The Stradling Collection is a charity and is unique in that it came out of the world of retailing post-war craft and design.

Ken Stradling MBE was buyer at the Bristol Guild from 1948, rising to become its Managing Director. During Ken’s incredible 60-year career at the Guild, he collected many of the items that he also sold. In reflecting the stock at the Guild, this collection shows how his unique vision helped shaped the tastes of shoppers at such an exciting and innovative era of design. The Guild became a design shop that introduced Bristolians to new and exciting ceramics, glass, furniture and decorative objects from makers in Britain, Europe, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Ken was deeply committed to sharing his love of design. In 2006 he created a charitable trust and gave the Collection a permanent home at 48 Park Row, Bristol.

Today the Ken Stradling Collection Trust exists to care for the Collection and inspire and educate current and future makers, and make the Collection available to everyone to study and enjoy. Through Ken’s generosity and vision, the Stradling Collection remains a jewel in Bristol’s cultural crown.

“For some people, objects are a way of making life more rewarding, and among enthusiasts and collectors, Ken Stradling takes a special place. His collection demonstrates a lifelong fascination with the making of domestic objects in his own time, and a commitment to sharing it with others.”

Dr Alan Powers, historian and writer on C20th design

“Learning to look can be just as creative as making.”

Ken Stradling, MBE, founder


To enrich people’s lives by promoting the understanding of design, craft, creativity and innovation through a unique Bristol story of entrepreneurship at the Bristol Guild of Applied Art.



This extraordinary collection grew out of retail buying for a design shop – the Bristol Guild. The link is the home and the things we use and enjoy in it, from furniture to contemporary glass and ceramics. Explore our selection of sample pieces.


News and articles by visiting students and Dr Oliver Kent, archaeologist, ceramicist and Trustee of the Stradling Collection.

Collector, entrepreneur, retail buyer, raconteur…

Ken Stradling MBE turned 100 in January 2022 and died 31 July the same year. As buyer and MD of the Bristol Guild, he was an influential advocate, distributor and collector of world-class modern design from Europe and the Nordic regions in the post-war years.

His delightfully diverse collection arose from his buying career and is today held in a charitable trust which ensures it is available to inspire the makers of today and tomorrow and exists for all of us to enjoy.