22-26 - Shiner Ltd.
Builders Merchants

In the mid 1920s Leslie Gladstone Shiner set up Shiner & Co, a builders merchants. His first yard was near Castle Street. He moved to Easton Road and finally to Church Road. Leslie ran the business until 1936 when it was sold to the Allen family. Jack Allen founded Shiner Limited, continuing as a builders merchants. The firm was very successful and in the '70s was describing itself as the largest brick distributors in the West. At the same time Jack Allen also ran a transport company; you would often see one of their fleet of lorries on the streets of Bristol.

Shiner lorries in the yard in 1935. Looking towards the shops on Church Road.

In the late 1950s Shiner Ltd opened a petrol forecourt on the site opposite the Russell Town Avenue junction. This petrol station was very modern at the time and was stylishly designed, becoming a Church Road landmark. For many years it was an ESSO petrol station and it is understood it never went 'self service'. The business also acquired the old Christ Church vicarage, which it used for storage and workshop purposes.


In 1956 Michael Allen began selling cars, trading under the name Shiner Autos Ltd. He later became a British Leyland dealer selling new cars from Austin, Morris, Wolseley and MG. A car showroom was built between the petrol station forecourt and an old cobbled alleyway called Providence Place.

The site of this showroom replaced three large three-storey buildings (22-26 Church Road). At No.24 was the shop of Walter Muchamore, a notable pre War photographer.

After the creation of the British Leyland Motor Corporation (1968) Shiner Autos erected a large British Leyland sign. This familiar (at the time) blue and white logo was a prominent Church Road feature. Shiner Autos also acquired three shops on the opposite side of Church Road, on the corner of Russell Town Avenue.

From the mid 1970s Shiner Ltd successfully diversified and began selling skateboards, BMX bikes, protective gear plus clothing to cater for sports enthusiasts. This became the core of the business. In 2003 Shiner Ltd constructed a very impressive brick warehouse (with prominent clocks) which became a new Church Road landmark. This was built to accommodate the ever-expanding action sports business and it replaced the car showroom. By 2010 the petrol station and building supplies side of the business had ceased.

In 2012 due to rapid growth, Shiner Ltd vacated Church Road and moved to larger premises at Aztec West, Bristol. In March 2013 the Church Road site was put up for sale.

At the time of writing Shiner Limited remains a family business run by the descendants of Jack Allen.

Note: During the late 1890s this site was used by the building contractors August Krauss. In the 1900s the area that later became Shiners builders yard was owned by a scrap merchant who allowed George Pruett and Sons to hold Christmas Fairs on the land. Later in 1930 Jacob Studt also held Winter Fairs on this land until they were discontinued due to some public objections. Thomas Voisey, metal merchant, also used the site in the 1920s and '30s.

Shiner's 2003 warehouse complete with traditional clock.

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