Part of Bristol's thriving Victorian economy
The earliest record of Benjamin Perry we can find is in 1863
when he was operating as a warehouse keeper and carrier, then aged
about 28 years. He died in 1902 at the age of 67 but the business
continued with his sons. From 1874 until the 1980s the company
retained offices in Temple Street, Bristol.
Benjamin Perry became a member of the City Council Docks
Committee in 1897, at which date the company was agent to a variety
of railway and shipping companies. Their activities were listed as
warehousemen, hauliers and shipping agents with cold storage
facilities. In 1895, one of their warehouses was destroyed in a
Many uses in modern times
In the 20th century, the firm increasingly centred on the new
Docks at Avonmouth, operating a stevedore business, using tugs and
lighters, towing cargoes around both Avonmouth and the Bristol
Docks and harbour.
The building adds considerable historical interest to the water
front of the old Bristol Docks and has seen many uses. At one time
it was open sided to facilitate off loading from sailing vessels,
with tramways for moving goods between adjacent sheds. The building
is next to the curious Redcliffe Caves where sand was excavated to
make glass, the resulting caverns being used to store many famous
Bristol cargoes. The building was used to supply gear for the
company's tugs and barges, and later possibly as a sugar store and
mason's yard. In 1970s, the City Council kept surplus road signs
A centre for Scouts, Guides, film and tv crews, artists and
In 1982 the building was carefully restored by the Scouts &
Guides to retain its character. Since then it has been used by
thousands of young people from the Bristol area, from all over the
UK and from as far afield as USA and Canada. Its interesting
character means the building often features in films and TV.
It is also a meeting place for local community groups, including
artists, actors, poets and photographers.