The History of Motoring in Ten Objects

Back in 2012, the Cotswold Motoring Museum & Toy Collection held an exhibition entitled “The History of Motoring in Ten Objects”. It was inspired by the 2010 British Museum Exhibition and Radio Four programme describing the history of the world in 100 objects. We sifted through the many thousands of motor-related objects in the museum to create our own list of nine items for our own exhibition. We then asked visitors to select a tenth item to complete the selection. More than 1000 people took part, with satellite navigation winning the tenth spot by a clear margin.

Over the next few months, we will reprise the ” Ten Objects” in this blog, starting with the Bowser Pump or, as it is better known today, the fuel pump! They were not always quite as smart as today’s electrically operated, precisely calibrated dispensers of petrol and diesel.IMG_4338 edited

For more detailed information on this item plus our “Impact (of Motoring) on the World Today” exhibition, download the free eBook from our website. As well as looking at the impact that motoring has had on our planet, this fascinating book also considers the decisions that we as individuals can take to reduce that impact, with suggestions as to how the current century of motoring may unfold.

Brum’s Christmas Message

At the time when I first became a celebrity, admittedly a few years ago now, it was just the Queen who used to deliver a Christmas message but, I have realised, that many others do this as well. So, after the enthusiastic reception to my words last year about Autonomous Cars, I thought I would share a few more with you all.
Just going back to the topic of autonomous cars that have continued to be so newsworthy over the last 12 months, I am a lot calmer now. I realise that it could still be quite a few years until grown-up cars can drive around a city, avoiding other cars, stopping for pedestrians and understanding the gestures of other drivers: all things I could do brilliantly when I was allowed on to the road. Also, since Graham explained the meaning of the word “crusher”, I have decided not to mention the topic again. Unless, …….., no, never again!
So, what has been happening in the museum? Well, there has been quite a lot going on around me this year. There is the on-going restoration of the Austin Seven pick-up truck; this will be displayed outside the museum once the fine weather returns, hopefully in the Spring of 2018. Then there’s the restoration of the red rickshaw, on display in front of the museum – that was completed. We have some new volunteers who help with restoration tasks and work behind the scenes to ensure that everything continues to work and look presentable. But, best of all, I heard Michael say that we had an all-time record number of visitors this year; overtaking the previous record set in 2002!
Maybe they didn’t all come to see me, but one couple certainly did. The other morning Graham came to open the museum and found a couple who had come all the way from Australia just to see me, I’m sure that is what they said. So, Graham took pity on them and opened early just so they could come and find me. What an honour, I’m still famous! I also heard them saying something about cricket and Ashes and I’m sure I heard that word “crushed” again but I didn’t really understand.
Finally, just between ourselves, I saw all that lovely snow last week and decided to sneak out for a quick spin across the common; I didn’t even tell Graham that I was going and was back before anyone missed me. As you can see from my picture, I was having a great time, then I saw this notice about cars found driving on the common. It said, if found they could be “impounded and crushed”. Oh dear, not again! I must learn to keep a low profile.
Have a lovely Christmas and my best wishes for 2018. Don’t forget to come a see me when we re-open on Saturday 10 February. Toot toot!Brum on common

Caption ideas

Graham kindly provided this photo taken during the final fling of Ophelia (the storm that is). We have had a few ideas for a caption, can you do better?

So far we have:

“The Museum is popular whatever the weather”

“No matter what the weather, the queues just keep growing”

“Who said it never rains in Bourton?”

Who said it never rains in Bourton

Get Kids Out Learning

For many years the museum has encouraged school groups of all ages to visit the museum and enjoy a range of hands-on learning opportunities. These include workshops on transport and toys, quizzes, games even an opportunity to sit on the grey Fergusson tractor.

Given the museum’s enthusiasm for providing a location, away from the classroom, for an enjoyable learning experience for all school-age children, it seemed relevant that when invited, the museum should become a partner with ‘Get Kids Out Learning’.

‘Get Kids Out Learning’ is a scheme run by a company called Tutorful who specialise in web-based tutoring. Founded by a primary school teacher Tutorful claim 8,500 tutors across UK, with half a million visits to their website each month and a record of working with 50,000 families.

Through ‘Get Kids Out Learning’, Tutorful are encouraging more families to switch off the smartphone and laptop and head outside to create learning experiences, memorable for years to come. Children love being outdoors – learning through play and being inspired to explore the world around them. A visit to the museum could be just one such opportunity.

The Tutorful website provides an easy way for families to find local fun days out which provide great learning and educational opportunities for the children. The website allows parents to quickly search any particular region to see all the information they need to plan a great day out! Any parent searching for days out in Gloucestershire will now find the museum as one of their choices.

Although the summer holidays are now fast becoming a distant memory, the scheme has year-round significance and the museum is looking forward to the partnership with ‘Get Kids Out Learning’. We couldn’t think of a better way to promote learning outside of school, than this not-for-profit initiative!

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Another Brum – Part 2

Since we heard from Luke back in March, about the other Brum that he is building, he has clearly been very busy and he has been keeping our Graham up-to-date. In August he wrote to Graham to say that his Brum was progressing very well and that he could now “go places”! Luke wondered if, at some point, he might bring him for a short visit to the  Museum so that the “cousins” could meet. An enthralling prospect! Meanwhile Luke tells us that his Brum now has motor power and servos for the steering and steering wheel. He also has working lights “so he isn’t blind driving along the pavement”.

