Before closure to the public in 1994
The North West Museum of Road Transport (formerly St.Helens Transport Museum) is a voluntary organisation, with members freely giving of their time and work towards keeping the Museum open to the public, keen to show them the rich transport heritage of the region.
The Museum houses the North West Museum of Transport Limited’s collection of vehicles. It can trace its roots back forty years, when a group of enthusiasts from the St.Helens area got together to raise funds to preserve an ex St.Helens trolleybus which was still running in Bradford.
This group called itself the “St.Helens Trolleybus and Transport Society” (STATS) and, in 1971, succeeded in buying Bradford 799, ex St.Helens trolleybus BDJ 87. The old St.Helens trolleybus was restored over a three year period, but in as many different places, since the group did not have a permanent home for its vehicles.
The lack of a permanent home hampered progress and so much of the area’s transport history was slipping into oblivion. That STATS could not go it alone was obvious, so it brought together like-minded groups in the region, and founded the North West Transport Museum Society (NWTMS), which was incorporated as the North West Museum of Transport Limited (NWMOT) in 1981.
The name reflected the wider interests of the groups involved, and the much stronger NWTMS was able to gain use of an old hangar at RAF Burtonwood, and this enabled a fine collection to be built up.
However, based in an old hangar, this extensive collection could only be displayed to the public once or twice each year.
Having its origins in the St.Helens area, the NWMOT approached St.Helens Council with the idea of opening a transport museum, appropriately, in the former St.Helens Corporation Transport bus depot in Hall Street. The Council saw the opportunities for the town that the transport museum could bring, and agreed to our proposals.
Shortly after opening to the public in 1991
The vehicles were moved to St.Helens in the spring of 1986, and the Museum opened to the public on a regular basis for the first time in 1991 after benefitting from Urban Challenge funding which enabled the creation of visitor facilities. Unfortunately, after closing for the season in September 1994 roof damage was sustained and the roof was declared unsafe for public opening. Several attempts to secure Heritage Lottery funding to repair the roof failed and the Museum’s future was uncertain. Fortunately, with the strong backing of St.Helens Council, the Museum secured funding to enable the Museum to re-open, and the planned date for this was September 2006. To reflect the wider nature of the Museum’s collection as well as the new lease of life given to the project, the Museum re-opened “as per planned date” as the North West Museum of Road Transport.The North West Museum of Road Transport perpetuates the original ideal of the Society, with the collection incorporating vehicles owned by individuals, groups and, of course, Museum vehicles.
N.W.M.O.R.T. Christmas 2007