Coventry Transport Museum is home to the world’s biggest collection of British Road Transport, telling the fascinating story behind the development of road transport from the earliest cycles to the fastest cars on earth.
The Museum, which opened in 1980 and today welcomes over 400,000 visitors through its doors each year, is currently undergoing an exciting £8.5 million redevelopment project which is due for completion in April 2015. The project will see 12 out of the museum’s 14 exhibition spaces totally transformed, and the building extended to include more space to tell the story of Coventry’s rich motoring history. Finally, the project also includes bringing the museum’s neighbouring Grade 1 listed, 12th Century Old Grammar School back into public use for the first time in decades.
Biffa Award is involved in this exceptional project, having contributed £500,000 towards the development of a new Biffa Award Land Speed Record Gallery which will form a flagship element of the revamped museum. The new gallery will be home to two incredible vehicles; the current World Land Speed Record holder Thrust SSC, which smashed through the sound barrier when it travelled at 763mph in 1997, and its predecessor Thrust 2.
The new gallery will tell the compelling story of entrepreneur Richard Noble's struggle to break the Land Speed Record, moving from his first unsuccessful attempt with Thrust 1 to victory with Thrust 2 and Thrust SSC, showing how the dream of an English eccentric, became an all-consuming passion and a professional business. Topics such as the technical building of the vehicles will be explained as well as the in depth personal stories of those involved in the projects.
These two remarkable vehicles have been on display at Coventry Transport Museum for a number of years now, and play a huge part in attracting visitors from around the UK and the world to visit Coventry, as well as inspiring thousands of local youngsters who visit the museum regularly to marvel at them. This purpose-built new gallery will place the vehicles in a greatly improved setting, to help bring their stories vividly to life for all kinds of visitors.
The Biffa Award Land Speed Record Gallery will include many hands-on elements to engage visitors, including interactive displays, films and special audio interviews with key individuals involved in breaking the land speed record, including Richard Noble and Andy Green, driver of Thrust SSC. The grand finale will be a specially designed 4D simulator ride, in which visitors can experience something of what it might have been like to travel through the sound barrier in Thrust SSC, and perhaps even be inspired to embark on their own engineering adventures.
The new gallery is due to open at Coventry Transport Museum in February 2015, with the museum’s redevelopment project being fully completed later in the year. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffa Award and Garfield Weston Foundation. For more information on Coventry Transport Museum, please refer to the website: www.transport-museum.com