Organisers at Coventry Transport Museum, the 14-gallery home of the largest British Road Transport collection in the world, say they will turn it into a “unique, internationally significant transport heritage attraction” if Lottery decision-makers award them £4.9 million in funding.
© Coventry Transport Museum
The Heritage Lottery Fund has given initial backing to ambitious plans which include a “major redevelopment” of the exhibition spaces, including the restoration of the City’s Old Grammar School – a Grade I-listed building to the north of the city centre which is on English Heritage’s At Risk Register – as a public archive and educational headquarters.
The School has enjoyed a chameleonic past – originally opened as an infirmary hall during the 14th century, it was united with a nearby chapel hospital and put to educational purposes two centuries later, and was extended during the 20th century.
It has rarely been used since wartime bomb damage reparations in 1962, but will now be galvanised by the museum, which opened in 1980 and hosts hundreds of motor vehicles, cycles and motorcycles alongside more than a million archive items.
“I am proud to be working with the Old Grammar School Trust to bring one of Coventry’s oldest buildings back into use after so many years,” said Gary Hall, the museum’s Chief Executive, who reported visitor numbers of more than 400,000 people last year.
“[We will use] this grant to further develop our museum exhibitions and enhance our educational offer so we can inform and entertain the many people that visit the Museum.”
Reverend David Mayhew, the Chair of the Old Grammar School Trust, said the group was “delighted” to have forged a partnership with the museum.
“We will finally be able to achieve a longstanding ambition to see the Old Grammar School brought back into use,” he added.
“We are particularly excited that it will, once again, be used for educational purposes.”