AUG 00] HERITAGE OPEN DAYS FACTFILE
Years of Motoring Under One Roof
was the home of the car industry in Britain, with many of the big
names being based in the city at one point.
just two are left with major factories – Jaguar and Peugeot. But the
highlights of the industry’s glory days, and the cycle industry
before that can be seen at the Museum of British Road Transport in
first opened free for Heritage Open Days several years ago. Since then
it has thrown out its entry charges permanently.
of the vehicles in the collection are used – a 1910 Maudslay often
makes an appearance at the major days in the city’s calendar.
year a 1931Daimler bus will be brought back into service. It was the
last rear-entry bus to be in service in Coventry.
to the city might be surprised to find out that the museum will only
be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
is due to have a new look entrance as part of the Phoenix Initiative,
when it is made a centrepiece of the final section of the millennium
a taster of the key dates in the evolution of the museum:
The Annual Report of the Mechanics Institute mentions the
formation of a museum.
HW (Sammy) Bartleet presented his private collection of some
seventy cycles to the City - these were the first transport items. The
possibility of them going on display was considered and a building
close to Greyfriars Green thought of as a possibility - war intervened
and they were removed from the City returning after the war to be
stored in Leicester Causeway.
The City accepts a scheme for £300,000 for the new Art Gallery
and Museum as part of city redevelopment plan, to be built on the
corner of Bayley Lane and Jordan Well.
The first motor vehicles for the collection are bought by the
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum opens with a collection of
industrial exhibits housed inside.
The transport collections consist of eight cars and nearly one
The collection continues to grow – purpose-built premises are
acquired at Falkland Close. It includes 35 cars, 150 cycles, 35
Open days and weeks are launched at Falkland Close.
The city stakes a claim to have a National Museum of Road
Transport after a working party is set up by the Government to look at
a national plan for museums.
BL Heritage and the City Council disagree over the ownership of
certain historic cars. The
dispute is settled in July.
A Silver Jubilee display for the Queen is mounted outside the
Cathedral consisting of 50 cars
The City Council announce draft plans to go ahead with the
museum - the decision is prompted by faults at Falkland Close and
public pressure after the success of the Queen's Silver Jubilee
BL Heritage announce that their collection will not now come to
Coventry but will move to Syon Park, London, instead.
October 1980 The museum is opened by the Lord Mayor - Councillor Tom McClatchie.
The collection now consists 100 motor vehicles, 190 cycles and
60 motorcycles. The final cost of the completed museum was £270,000.
The museum acquires its first Royal vehicle - Queen Mary's
Daimler, purchased from Beaulieu.
The museum acquires Thrust 2, the current holder of the world
Land Speed Record, and builds an auditorium around it.
Mercedes Benz donate their history of the motor car exhibition
and a special exhibition area is developed to display it.
All major items in the collection are now held on a computer
database thus, for the first time, bringing together all information
on the main exhibits.
The Motorcycle Gallery refurbishment is completed and re-opens
An exhibition depicting the development and building of the
Jaguar XJ40 is opened in April.
Museum's collections now contain 170 motor vehicles, 200 cycles
and 75 motorcycles.
The museum opens an exhibition of pedal cars called 'Just like
Mum and Dads'. It
proves to be very popular.
The museum launches its most prestigious special exhibition
'Ferrari - Pride and Passion'. It
features primarily the cars of Pete Waterman of Coventry and proves
highly popular, drawing in great crowds.
The museum records record attendances of 87,000 for the
financial year and becomes Coventry's most visited museum for the
first time, exceeding those with free admission..
Museum reaches agreement to purchase Thrust 2 for £200,000
after 12 months. Stirling Moss, Linford Christie, Roger Black, John
Regis, Lord Mayor and the Bishop of Coventry act as patrons.
The museum launches the 'Jaguar - Legends and Champions'
exhibition. It is acknowledged
as being the finest display of sporting Jaguars ever gathered in one
exhibition and includes all of the winners from the SS100 of 1938 to
XJ220 prototype, three Le Mans Winners (1953 'C'; 1988 XJR9; 1990
XJR12), XKSS, D Type E2A, XK 120's (NUB 120 and LWK 707) and XJS
Touring Car Champion etc. etc. The
exhibition receives great acclaim both locally and nationally.
Acquisition of Thrust 2 by the Museum of British Road Transport
confirmed following the success of the National Appeal to raise £200,000.
Peugeot launch the new 306 at the museum.
Museum's 1897 Daimler is completely refurbished to original
colours for Brighton Run and in preparation for 1996.
Museum goes on the 'Internet' - one of the first British
museums to do so.
The collection now comprises 220 motor vehicles, 230 cycles and
90 motorcycles together with a vast range of archive and other
Cathedral Service for the Centenary of the British Motor Car
Industry. A naked anti-car protestor disturbs the proceedings, making
an appearance alongside the 1897 Daimler.
Museum stages 75th Anniversary of the Austin 7 exhibition.
Thrust SSC. visits the Museum following its World Land Speed
Record and attracts over 15,000 visitors in one day - free admission
is offered as an experiment.
On 21 March free admission trial is introduced as a trial and
receives a phenomenal welcome from visitors.
The museum collections are 'designated' as collections of
national importance. The museum is just one of 43 collections in the
country to receive this status.
Free admission proving very popular - the previous year's
attendance of 63,000 paying visitors exceeded in just 3 months and the
decision is soon taken to make it permanent.