Having been living in Coventry for four months, I thought it was about time to start looking in to what it has to offer and enjoy some culture while being here. I’ve walked past the museum plenty of times without venturing inside possibly because it looks so daunting from the outside, and I’m not necessarily too bothered by transport but after hearing other people say how good it is I thought it would be worth the trip.
A visit to the Coventry Transport Museum can provide the fascinating story of Coventry and its people through the rise and fall of its biggest industry.
Coventry Transport Museum opened in 1980, after the road transport collection was outgrowing the space it occupied in the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. The Museum houses the largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles and is acknowledged as being one of the finest in the world.
When we arrived at the museum Saturday morning it was quiet and because the admission is free, the lady on reception ushered us straight through where we entered the first exhibition of Cycle Pioneers 1868-1900. There is an interactive screen that allows visitors to pick one person of six from the industry they want to hear the story of, talking mostly about the very first cycle industry.
Moving into the next exhibition A New industry 1900-1914, Coventry was known as the cycle capital of the world. Times were changing though, and bicycle makers such as Premier, Swift, Rover, Riley, Humber, Singer and Triumph were beginning to experiment with motorcycle and car manufacture.
Also at the museum you will be able to find a variety of historic service vehicles which can tell us how people lived, how they worked and what they did in their spare time. I found these vehicles the most interesting because they are most different from the service vehicles we have today.
In one of the exhibitions further into the museum they return to the topic of bicycles in more depth which allows visitors to understand more information about the industry. Also there is a penny farthing bike that visitors can sit on which provides great amusement for on-lookers. It’s higher up than it looks!
The museum has a Jaguar heritage exhibition which hosts some of the most amazing cars, the majority of the vehicles on display within this gallery belong to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust, with a small selection being part of the Coventry Transport Museum collection. Established for the nation in 1983, the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust is a registered educational charity. Its major objective is to collect and preserve vehicles and artefacts, both past and present, relating to the history, industrial development and social impact of Jaguar and its associated companies.
The museum is home to the two fastest cars on earth, visitors can now experience the thrill of breaking the world land speed record for themselves with the all new 4D simulator.
After a couple of hours exploring the museum, venturing through the many years of transport history we passed through the gift shop and sat in the café. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of exhibits inside the museum and the history behind each piece making for an insightful trip for every visitor. I would highly recommend the museum as a place to visit when in Coventry especially to people who have never been.