Museum to showcase future of city’s creative sector

June 16, 2011

Bristol’s role as a creative and innovative powerhouse will be boosted by the opening of its £27m M Shed museum, key figures in the city proclaimed today.

The M Shed, housed in the city’s former waterfront Industrial Museum, opens to the public tomorrow with 3,000 exhibits telling the story of Bristol, its people and its role in the world.

Today, as last minute preparations were being made, city council leader Barbara Janke and council executive member for culture Simon Cook joined media from across the country to tour the museum and find out more about how it showcases the Bristol’s creativity and innovation and the contribution it will make to the city’s economic development.

Coun Janke said Bristol’s success was due to the creative drive of individuals and businesses from Brunel to Roll-Royce, Airbus and Aardman. Its key sectors, such as advanced engineering, media and green technology, were world leading.

“M Shed will not only contribute to the success of the city, it will reflect our aspirations,” she said. “It will put Bristol on the world stage and show that we continue to have a successful economy.”

Coun Cook referred to a recent report from HSBC, fully reported recently by Bristol Business News, that named Bristol as one of the UK’s ‘super-cities’ which, because of its technology and engineering prowess, would spearhead the UK’s economic recovery.

The creative industries and the city’s cultural offering were playing a key role in that growth, he said. “They are an engine of growth. The economic impact of culture is as important as the culture itself.”

M Shed received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £11.6m – an amount Simon Timms, who chairs the fund’s South West region, said had been hotly contested by other projects across the country when they went before the fund trustees.

“I think the trustees saw something really special in M Shed,” he said. One aspect was its potential to boost Bristol’s economy through increased visitor numbers as well as its showcasing of the city’s proud industrial heritage.

The museum also received funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, local businesses and individuals.

Among its unique displays are models and props from Nick Park at Aardman that were used for the Curse of the Were Rabbit Wallace and Gromit movie. Bristol’s role in the transatlantic slave trade is also explored – the continuing impact of which was echoed in a special poem called I Belong Here, written and performed by local poet Miles Chambers for the opening.

Entry to the museum is free.

M Shed Fact File:

  • Size: 5,535 sq m
  • Cost: £26.9m
  • Architect: LAB Architecture Studio
  • Structural engineer: Arup
  • M&E consultant: Atelier ten
  • Quantity surveyor: Davis Langdon
  • Project manager: Focus Consultants
  • Main contractor: BAM (Western)



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