The Brick Tapestry is a collaborative display of key milestones in world history built with LEGO bricks.

Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, members of Brick Alley LEGO User Group were asked to contribute one or more milestones, from the Big Bang to the modern day. Each section has its own style, but all of them use LEGO bricks (and plates, and tiles, and other parts) to create a scene which represents its milestone in history.

What event in history would you build if you could add to the Brick Tapestry?

Some time ago... The Big Bang

The Big Bang is the most widely accepted theory of how the universe started – a huge explosion of matter, expanding in to space. Stars – and then planets – began to form due to gravity.

Built by Adam B

66 million years ago T-Rex Roamed The Earth

The T-Rex is probably the most famous dinosaur we know of. They walked the earth around 66 million years ago, but dinosaurs of many types existed from as early as 252 million years ago.

Which is your favourite dinosaur?

Built by Alan H

1 - 2 million years ago Early humans discover fire

The discovery of fire by early humans was an important step in the development of the human species. It allowed us to stay warmer in cold climates, and to cook food, changing our diets and behaviour.

Built by Stephen E

43500 BCE Storytelling with cave paintings

Storytelling is a very human trait, and as early as 43500 BCE, early humans shared their stories in paintings on cave walls.

Some of the earliest cave paintings appear in Spain, and a recent discovery in Indonesia of a wild pig painting was dated to at least 45,500 years ago.

Built by Adam D

3000 BCE Stonehenge built

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the South West of England.

There is evidence for a series of monuments on the site over time, to become the famous stones you can see today.

Do you think you could build Stonehenge in our LEGO play pits at Shildon?

Built by Lewis B

2500 BCE Ancient Egyptians

The Ancient Egyptians left a last impression of their civilisation with vast tombs in the shape of pyramids.

We can thank them for inventions such as the sailboat, too!

Built by

776 BCE The First Olympics

The first recorded Olympics were held in 776BCE, as a competition between city states in Greece.

The games continued in to the Roman period around 200BCE.

Built by Matt K

700 BCE Great Wall of China built

The Great Wall of China was built at the northern edge of the ancient Chinese states. Several walls were built around 700BCE, with later building work, eventually creating a continuous wall 12,000 miles.

Built by Tony J

79CE Vesuvius erupts, burying Pompeii

79AD saw Mount Vesuvius erupt, covering the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, near modern day Naples, in ash from the volcano’s eruption.

This preserved much of the town, and people in it – including a dog peeing!

Built by Richard C

80 CE Construction of the Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum is probably one of the most notable landmarks of ancient Rome. The building we can see today is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world.

Work began in 72 CE under Emperor Vespasian, and was completed around 80 AD under Emporer Titus.

Built by Ian B

1077CE The Bayeux Tapestry

This depicts a very small section of the Bayeux Tapestry, embroidered as a tribute to the victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

“Isti mirant stella” is Latin, and translates to “they marvelled at the stars”: you can see the onlookers in the castle (bottom left) are gazing up at Halley’s Comet, which passed overhead in 1066, and was seen as a bad omen – easy in hindsight, when Harold II of England died in battle with William the Conqueror later that year!

Built by Richard C

1215 CE First human rights - signing of the Magna Carta

The Magna Carta provided the first “human rights”, giving a small portion of English nobility protection from illegal imprisonment by the king, as well as other protections for the church.

Built by

1400s CE Cultural rebirth in Europe

The cultural rebirth, or the Renassiance (literally “rebirth”) was a period in Europe after the Middle Ages where ideas on art, cultural, politics and the economy developed greatly.

This period saw great travel and increase in trade.

Built by Jules B

1300 - 1500s CE Aztec civilisation

The Aztec civilisation of South America saw the rise of city states and cultural and social change.

Built by Ian B

1492 CE Age of Discovery

The Age of Discovery came about due to increased ability to travel and navigate at sea, allowing European explorers to find new lands and take riches back to their home country.

On August 3,1492 CE, Christopher Columbus became the first (credited) westerner to reach the “new world” – what we now know as America.

Built by Jack H

1599 CE First performance of a Shakespeare play at the Globe

1599 CE saw the first performance of a Shakespeare play at The Globe theatre in London.

The play was Julius Caesar, and this tapestry depicts the infamous line “Et Tu, Brute”, as Caesar is betrayed by his long term friend.

Built by Chris W

1760 - 1840 CE Industrial revolution

The industrial revolution changed working patterns and contributed to the growth of towns and cities in Britain – and further afield – as rural workers and their families moved in search of work.

Can you think of something created during the industrial revolution which changed our lives even today?

Built by Allan H

1776 CE American Independence

The beginning of a new world superpower began with the declaration of independence from the United States of America, which had previously been under the control of Britain.

