The Wool Hall in Bristol, England, is an historic building in St Thomas Street, constructed in 1830 to house the city’s wool market. It is one of the earlier works of Richard Shackleton Pope, and has been described as ‘the first quasi-industrial building in Bristol to attempt a real architectural facade’.
The building now houses offices and a live music venue, appropriately named The Fleece.
It is an example of the Bristol Byzantine style and has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building.
In 1570, Queen Elizabeth I granted the parish of St Thomas the right to hold a market each Thursday in St Thomas Street “for yarn, wool, cattle and sheep and other things”.
This continued until 1828, when the city council decided there were too many people and animals clogging up the way to Bristol Bridge. A new site was designated at Temple Meads – hence Cattle Market Road.
The trustees said the old Wool Hall needed renovation and was too small. So they commandeered two adjoining houses and pulled the lot down for a new Wool Hall.
The architect chosen was Richard Shackleton Pope, a colourful character, who designed the Magistrates’ Court in Corn Street, the Guildhall, and was responsible for the widening of Bristol Bridge.
Two years after completion of the new Wool Hall, he was commissioned to design a new jail in Cumberland Road (the gateway of which still remains) when the old one was destroyed in the Bristol Riots.
The new hall, costing £4,400, was opened in 1830.
The ground floor was the weigh house while fleeces and yarns were stored above. It was not a success: after all, the farmers were down at Temple Meads with their stock and had to go to the Corn Exchange with their grain.
It closed for business in 1834, when trade transferred to the Corn Exchange.
The Wool Hall was converted to offices in 1982.
(This image file copyright is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license. – Date 11 May 2007 – Source Own work – Author William Avery)
Tagged: , The Wool Hall Bristol BS1 , historic buildings , St Thomas Street Bristol , Richard Shackleton Pope , wool-trade , The Fleece Bristol , Bristol-Byzantine , Bristol’s-Historic-Buildings , UK-Historic-Buildings , architecture