Ever wondered what it was like to sit behind the steering wheel back in the days when steam wagons, diesel lorries and horse-drawn carts jostled for space on the roads?
Well, the British Commercial Vehicle Museum at Leyland, Lancs, is just the place for you… and the kids.
When so many museums and other visitor attractions have roped-off areas and signs declaring ‘No not climb on the exhibits’, the BCVM positively encourages visitors to get up and put themselves in the driver’s seat.
In this wonderful museum, you can step through a time warp to admire horse-drawn vehicles from the 1880s and learn how they gave way first to steam driven, then petrol and diesel powered motor lorries and buses.
Perhaps older visitors will remember times when garages might have had just a single fuel pump, and someone would come out to serve petrol at less than four shillings a gallon!
Take your time and enjoy being able to move easily between exhibits to inspect them from all sides.
Walk freely around over 60 historic vehicles. Walkways have few roped-off areas and are wheelchair friendly, enabling visitors to get really close to early steam wagons, vintage ﬁre engines; double-deck and single-deck buses.
At the BCVM, they don’t expect you to just stand and observe from a distance!
You can see how many improvements have been made to make life easier and safer on the roads today.
Get behind the wheel of a vintage lorry or experience the comforts of a modern truck cab.
Admire the Pope-mobile, a specially built vehicle for Pope Paul’s visit in 1982.
Children especially love the vintage fire engines with their big brass bells.
The museum helps bring to life times past and create an entertaining atmosphere.
You can hear marching soldiers and then the boom of big guns from the World War I ‘Sound and Light’ display.
A fairground organ pipes melodies which get toes tapping and frequently brings back nostalgic memories.
Bells ring out from fire-engines rushing to an emergency call.
Relax in the cinema to watch films from the archives.
The museum guides, too, have many interesting tales to tell!
Apart from the visitors seeking a fun outing, the museum caters for the serious enthusiast; those who can tell a Leyland from an ERF at 200 yards!
The museum’s archives department holds historic archives, technical documents and many thousands of photographs from the old Leyland Vehicles Group of companies which included vehicles from manufacturers such as Leyland, Albion, AEC, Scammell and Guy.
Technical documents include specification and chassis build sheets for these makes, and these can be made available to vehicle restorers, repairers and authors seeking information.
The museum’s vast collection of period photographs has been reclaimed from glass plate images and after careful digital restoration by the archivists, there’s now an ever-growing library of pictures on file. These too are available for purchase on-line.
The British Commercial Vehicle Museum is easy to find, from anywhere in the North. From the M6, exit at Junction 28, follow the brown museum direction signs and find the museum in King Street, one mile from the M6 in Leyland town centre. Approaching the museum from other directions, follow Leyland town centre signs.
The museum is currently closed for winter, for further information and details of opening times visit www.britishcommercialvehiclemuseum.com