Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum – Transport Festival 2018

By Liam Robinson, Level 1 Conservation Undergraduate

Figure 1. VL1263, a 1929 Leyland Lion with body work built by Applewhite of St. Rumbold Street, Lincoln. Photograph by author.

Founded in 1959, The Lincolnshire Transport Museum is an independent museum, run by volunteers from the Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society.  Their collections include buses, commercial vehicles, cars, motor bikes and bicycles, as well as many examples of road transport signage and ephemera.  Exhibits range from the early 20th Century to the present day and many of them have been fully restored by society members.

On Sunday 4th November 2018, the museum hosted one of its twice yearly ‘running days’.  These events allow the public to experience many of the exhibits in their working context. As part of the event, the museum provided free vintage bus services which operated on routes around Lincoln and the surrounding area. These included a regular shuttle bus from Lincoln Central Railway Station to the Museum in North Hykeham. Some longer bus tours were also available, including a visit to Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter.  Chauffeur-driven car rides were provided in a fleet of classic cars from various periods, driven by society members, who took visitors on short rides around the area.

Figure 2. Details of the side panel of VL1263. Photograph by author.

Inside the museum there was a large trade and collectors fair, busy café and many interesting static exhibits, including examples of road signs and vehicle related advertising. At the rear of the main hall, members of the public had the chance to see the workshop area, which contains vehicles currently undergoing restoration. The outdoor spaces around the museum and surrounding businesses were given over to static displays of cars, buses, commercial vehicles and motor bikes.

The event was vibrant and well attended. The mix of indoor and outdoor displays, rides and tours meant that nothing was overcrowded, with plenty to see and do. The day was well organised and enjoyable with a broad appeal. A visit to future events is highly recommended.

Figure 3. Destination board on VL1263. Photograph by author.

What else can be observed about this event in relation to the study of history in Lincolnshire?

The running day acted as a catalyst for oral history transmission, not just through experts imparting knowledge but through the memories and experiences of the general public.During my visit, I took part in conversations about personal experiences of bus travel, transport and geographic locations. I overheard many similar conversations taking place. This represents history in its most human and accessible form, the relating of how it used to be and how things have changed over time. In organising these events, the Museum is going far beyond creating a nice day out. They are bringing together a huge oral primary historical source and giving people the opportunity to participate in the process of relating and interpreting history from their own personal experiences.

Lincolnshire’s geography and population distribution means that road transport has been vital in the economic and social development of the county. The availability of regular service buses, excursion buses to seaside resorts or tourist attractions and the development of private car ownership have all shaped where and how people live and work in Lincolnshire. The documenting and preserving of data relating to this is important for the study of a wide range of modern historical subject areas. The collections held within the Museum provide a range of sources but, just as importantly, events such as the running days act as a focus for the oral transmission of history.  It gives everybody a voice to express their relationship to the past and foster an enthusiasm and enjoyment of history.

The Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum is situated on Whisby Road, North Hykeham, Lincoln, LN6 3QT.

For more information on visiting times, running days and volunteering opportunities, visit their website:

Liam Robinson is a first-year undergraduate, studying conservation of cultural heritage at The University of Lincoln.

Edited by Samantha Ann Rose Brinded