Brunel 200 Legacy Nick Hand – Brunel (Bristol) Limited.
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Bristol Arts Projects Overview > Nick Hand

Heading – Nick Hand

Brunel (Bristol) Limited

“My dad is like Brunel, his business is about people and transport."
Zac Khoudi, aged 11 (about his dad’s business Brunel Taxis)

Nick Hand is a graphic designer and photographer. Having been a partner in Thirteen, a Bristol-based design business, he left two years ago to work on his own and to spend more time developing personal projects. Currently he also works for arts organisations as well as commercial businesses who contribute to environmental issues.

Nick’s project involved interviewing and photographing local businesses in and around Bristol that carry Brunel’s name. Nick worked with 25 businesses in total, including care homes, insurance brokers, car repairers and florists. Nick’s interviews highlighted why the various businesses had chosen to take Brunel’s name and what it meant to them to be associated with the great man.

Nick displayed his images in a disused Victorian toilet block on Park Row in Bristol, attracting over 800 visitors. Nick said: “It was amazing how many visitors tuned into the idea and seemed to really enjoy the interviews, portraits and location.”

Nick Hand – Brunel (Bristol) Limited.

Nick held a private view on 4 April for those who were directly involved in the project, with 75 attendees. Later in the month, Ralph Hoyte, a poet working with Brunel 200, gave readings at the exhibition site of his epic Brunel poem.

A book was printed to record Nick’s work, and 1,500 copies were given away at the exhibition, to the local press, and to all of the Brunel companies involved.

An excerpt from Nick’s book

Brunel Precision Engineering:
“Maybe the name sounds a bit too ‘hot rivets’. We design and make prototypes and small batch production. As kids, we would lie over the airduct above one of Brunel’s GWR tunnels. As the express went through, it would lift us into the air, then as it went past it would suck you down onto the mesh – crazy really. I can also remember standing on the Portway as a little lad watching the ss Great Britain come in. If I could go back in time and meet anyone, it would be Brunel, he was into everything, he even used gas hydraulics to launch the ss Great Eastern”.
Paul Taylor

Nick Hand – Brunel (Bristol) Limited.

Nick commented on his own learning following the project: “…there is so much information that I have gathered about Brunel himself, it feels like I have been involved in a sort of Brunel A level for the past year.”

Comments from visitors included

“Great idea, great exhibition, great location.”

“Wow! Amazing exhibition. Surprised to stumble across a gem in the middle of the city… very friendly as well. Great job! Hope to see more of this in the future.”

“A fitting purpose for the building and a super project. IKB would have been proud!”

Nick Hand – Brunel (Bristol) Limited.


Photography: Mark Simmons.