England Travel

M Shed

M Shed is one of the free museums in Bristol. From there you can see stunning views of the city and learn a bit about its past. If you want to visit it, check their website for details.

M Shed

I picked a few items from the museum I wanted to talk about. Also, at the end of the post there are a couple of pictures taken from the terrace.

Gallery at M Shed

Bridge display at M Shed

This bridge display is very interesting. You have to pull a lever to change Bristol bridge. It shows how the three bridges over Avon looked like over the centuries.

First one (top) is Bristol Bridge, rebuilt in stone in the 1240s. It was essential for trade, linking Bristol to Redcliffe. At only six meters wide was congested. Traffic jams are not a modern thing as we tend to believe.

The second bridge is Hill’s Cast Iron. Two cast-iron bridges were built in early 19th century (1804-1809), one at Hill and the other one at Harford. Hill’s bridge collapsed while it was constructed. It was rebuilt with the same design and in 1855 a coal barge John collided with it, sweeping it away, along with traffic and pedestrians. Two people died. The present bridge was built in 1880s with another alongside it in the 1960s.

The third one is the well known Clifton Suspension Bridge. Construction began in 1836, but was completed in 1864. The bridge is still used today and in Summer you can book a guided tour of the bridge.

A skin book at M Shed

This is the Book of trial notes from 1821. John Horwood, at 18, had thrown a stone at Eliza Balsum because she rejected him. She was badly hurt, needing an operation on her skull. She died, so he was convicted of murder. His skin was used to bind the book.

Alfred at M Shed

Death mask of Alfred, the gorilla who was the star attraction at Bristol Zoo from 1930 and for almost two decades. After he died, his body was preserved and is now on display at Bristol Museum (I’m going to talk about that in another post). Also a plaster bust was made from his death mask. A bronze bust is still on display at the entrance of the gorilla house at Bristol Zoo today.

 Display at the M Shed

In the foreground you can see a brass Nail, dating from 1500s to 1631. Merchants used them to make deals. In the background is the door to Spicer’s Hall, from 1301 to 1350. It is made out of oak. During renovations in 1885, the door and porch were removed. The rest of the building survived until the Blitz of 1940.

Bristol from M Shed

Bristol Harbour from M Shed

M Shed is on Princes Wharf, Wapping Rd, Bristol BS1 4RN. There is a long stay car park close to SS Great Britain, that is only 10 minutes away. They have free entry, but you can make a donation if you fancy.

2 Comment

  1. Wow! That’s an interesting story about the book of trial notes… made from his skin! I like the bridge display, too.

  2. I don’t think we went in there on my last trip to Bristol… I’ll have to go next time 🙂

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