There are many great ways in which modified shipping containers can be used, something that people in Bristol seem to know all about.

Not only is the city famous for Cargo, the wide range of independent food and drink outlets based in shipping containers at Wapping Wharf in the former harbour, but the local public has come up with some nifty ideas too.

That certainly applies to Ben Maddocks, who lives in the Knowle Hill area of the city. He bought a used shipping container which he uses as a garage, but with a more unusual purpose in mind; as a structure strong enough for a ten-foot-tall sculpture of a Tyrannosaurus Rex to stand on top of it.

Mr Maddocks said the statue of the dinosaur, which, (contrary to the inaccurately-named Jurassic Park films) roamed the Earth in the late Cretaceous period, was a gift he bought from a garden centre in the Somerset seaside town of Brean for his son, who is obsessed with dinosaurs and has “boxes and boxes” of dino toys.

The statue could not have gone on the roof of the family house, due to its weight, which is why Mr Maddocks took the step he did. He explained: “It weighs about a quarter of a tonne, so we were worried it might come through the ceiling,”

“So I bought myself a shipping container, which is my garage, and thought I’d put it there to give children something to smile about.”  

Of course, not everyone will do something quite so eccentric as this, as Mr Maddocks freely admitted, commenting: “If I come across something a bit weird, different or unusual, I normally buy it because, as my wife says, that’s the way I am.”

Then again, some would say that using shipping containers is not at all weird in Bristol. After all, it is a port that has reinvented itself, so why not reinvent the items that goods are carried in as well?

As Bristol Live reported earlier this month, Boxworks, a firm that provides workplaces in 20 converted shipping containers, is about to move from its base near the city’s main railway station at Temple Meads to Brabazon, a major new housing development being built on the northern outskirts of the city on the site of the old Filton Airfield.

Over 80 businesses have made use of the facilities provided by Boxworks over the last seven years, but it was always accepted that the containers would not be there permanently as the area around the station would be redeveloped.

Now this is happening, the move will help speed up the major new development that will see over 6,500 homes being built at the Filton site. So far, 150 have already been built and are inhabited.

Whether any of the new residents will want a used shipping container stored at their homes – less still with a dinosaur sculpture perched on top of it – remains to be seen. But Bristol remains a city in the vanguard of container re-use and innovation, so nobody should be surprised to see some more novelties emerging soon.

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