Great work Luke and thanks again for keeping us in the picture – talking of which your latest picture is below.Brum (002)

Another Brum

A recent visitor to the museum was particularly interested in seeing Brum and he also had an interesting tale to tell. Apparently, he and his Dad have been building another Brum. To prove the point, when he arrived home he sent us some pictures and here they are:

He tells us that his Brum is 120 x 60 x 80 cm and just look at that front suspension; it looks very professional and could make our Brum quite jealous!

Luke, we would love to see more pictures as your project progresses and a few words to tell us about your work would be great.

Thanks for contacting us and sending your photos.

BRUM speaks out ….

Hello everyone. It’s been a little while since I grabbed the headlines in this blog, but then I’m a modest little chap really, living quietly next to my best friend, the XK140 Jaguar, in the museum’s Mill Gallery. I’m quite happy to let others make the news while I amuse the children in the museum. However, I’ve been keeping up with the latest news on these so-called driverless cars and my antifreeze is starting to bubble. I have to speak!

It all started when my guardian Graham (you know, the young one at the museum) sent out this rather fetching photo of me having fun in the snow. See for yourself – I do seem to be ageing very well even if I say it myself.


Anyhow, back to the point, a very observant recipient of Graham’s message was concerned that Father Christmas’s hat might be blocking my driver’s view of the road and even suggested that I might be committing some sort of motoring offence. Well, I WAS offended! DRIVER indeed! Have you ever seen anyone sitting in my driver’s seat? See those headlights, well those are my eyes and I haven’t hit anything (much) in the last 25 years – that hat is no problem at all!

My cooling system was churning, my suspension went all wobbly and my doors and bonnet went into a flap ……. but I’m alright now. I have been far too modest for far too long! Time to speak out.

Twenty-five years ago, I was driving around the streets of Bourton on the Water and even around very big towns all by myself – I was even given a good rubbing down by a very nice bunch of firemen. (I’m told you can see me on something called your tub I think it was).

So, when you read about all these NEW self-drive, auto-ominous cars, just remember I was doing all that 25 years ago. Don’t you think that was impressive? Do you think that was a WORLD first? Could I be famous? Do you think Mr Google might want to talk to me? Oooh, I’m getting quite excited.

Ah, hang on …… Graham has just whispered in my wing mirror. It seems that driving on the road without a driver, 25 years go, may not have been entirely legal, he said something about a crusher – not sure what that is but it doesn’t sound very nice. I think I’ll just have to keep my bonnet down for a while.

Have a wheely Happy Christmas and don’t forget to come and see me next year. I’m told we reopen on 11th February 2017. Toot toot.

The Conservation Workshop

A smart new building has appeared in the grounds of the Cotswold Motoring Museum and Toy Collection. On the 1st and 2nd December 2016, Dunster House buildings delivered and erected the 15-square metre building on an existing concrete slab in the museum gardens. Not only has this tidied up a rather unsightly corner of the garden but, more importantly, it has provided a dry, secure space in which museum staff and volunteers can work on those items in the museum collection that need a spot of tlc.



Currently, such work is performed in the meeting room on the first floor of the main museum building and must share space with all the other activities that take place in that room. Before a school visit, for example, work must be moved out of harm’s way or made safe from little fingers. The new building, once fitted out will be used as a clean work area where items can be safely left whilst they are being restored. It will also become part of the ‘visitor experience’ with the large glass area providing an opportunity to see on-going restoration work.

The purchase of the workshop, erection and fitting out is being funded by the Friends of the Museum using funds generated over the years through donations and the sales of raffle tickets, model car sets, badges and refreshments from the shepherd’s hut.

The application of timber preservative and fitting out will hopefully be completed before the museum reopens on 11 February 2017.


North Cotswold Community Radio comes to the Museum

On Saturday 16 July, North Cotswold Community Radio (NCCR) ran a live outside broadcast from the Motor Museum in Bourton on the Water. Between 10am and 4pm, the internet radio station broadcast from the museum forecourt and interviewed staff and Friends of the museum as well as visitors. Two classic cars belonging to Friends of the museum and the museum Land Rover were on display and there was live music at intervals throughout the day. IMG_4128

A fund raising trip of a lifetime between Oxford England and Oxford New Zealand, undertaken in 2004/5 in a Morris Oxford, was described by the intrepid travellers, Jo and Tim Nicholson. As well as their radio interview, photographs were on display for museum visitors to admire. In all, a great atmosphere in front of the museum with visitors enjoying the July sunshine.


Praise is always good but ……

It is always good to receive praise but when it comes as a complete surprise and is completely unsolicited, then it is even better.

Clive Montellier generously left his highly complementary views of the museum on his blog. Here is a sample:

“One of the great joys of having a base in the Cotswold is the proximity of my favourite motoring museum of all time, the Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton-on-the-Water. At a time when more and more museums seem to be subscribing to the adage that ‘less is more’ and hiding the bulk of their collections away, the Bourton museum seems to squeeze more in every time we visit. Nor are the exhibits hidden away behind ropes and barriers. Barring the hundreds of small items that really do have to be in display cases, everything is either out on display or attached to the wall as appropriate, giving the visitor the chance to peer up close at the collection and leaving one with the rather nice feeling of being regarded as an adult capable of treating the artefacts with a bit of respect.”

Clive’s full blog entry can be found at this link. Many thanks Clive.