Coventry City Council reveals details of huge collection of items linked to City past

By Samir Osman

Coventry City Council currently owns a huge collection of vehicles that are linked to the City’s past as a majorproducer of cars and other vehicles

Coventry transport museum where the motor collection is on display

Coventry Transport museum where the collection is held

The collection of cars and bicycles (amongst other items) is at the Coventry Transport museum in the heart of the City for the public to go and look at.

The Coventry Council website has a list of some of the items that are owned: “the Road Transport collection currently contains 258 motorised vehicle (cars and commercial vehicles), 400 cycles and 119 motorcycles. There is also a large collection of automobile related small objects, ephemera and social history items related to the people working in Coventry’s transport industry.”

“This collection of approximately 212 motor cars ranges from one of the earliest built Coventry cars of 1897, to one of the last of the Peugeot 206 cars to leave the Ryton Factory production line in December 2006. 90% of the vehicles were made in Coventry or have a very strong Coventry connection. There are a small number of vehicles without a direct Coventry connection that were collected before a tightening of the museum’s collecting policy or are significant vehicles which tell the wider story of the British Motor Industry.”

Head of PR and Communications at the Transport museum Clive Skelhon explained how he believed the collection reflects the history of the City: “The Drapers field factory was the first Car factory to be built in Great Britain. The collection shows us that the Coventrian population were very hard working. They were very innovative and they were pioneers because different automative inventions were developed and built in Coventry. The workforce got behind every idea and the output increased year on year- certainly during the world war two years when we were blitzed. The enemy tried to destroy the manufacturing side of the city but it was impossible to do so as the Coventry people are very resiliant”.

It’s not just the motor industry. There is also a big collection of cycles and the collection of over 400 items represents one of the most significant collections of cycles in whole country- the collection spans from 1818 to present day.

Coventry City Council has changed it’s policy on the items that it owns. The council website states: “Donations from the public will remain the most important way of collecting items”.

Richard Skelhon told me: “I’m not fully aware of the policy changes as that is something for the cabinet and for the Trust board but what we are doing is focusing on the collection as the collection we have is deemed to be of national importance to the United Kingdom.”

“We are focusing on what we do best which is promoting the museum and the different aspects of it. We are trying to attract more people to the city.”


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