The Team Behind the House
Liz Lewitt has always made things happen, with vision, creativity, enthusiasm and flair. Her partner Zoff turns this vision into reality. Between them they have created a quirky house, rich with the resonance of ancient wood, in which to stay and offer all sorts of hospitality and entertainment via her sister business Bordello Banquets.
After completing a fashion degree in Bristol in the early 80’s, Liz worked briefly for Women’s Aid and a Bristol hostel for homeless girls, then set up a fashion label and opened her first retail shop just off Park Street. It was the halcyon days of The Bristol Dug Out, The Moon Club, The Western Star Domino Club, Bristol’s own Wild Bunch locally, Hip Hop and Acid House nationally, and a heady mix of post punk and reggae.
With her partner in crime Zoff, the inimitable duo turned the ex car show room & furniture studio of legendary, but now retired, cabinet maker Herbie into a fashion studio, retail outlet and costume hire agency.
From this base Liz was regularly listed in the Top 20 of Venue Magazine’s annual Top 100 and was one of 8 people featured in HTV and Bristol Evening Post’s ‘Movers and Shakers’ TV series and newspaper feature and was the sole subject of an HTV piece called ‘Forbidden Fashion’.
She co-presented a live TV magazine news and fashion programme for Wire TV with UK/Ibiza DJ Tristan B and sold her own design collections annually to Agent Provocateur, the up-market lingerie store run by Vivienne Westwood’s son, Joe Corre.
During this time Liz did freelance lecturing in colleges around the South West and London, teaching fashion design, business studies and contextual studies, and co-headed a fashion course in Plymouth where she also did a Master’s Degree in Fashion, the objectification of women and the power play women employ with their bodies through dress, body modification and behaviour.
Liz also worked freelance doing styling, casting and props for television graphics companies and advertising, working for HTV, BBC, BDH, Hollywood Lovers, Mark Lamaar’s Planet Showbiz, MTV, Green Light Entertainment, The Antique’s Show, The Talent Programme, Soul Night, Melody FM, cinema release film ‘Preaching to the Perverted’ and a BBC2 series on colour presented by Patrick Mower.
1980's and 1990's Fashion Work
She was responsible for Bristol’s longest running independent club night Spank, featuring themed film projections and fashion shows, and featured nationally on Jean Paul Gaultier’s Eurotrash and Janet Street Porter’s Youth TV show and in The Face and iD magazines. Back in Bristol she spoke for transgender rights at The Watershed and held fashions shows in The Arnolfini. Her fashion work is in the archives of both Bath Costume Museum and the V&A in London.
Moving on Liz and Zoff then turned their attentions to a derelict 100ft Dutch barge which they purchased from the Bristol Hell’s Angels. After a year of complete renovation and fit out the boat became Il Bordello Media members only Arts Bar. Interior art work and marketing materials were provided by Jake Davis, the founder of Upfest , Europe’s largest street graffiti art festival, and various up and coming graffiti artists. The 500 strong VIP guest list for the Massive Attack gig in Queen Square was hosted over a long weekend on the boat and in a line of Bedouin tents on the quayside. Banksy, Nick Walker, Portishead, Roni Size and Reprazent, Nick Warren and Jody Wirstinoff of Way Out West fame frequented the bar, as did BBC and HTV directors, producers and actors, Aardman and Bolex Brothers animators and up and coming musicians, poets, performers, photographers and artists.
The bar hosted burlesque supper clubs, PR events, product launches, creative cooking and cocktail soirees, private parties for Bristol’s better known faces giving them a bit of privacy in this hidden gem and was the first bar in the UK to sell vapourised alcohol. Oh and the odd spoken word night was hosted by Annie McGann where Hell’s Angels were persuaded to recite poetry and drink Prosecco out of very fragile champagne flutes!
And now the most recent incarnation brings together the pair's skills from these various projects: Liz and Zoff have transformed a 600 year old disused village shop, pub and attached derelict barn and turned it into a fantastic holiday house with seating and sleeping capacity for up to 40, infused with the resonance of wood and seeped in their combined creativity, drawing on local lore and artisan forest food and drink.
When you stay at Mill End and have hospitality provided by sister company Bordello Banquets, you get all of this experience and creativity and so much more. They have brought a bit of inner city Bristol urban buzz and graffiti art (Jody and FLX ‘Children of the Can’) to the beautiful Forest of Dean.
Book the house – what-ever your planned weekend or mid-week memory making event – and Just Add People.