Just Looking Photography Exhibition Opens At Bristol Record Office

by Roz Tappenden | 06 January 2006
colour photograph of a man in an apron sweeping the floor of a barber's shop

Vincenzo sweeps his barber's shop. Courtesy Bristol City Record Office.

An unusual exhibition at Bristol’s City Record Office takes a look at the quirky independent shops that line the city’s Gloucester Road.

Just Looking, open until March 3 2006, is the work of two Bristol-based journalists, Sean Maylon and Mark Rowe, who recount stories of shopkeepers and businesses along this bustling street.

Gloucester Road is a rare treasure, boasting an entire high street of local independent stores. While every other town centre looks almost identical, the road provides a glimpse of days gone by as well as a chance to find unique goods and services.

colour photograph showing a man's reflection as he peers into a shop window that is covered in writing

Just looking - a man peers in the window of the law shop. Courtesy Bristol City Record Office.

The exhibition uses words and pictures to tell the stories of the Chilean political refugees who were married in a Santiago jail and the trader who brewed the world’s strongest beer.

Other tales include that of the local barber who learnt his trade in Sicily when he was just eight-years-old. Another recounts the feat of the shopkeeper who ran no less than 13 marathons.

The show's creators have used their professional experience to record the story of the Gloucester Road for future generations. Sean Maylon is a photographer and journalist who has been published in numerous magazines including Practical Photography and BBC History.

black and white photo of a man standing at a fruit and vegetable stall

The fruit and veg store is just one of the independent businesses on Gloucester Road. Courtesy Bristol City Record Office.

Mark Rowe is an environmental journalist and former staff writer for the Independent on Sunday. He continues to write for his former newspaper as well as being a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and the BBC’s Wildlife Magazine.

The exhibition is based within the Record Office where visitors can also find out about their own family history, community or locality by browsing through 800 years worth of archives.

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