Engineering education in Bristol can trace its history back to the 18th century when the Society of Merchant Venturers created its Technical College. In 1876 University College Bristol was founded, with Civil and Mechanical Engineering in its Science Faculty. In 1901 these two organisations started to discuss merger and in 1909 the University of Bristol was born, with Civil Engineering as one of the first Departments.

At that time the Faculty of Engineering was housed in Unity Street and concentrated on its teaching role until new staff were appointed after the 1914-18 war, and a greater emphasis was placed on research. One of the most notable recruitments being Professor Andrew Robertson who did some seminal work on the strength of solid and tubular struts which is still used in structural design codes today. During this period the reputation of the faculty gained international significance with five staff becoming FRS, four FREng, and five became president of their Professional Institutions.

Since then both the Faculty and Department have seen significant expansions which have benefited students. In 1946 a new purpose built building, Queens Building, opened with the creation of substantial laboratory facilities. Joining the EC benefited all aspects of the Faculty's activities and allowed the creation of MEng degrees where students can spend a year in another European university. More recently the University has made significant infrastructure investments. A second engineering building housing computer laboratories and other teaching space opened in 1996, and in 2005 more than £20m was spent on upgrading and expanding the laboratory facilities in Queens Building. A significant part of of this investment was used to upgrade the Civil Engineering facilities, and this included a new laboratory for the shaking table facility in the Department.

The Department of Civil Engineering continues to expand and invest so it can continue to deliver world class research and education, and produce graduates who have the potential to become future leaders of the profession. If you would like to be part of the Department take a look at our admissions pages.

Queens Building
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