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Coventry Transport Museum – Archive & Collection Overview

In this section you can see examples of the marketing and promotional work under-taken by many of Coventry’s and other national road transport manufacturing companies.

Coventry’s association with transport manufacture is vast for a City of its size. More than 400 cycle manufacturers have found home here since 1869, and from 1896, hundreds more companies have produced motor vehicles, many of which have been widely acclaimed throughout the world.

When the 1st cycles were being built here at Josiah Turner’s and James Starley’s Coventry Machinists Company, Coventry was a City of some 38,000 and falling. By the time the 1st Daimler cars were being built at Harry Lawson’s Motor Mills, the City’s population had risen to around 60,000 – a testament to just how far the cycle industry had grown.

As the British motor industry grew, the cycle industry made way and by the outbreak of WW1, Coventry’s population had risen to an astonishing 120,000, and by WW2, well over 200,000, a population boom unparalleled throughout Great Britain in such a short period of time.

Although much of the industry has gone, Coventry Transport Museum is now home to one of the largest collections of road transport in the world – a collection of designated national importance, consisting of 300 cycles, 120 motorcycles and 250 cars and commercial vehicles and over a million archive and ephemera items.

Since 2007 our large archive and collection of small objects has been undergoing a reorganisation and although the work is still ongoing we are now in a position to share much of this varied material. The Museum’s extensive archive is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the history of Coventry’s transport industry and the British transport industry in general. If you would like to get in touch or have a transport related enquiry then please fill out the online enquiry form here

You can also find out more about some of the main companies, key individuals and even historic manufacturing sites in our Wiki section, and discover more about the individual companies, where they were located and about all the individual vehicles in our collection listing online.