An ongoing Project researching the history of Bristol Spaceworks and its 6 Business Centres and Sites and Buildings….
Easton Business Centre, Felix Road, Easton
The site of the Easton Business Centre (EBC) has been host to a variety of very different businesses and building structures over the years and Bristol Spaceworks has continued this trend with the current modern day business centre we have today.
EBC is located on the site of the former Easton Colliery, which was active from 1830-1911.
J Lyons & Co ran a Wholesale Tea distribution depot onsite, from 1931 – 1962 and their Warehouse covered the area at the end of the Car Park and where the Single Storey building is today.
From a 1950 Map of the site, located on the site of where the 2 Storey building is now, there was a building which housed a company called A. V. Willis General Engineer (Source: 1950 Bristol Town Plans).
In 1991 East Bristol Enterprise developed the site, which at the time previously housed Julian Flook Wine Supermarket, to create a Three Storey purpose business centre. In 1999 an additional block was built giving further workshop and office/studio space to create what is now EBC.
From 1883 – “From the description of Easton Colliery in ‘Bristol Times & Mirror’ it appears that, by this time at least, the workings of the Easton & Whitehall pits are connected by an underground roadway 2 – 3 miles long. Towards the Whitehall shaft there were two 30 horsepower engines in an underground engine-house. The engines were used for pulling trams up inclines. They were 380yds below the surface. WB Monks, Senior, (1831-1892), Mine Manager, is described as giving the Times & Mirror reporters a ‘cheerful and kindly greeting’”. Source: http://www.cems.uwe.ac.uk/~rstephen/livingeaston/local_history/coalmining/shorthistory.html
The following 3 Maps give you an idea of where the Colliery was located, in reference to modern day Easton Business Centre, and straddles both our current day neighbours – St Gabriel’s Business Park and the Felix Road Adventure Playground too…
Circa 1900 – 2 Pictures and a Sketch showing what the Colliery actually looked like…..
…and an aerial view of 21st Century Easton Business Centre
J Lyons & Co
J Lyons & Co came on site in 1931 and they were located at the bottom of the current Car Park/Single Storey building. They set up a wholesale tea distribution business in Bristol, Tea was dispatched to many places “such as Liskeard, Banbury, Cardiff, Llanelly, Penzance and Hereford”. The business ceased trading in 1962 but apparently there was an attached Bakery, which was set up in 1930s and continued trading after 1962. (Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/32707461202/in/album-72157604873961368/ )
1950 Map of Site
The Old Library Business Centre, Trinity Road, St Philips
Previously known as the St Philips Public Library and also as the St Philips Free Library
The Library was built in 1896 in a Jacobethan style and was named the: St Philips Public Library. It was designed by William Venn Gough and it still has its original name on the top of the building. It closed as a public Library on 28 November 2012. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_Road_Library,_Bristol )
We’ve found a couple of old pictures of the Library in all its glory back in the 1900’s……
The Old School House, Salisbury Street, Barton Hill
The building was built in 1899 and named as the Bristol Friends First Day School. 6 years later the building was extended to include a Gym, Skittle Alley and Billiards room. Its name was recorded in Kelly’s Directory of Bristol of 1914 as ‘Society of Friends Meeting House’ and also ‘Barton Hill Adult School’. In 1951 it was known as the ‘Adult School’ and then in 1967 re-named the ‘Barton Hill Bristol Friends First Day School’. (Source http://churchdb.gukutils.org.uk/GLS1926.php )
In the 1970s and 80s the Building was used by the Boys Brigade, the Shaftesbury Crusade and Barton Hill History Group. (Source: Barton Hill Revisited – Images of England, Barton Hill History Group, Tempus Publishing Ltd, 2005). It closed as a School in 1980.
The Old Co-Op Business Centre, Chelsea Road, Easton
The Old Co-op building is located on Chelsea Road, in Easton. Formerly part of the Co-operative chain of Supermarkets, it was our very first Business Centre, opening in 1985.
No 38 and No 40-42 buildings was purchased with help from Bristol City Council and Central Government in 1985 and saw the amalgamation of East Bristol Enterprise and Bristol East Side Traders (BEST) to take over the running of the building.
Bristol East Side Traders (BEST) started in 1985 … “By organising street festivals in St Marks Road and St Paul’s Market, two of the city’s busiest inner-city trading areas, the group helped create a sense of pride in the local community. The festivals enabled people to run stalls and tryout their business ideas, and gave local traders the opportunity to get their products to customers. They also made closer links with other businesses operating in the two streets.” https://www.wikipreneurship.eu/index.php/Bristol_East_Side_Traders
A refurbishment was undertaken in 2004/5 and the building now offers 26 good quality offices of varying sizes.
St Bonaventures Business Centre, Friary Road, Bishopston
St Bonaventure’s Business Centre was officially opened in October 2017, with Bristol Spaceworks taking over management of the Centre from this date.
In March 2020, the Business Centre was expanded to house 8 more Units….
The building was formally a Social Club, and hosted a wide variety of live music gigs. CRH Music had put on gigs their for the previous 12 years. See the links below for local press stories…
Pictures of Gigs & Gig Tickets
Redbrick House Co-Working Space, Wilder Street, St Pauls
Redbrick House is a not-for-profit co-working space, centrally located in St Pauls. Bristol Spaceworks bought the building in 2020 and took over the running of it from Paper Arts CIC, previous to this it was an old Council building.
The building is comprised of four floors and includes a range of spaces, from interactive open-plan co-working to secluded studio spaces.