News : BCVM Leyland secures massive grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund

The BCVM is housed in a part of the former Leyland Motors factory in King Street. It’s had some turbulent times over the past couple of decades but, thanks to a massive lottery grant, an ambitious and exciting plan to improve and modernise can now forge ahead

The British Commercial Vehicle Museum based in King Street, Leyland, Lancashire, is pleased to announce that it has received a National Lottery grant of £1,836,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the ‘Up another gear for the British Commercial Vehicle Museum’ project, it was announced today. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the long-term sustainability of the museum will be ensured.

The aim is to attract more visitors from wider audiences and enable them to better understand and engage imaginatively with the collections. With the enhanced opportunities for income-generation that are included, the project will enable the museum to go confidently into the future. Work on the project will start early October 2017 with the refurbished museum re-opening to the public late in 2018. The 1930s former vehicle finishing shop, which the museum occupies, will be saved.

The badly leaking roof will be repaired and low energy heating and lighting installed, so that the museum can open all year around. It will be completely refurbished to showcase the historic vehicles. There will be multimedia and interactive interpretation including hands-on exhibits, dressing up and living history. A new café, shop and activity and conferencing space will contribute to sustainability and provide space for school visits and activities.

A new dedicated space will ensure that the archive is better managed and researched, and that historic film is used in creative activity programmes. A new post will double volunteer numbers and training will take place, enabling good collections management and a range of activities, particularly for families and young people, which will widen audiences and increase visitor numbers, whilst STEM-based learning is offered to schools.

The town of Leyland has close associations with the early development of steam-driven lorries and today is one of the leaders in developing diesel-electric hybrid vehicles designed to reduce harmful emissions. The museum building is the sole surviving part of the original 1930s Leyland Motors factory. It still has a motor industry-related use and lends an important atmosphere to the stories it has to tell.

Keith Moyes, Manager of the museum said: ‘We are delighted to have been awarded this National Lottery grant, this marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the museum. The work will create a modern museum that is accessible and interesting. We hope to be open again by the end of next year.’

The museum features some vintage and more modern exhibits including this Leyland Constructor-based, Ogle-designed Popemobile
Mike Humble


  1. I managed to miss this story from last year! The work seems to be progressing well, the museum certainly needed a massive overhaul, as it looked really run down beforehand.

    While Leyland is a fitting location for such a museum, historically, it is a bit off the tourist trail. I wonder if a different location (e.g. in Leeds, Manchester or Liverpool) would attract more visitors. After all the National Football Museum, formerly in nearby Preston, relocated to the centre of Manchester and now gets far more visitors.

    • Funnily enough I was in the football museum yesterday. If I had paid to get in I would have been disappointed, though the diagonal lift was amusing. For the Leyland museum to get more visitors it could join up with MOSI, or relocate to Gaydon.

      • I think commercial vehicles are a harder sell to the general public (as opposed to enthusiasts) than cars are.
        Manchester has a decent Transport Museum, jam packed with historical buses from the region, but I can imagine children getting bored after their 5th PD3!

        • I’ve been to the transport museum too – my son did get a bit bored after the umpteenth slightly different coloured bus. The sectioned Metrolink tram was interesting, as were the architects models of various familiar transport hubs.

    • Not quite, it’s close to the M6 and M61, has a railway station with frequent services to Preston and Manchester, and the Lake District isn’t too far away. Must admit, Leyland isn’t somewhere that’s a tourist hotspot, but for vehicle enthusiasts, the museum is quite easy to get to.

      • Vehicle enthusiasts aren’t the issue though, it’s attracting the general public and more casual visitor.

  2. The museum reopened on the 26th January, and by happy coincidence I was driving up to Blackpool this weekend, so popped in yesterday

    The old building is in much better condition now, and there seemed a decent number of visitors there for a cold day in February. The building is still rather small though, the exhibits are crammed in with no room for any new vehicles, to me it doesn’t feel like a national collection, when compared to Gaydon, the National Rail Museum at York or the brilliant Tram museum at Crick. Or indeed many of the excellent regional transport related museums.

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