When the studio members were trying to decide on a theme for The Festival of Making, one member suggested cotton. In Bristol and its associates spaces are housed in the last remaining buildings of The Great Western Cotton Works. Researching for the open studio has shown that there is a wealth of history and imagery around The Cotton Works, some of which has been collected below.
The Great Western Cotton Works was a huge complex of buildings that ran from Maze Street all the way to the canal. Now, only the studio building and some of the weaving sheds remain.
The Cotton factory was a huge employer of women and girls and during its heyday it employed around 1000 people.
There are many recorded incidents of striking workers and rebellion relating to the Cotton Works. Many of these were organised and led by women, as they predominately ran the works on its lower levels.
The company that ran the Works suffered in the recession and stop producing cotton in 1925. The factory was kept in use through synthetics production, owned by the Western Viscose Silk Co. but finally shuttered it’s doors in 1968