11th November 2013
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Cotswold Motoring Museum
Roy Workman first visited this museum nearly two decades ago. He dropped back in to find some added attractions alongside the classic bikes and cars...
This museum is situated in an old mill close to the village green at Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire. This is a really picturesque village not far from the Watsonian sidecar works. The last time we visited this museum must be nearly eighteen years ago when we rolled into Bourton on my Yamaha XS750 and Squire sidecar. The museum was then run by Mike Cavanagh, who had built up the museum collection over many years. He told me that, because of its position in a busy tourist village, the museum was one of the few in the country that made a profit. He also said that he was hoping to sell it at some stage in the future…
Mike retired in 1999 and the Civil Service Motoring Association (CSMA) acquired the museum. The chap I met this year when paying my entrance fee told me that he had been there for twelve years.
Walking into the display hall, the first exhibit I spotted was a 1936 Brough Superior. There was plenty of memorabilia intermixed with motor vehicles of all ages. On looking around one thing that impressed me were some floor mats - because the CSMA has been involved with transport for many years these mats were pictures of past CSMA motoring events; one was a scene of the club's motorcycle team taking part in the International Six Days Trial in 1938.
Something unusual was a film star quiz. There were pictures of film stars of yesteryear sitting in some of the vehicles, and you had to guess who they were - this was an added interest to the usual museum displays of static vehicles.
One of the display areas showed some vintage motorcycles which were used to play five-a-side motorcycle football; there was a film running showing matches taking place. Apparently there were two referees per match, one for each half of the game. (must have been exhausting work…) Also on display throughout the museum were lots of archive photos of the activities of the CSMA motor club.
Quite a few motorcycles were on display. Being a former Panther owner, I noticed a 1924 model, with a badge for the Nomadic MCC of Reading; this was fixed to the handlebars. There were about 20 motorcycles on display in total, ranging from old to newish. A 1967 Raleigh Wisp looked like new. A few scooters were also on display.
Another hall had films running showing CSMA events and rallies. On one film I counted several motorbikes with sidecars, amongst the cars and solo motorcycles. It was interesting trying to identify all the different makes of cars and motorcycles, as many of the films were years old!
There is a well stocked shop, selling all sorts of related regalia. One thing I spotted was a discount card giving 10% off. This states; 'we hope that enjoyed your visit today, and we'd love to invite your friends and family to enjoy the museum too.' This could be useful for anyone thinking of organising a ride out to here. There is a large range of models and toys, including an amazing collection of Ford motor vehicles .
There is an outside tea and coffee area with seating, unfortunately of no use to us on the day we were there because it was pelting down with rain! In the car park there is replica of a Mini made of a wire outline framework with bushes growing in it. In another year or two, when the bushes have grown more and are trimmed this will be very impressive.
The museum is well worth a look. Well organised, and with friendly staff. The museum states that they have over 800 enamel advertising signs, and these alone are worth a look. www.cotswold-motor-museum.com
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