One of its greatest heroes – Beau Nash – was the son of a Swansea bottle maker and a man who not only organised and led the entertainment of the Georgian masses who flocked here for health and recreation – but set the social manners and morals of a whole generation of upper-crust pleasure-seekers.
Now the city’s fortunes could benefit again from a new bottle connection.
Let me explain. Down the A4 on the outskirts of that great merchant city of Bristol lies a collection of giant industrial buildings – originally erected to cater for the expansion of wine merchants John Harvey and Sons.
This is a company – famous for developing the world’s first cream sherry – that can trace its local roots back to 1796 when it started importing Spanish and Portugese wines.
The bottling-plant production line for Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Milk sherries had outgrown the medieval cellars the company had been traditionally using for storage and operations moved – in the early 1960’s – to a new site and giant warehouses – some with high ceilings for the huge vats – at Whitchurch.
More recently Harveys decided to concentrate things elsewhere and national drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark became the new drinks company in residence – though part of the site proved surplus to requirements. However, it’s been put to a spectacular new use.
The Bottle Yard Studios opened for business in 2010 as a creative hub that could build on the region’s strong track record in supplying great film locations and an experienced crew base.
It’s at the centre of everything from Bath’s Georgian set-pieces to Bristol’s maritime past and gritty industrial heritage. Around these locations is amazing countryside and spectacular coastline.
It’s what site agent and manager Fiona Francombe describes as the whole package.
It’s a British sitcom – staring Jane Horrocks – about employees in a fictional supermarket.
However, the most exciting project in which Bath has a big interest, is the filming of Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box – a breathtaking fantasy – starring Michael Sheen, Lena Headley and Sam Neill.
Find out more about these exciting new regional studios via www.thebotttleyard.com or ring 0117/9529977.