Christopher Searle - Jewellers
If you had been shopping for meat on Church Road in 1955 you may well have gone to Eastmans. Situated at No.215, it was directly opposite the Bethesda Sunday school building. In the 1950s No.215 had already been a butchers shop for over fifty years. In 1897 at the time when Redfield became part of Bristol this was the location of Nelson & Sons butchers. By the 1920s the shop was known as the British and Argentine Meat Co. The clue to the operation was in the title; British & Argentine Meat, Nelsons and Eastmans were chains of butchers who in the late 19th Century began selling imported frozen meat from South America. This was made possible by key developments in refrigeration. Refrigerated ships and large cold store depots meant South American beef could be sold on the High Streets of Britain.
Vestey Brothers were pioneers in the import of South American meat and owned British & Argentine, Eastmans and Dewhurst. Vestey's Union Cold Storage Company operated a large cold store in Jarvis Street, Barton Hill; this supplied over 20 Eastmans shops in Bristol. As well as the Church Road shop, Eastmans also had an outlet in Clouds Hill Road, St George.
In the 1920s, Eastmans shop on Church Road was actually situated at No.255. This was just four doors along from the British and Argentine shop. It was in the late 1930s that No.215 became the Eastmans outlet. Their former shop at 225 became Carwardines. Eastmans butchers remained trading on Church Road until around 1962. Then after over 60 years, the national butchers left Church Road.
Tony Brake: "I certainly remember Eastmans on Church Road. Like a lot of local people in the 1950s my Mother tended to shop at Moreton's for meat. However Eastmans was 'next in line' if Moretons didn't have what Mum wanted!"
By 1965 Eastmans Church Road shop had been converted into the Whirlpool Laundry. From the early 1970s to the mid 1980s a TV repair business used No.215. At the time of writing Christopher Searle, the popular jewellery and gift shop has been trading from these premises for 26 years. On the shop's fascia sign is 'Established 1987'. It is the only shop on Church Road to have the year of establishment displayed on the shop front. Helpful for local historians!