• Map of Stokey

    How ta get ta the Emporium
  • Emporium now has a ramp

    the emporium is now accessible on both levels by wheelchairs. the shop front already had a from-street ramp, but we have now installed one further in which takes you to the small second level in the space. the incline is quite steep, please be warned, and unfortunately the toilet which we fixed up is not a big space, and there are no handles. we would love any feedback, input and advice as to how to make the space more accessible to anyone. please email!
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Animation Exhibition 29th Apr – 4th May


We’re still going!

Possession has been granted to Jerwood Trading Ltd from the 5th of May 2011. This means that bailiffs can arrive with the lawyers of Jerwood at any time from that date. They plan to auction off the buildings through the auctioneers Maggs and Allen.

Meanwhile we are in negotiations with the lawyers of Jerwood with a view to buying the property off them. We have formed a legal co-op that will administrate it all. The last valuation of the buildings was negative£100,000, which puts us in quite a good position. People seem to want the freeshop and emporium to keep going so this is an avenue we are hoping will succeed.

In the meantime we invite anybody to come down and use the space and get involved in the decisions as to what happens next. The buildings will obviously not be sold, and will sit empty again for years. So we would really like to convince the owner to let us take them off their hands.

At the trial the judge was very unhappy with the absentee owner and decided to refuse their request for us to pay their costs (amounting to nearly £20,000). It is quite unusal for this to happen and is quite a positive indication that he commended what we are doing and how little he respected the position of an owner that has not even been to this country since buying the properties 20 years ago.

So please get in touch by either turning up to the buildings (free shop is open 2-5pm thurs, fri, sat) or emailing emporium37@gmail.com.

WEEKLY MEETINGS AT THE EMPORIUM 5.30PM on THURSDAYS after the free shop closes.

Vegan Cake n Bake Friday 22nd April 11am-3pm

18th – 27th Mar: Ridicule by Liz Buckfield

18th – 27th Mar: EXHIBITION: Ridicule by Liz Buckfield

Twisted. Out of kilter. Distopian. The world what we created. Ridicule, an exhibition of painted street signs, canvases and illustrated documents all combined to create a comically animated backdrop of modern day Britain. The settings by turn dickensian, orwellian, post- everything, populated by consumed characters rather than consumers. Each pursuing their own road to ruin in a world busy ruining itself. By liz Buckfield.

Emporium and Classics still alive and well

Update on legal threat to 35/37 Stokes Croft

People that know and use the spaces have been asking for an update on the legal situation with 35/37 Stokes Croft so we’d thought we’d get a little summary out.

We are still going! There are exhibitions and events coming up at the emporium and the free shop continues its regular opening times of Thursday to Saturady 2pm-5pm.

Our next court appearance will be Thursday 7th of April.

We haven’t actually spoken to any ‘owner’, even their lawyers laugh at the fact that he/she might not exist. The claim in court is that the owners are Hong Kong businessmen, and company records have been produced to attempt to confirm this. We have attempted to speak to them but there has been no reply. Only through an estate agents (Maggs and Allen) and a law firm (Awdry, Douglas and Bailey) have we ascertained more information, which is not wholely reliable as they are trying to make money out of an abandoned building and have been trying every trick in the book to make a quick buck. Here’s updates on what’s happened so far.

The mysterious hong kong owners

It looks as though Maggs and Allen (agents) and Awdry Bailey and Douglas (solicitors) are apparently acting on behalf of a company called Jerwood Trading Limited that is registered in the Isle of Mann. Their company is headquartered in Hong Kong and the apparent owners are two Hong Kong businessman who are financiers or speculators. Jerwood seems to have acquired the building in 1993 and since then have done little to nothing with it. They have not visited it in person, they have not put any effort into maintaining it or communicating with the local community about it. Bristol City Council put in £67,000 of structural repairs to make it safe and they have not recovered the money from the ‘owners’ who refuse to communicate with them.


The council then proceeded to lay the grounds for a Compulsory Purchase Order, which they were granted, but never carried out, around 2006.

The occupation

The occupation of the buildings by grass roots projects began in August 2008. People immediately started to renovate the buildings and reside there. The buildings have been in use since then continually and a huge amount of time, work and money has been put in to make them inhabitable and useable by people from the local area. The website https://emporium37.wordpress.com shows the back history of the Emporium space – which is part of the buildings – from it’s opening to the public in Dec 2008 and the many many events and exhibitions it has held since then. Next door in number 35 there are several community projects going on. The ground floor holds a free shop (a charity shop that doesn’t take or make any money), upstairs there are carpentry workshops, art studios, a homeless/housing office, a community gym, a community garden and residential rooms.


This extensive work was carried out on the assumption that the buildings had been abandoned by the owners, as no one in the council, the local area or through governmental websites could confirm who the owner actually was. Locally people understood that the place had been left to rot. Maggs and Allen tried to change the locks on the place in July 2009 and they and their lawyers have since claimed that they couldn’t get into the buildings to talk to anyone. This is doubtful as the free shop is open 3-4 times a week, and similarly the Emporium has regular events – anyone from the local area would know this. We have never had a notice to quit, or a verbal warning to leave. Little to no interest has still been shown in the buildings until in November 2010 court papers arrived for a claim for possession.


