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A journey through the museum begins with a look at the transport industry’s history. The story starts in the nineteenth century, when a slump in the previously booming weaving industry led entrepreneurs to seek new business.
Upon entry to the museum, visitors are greeted by steampunk and Monty Python-inspired animations of Coventry innovators like James Starley, all waiting to tell their tales.
By the early twentieth century, Coventry was a world bike-making capital, and interest in the budding motor industry soon followed.
It’s said that the first Rover car was built in the canteen of the company’s cycle factory. Fascinating facts like these nestle among the vintage photos and lavish artwork adorning the walls, printed in period styles to suit their surroundings.
The historical section ends with a Coventry-made black taxi - which you can hop inside to enjoy a video tour of the city today - and the We Love Coventry wall, a work-in-progress to be completed by visitors.
Passing by work and leisure vehicles, including unique items like a Sky Blues tour bus and a restored 1916 Maudslay lorry, you’ll discover the Innovation & Future area, where highlights include glimpses of modern car construction, a state-of-the-art driverless model, and projects by local university students. There’s also a glittering Jaguar room, the bright lights and sparkling floors of which complement the gleaming surfaces of the new F-Type and C-X75.
Finally, there’s the Supersonic section - complete with sleek metal walls listing record-breaking speeds. Here you'll find the Thrust cars from the original museum, now joined by a huge K-Nex model of their successor, Bloodhound SSC, which aims to reach 1000mph. Choose from three simulations, including a revamped 4D version of Thrust’s journey, and an animated look inside Bloodhound.
Interactive elements throughout reveal the industry’s broader impact, from the Rational Dress Society's fight for practical clothing for female cyclists, through to mass immigration, factory closures and environmental concerns. Try on turn-of-the-century clothes, test your skills as a World War Two fighter pilot, cast your vote on the Ryton Plant closure and design your own supersonic car.
Brilliantly conceived, the relaunch brings Coventry’s past, present and future vividly to life, showing a new side of the city to visitors and residents alike.
Coventry Transport Museum,
Millenium Place, Hales Street,
Coventry, West Midlands
Telephone: 024 7623 4270