When Kambe House was purchased by Kambe Events in 2014 it was in a state of serious neglect having, seemingly, not been touched for decades. Upon purchasing the building, Kambe completely gutted the building and refurbished it into modern offices while maintaining as many original features as possible. On the completion of the works at the beginning of 2015 all the offices were immediately occupied by like-minded creative enterprises, individuals and a charity (please see our Tennants page for full tenant details). We are delighted to say that all the original tenants are still with us!
The Ground Floor is comprised of a beautiful, calm and versatile meeting room with a kitchenette. Over the years, this space has been used for many activities including Pecha Kucha evenings, public and private presentations, board meetings and also regular yoga classes each weekday mornings and evenings.
The basement of the property is home to the Bristol institution, Cosies- a wine bar which has presented excellent music for decades, in particular reggae and dub.
Kambe House represents fascinating slice of Bristol’s history. Although it was originally designed and built as a high class residential area, the square never fulfilled this intention. Almost as soon as it was finished around the start of the 19th Century, the hottest area for the great and the good of Bristol was Clifton. The square was, instead, occupied by small businesses and light industry. Kambe House was part of a large shoe factory before a life as a chemists.
The 20th Century saw the square fall into a serious state of decline, not helped at all by the bombing during World War II. Throughout the second half of the century, the square developed a very colourful reputation featuring dealers and ladies of the night! Also during this time, the majority of the square changed use once again from industrial use to offices and services.
Being on the edge of St Pauls, Portland Square is hugely influenced by the Afro Caribbean community. In 1966, the ground breaking Bamboo Club opened on the square. The Bamboo Club broke down seriously ingrained social boundaries as well as presenting some of the best music that has ever visited Bristol including Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Ben E King. Two years after this legendary venue opened, St Pauls Carnival started and the square has been a central part of these annual celebrations. Sadly, the Bamboo Club was burnt down in 1977.
Over recent years, Portland Square has seen many of its buildings being converted back to their originally intended use- residential. Since we have been on the Square, there is always at least one building being converted back to flats and currently a very large development is in planning stages to, finally, redevelop the North West corner from its current state of utter dereliction. There is also an exciting development under way to create a boutique hotel.
The history of Portland Square is fascinating and we are proud to be a part of the ever changing story of the area.