Stokes Croft Bristol – Street Art and Soulful Stories

Stokes Croft Bristol – Street Art and Soulful Stories

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Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki

Lucas Antics, Burning Candy and of course Banksy – all synonymous with the City’s vibrant Street Art scene, and all closely linked to Stokes Croft, Bristol.

CHECK OUT THE GIVEAWAY LATER IN THIS POST!

Stokes Croft Bristol - Street Art and Soulful Stories 1
Gorgeous Street art in Stokes Croft, Bristol

Over recent years Stokes Croft and neighbouring Montpelier have had a bit of a resurgence. Every Bristolian will know of the area, the good and the bad, whilst newcomers the city and tourists alike quickly fall in love with the curiosity of this diverse, gritty, artsy and slightly quirky little gem of a place.

Everyone has their opinion of the Stokes Croft & Montpelier.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
'Bristol' Mugs in Stokes Croft China

Stokes Croft and Montpelier; A little piece of Bristol on your Coffee Table

One newcomer to the City is local photographer Colin Moody, who became fascinated with the range of characters and people who reside or work in Stokes Croft and Montpelier.

Initially taking photographs of ‘classic’ Bristol (think Balloons, the Suspension Bridge, the Downs), he branched towards people as his subject. It was through images of this on his Instagram account that he was contacted by The History Press and commissioned for a book.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Photographer - Colin Moody

Colin’s aim is to capture the story behind the character and documenting this in his photos, he’s driven by the stories behind the people and delves beyond what you would see on the surface.  And that’s exactly what he’s achieved and delivered in his new book ‘Stokes Croft and Montpelier’.

‘I wanted to represent 80 different walks of life’ says Colin who spent over a year following, talking, and understanding the people who feature in his book.

His subjects come from all walks of life ranging from the homeless, local artists, refugees, musicians, people who work in the area and residents who have lived in Stokes Croft and Montpelier for their whole lives.

I have one copy of ‘Stokes Croft and Montpelier’, signed by photographer Colin Moody up for grabs.  All you have to do is interact with this article on social media to be in with a chance to win it. You can enter as many times as you like, eg 2 social shares + 1 comment = 3 entries. The draw will take place on the 21st December. Remember to add @backpackbecki to your social share so I can enter your name to the draw.

GOOD LUCK!

So where is Bristol’s hippest district?

Ask any local and they would be able to pinpoint exactly where Stokes Croft, Bristol is.

In fact, Stokes Croft is just a single road, however, over the years its affectionally evolved to become the name of the area that spans all the way from The Bear Pit, heading out of the City centre up to where Cheltenham Road starts.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
The road of Stokes Croft meets Cheltenham Road with Lucas Antics artwork on The Little Shop

Its recent renaissance in the area over the last decade has seen a boom in independently run shops and cafes selling locally made and sourced products. It’s also the home to the highest concentration of street art in the City and known as an area where people can express themselves freely.

The area is also home to a group of activists called The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC) who back community-based projects with the goal of keeping the soul of Stokes Croft alive for the people who reside in the area. This is done through local talks and meetings, community planning and the all-important public art.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Street Art on the wall of PRSC

A brief history

The area of Stokes Croft and Montpelier have always fallen outside of the main city of Bristol. Up to the mid-1800s, the area was nothing much more than fields.  Then from 1850s Victorian Britain, the area saw a boom in development, and the city started to spread.

However, it was always an area of miscellany having been dubbed an area where ‘…a surprisingly diverse range of tenants…’ reside, way back in the 1800s.

 During World War 2, the area was badly damaged. This lead to a Post-war Redevelopment of social housing, some you will see in the streets around the Stokes Croft area.  

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
'Beauty from Ashes' on the wall of an Independant Cafe

The area fell into dilapidation with shops and businesses closing down. With little money being pumped into the area, the abandoned buildings became a bit of a haven for graffiti artists who would use the area as their playground.

So how did Stokes Croft and Montpelier become so vibrant?

