The Carriageworks on Stokes Croft may look nothing more than a derelict eyesore to some. Others see an art gallery, lots of potential and an opportunity to revitalise an interesting edifice that deserves a special place in Bristol’s architectural history. Although a Grade II listed building, and therefore considered worthy of preservation, its architect, Bristol born E. W. Godwin has sadly not been afforded the same retrospective recognition as many of his contemporaries, such as William Morris. But it turns out that Godwin is a fascinating character, a prolific designer and was progressive in his practice for the time. Not only a master builder and writer, his Art Work, as he liked to refer to it, also encompassed designing interiors, wallpaper, art furniture, theatre sets and costumes (which makes him a huge inspiration for me).
The switching between the architectural and theatre design professions is not entirely unusual, with Inigo Jones doing so a few centuries earlier, and Kevin McCloud the most eminent example of the present day. The depth and breadth of Godwin’s output is quite incredible, and he has new champions in the form of the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft on Jamaica Street. Impressed by his forays into Art Furniture, PRSC have been known to create and sell upcycled furniture (although very different in aesthetic), and use Godwin wallpaper pattern repeats and quotes on their strikingly idiosyncratic china. To give your dining table the Unorthodox Bristol look, you can buy online from www.prscshop.co.uk or better still attend a PRSC china decorating workshop to make your own. They even stock a few rather heavy tomes for those interested in reading more on E.W. Godwin and his huge contribution to Victorian era design.