|Town or city||Bristol|
|Client||W. D. & H. O. Wills|
|Structural system||Brick and Iron|
The Tobacco Factory is the last remaining part of the old W. D. & H. O. Wills tobacco factory site on Raleigh Road, Southville, Bristol. It was saved from demolition by the architect and former mayor of the city George Ferguson and through his vision has become a model of urban regeneration. It is now a multi-use building which houses animation and performing arts school, loft-style apartments, a café bar, offices and a theatre.
Inspired by the Manchester Independents campaign, George Ferguson decided to launch a Bristol-based campaign from the Tobacco Factory, the purpose is to encourage the support and patronage of independent outlets and businesses to help redress the balance that has swung strongly in favour of the multiples at the expense of local character and enterprise. Business at the Tobacco Factory epitomises this, with home grown enterprises, such as Fanatic Design,CLIK.
The factory was built between 1898 and 1901as 'Number 3 Factory' for W.D. & H.O. Wills. The building was used to process tobacco until 1985-6 when Imperial Tobacco, which W.D & H.O. Wills had latterly been a part of, relocated production. The building fell into disrepair until 10 September 1993, when George Ferguson bought the building with the plan to regenerate it as a creative, mixed-use community building.
Since the creation of the theatre space on the first floor in 1998, companies including Show of Strength Theatre Company, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, the Royal National Theatre and The Ministry of Entertainment have performed there as well as regular in house productions.The theatre is now recognised by Bristol City Council as a key arts provider. The theatre gained funding from the Arts Council of England for the first time in 2007. The current Artistic Director is Mike Tweddle, appointed in 2016.
The Tobacco Factory Café Bar opened in November 2001, serving Mediterranean style food in a post-industrial setting. Regular music nights complement the theatre upstairs.
The Tobacco Factory also has every Sunday a market in their car park where stalls come to set up and sell fresh produce, including fish, fruit and vegetables but also takeaway meals and drinks. However, some stalls also sell practical things like scarfs and homemade soaps. Every week the stalls can change.
Extensive records of W.D. & H.O. Wills, who originally developed the site as a factory for processing tobacco, are held at Bristol Archives (Ref. 38169) (online catalogue).
Imperial Brands plc, is a British multinational tobacco company headquartered in Bristol, England. It is the world's fourth-largest international cigarette company measured by market share after Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco, and the world's largest producer of fine-cut tobacco and tobacco papers.
Bristol Old Vic is a British theatre company based at the Theatre Royal, Bristol. The present company was established in 1946 as an offshoot of the Old Vic in London. It is associated with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, which became a financially independent organisation in the 1990s. Bristol Old Vic runs a Young Company for those aged 7–25.
Southville is an inner city ward of Bristol, England, on the south bank of the River Avon northwest of Bedminster. Most of the area's houses were built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for workers in the Bristol coal mining industry or the tobacco factories of W. D. & H. O. Wills, homes of the eponymous "Wills Girls". The world headquarters of Imperial Tobacco, the world's fourth largest international tobacco company, used to be here, but moved to Ashton. Southville was also a centre for the tanning industry.
W.D. & H.O. Wills was a British tobacco manufacturing company formed in Bristol, England. It was the first British company to mass-produce cigarettes, and one of the founding companies of Imperial Tobacco along with John Player & Sons.
The Wills Memorial Building is a neo-Gothic building in Bristol, England, designed by Sir George Oatley and built as a memorial to Henry Overton Wills III by his sons George and Henry Wills. Begun in 1915 and not opened until 1925, it is considered one of the last great Gothic buildings to be built in England.
Bristol is a city in South West England. As the largest city in the region it is a centre for the arts and sport. The region has a distinct West Country dialect.
Watershed opened in June 1982 as the United Kingdom's first dedicated media centre. Based in former warehouses on the harbourside at Bristol, it hosts three cinemas, a café/bar, events/conferencing spaces, the Pervasive Media Studio, and office spaces for administrative and creative staff. It occupies the former E and W sheds on Canon's Road at Saint Augustine's Reach, and underwent a major refurbishment in 2005. The building also hosts UWE eMedia Business Enterprises, Most of Watershed's facilities are situated on the second floor of two of the transit sheds. The conference spaces and cinemas are used by many public and private sector organisations and charities. Watershed employs the equivalent of over seventy full-time staff and has an annual turnover of approximately £3.8 million. As well as its own commercial income, Watershed Arts Trust is funded by national and regional arts funders.
