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Review: Black Country Living Museum

Attraction - Museum

Dudley, United Kingdom

The garages and road transport collection

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2247 reviews

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  • July 2017
  • Solo

20 people found this review helpful

The transport section not only includes the trams, trolley buses and vintage buses, there are two garages and examples of motor cars and motor cycles made in the area

The CONWAY GARAGE is a replica built of modern materials of the garage built in 1936 belonging to A W Broom. He was a motor mechanic for the Sunbeam Motor Company and part of their experimental and racing team in the 1920s. When Sunbeam car production ended in 1935, he built a garage in front of his bungalow. It was named after his favourite place for weekend breaks. It is typical of small suburban and country garages, being made of timber and asbestos. It sold petrol and also provided a ‘make do and mend’ service at a time when car engines, brakes and tyres were limited and new cars very expensive.

The Museum’s collection of vintage cars is kept here and includes Alec Broome’s own black 1932 Sunbeam Sportsman fixed head coupe.

The BRADBURY & WEDGE MOTOR GARAGE is another new building. The front is a copy of the garage established by W H Bradbury in a former horse tram depot in 1915.

The company began as motor engineers, coach and body builders but by 1919 were acting as agents for many leading car companies. The building houses a collection of cars from 1900 -1935 as well as the restoration and maintenance workshop for the Museum. Until the Second World War there were many different motor car and motor cycle manufacturers in the area. After the war, new sports car manufacturers appeared and manufacture of motor cycles and scooters continued. Manufacture had ceases by the 1980s with the supply of foreign vehicles.

Inside the doors is a Guy Arab fire engine from 1924. Cars include the 1903 12 hp Sunbeam motor car (yellow), two motor cycles from 1912 and 1913. Beyond them is a red 1912 Star Victoria and the only known survivor of this type. Beyond this is a 1914 Briton two seater and at the end of the row is a Steven’s light commercial vehicle from 1936. This was a three wheeled vehicle designed to replace the horse and cart or bicycle.

The row of cars on the opposite side include a 1930s AJS coach built 2 seater (blue) intended as a run about for the middle class womanBeyond this is a 1931 Star Comet which was a very expensive car with folding arms, deeply sprung cushions and a large boot. The company folded in 1930s depression as the cars were too expensive. There is a green 1934 Sunbeam Dawn and at the far end a 1952 Daimler, the youngest car in the collection.

The Museum also has a collection of vintage buses including a Guy Arab half cab and a Daimler which provide a free bus service from the entrance to the Worker’s Institute. It also has a collection of trolley buses and trams although these were not running the day I visited as essential maintenance is needed.

There are more pictures here.

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