The court hearings have been as such: the first was adjourned due to a large amount of errors in the service of the particulars and a huge doubt as to the ownership expressed by the judge; the second hearing was concerned with the proof of ownership and a counter-claim by the defendants concerning proprietary estoppel – the judge decided that there was a case to be heard owing to the fact that we might have an equitable interest in the properties. This means that we have put work, time and money into the building and deserve to be compensated as such before the owner can simply waltz back in and take the building back.

The Trial has now been set for 7th of April 2011, an all day court hearing that will be concerned with Unjust Enrichment/Proprietary Estoppel and potentially further questions as to ownership. We are looking for a barrister to represent us pro bono, as we have not got any money and have been building this case and representing ourselves with little to no legal knowledge. There has been some advice on the way, but all of the defences have been drafted and filed by ourselves as laymans. Any help would be greatly appreciated and it seems that publicity about this fairly outrageous situation – where an absentee owner, residing in Hong Kong, can let a building deteriorate to such an extent that the council has to come in and save it, and refuses to communicate with the council or the occupants or his own building, and now seeks to take back from the local community that which they have built up from the rubble over the last two years. We will not be leaving.


We have contacted the lawyers, who represent the apparent owner, explaining that we would like to negotiate to stay in the building, by peppercorn rent or the like. They have not got back to us at all. They couldn’t care less about the local area and simply want to turn a quick profit. They’ll have a hard time selling these buildings – the council valued them as having ‘negative value’. The owner owes Bristol City Council at least £67,000 not to mention unpaid business rates and empty property tax for the whole time he has left the buildings to rot.

Any of the legal documents can be received by contacting emporium37@gmail.com

They will be posted on the emporium website as well: https://emporium37.wordpress.com

To find out more about the emporium and how to propose to put something on there check out: https://emporium37.wordpress.com/whats-the-emporium-all-about/

These buildings are still going! So please come and use them, the next open meeting time will be published soon and any ideas, comments, proposals for projects etc are most welcome…

35/37 Stokes Croft





1st – 17th Feb: EXHIBITION: Permission to see freely

1st – 17th Feb: EXHIBITION: Permission to see freely

A collection of eclectic wood block prints exploring life, love, lust and the human condition, charged through with a sense of fear and death, pessimism or even nihilism along with a large pinch of gallows humour. The artist will be making large scale prints throughout the duration of the show.


Stare at Me: 27th – 30th Jan

Stare at Me: 27th – 30th Jan

Show runs 27th – 30th January.

The first ever solo show of artist Lee Ellis offers a selection of works by the Bristol artist. Interesting and compelling portraits of people through the eyes of this highly imaginative and resourceful artist. See unconventional art in a unconventional gallery space. So what are you waiting for? Start the new year with an artistic BANG!!

Opening night 6pm – 10pm 27th January.
28th – 30th January Open 10am – 6pm

“Stare at me, the show about people with underlying tones of failure & addiction. Both failure & addiction come hand in hand. Often one leads to the other. The aim is to portray these traits in the people that have them. You can expect things to look a little different. So please find the time to stare at me…”

Show runs 27th – 30th January.

Opening night 6pm – 10pm 27th January.
28th – 30th January Open 10am – 6pm

Gallery Address: The Emporium, Stokes Croft, Bristol, Avon BS1 3PY


A History of Stokes Croft in 100 Objects: 16th – 19th Dec

17th Nov – 3rd Dec: FUTUREMUSEUM presents: Catalysm

The Museum of Catalysm features a range of artefacts, scale models and reconstructions showing what life was like before, during, and after the catalytic events of the 21st and 22nd centuries. Showcasing treasures from the age of affluence alongside examples of the creative solutions that characterised life during and after the crisis, the Museum presents a spectacular and fascinating archaeology of growth, collapse and survival – and the lessons to be learnt from our turbulent past.

After its first spectacular debut as a travelling exhibit in the Bristol Village Fayre earlier this year, FUTUREMUSEUM is looking to expand its display to incorporate a greater range of exhibits from its collection, alongside new models and artist’s reconstructions that will focus on the time of regeneration and recovery that was the birth of our society as it is today.

Piecing together a fragmented history from the objects and stories which reach us from the past, the exhibition perhaps asks more questions than it can answer, but there is plenty to think about in the well-considered displays, and you will find your imagination fired by the vivid stories and portrayals of life as it may have been.

Emporium and Classics threatened with eviction – BUT STILL OPEN!

here’s an interview on BCFM click to listen/download: BCFM radio interview NOV2010 with reg and matt

We are in court on the 7th of Jan 2011.
Any help is extremely welcome, testimonials and messages of support can be sent to emporium37@gmail.com. Testimonials as to any work done on the building would be particularly helpful.

These ‘owners’ have let the buildings rot for years and years and now have the cheek to come back and lay claim to a building they have never invested time in looking after.

They also own 41 stokes croft  – the crofters nightclub destroyed by fire. If we had not come and fixed up 35/37 stokes croft they would look the same as crofters. The owners from hong kong don’t care about the buildings, nor stokes croft, so they don’t deserve to have a say in what goes on with the building.

Check the Bristol Indymedia article for more information: Bindymedia Article
Meeting at the Emporium Mondays at 8PM with BHAM for further discussion


This space has been going for nigh on 2 years and it won’t be taken by a rich hong kong businessman who has no interest in the building nor has done any work on it since buying it in 1993!(he hasn’t even been to bristol, and admits knowing nothing about the situation or the local area).