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19 amazing images of 1980s Bristol by Beezer

The birth of Bristol’s music and street art history, captured forever in these fascinating images from the 1980s

Virgin Records & Tapes, Broadmead
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Virgin Records & Tapes, Broadmead

Watchin' The Day Go By, Campbell Street, 1985
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Watchin' The Day Go By, Campbell Street, 1985

3D and Brim, Arnofini Graffiti Exhibition, 1985
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3D and Brim, Arnofini Graffiti Exhibition, 1985

3D, Jamaica Street
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3D, Jamaica Street

3D Spray, St Pauls 1985
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3D Spray, St Pauls 1985

Anarchy, Freedom, Respect!
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Anarchy, Freedom, Respect!

Anti-Apartheid Demo, The Bearpit, Bristol, 1985
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Anti-Apartheid Demo, The Bearpit, Bristol, 1985

Wall Posse B-Girl, St Pauls Carnival, 1986
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Wall Posse B-Girl, St Pauls Carnival, 1986

Carnival Wall Posse
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Carnival Wall Posse

End Of The Longest Day, Mini-Mark, Campbell Street, St Pauls 1985
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End Of The Longest Day, Mini-Mark, Campbell Street, St Pauls 1985

Enter The Dugout, The Dug Out Club, Bristol, 1983
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Enter The Dugout, The Dug Out Club, Bristol, 1983

Enterprise Sound System, St Pauls Carnival
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Enterprise Sound System, St Pauls Carnival

London VS Bristol, Nellee on the decks, Red House, Portland Square, Bristol, 1984
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London VS Bristol, Nellee on the decks, Red House, Portland Square, Bristol, 1984

Nellee Is My Selecta, Wild Bunch at St Pauls Carnival
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Nellee Is My Selecta, Wild Bunch at St Pauls Carnival

Roots Vendors, St Pauls Carnival
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Roots Vendors, St Pauls Carnival

Start Of The Longest Day, Campbell Street, Bristol, 1985
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Start Of The Longest Day, Campbell Street, Bristol, 1985

Take The Train
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Take The Train

The Day The Law Died, Jamaica Street, 3D
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The Day The Law Died, Jamaica Street, 3D

The Ultimate Wild Bunch, Dug Out, 1984 - Milo, Daddy G, Nellee, Willie Wee, 3D
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The Ultimate Wild Bunch, Dug Out, 1984 - Milo, Daddy G, Nellee, Willie Wee, 3D

1980s Bristol. A time of Thatcher, poll tax, strikes, riots… and a time of cultural explosion in what was, until then, considered one of Britain’s most boring cities.

Influenced by the burgeoning hip hop culture across the Atlantic and the dub/reggae sound-system scene found closer to home, a handful of pioneers combined to ignite a movement that would go on to define Bristol to many across the world.

Whether playing records at house or street parties in St Pauls, or painting the walls at the youth centre in Barton Hill, the likes of Smith & Mighty, Nellee Hooper, graff artist 3D and his crew the Wild Bunch (who later became Massive Attack) embraced their creativity to escape the tensions of life in 1980s inner-city Britain.

Without this moment in history, Bristol would be a very, very different city to the one you find yourself in today. And without an individual called Beezer, who grew up with the Wild Bunch and had the unique foresight to grab a camera, build a darkroom at home and set about documenting what was happening around him, it’s a moment that would have been consigned to hearsay forever.

Previously exhibited at Bristol Museum and published in the book Wild Dayz, the images in this slideshow make for captivating viewing for anyone with an interest in our city’s rich musical and social history.

www.beezerphotos.com

Comments

3 comments
al B
al B

cracking. i saw Beezers photos at the Homegrown (urbis mcr) exhibition. his soundsystem photographs are amazing 

Jane B
Jane B

Only the first three pics are showing for me. Does anyone else get this?

Simon W
Simon W

I watched this being painted in 86, i had a bedsit on Jamaica street!!