I’m lucky enough to live in walking distance of what is hailed as “one of the last traditional high streets in Britain, where shop staff smile and bend over backwards to help.” (Mark Rowe, The Independent).

Gloucester Road shows what can be done when a community gets behind independent traders and have a forward thinking approach to sustainable living. This area is so fiercely protective of this ideal, that support groups thrive, and the now infamous ‘Stokes Croft Riots’ targetted a Tesco Express store that had sprouted in the area, much to the bemusement of local residents.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/apr/22/bristol-riot-police-injured

I love walking down ‘my’ street and seeing the familiar faces touting their wares. It indulges all tastes, and it being Bristol, some truly weird stuff.

These are a few of my personal favourites:

  • Idle Hands record shop (Stokes Croft) – one of the thriving indie record stores in Bristol, selling sounds very evocative of the Stokes Crowd (electric and eclectic) http://www.idlehandsbristol.com/site/
  • Billie Jean Clothes – former employer of me! All sorts of preowned clothes from all eras – excellent place for special occasions. We kitted a few people out with wedding dresses! New hats – bowlers, trilbys etc for men and pillboxes to berets for women. Some great upcycling going on too with patchwork throws made of suiting material and others. Investment buys,a nd strangely also sells velvet and retro curtains. Can’t beat them for a good cravat and the manager is a total style icon: http://www.billiejeanclothes.com/index.html
  • La Ruca- health food shop and cafe. Has all your groovy food needs and the food is consistently damn good. Always friendly…the whole package in a Spanish themed haze of aceness: http://www.laruca.co.uk/index.htm
  • Compass Project – an old school, cheap, shabby chic charity shop stacked with great furniture and clothes. The Compass Project provides courses and directions for those recovering from substance misuse problems, and the shop provides a brilliant hub full of friendly faces. What’s not to like?: http://compassprojectbristol.org.uk/index.php/compass-project-gloucester-road/
  • Bristanbul – top pun winner and stockists of huge array of Turkish goodies. The window regularly stocks cakes that look so good i genuinely press my face against the window: http://www.bristanbul.co.uk/
  • The Croft – legendary purveyor of live music in plentiful supply. Dirty, packed noisy pub that’s not afraid to host truly weird music. Love it: http://www.the-croft.com/
  • Market at the Moon – Held at the Full Moon bar / youth hostel (what a combo!!) on the second Saturday of the month, this market brings local traders together in a mish mash of arts, craft food and music. Occasional theatre and live bands..also home to Kecks Clothing’s first stall so we have a little soft spot: https://www.facebook.com/MarketAtTheMoon?ref=ts&fref=ts

kecks moon

What are your favourites?

featured picture by: http://bristolgraffiti.wordpress.com

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