Photo: Frontage of Bristol Guild

It is with enormous regret that we acknowledge the closing of our neighbour the Bristol Guild on 30 May 2024 after 116 years of trading. Its impact has been explored in this BBC news item: The Bristol Guild department store announces closure – BBC News

Our late founder, Ken Stradling MBE worked there and developed the business from just after WWII until his retirement in 2006. The Guild became a real focal point in Bristol and the South West for quality design and applied arts. A customer of the 1970s remembered “Ken’s courage and faith in the modern: you entered with such confidence. There was evident care and good judgment in the selection, a commitment to contemporary craftsmanship and good design, local or foreign.”

During his long career, Ken collected many of the items he also sold at the Guild which led him to the establishment of a charitable trust. He wanted to ensure that the Collection was accessible to view, to consult and to act as inspiration for new generations. He wrote in 1988, “the general standard of public taste will never improve until design becomes an integral part of everyone’s general education” – something the Stradling Collection aims to help to do through its learning programme and exhibitions.

The story of the Bristol Guild and the Stradling Collection are deeply very interwoven. Whilst we can confirm that the Guild’s archives will be held locally (not at the Collection) we aim to continue the Guild’s legacy and uphold its memory through Ken’s extraordinary Collection here at 48 Park Row.

Some pictures of the Bristol Guild

Here are just a few images of the Bristol Guild picked from our Stradling Collection archives – there are so many to choose from. The Guild themselves will, of course, have so many more.

Roll over images for picture titles