Bristol Light Festival – Vertigo shot tower
Since 2020, The Workforce Development Trust has been the proud owner-occupier of the iconic grade II listed lead shot tower ‘Vertigo’ on Cheese Lane.
This March our offices will take centre stage as part of the Bristol Light Festival, playing host to one of 10 installations across the city.
CEO John Rogers filled us in on The Workforce Development Trust’s involvement in the Festival and gave a little insight into the history of the building and area that we occupy.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE HISTORY OF ‘THE TOWER’?
We acquired the lead shot tower in 2020 and moved in in March 2021 once the sitting tenants’ lease had expired.
Although we’ve been in our current premises less than a year, we’re not new to the area – far from it in fact – if I walk to the top of Cheese Lane I can just about see our old offices on Temple Way!
The Cheese Lane shot tower can trace its origins back to 1782 when William Watts patented a process for making lead shot – small pellets used for shotgun ammunition. Despite being a world first, William Watts was declared bankrupt in 1794. The tower survived various changes of ownership until it was taken over by the Sheldon Bush and Patent Shot Company Limited in 1868.
The site was moved to its current location on Cheese Lane 100 years later and today the building serves as our Bristol Headquarters.
BRISTOL LIGHT FESTIVAL 2022 IS COMING UP ON 1-6 MARCH, HOW ARE YOU INVOLVED?
Our office windows will take centre stage during the Light Festival, providing the backdrop for internationally renowned light artist Parker Heyl’s latest work.
It’s a bit of a novelty for the lead shot tower to be regarded as a work of art (even just temporarily) as I’m sure that the brutalist concrete tower that sits at the centre of our building is a bit Marmite for some!
Architectural preferences aside, I’m sure we can all agree that the tower will provide the perfect canvas for Parker’s work, and we’re delighted to be able play a small part in putting on this fantastic event for the city.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE REDCLIFFE AND TEMPLE AREA OF BRISTOL?
It’s pleasing that the building we proudly occupy is such an iconic part of the cityscape. As an organisation, we really feel at home here even if the tower is freezing cold in the wintertime!
Being within easy reach of Bristol Temple Meads and close to the main bus routes in and out of the city makes it easy for us to connect with clients across the country as well as our colleagues up in Sheffield. Like many organisations since the pandemic, we have adopted hybrid working arrangements and we find that being right in the heart of the city gives people extra incentive to come into the office and connect with their colleagues.
We’re spoilt for choice in terms of cafes, restaurants and amenities in our immediate vicinity, which is great for grabbing a quick bite for lunch, socialising after work or conducting off site meetings. On a sunny day, it’s nice to be able to stretch your legs in Castle Park, take in the sights and sounds of the city or stroll by the river.
As an organisation we have been steadily expanding our footprint over the past year-18 months, so for us it has been a real boon being centrally located and having everything we could wish for on our doorstep.
To find out more about Bristol Light Festival visit: https://bristollightfestival.org/