Ever wondered what’s behind the doors of some of Bristol’s hidden treasures? On 13th September, The historic Robinson Building will once again open its doors to take part in this ‘free to all’ event. This is your opportunity to bag a look at Bedminster’s residential treasure. Originally a paper bag factory built founded by brothers ES & A Robinson, in the late 1800’s, the company was at the forefront of paper packaging, note papers & ledgers print and manufacturing. The Robinson family founded an empire that stretched from Bristol to Toronto, Canada. As part of Bristol Doors Open Day, Bloq management is offering a rare opportunity to view the stunning atrium in the Robinsons Building, also ‘The Frieze’. The Frieze once adorned the company headquarters on Redcliff Street, decorating the curved entrance to the building. Described as a “remarkable social and industrial historical document’ the frieze is fifty feet long and weighs several tons. The images carved in 1875, depict the company’s activities at the time, its male and female employees in the dress of the day and amazingly accurate depiction of the machinery. In 2009, the Robinson Building in Bedminster was converted to apartments;  the frieze, having been largely forgotten after the demolition of the company’s headquarters, has returned to one of the Brothers original factories and now adorns the spectacular Atrium.

Robinson Building Frieze2



What the images show, reading from right to left: 1. Man at a grindstone 32.5” x 14.5”, 2. Unidentified – pay day? – and two women artists hand-colouring calendars (partially spreads onto stone 3) 37” x 12” 3. Five women artists hand-colouring calendars (broken into two pieces) 55.5” x 12”. Note that the subject is a vase of flowers. 4. Seven men at work on three lithographic presses. Part missing on l/h end. (broken into two pieces) 70” x 14” 5. Three men gold-blocking and blocking irons being heated (partially spreads onto stone 6) 36” x 11” 6. Bookbinder at work and two men trimming pages 34” x 12” 7. Two women making bags by hand and two women at work on a paper-bag making machine (partially spreads onto stone 8) 35” x 11” 8. Two women at work on a paper-bag making machine and two women tying finished bags together 40” x 11” 9. Copperplate engraver and observer and two artists drawing designs on litho stones (partially spreads onto stone 10) 37” x 13” – 560lbs on pallet 10. Artist drawing designs on litho stone and copperplate engraver and observer 35” x 14” 11. Two compositors at a type case and one man working at a flatbed letterpress printing machine (partially spreads to stone 12) 38” x 14” 12. (spreading from stone 11) Two men working at a flatbed letterpress machine and proof-reader reading text with boy and a compositor at a type case. Part missing from r/h end 41” x 14” 13. Two women preparing paper for the ruling machine and five women working at a ruling machine (partially spreads to stone 14) (broken into two pieces) 54” x 14” 14. (spreading from stone 13) One woman working at a ruling machine and two women assembling completed account books and a man operating a guillotine 33” x 11” 15. Man operating a copperplate press 36” x 16” Bloq Management services would like to express their thanks and credit Bristol Museums Galleries and Archive for use other images and historic information associated with the frieze.

Download this information as a PDF

Robinson Frieze Info Sheet