Soapworks scheme is developer’s first in the region

Developer First Base has been given the green light by Bristol city council for a £175m mixed-use proposal at a site on the edge of the city centre.

The Soapworks district will centre around the grade II-listed Victorian former base of soap and candle firm Christopher Thomas & Brothers, which has more recently served as homeware showroom for city department store Gardiner Haskins.

Architect Woods Bagot was appointed in 2019 after First Base bought the site earlier that year with a view to creating a scheme featuring modern workspace, new homes, an apartment hotel, cafés and restaurants – in conjunction with the council.


The Soapworks site brings together a series of existing buildings on a site between the Temple Quay business district and the Old Market. The Straight Street site is also close to Bristol Temple Meads Station.

The scheme will include 140,000 sq ft of commercial space along with nearly 250 build-to-rent homes.

Historic England’s listing for the Soapworks describes it as having been designed by WB Gingell and completed in 1865.

Soapworks will be First Base’s first project in the South-West having tended to concentrate on schemes in London and the South-East.


How the scheme will look when completed