Queen Square has always been popular with rich merchants and traders. In 1775 seven merchants who traded with Africa, one merchant in the West Indian trade and a firm of tobacco merchants from Virginia in North America lived in the Square. Some interesting events in Bristol history have taken place in the square: for example many of the buildings in one section were burned down during the Bristol Riot in 1831, which began after protests about the refusal of the Government to allow ordinary men to vote in elections. During the Second World War (1939-1945) bombing in 1940 and 1941 during the Bristol Blitz destroyed a number of the buildings. Only recently has the road across the centre of the square been removed to restore the original design.