Built by Tim B

1825 CE First Passenger Railway - Locomotion

Locomotion No 1 was the first locomotive to work a passenger carrying train on a public railway on the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

You can find more about this locomotive here.

Can you find Locomotion in the museum here at Shildon Brick Show?

Built by Will E

1859 CE Darwin Published "On the Origin of Species"

Charles Darwin’s work before, on and after the Beagle’s expedition to South America and Australia, circumnavigating the globe develop ideas of how we are related to apes, and other animals have developed over time, adapting to their environments.

He joined this trip at the age of 22, he developed his thoughts on natural selection and evolution in to the now famous book, On The Origin of Species.

Can you think of a modern animal which is closely related to a woolly mammoth?

Built by Mim P

1896 CE Modern Olympics starts

The modern Olympics have continued, with a few gaps, from 1896 to the modern day, with athletes from countries around the world competing in a variety of sports.

Can you remember where the last Olympics were held?

Built by Mike R

1903 CE First powered flight

The Wright Brothers’ Wright Flyer (also known as the Kitty Hawk) was the first powered flight in the world, in North Carolina, USA.

The engine was built especially for the aircraft, and had just 12 horsepower!

Built by Faye T

1911 CE First pole reached (South Pole)

The first successful expedition to one of the poles of Eart was completed in 1911 CE by Norweigan explorer Roald Amundsen.

Built by Steve M

1918 CE End of WWI

1918 saw the return of peace in Europe at the end of World War I.

Built by Nick S

1927 CE First Television

The television is an invention that changed how we find information, communicate with each other, and entertain ourselves.

This section of tapestry shows four early television channels in the UK – can you name them all?

Built by Rob C

1930 CE First Football World Cup

1930 saw the first Football World Cup in Uruguay, South America.

Uruguay also won the competition!

Built by Gav P

1945 CE Victory in Europe

After a brief period of peace, Europe – and much of the world – was at war again after 1939. Peace came in 1945.

Built by Jim A

1945 CE Founding of the United Nations

The destruction of WWII inspired nations to begin to work together to keep peace worldwide.

The United Nations was founded with 51 member states. Today, they have a membership of 193 member states, and 2 observer states.

Built by Mark P

1947 CE First supersonic flight

1947 saw the first supersonic (1 – 5 times faster than the speed of sound in air) flight by “Glamorous Glennis”.

Built by Andy B

1950s CE Rock 'n' roll music

The 1950s saw the development of many types of music, but Rock ‘n’ Roll was

Built by Wendy C

1956 CE Invention of the shipping container

The invention of the shipping container by Malcolm McLean in 1956, revolutionised world trade – with a standardised size of container, it became easier, cheaper and quicker to ship products around the world.

Built by Ian B

1961 CE Patent of the LEGO brick

We couldn’t have a history tapestry without some mention of LEGO bricks! 1961 saw the patent of the plastic LEGO bricks we know and love to this day.

Built by John L

1968 CE First LEGOLAND park opens

1968 saw the opening of the first LEGOLAND theme park in Billund, Denmark – home of the LEGO brick.

It’s still open to this day, with just under 2 million visitors per year!

Built by Paul H

1969 CE Moon landing and the space race

The space race was a side effect of the Cold War, with both Russia and the USA rushing to land their astronauts on the Moon first. America made it there first.

This tapestry shows the reflection of the Apollo lander on the moon in the reflection of an astronaut’s visor.

Built by Jack H

1977 CE First Star Wars film released

1977 started one of the most popular stories of all time – with the release of Star Wars’ A New Hope, it began decades of entertainment for sci-fi fans around the world!

Built by Mike R

1978 CE First LEGO Minifigure - set 600

1978 saw another important landmark for the LEGO company – the introduction of the first minifigures (a police car with policemen), in set 600.

What’s your favourite LEGO minifigure?

Built by Gav P

1989 CE Berlin Wall pulled down

The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War, and was a pivotal moment of freedom and reunification in Western Europe.

Built by Jack H

1994 CE Girl Power! Spice Girls formed

Pop sensations the Spice Girls romped on to our speakers – and screens – in 1994, bringing “girl power” and some pretty catchy tunes.

Can you name each Spice Girl on the stage in this section of the tapestry?

Built by Alan H

2004 CE Fastest train in the world

2004 saw a new record for the fastest commercial passenger train in the world – China’s Shanghai Maglev Train reached an amazing 268mph!

France’s TGV broke this in 2007 with a speed of over 357mph, but wasn’t carrying paying passengers.

Built by Peter S

2016 CE First Shildon Brick Show

Our first LEGO show at Locomotion museum was 2016, which makes Shildon Brick Show 2021 our fifth year!

Do you remember coming in 2016?

Built by Matt K

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