Colin Beales firing the unique Sainsbury’s supermarket-basket raku kiln in 2012.

Several of my posts have featured Colin in one way or another, either as a potter firing my supermarket-basket raku kiln or as one of the designers of 1 Redcliffe Street, the Dickinson Robinson Building in Bristol. It was through his interest in ceramics that I first met him and from there he drew me in to the Ken Stradling Trust and the Ken Stradling Collection. His sudden death in August has come as a great shock to everyone who knew him and he has left a gap in our lives. Colin has been a part of the architectural and design scene in Bristol since the 1950s and his close association with Ken Stradling, director of the Bristol Guild of Applied Arts resulted in a wide range of projects and activities from the Dartington Cider Press, to the Vivat Trust and buying trips all over the UK and parts of Europe. The design history of Bristol is worthy of more study  – a Modernist thread beginning with furniture manufacturer Crofton Gane and his involvement with Bauhaus designer and architect Marcel Breuer is reflected in the 50s and 60s through people like Colin and Ken. The Space for Living show in 1959 saw Crofton Gane working with this new generation.

Womens Journal 1959a

The Space for Living exhibition at Newbery and Spindler, Bristol as featured in Women’s Journal, Nov 1959.

E Post 195x printa

Crofton Gane, Colin and Ann Beales in a promotional photograph for their Space for Living exhibition, Newbery and Spindler, Bristol, 1959.

1 Redcliffe Street was Bristol’s first ‘skyscraper’ and is increasingly appreciated for its elegance and dignity.

Colins Robinson Bldg photos

1 Redcliffe Street, Bristol. The Dickinson Robinson Building nearing completion in 1963. DRG Group Architects lead by John Collins.

When Ken Stradling began to think about a future for his extensive collection of design, built up over many years of involvement in the industry through the Bristol Guild it was to Colin that Ken first turned for ideas. In 2007 when the Ken Stradling Trust was founded Colin suggested that I be recruited as a trustee with a ceramics/design/education background. Colin has been a crucial figure in guiding the process of developing the Collection and recently opening it to the public. He has been vital not only for his enthusiasm and concern for Ken’s legacy but also practically as architect and designer producing many drawings and pages of his notes in his elegant handwriting. Like Ken he was driven by the educational value of the project and he liked nothing better than to engage with student visitors and to share his knowledge. Colin will be remembered as a man of wide interests and great enthusiasm, always generous with his time and his knowledge. He will also be remembered for his sense of humour and for always being good company.


Colin Beales welcoming students from Bristol School of Art to the Ken Stradling Collection in Park Row, Bristol last year.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Bristol, Ken Stradling Collection, Modernism, Raku and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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