Bristol’s Tobacco Women
For around 100 years the skyline and streets of South Bristol were dominated by the massive red brick of HD and HO Wills and the other tobacco firms. Thousands of women and men worked in these factories, making cigars and cigarettes for the nation.
Their stories are in danger of being lost and forgotten, taking with them the heritage of a major industry which helped shape our city. It is time to rescue that heritage, and celebrate the lives of the people who worked in the industry, and the community it supported.
There have been many changes n recent decades. The East Street factories are transformed into shops and offices, those in Ashton are largely gone, save for the Tobacco Factory Theatre and bar. The Hartcliffe works, built with such hopes in the 1970s, have all but disappeared. Many of today’s local residents know nothing of the tobacco industry which shaped our community.
Bedminster’s Tobacco Women was a project run in 2013-14 to record the stories of some of the people who worked in the tobacco factories of South Bristol.
The end product was a little book, which is available by contacting the project by email:- firstname.lastname@example.org and it is normally on sale at M-Shed Museum and at the Grenville Wick card shop on North Street, Bedminster.