With the absence of new developments from big corporations, this kept the value of property in the area affordable. This gave the perfect opportunity for small businesses and artists to move into the area due to cheap rent, and so Bristol’s cultural area was born.

In more recent years, this surge in hipster culture has meant that Stokes Croft is THE place to be in the city and consequently rising property prices will start to push out what was essentially the soul of the area.

Stokes Croft has an answer to this, helped by the PRSC, they are billing to keep the area commercialism free

Frequently political graffiti will line the streets and buildings. The iconic artwork on abandoned Westmoreland House is donned with the work of Rowdy (Crocodile) and Toof (Skull) and is flagged for redevelopment which locals worry will change the area.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
The scaffoding covering Westmoreland House with the words 'Unfazed' under the iconic Rowdy and Toof pieces
Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Photo of a Photo - The Wall of PRSC shows what Westmorland House looks like without the scaffolding

What’s exactly going to happen to the building once it’s demolished, no one is quite sure yet. But what you can count on is that the people of Stokes Croft and Montpelier won’t let their voices be unheard.

If you are interested in the future of Westmoreland House and want to keep it in the community’s hands then they are selling limited edition prints. The Westmoreland House Memorial Screen Print is priced at £50 with funds going towards the cause. If all 500 prints sell it gives the PRSC £20,000 to keep it in the community.

Marmite – you love it or hate it

Love it or hate it, Stokes Croft and Montpelier certainly have a Marmite appeal about them.

Camp Hate will tell you that the area has major problems with drugs (the infamous ‘Crack Alley’ aka Hepburn Road is situated here), parts of it are very run down and crime including stabbings and muggings are relatively high in the area.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
'Crack Alley' - The grafitti here changes on a weekly basis

Camp Love will argue that it’s the only area in Bristol which encourages freedom of expression in terms of speech, imagery and music, where people can communicate openly about local and worldwide issues. This is what’ lead to the area becoming the Cultural Quarter of the city – it’s blissfully vibrant, a stimulus for the senses (and that’s nothing to do with the smell of weed in the area!).

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Street art along Picton Lane

Soulful Stories

‘…connecting with new people and places is more important than ever, and photography has the power to take us out of our comfort zone and to challenge us to look deeper into our communities.’ Colin Moody

As you page through the book, you’ll quickly see that it’s not just about Street Art. ‘Stokes Croft and Montpelier’ is full of images celebrating the people of the area; social documentary photography.

Some of the notable images in the book are of a photo montage from all the staff who work at the Montpelier Health Centre, ‘End Austerity’ Protest March preparations from the PRSC yard and the tongue in cheek Graffiti conversation. The book is full of thought-provoking images.

Areas of Interest

  • Turbo Island – To most, this is nothing more than a little triangular patch of grass in Stokes Croft. The name apparently comes from the super strong cider that homeless people could be seen drinking here. For many, it’s the central area of Stokes Croft, you will often see street art donning the wall here with political messages. Sometimes there are pop up stalls and bands playing too!

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Turbo Island - The 'village green' of Stokes Croft
  • Hamilton House & The Canteen – Once an office block, but now a hub for anything artsy or community-based. Inside there’s a wall covered in community notices of up-and-coming-events ranging from talks, meetings, local services, poetry readings, yoga classes etc. If it not on the board, it ain’t happening.  

    Hamilton house is also home to resident artists, a gallery and a shop selling all things locally made. It’s also home to The Canteen, a lively bar with fabulous murals on it’s decked area out front – one of Jesus and the iconic ‘Mild Mild West’ by Banksy.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Lucas Antics piece as part of an Exhibition at Hamilton House
  • Picton Street – Home to cute colourful houses, yoga studios, artist studios and THE best Italian deli in town. Just off Picton street head down the little alleyway (Picton Lane) and out into a small lane. Here, you’ll find what’s aptly named as ‘practice street’, the walls are covered in smaller street art where street artists have practised their trade, it’s constantly changing and frequently artwork is painted or tagged over.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Colourful Houses of Picton Road
  • The Old England, Pub – Tucked away in a corner of a street near to Montpelier Health Centre you’ll find the oldest pub in the area.   

