Sunday, 31 January 2010

Edward Everard's Printing Works

A recent visit to Bristol brought us face to face with this polychromed architectural treasure at 37 Broad Street. Built in 1900-01 to house the Everard Printing Works, it boasts a spectacular ceramic facade designed by William J Neatby and manufactured by Doulton that radiates Victorian pride in the ancient and sacred craft of printing. In best Victorian fashion, religious imagery was employed to add benediction to commerce and while the figure of Light and Truth looks down from the gable, the resplendent Spirit of Light, absorbed in reading, spreads her wings over the window arches. Johannes Gutenberg and William Morris representing the Founding Fathers are portrayed, engaged in honest toil. The flamboyant Art Nouveau font in which the company name is lettered was designed by Everard himself. The printing works closed in 1967 and the building narrowly escaped demolition. It is now II* listed, follow this link to read the English Heritage description. Nothing of the original interior survives and the current occupant is the nation's favourite pantomime villain, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). UK taxpayers are the proud owners of more than 60% of RBS. It follows that between us we own 60% of this very fine building.

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