The link between Bristol and Hannover began in 1947 with a visit to Hannover by five prominent Bristol citizens: Councillor St.John Reade, Professor August Closs of Bristol University, Edward Seath of the city Youth Department, Crofton Gane, a local businessman, and Donald Hughes, local artist. This goodwill visit took place because information had come from Hannover that in the bitter winter of 1947 many children were unable to go to school, because they had no shoes. The people of Bristol collected shoes and the Goodwill Mission took them to Hannover. It is a matter of pride in both cities that the link was the first of its kind and that it came spontaneously from the wishes of its own citizens.
Alderman St John Reade and Professor August Closs then instigated the Bristol-Hannover Council in April 1948. In 1952 the reciprocal Hannover-Bristol Society (Hannover-Bristol Gesellschaft) was founded by Professor Oppermann. The first official visit to Hannover was made in March 1950 by a group led by the Lord Mayor of Bristol. A return visit, led by the Oberbürgermeister of Hannover, was made in March 1952 and many contacts between individuals and groups have since flourished. In many cases friendships have extended to second and third generations.
The objectives of the Bristol Hannover Council are to further the purposes which have developed from the original links, namely:
Bristol-Hannover Council aims to involve as many Bristolians as possible, young and old, in extending these ties which have already enriched the lives of so many people in both cities. Many exchanges have been supported by the Council, including:
Since the beginning of the twinning, there has also been a close link between the Lord Mayors, Councillors and Officers of the two cities and there are continuing links between organizations such as churches, police, fire brigade, business, industry and trade unions.