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History of the Building  
The Museum is housed in Brunel's historic railway station in Bristol 'The Old Station', built at the beginning of the railway revolution, which transformed so many regions and areas of the British Empire and Commonwealth.

Construction of the station started in 1839 on the meadows of the 12th century Temple Church. The architectural style of the building was influenced by Brunel who adopted the Tudor style, often referred to as Tudor Gothic Revival, a style that was used in much of his work. Many of the features used in the building have been used in station design ever since.

'The Old Station' was one of the first main line railway termini to be built in Britain and remained the main station in Bristol until 1861 when the New Station was completed. The New Station was built to accomodate the increasing rail traffic through Bristol, which increased dramatically following steamship transportation between Bristol and New York. A new station was also required to accommodate the narrow gauge, which had become the standard gauge of the majority of railways in Britain. Great Western Railways had operated on the broad gauge

'The Old Station' was incorporated as platforms 13 & 14 within the new station and remained in use until the 1960's. However, the fabric of the building began to deteriorate after it ceased to be used, so that by the late 1970's, the building had lost much of its former splendour. It was at this point that an Industrial Heritage Trust began work to restore the building, work which the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum is now completing.

The Museum Trust began work to restore 'The Old Station' in the early 1990's and in recognition of the importance of the building and the work carried out by the Trust, the building has been recently nominated for selection as a World Heritage Site. The building now looks much as it did when it was first opened in the 1840's and is a major landmark within the city of Bristol.



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