Our Journey

Brunel’s Engine Shed boasts a rich and varied past, from its completion in 1841 as the extended Temple Meads station, to its time as The Exploratory, The Empire and Commonwealth Museum, and now as one of the region’s thriving business hubs.


  • Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel


    One of the world’s oldest surviving terminuses, it was the GWR offices and maintenance shed adjacent to the Passenger Shed.

  • GWR, British Rail


    The building serviced engines carrying passengers to/from London. Until 1843 passengers could take Brunel’s Great Western to New York.

  • The Exploratory


    The Exploratory science museum was housed in the Passenger Shed. Its larger successor is We The Curious, in Millennium Square.

  • The Empire and Commonwealth Museum


    The Empire and Commonwealth Museum explored the history of the British Empire and the effect of British colonial rule.

  • Engine Shed is born

    January 2013

    The Engine Shed business was plan developed as an experimental partnership with Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol.

  • SETsquared moves in

    July 2013

    The SETsquared Bristol Centre moves from Clifton into the top floor of the unfinished Engine Shed

  • Engine Shed opens

    December 2013

    Engine Shed is opened by Greg Clark MP with SETsquared, Webstart Bristol, and Invest Bristol & Bath as tenants

  • The LEP arrives


    The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership move in to office space at Engine Shed

  • Silicon Gorge


    Engine Shed showcases work to support the regional investment ecosystem, hosting Silicon Gorge 1.1 with tech startups pitching to angel and institutional investors.

  • Platform 14


    Students of Musuem Curation at UWE create Engine Shed’s first exhibition and coin the name ‘Platform 14’ for its showcase space

  • One Year of ES


    To mark Engine Shed’s first anniversary, an Economic Impact Assessment is commissioned, confirming £7.9m GVA to date

  • Successful departures


    Webstart becomes virtual, having successfully delivered three cohorts. The Bristol & Bath by Design research project moves in.

  • Facilitating connections


    Engine Shed hosts VentureFest and Pitch@Palace, furthering its work to bring investment and business connections to local start ups.

  • Boxworks arrives


    Forward Space open twenty 40ft containers to create the Boxworks development.

  • Ministerial Speech


    Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, chooses Engine Shed to make his maiden ministerial speech, in his first week of office

  • Isambard Visits


    Isambard Thomas, Brunel’s great-great-great-grandson, is interviewed in the Boardroom as part of GWR launch

  • Unit DX launches


    Engine Shed hosts a launch party for Unit DX, Bristol’s new scientific innovation centre for companies needing flexible, high-spec lab space.

  • Inclusive Growth

    February 2017

    The seminal event “Scaling up Inclusively: Minding the Gap” with Mayor Marvin Rees establishes Engine Shed’s Inclusive Growth theme

  • Oracle arrives


    Europe’s only Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator moves into The Arrivals Lounge

  • Metro Mayor arrives


    The first regional Combined Authority ‘Metro Mayor’ began his tenure with an office at Engine Shed.

  • Successful departures


    The LEP and Combined Authority outgrow their space and relocate to Rivergate. The Interchange co-working space is created.

  • Inclusion project


    Engine Shed on Tour bus launches as part of our Diverse Workforce for the Future Project

  • Scaleup Generator


    Engine Shed launches the Scaleup Generator with Growth Hub, offering support and resources to the regions’ fast-growth companies

  • Royal Visit


    The Duke of Cambridge launched the Mental Health in the Workplace campaign at Engine Shed with Mind charity.

  • boomsatusma expansion


    boomsatsuma expands again into the old Interchange co-working space, creating space for The Interchange 2.0

  • Five Years of ES


    Engine Shed celebrates five years since opening its doors with a party for our members and partners