Cotswold Motoring Museum’s collections are full of vehicles, toys and memorabilia from a bygone age.
Maybe you’ll find a classic car just like the one you learned to drive in, or a vintage motorbike that reminds you of the one you used to ride. Does that 1970s caravan bring back memories of long, lazy family holidays?
Have a browse through all our collections on the right of this page for details of all the motoring delights you’ll discover when you visit us.
And read on below for some of the other attractions that are waiting for you in our individual galleries...
Mill Gallery is bulging with great vehicles, quaint caravans, motoring curiosities and nostalgic enamel signs. Everywhere you look you’ll see classic motoring memorabilia. You’ll find children’s TV star Brum here too. He lives in the museum and it’s from here that he headed out on every one of his exciting adventures. And don’t forget your camera – Brum loves having his photo taken!
Travel back in time as you stroll through an authentic blacksmith’s workshop and take in the sounds and smells of a world that was rapidly moving away from the four legged horse and towards the new and exciting age of motoring.
Blacksmiths go way back – one of the most famous names in the field, Alldays & Onions, features on the bellows and brazier in our workshop. The firm of Onions can be dated back to 1625 and Alldays and Co can
be traced back to around 1780 – both firms manufactured tools of the blacksmith’s trade, such as anvils, vices, bellows and other items.
The firms amalgamated in 1885, and went on to expand their range of engineering products beyond the basic blacksmith’s range. They started manufacturing bicycles in 1888 and won a contract with the GPO, following which they bought the Matchless works in Birmingham and started to experiment with motorcycle production. Moving into cars, in 1902 they launched the Alldays Traveller Voiturette – their cars were a great success, winning numerous awards and being exported throughout the world. By 1911 they were producing 10 vehicles a week and you can see a lovely 1911 example of the Alldays & Onions Victoria in the museum – the oldest car in the entire collection.
Car production eventually stopped and the company joined forces with Peacock in the 1960s. Today it’s part of the Witt Group, the world’s leading industrial fan-maker.
A chance to take an enchanting look at the world of motoring from street level, Windrush Alley is a place where 19th-century bikes like the boneshaker, penny-farthing and safety bicycle share the road with a horsedrawn carriage and cars. Motorsport makes a muddy splash with a 1964 MG 1100 and a Levis motorcycle from the days of motorcycle football, a sport which originated in the 1920s and at one time attracted thousands of spectators.
Jack Lake’s Garage
This is a lovingly put-together recreation of one of those small country garages that opened up and down the land to serve the needs of the early motorist. It’s a captivating story, told by Bourton-on-the-Water’s very own pioneer mechanic, Jack Lake.
Jack was born just outside Bourton in 1891. A photo in the museum shows him in 1916 in a French car called a Darracq while he was working as a chauffeur for the local GP.
Jack helped introduce motoring to Bourton-on-the-Water. He was one of just three drivers in the village at the time, and no doubt would have caused quite a stir as he roared past in his modern contraption. Jack went on to devote the whole of his life to motoring – he was Bourton’s first garage proprietor, carrying out motor repairs and supplying fuel, and he was also the village’s first car and motorcycle salesman.
In around 1916 he opened a cycle shop on Victoria Street, which was to develop into a country garage together with hand-operated roadside petrol pumps – the original sign from the garage is still on display in the museum. Jack continued to provide a service to his loyal customers from these premises for 60 years and, when he died in 1981, many artefacts from the garage came to the museum. The site the garage stood on is now occupied by the Cotswold Perfumery.
In the year of Jack Lake’s birth, Britain was car free but, by the time of his death, there were over 20 million cars on our roads. In that short time, a massive new industry had been born and our lifestyles were changed forever.
Enter a world of retro cool as we spin you back to the funky 1960s and 70s. Keep your eyes peeled for a host of nostalgic surprises.