Shipshape Network

M Shed

M Shed is the museum of Bristol’s history, appropriately housed in former dockside transit shed M in the heart of the old city docks. The Museum has great maritime collections, not least those outside the building.

Two of M Shed’s three Bristol-built vessels are part of the National Historic Fleet. Mayflower, launched in 1861, is the world’s oldest steam tug and one of the 20 oldest surviving ships anywhere. She worked her whole life on the Sharpness & Gloucester Canal and the river Severn, finally retiring after over a century at work. After a period in the doldrums, she came to Bristol for restoration and ever since has run passenger trips in the harbour to give visitors a close view of her workings. Next September the 1909-vintage boiler will be removed for its 10-yearly inspection and the volunteers looking after her are already preparing for this.

Also preparing for periodic major work is the 1934 fire boat Pyronaut. She served the city docks in Bristol until 1973 and now runs passenger trips and gives spectacular displays during harbour events. Each of our vessels is taken out of the water every six years on a two-yearly cycle.

The 1935 diesel tug John King is awaiting a major bit of work. Some years before we acquired her, former owners had removed, taken apart and sold off the auxiliary set which provided compressed air and pumping on the tug. We have gradually retrieved the elements of this over the last ten years and rebuilt it on a new baseplate. It’s now ready for installation and plans for this work are being made.

As well as ships, we’re known for our cranes – we look after a 35 ton Fairbairn steam crane and four dockside electric cargo cranes, all bar one of which have been restored to working order. The steam crane is currently undergoing a major overhaul, 25 years after we completed its original restoration and will be back in action later in 2017. The last of the electric cranes is undergoing restoration and will hopefully be completed in early 2018. The other three are occasionally seen carrying out lifts for other heritage vessels in Bristol – the Irene’s bowsprit, Balmoral’s liferafts and the Matthew’s main spar, for example.

NEWS - Somalis in Bristol: Where are we from and who are we now?

Produced in collaboration with Black Southwest Network and members of the Somali community, this new display explores the diverse experiences of Somalis living in Bristol today.

Hear personal stories from Somalis and discover the rich heritage of one of the city’s fastest growing communities.

Somali identity is a fascinating subject. Loyalty to clan, nation, region and religion all create a rich assortment of personal identities in a new land.

From teenagers who were born in the city, to those who have adopted it as a place of refuge, discover individual stories through striking photography and intimate oral accounts.

Whether you’re a Somali wanting to explore your own identity or you’re simply interested in finding out more about Somali culture, there is much to discover.

Source: M-Shed, 13 November—11 March 2018


NEWS - Steve Coogan's Stan Laurel transforms the M-Shed and Balmoral for BBC movie

The star is filming at the harbourside with American actor John C Reilly.

Actor and comedian Steve Coogan and American star John C Reilly have been in Bristol all weekend – as the Harbourside has been transformed into an Irish dockyard for the filming of a movie about Laurel & Hardy.

The MV Balmoral, the vintage cruise ship normally moored by Prince Street Bridge, has been the set for the filming of a section of the movie where Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy arrive in Ireland on a tour – with the M-Shed decked with the Irish tricolore and the American flag to complete the scene.

Coogan is playing Lancashire-born Laurel, whose long-standing double act with rotund American actor Oliver Hardy made them comedy legends in Hollywood and around the world.

With the section in front of the M-Shed cordoned off over the weekend, few passers-by realised Coogan and the crew were filming what is set to be one of the biggest BBC films of next year.

The film is entitled ‘Stan and Ollie’ and follows them on their final tour back in 1953, which saw them visit music halls across Britain and Ireland one last time.

Steve Coogan was spotted though, by eagle-eyed star spotter ‘The Real Clem’ on Twitter, and filming continued there today, Monday.

Source: Bristol Post, 10 April 2017


M Shed


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