frequently falls, but owing to the absorbent nature of the soil the ground soon dries.
Clifton Suspension Bridge.