  • Stokes Croft China – Selling straight-to-the-point, tongue-in-cheek and kitsch china items. Jeremy Corbyn mug anyone? Locally designed and made on site. 
Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Stokes Croft China - Teapot

Street Art

You won’t get far in Stokes Croft and Montpelier without seeing some outstanding street art.

PRSC provide materials and equipment to local artists to make it accessible to everyone.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
The Ladders that the PRSC lend out to local Street Artists

Stokes Croft Mural News is written on a wall inside the PRSC yard. Part of the reasoning behind this is so that homeless people in the area can access local and international news. Lots of the content is politically based and the content on the wall changes every few weeks.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
The Walls of PRSC show the Stokes Croft Murals where holess people can find information on current affairs

Look out for the….

  • Giant Skull (Rowdy) and Crocodile (Toof) on Westmoreland House
  • Mild Mild West by Banksy on Hamilton House
  • Jesus on Hamilton House
  • Hepburn Road aka Crack Alley – a mixture of street art, tagging and stickers
  • Lucas Antix – On numerous building facades in the area.
Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Lucas Antics mural on the side of a pub on Picton Street
Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Picton Lane where smaller 'practice' pieces are found
Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Street Art by Rowdy along Picton Lane
Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Of course Jesus break dances! Mural outside Hamilton House
Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Street Art just off Stokes Croft main street

Stokes Croft & Montpellier

The photobook ‘Stokes Croft & Montpelier’ can be purchased at The Arnolfini, Waterstones or Foyles in Bristol or online via The History Press.

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Stokes Croft & Montpellier by Colin Moody, Published by The History Press

I have one copy of ‘Stokes Croft and Montpelier’, signed by photographer Colin Moody up for grabs.  All you have to do is interact with this article on social media to be in with a chance to win it. You can enter as many times as you like, eg 2 social shares + 1 comment = 3 entries. The draw will take place on the 21st December. Remember to add @backpackbecki to your social share so I can enter your name to the draw.

GOOD LUCK!

If you are interested in finding out more about Stokes Croft and Montpelier, the people and the stories behind them then Colin Moody is available for talks and tours of the area. Contact via Instagram @colinmoody319 or Twitter @moodycolin for more information.

Where are your top street art destinations?  I’d love to hear, please comment below.

If you enjoyed reading this article or know someone who would, please spread the love.

Happy Travels

Becki

Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki
Stokes Croft Bristol, Welcomes to Bristol's Cultural Quarter. Street Art and Soulful Stories. Featuring the Artwork of Banksy, Lucas Antix, Toof, Rowdy - #Grafitti #StokesCroft #StokesCroftAndMontpellier #StreetArt #UrbanArt #BristolCity #VisitBristol #CityBreaks #PRSC #PeroplesRepublicOfStokesCroft #BackpackingEurope #BackpackBecki

Stokes Croft Bristol - Street Art and Soulful Stories 2

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

This Post Has 9 Comments

    1. A perfect excuse to come back again one day then 😉

  1. What a neat place! I had no idea Bristol was so much cooler than me. Love the street art and would love to explore Hamilton House. Such a neat place.

    1. Yes – Bristol is super cool! I’m going to do more posts on my home town over the next few months, there are so many more cool little areas 🙂 Watch this space!

  2. This sounds really fascinating, been wanting to visit Bristol for a while but never heard about this area before. Learnt something new today!

    1. It’s only a short walk from the main centre of Bristol – you will notice the change in vibe immediately 🙂 it’s got a whole lot more character than Bristol City Centre – you’d love it!

  3. Ooh now I need to go to Bristol. I’m a huge street art lover. And love that giveaway that you are doing!!

    1. If you’re a lover of street art , then yes, put Bristol at the top of your to-do list. If you’re into street art, check ut the Up-Fest event that happens in the summer – basically a street art festival! The city is alive with it!

  4. I love street art so Bristol has been on my radar for a while. I should definitely make the journey. Especailly after reading your article and seeing the pictures!

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