The British commercial vehicle museum in Leyland Lancashire, celebrates the fantastic history of commercial vehicle manufacturing in Britain. You may think that sounds a teensy bit boring but it is not. These historical vehicles are stylish handmade objects of beauty in a way that a Ford Focus or a Nissan Micra can NEVER be. I would love to drive around in one of those old hand painted ice cream vans with flowers and wooden panelling on the interior, it would make motoring a whole lot more fun. My reliable, but dull silver Golf just doesn’t thrill me and it is so easy to lose in the car park as it looks like almost every other car in the UK! (it’ll probably break down now I’ve said that..)
Make mine a 99!
At one time Britain was very good at making all sorts of stuff and these glorious old vehicles in this Leyland museum are a handsome reminder of that. The museum chronicles the evolution of vehicles right from the horse drawn carriages through to the Diesel engine, invented incidentally, by Rudolph Diesel. All things truck-related are celebrated and the museum is run entirely by enthusiastic volunteers most of whom used to be employed by Leyland. They are all keen as mustard to impart their knowledge and stories about their pristine exhibits. One such story involved the No 47 Truck which was commissioned by WH Bowker of Blackburn. This fine vehicle was driven by one John Hemelryk from March 1967 to November 1980 and covered in excess of a million miles in that time. Upon his retirement the Chairman announced that John was to receive a clock as a parting gift, which initially left him unimpressed until he realised that the clock in question was the mileage clock in the truck itself! The truck had been re licenced as a private vehicle and was going home with him as his retirement present that day. John’s wife was not too keen on it appearing on the drive but eventually she relented and she even made sure he took his last journey in it, in his coffin, to the cemetery. A fitting end to a long and happy partnership.
John loved this truck
Nostalgia is as popular in the world of commercial vehicles as anywhere else and the museum also has lots of exhibits about the first motorways, random engineering facts, and of course there are pistons and crank shafts galore.