18 great Bristol shops we loved and lost but still fondly remember
Many Bristolians will have fond memories of these much-missed stores
Bristol has always been a great city for shopping but our high streets have changed dramatically over the years and many much-loved shops have been lost forever.
We asked Bristol World readers to tell us which stores they used to love visiting and still miss.
They range from independent record shops and clothes stores to big-name department stores.
Here are 18 of the most missed Bristol shops but we would like to hear from readers about any others, and if you have photos, we’d love to share them.
If you were a punk or goth back in the early 1980s, there were two shops you bought your clothes and shoes and Boney Maroney in Haymarket Walk next to the bus station was one of them.
It closed in the late 1990s but the huge C&A store on the Horsefair in Broadmead was very popular and a go-to shop for many parents when it came to buying school uniforms for the kids.
It only closed in January 2022 but people are already missing the Bristol Debenhams store, which is now empty and earmarked for a huge redevelopment.
For years, Dingles on Queens Road was one of Bristol’s most upmarket department stores. The site is now where Sainsbury’s and Wilko are, with flats above.
Bristol’s flagship Co-Op store, Fairfax House opened on Broadweir in March 1962 and was for years one of the city’s best department stores, a sort of Bristol version of Selfridges with a popular restaurant and a food hall. The building was demolished to make way for The Galleries in the late 1980s.
Now an Italian restaurant, Forever People was a small, higgledy-piggledy shop on Park Street that sold comic books and models. Popular with fans of 2000AD and DC comics, one regular customer was actor and former Bristol University student Simon Pegg, who namechecked it in his book Nerd Do Well.
Before Kindles and Amazon, George’s was the place Bristolians bought their books. At one point it was so successful that it occupied four shops at the top of Park Street including a separate art store.
The original Habitat in Bristol was actually on the Triangle but the trendy lifestyle and furnishings store moved to a much larger site on Queens Road, which is now Beacon House, a student centre and cafe.
The site where Primark is today was once the city’s flagship John Lewis store before it relocated to Cribbs Causeway and many Bristolians still miss it.
A huge department store on Queens Road, next to Dingles, Maggs was one of the jewels in the crown for Bristol shopping. It was badly damaged in December 1978 after an IRA bomb exploded outside.
When Virgin closed their Merchant Street store in Broadmead, it was taken over by Our Price, which sold records but also tickets for local gigs.
Next to Boney Maroney on the ground floor of Haymarket Walk, Paradise Garage was another popular shop for punks and goths to buy their clothes, shoes and jewellery.
One of Bristol’s best independent record stores, Replay started life in Haymarket Walk next to the Bear Pit but eventually moved to Park Street, only to close in 2006.
A tiny, windowless record shop on the Triangle, Revolver Records was the place to be for music fans in the 1980s and early 1990s. Massive Attack’s Daddy G worked there and would often be on the turntables, which adds to its legendary status.
In the 1980s, there were at least four record shops on Park Street and one of the most missed is Rival. Who still has one of the iconic yellow plastic bags in their loft?
Before teenage girls were obsessed with Primark, Top Shop and New Look, Tammy Girl was the place to shop and the store in Broadmead is still missed.
Visit the large Virgin Records store in Merchant Street, Broadmead, in the early 1980s and you would have to fight your way through crowds of spiky-haired punks to get to the record racks. For 1980s Bristol youths, this was as much of a meeting place as a place to buy your Siouxsie and the Banshees singles and PIL badges.
Woolworths closed all of its stores 14 years ago and Bristol branches like Broadmead and Blackboy Hill are still sorely missed by Woolies fans.