219 - South Western Electricity Board

For many but not all, the latter half of the 1950s saw prosperity increase. Televisions, fridges, washing machines and a host of new electrical products were signs of this new affluence. The newly nationalised Electricity Boards were quick to promote this new, modern age of electrical gadgets and appliances. In 1960 the South Western Electricity Board (SWEB) was proclaiming: 'get up to date-go electric'. Advertising of the time stated that 'electricity will play an ever growing part in the story of Bristol. For cooking, water heating, and dozens of household necessities, nothing is so quick, clean and economical as ELECTRICITY.' Picture

The Electricity Board's modern 'electric age' arrived in Church Road in 1955, when SWEB opened a shop, or service centre as they called it. Like the arrival of Tesco ten years later, the SWEB shop was a symbol of the new, modern Post War World. However for most Redfield residents it was somewhere to pay the electricity bill!

The SWEB shop could be found in the main rank between Victoria Parade and Lyppiatt Road. Previous to SWEB, No.219 had been a drapers shop for over 55 years. This was run by members of the Mead family who sold a wide range of items from expensive silk to cheap cotton cloth.

If you used Church Road in the 1960s and 1970s, the SWEB shop was a familiar part of the landscape. The fascia board was updated over the years, reflecting changing SWEB logos and presentation. The latest electric cookers and fires seemed to dominate the shop window, together with adverts promoting electric storage heaters.

In the early '80s SWEB began to close some of their many shops in the region and SWEB's Church Road shop had closed by 1984. In 1990 after 42 years, the South Western Electricity Board was no more; privatisation not nationalisation was the order of the day.

After SWEB, 219 Church Road was converted into the Redfield branch of the Bristol & West Building Society. At the time of writing this premises is used by DriverHire, a specialist transport and logistics recruitment company. They have used this premises for about twelve years.

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