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M Shed

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Subject: List of museums in Bristol, List of museum ships, Bristol Harbour, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol Industrial Museum
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M Shed

M Shed
M Shed is located in Bristol
M Shed
Location within Bristol
Established 2011
Location Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 4RN, England, United Kingdom
Visitors 595,604 (2012/13)

M Shed is a museum in Bristol, England, located on Prince's Wharf beside the Floating Harbour in a dockside transit shed formerly occupied by Bristol Industrial Museum. The museum's name is derived from the way that the port identified each of its sheds. M Shed is home to displays of 3,000 Bristol artefacts and stories, showing Bristol's role in the slave trade and items on transport, people, and the arts.

The museum opened in June 2011, with exhibits exploring life and work in the city.[1] In its first year, 700,000 people visited the new museum.

Normally moored in front of the museum is a collection of historic vessels, which include a 1934 fireboat, and two tugboats and Mayflower, the world's oldest surviving steam tug.

There is a shop, learning space and cafe. Admission is free.

The opening hours are: Tuesday – Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday – Sunday 10am-6pm, Mondays closed (except Bristol school holidays & bank holiday Mondays).


On the quayside outside the museum are four electrically powered cargo cranes built in 1951 by Stothert & Pitt. A short distance to the west is a much older crane, the sole surviving operational example of a Fairbairn steam crane. Built in 1878, also by Stothert & Pitt, it was in regular use until 1973 loading and unloading ships and railway wagons with loads up to 35 tons. It has been restored and is in working order, operating on some bank holidays and the Bristol Harbour Festival.[2]

The Bristol Industrial Museum closed in 2006 and was transformed into the M Shed. The conversion was designed by Lab Architecture Studio.[3] It was expected to cost £27 million including a grant of £11.3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.[4] Another £1.39 million of HLF funding was announced in April 2011.[5] It reopened in June 2011. In its first year, 700,000 people visited the new museum.

Bristol Harbour Railway offers train rides along the quayside on bank holidays, using restored steam locomotives and rolling stock.

Moored in front of the new museum is the collection of historic vessels, which included the 1934 fireboat Pyronaut and two tugs: John King built as a diesel tug in 1935 and Mayflower, the world's oldest surviving steam tug built in 1861.[6][7]


M Shed exhibit

There are three main galleries: Bristol Places, Bristol People and Bristol Life, each telling a story of Bristol, and containing a mixture of media.

Among the 3,000 exhibits of material on display are models of Nick Park's Oscar-winning animated duo Wallace and Gromit, a 10m long mural by local graffiti artists, and pink spray painted record decks (1980) courtesy of Massive Attack, the trip hop trio from Bristol. The band's experimental sound would play a big part in the formation of the city's club scene in the 1980s and 1990s.

On display are newspaper clippings from the city's landmark political episodes, including a triumphant moment for the fight against racial prejudice in 1963 when a group of West Indian workers led a bus boycott after the Bristol Omnibus Company refused to recruit black workers. The dispute was championed by Labour socialist Tony Benn and would help contribute to a decrease in racial discrimination in Britain.

A centrepiece of the galleries is a huge mural entitled Window on Bristol, painted by local artists Andy Council and Luke Palmer. It depicts Bristol's buildings in the form of a huge graffiti-esque dinosaur.[8]


There is also a temporary gallery displaying changing exhibitions throughout the year. Information on the current exhibitions, talks, tours and family activities can be found on the official website.


  1. ^ "M Shed". Bristol City Council. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "The steam crane". Farvis. Retrieved 18 August 2006. 
  3. ^ "M Shed Bristol Museum / LAB Architecture Studio". Arch Daily. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Date set for M Shed to open doors". Bristol Evening Post. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Bristol's M Shed gets extra £1.39m from lottery fund".  
  6. ^ "Mayflower, ST". Historic Steamers. Retrieved 18 August 2006. 
  7. ^ "Preserving Vessels in a Diverse Local History Museum". Third International Conference on the Technical Aspects of the Preservation of Historic Vessels. Retrieved 18 August 2006. 
  8. ^ James Lachno M Shed, Bristol, review, The Telegraph, 21 June 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011.

External links

  • Official website

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