Henry Overton Wills III of Kelston Knoll, near Bath in Somerset, was a prominent and wealthy member of the Bristol tobacco manufacturing family of Wills which founded the firm of W. D. & H. O. Wills. As a philanthropist his best-known act was the funding of the University of Bristol, founded in 1909, of which he became the first Chancellor.
Henry Herbert 'Harry' Wills was a businessman and philanthropist from Bristol, and a member of the Wills tobacco family.
George Robin Paget Ferguson CBE, PPRIBA, RWA is a British politician, former architect, and entrepreneur who served as the first elected mayor of Bristol from 2012 to 2016.
Show of Strength Theatre Company is a Bristol-based theatre company which has produced new and forgotten works since 1986 in a range of venues in Bristol and the South West. The company is funded by Arts Council England and Bristol City Council but also relies on individual and corporate sponsorship. They have produced over 60 plays and established several new performance venues including the Showboat pub (Horfield), the Hen and Chicken pub (Bedminster), Quakers Friars (Broadmead), the Tobacco Factory (Southville) and Paintworks. The company has received many awards for its work, including the London Weekend Television Plays on Stage award and the Guinness/Royal National Theatre Pub Theatre Award. As well as plays Show of Strength have produced numerous play readings and writing workshops. Although based in Bristol the work of the company has received regular attention from the UK national press.
Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory is a professional theatre company based at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol, England. It was founded by Andrew Hilton in 1999, with the initial aim of producing two Shakespeare plays between mid February and May each year. The plan was to operate without subsidy, seeking instead sponsorship and using an ensemble of actors recruited or each season. Hilton, an established actor, had spent ten years teaching the craft of Shakespearean theatre at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Tobacco Factory Theatres is located on the first floor of the Tobacco Factory building on the corner of North Street and Raleigh Road, Southville in Bristol, England. The theatre itself is a studio-style space, with a low ceiling and fixed grid with structural pillars which intrude into the acting area. There is a bar/foyer area, a dance studio and Box Office. The theatre can seat up to 350 people, although usually it has a capacity of about 250. The programme includes classic and contemporary theatre, comedy, dance, puppetry, film, opera, music and family shows. In 2012 over 100,000 people came through the theatre doors and the theatre is regularly attracting national critical acclaim.
Lakeshore is a development of flats in the Bishopsworth area of south Bristol, England. It is a Grade II listed building.
Andrew Piers Marsden Hilton is an English actor, theatre director, and author best known for the creation of the Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory company in Bristol 1999 - 2021.
Sir Frank William Wills of Berkeley Square, Bristol, England, was a member of the Wills tobacco family, who became a noted British architect and went on to serve as Lord Mayor of Bristol.
Henry Overton Wills II of Ashley House, in Bristol, England, was a tobacco merchant who in 1830 together with his elder brother William Day Wills co-founded W.D. & H.O. Wills, a company which by the late 1800s had become Britain's largest importer of tobacco and manufacturer of tobacco products.
William Day Wills of 2 Portland Square, Bristol, England, was a tobacco merchant who in 1830 together with his younger brother Henry Overton Wills II took over W.D. & H.O. Wills, a company which by the late 1800s had become Britain's largest importer of tobacco and manufacturer of tobacco products.
Henry Overton Wills I was a British merchant who founded the firm of W.D. & H.O. Wills in Bristol, England, which eventually became one of the largest tobacco companies in late 19th-century Britain, and later became the largest constituent part of Imperial Tobacco. The 1966 Guinness Book of Records named the Wills family, descended from him, as containing the largest number of millionaires in the British Isles, of which 14 left estates in excess of one million pounds since 1910, totalling 55 million, of which 27 million was paid in death duties. Wills is said to have been a non-smoker, despite the fact that he is regarded as one of the founders of the British tobacco industry.
Sir John Vernon Wills, 4th Baronet, KCVO, KStJ, TD, JP was an English landowner, businessman, farmer and royal representative.