Bristol Guild of Applied Art

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Bristol Guild
of Applied Art
Industry Retailing
Founded 1908
Headquarters Bristol, England
Area served
West Country
Key people
Ken Stradling (Chairman)
Mike Cannings (Managing Director)
Products Arts and Crafts Movement

The Bristol Guild of Applied Art, more commonly referred to within Bristol as simply The Guild, is a privately held department store on Bristol's Park Street in the UK. Founded in 1908, the Guild was inspired by the philosophy of William Morris, and originally offered a place for artists and craftsmen to come together, learn from each other and sell their wares. Today it still showcases artists both local and foreign, while also operating as a more conventional small department store.


The Guild was founded in 1908 as a guild in the true sense, a co-operative for local craftsmen to organise, work, learn and sell their handiwork. It was built on the principles behind William Morris's Arts and Crafts Movement and lasted in that form until 1918, when the enterprise folded. It was bought out by three local businessmen and turned into a fully commercial venture, importing glass from Sweden and crystal and pottery from elsewhere in the United Kingdom.[1] Park Street has been the home of the Guild since its founding, with the modern-day premises located at 68–70 Park Street. Since the 1940s, the Guild has survived the Bristol Blitz bombings in World War II and a Provisional IRA attack in 1974.[1][2]

Modern times[edit]

Since its inception the Guild has offered exhibitions of particular artists and craftspeople, both established names and newcomers, including Gillian Lowndes and Dan Arbeit,[1] at its second floor public gallery.[3] While he was a student at Bristol University, the Guild was a source of fascination and inspiration for the writer John Metcalf.[4] In 2008, an extensive programme of refurbishment department by department, with a major overhaul of the layout and café began.[1] In 2016 the Guild ceased to use the westernmost of the buildings it had previously occupied.

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 51°27′19″N 2°36′11″W / 51.455218°N 2.603037°W / 51.455218; -2.603037

Bristol Guild of Applied Art is located in Bristol
Bristol Guild of Applied Art
Bristol Guild of Applied Art
Shown within Bristol
  • Stradling, Ken (2004). The Guild History Book. Redcliffe Publishing. 


  1. ^ a b c d "The art of the matter". Bristol Evening Post. August 15, 2008. 
  2. ^ McGladdery, p. 99.
  3. ^ "Marta Lombard at The Guild Gallery". BBC. 
  4. ^ Metcalf, p. 175.


  • McGladdery, Gary (2006). The Provisional IRA in England: the bombing campaign, 1973-1997. Irish Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-7165-3373-3. 
  • Metcalf, John (2003). An aesthetic underground: a literary memoir.