Brunel's Old Station History

The Story of Brunel’s Old Station

What makes Brunel’s Old Station stand out from the crowd when it comes to choosing the ideal venue for events, meetings and conferences in Bristol? The secret lies in its historical roots. The former Great Western Railway Terminus has seen significant change since its creation in the 19th century, but its unique story remains entrenched in history.

Brunel’s Old Station... then

Brunel’s Old Station was designed in 1841 by one of the world’s most famous architects, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The entire railway station was built on the same scale as a cathedral, yet the project was completed in just two years. The building was a masterpiece of its time - it took another 14 years before London could boast a similar structure of the same scale and importance at Paddington.

To make the station as unique as possible, Brunel had to tackle a variety of design issues and functions that had never before been resolved in one building project. Designing an engine shed, passenger hall, ticket office and goods area, as well as stabling for hundreds of horses and an engineering shop were just a few obstacles he faced. The station was also not permitted a site within the medieval walls of the city, so Brunel chose to place it within the water meadows of Temple Parish, which stood just beyond the Temple Gate of the City. On completion the timber and iron roof of the passenger shed formed the widest single span of its age.

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Brunel’s Old Station... now

Today, Brunel’s Old Station remains one of Bristol’s most fascinating and historical best kept secrets. The Grade 1 building, nominated as a World Heritage Site in recognition of its international importance, was rescued by the Empire and Commonwealth Trust in the 1980’s with the active support of the Railway Heritage Trust and English Heritage

The main entrance of Brunel’s Old Station now stands within the former Engine and Carriage Shed, where the locomotives filled their tanks with water from a massive water-tower. The water tower stood above where Café Gusto is now located. The enduring versatility and appeal of this Bristol venue is reflected in the events, meetings and conferences its hosts today, from large Asian weddings, to business meetings, cider festivals and food fairs. The Passenger Shed can accommodate 800 people and is conveniently located right next to the city’s modern day railway station of Bristol Temple Meads. Today Brunel’s Old Station is a venue of choice for thousands of customers who have been placing large scale events here for over 25 years.

Experience the historic atmosphere of Brunel’s Old Station for yourself. To enquire about hosting an event, wedding or conference in this unique and iconic location, call the Bristol venue hire team on 011792 24737.
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