Leyland’s British Commercial Vehicle Museum is celebrating after clinching a whopping £1.8m National Lottery grant.
The announcement this week means the attraction’s long-term future has been secured.
Excited bosses at the King Street museum have been waiting for the news for months.
They put forward their Up Another Gear project for a lottery award in the hope of getting the thumbs up to make some big changes at the museum to boost visitor numbers.
The £1,836,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will result in:
l The 1930s former vehicle finishing shop, which the museum occupies, being saved.
l The badly leaking roof repaired and low energy heating and lighting installed, so that the museum can open all year around.
l Complete refurbishment to showcase the historic vehicles.
l The use of multimedia and interactive interpretation including hands-on exhibits, dressing up and living history.
l A new café, shop and activity and conferencing space contributing to sustainability and providing space for school visits and activities.
l A new dedicated space ensuring that the archive is better managed and researched, and that historic film is used in creative activity programmes.
l A new post to double volunteer numbers and training taking place, enabling good collections management and a range of activities, particularly for families and young people, which will widen audiences and increase visitor numbers, while STEM-based learning is offered to schools.
Work on the project will start early October with the refurbished museum re-opening to the public late next year.
Leyland has close associations with the early development of steam driven lorries and today is one of the leaders in developing diesel-electric hybrid vehicles designed to reduce harmful emissions.
The museum building is the sole surviving part of the original 1930s Leyland Motors factory.
It still has a motor industry-related use and lends an important atmosphere to the stories it has to tell.
Museum manager Keith Moyes, manager of the museum, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this National Lottery grant, this marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the museum.
“The work will create a modern museum that is accessible and interesting. We hope to be open again by the end of next year.”
He added: “It’s going to take us twelve months to have all the work carried out, then when we reopen we’ll reopen on a five or six day week operation. We’ll be warm in the winter. We’ll be there fifty two weeks a year - it’s a resurgence for the museum.
“We’ll be appoint contractors over the next six weeks. We’re currently preparing the tenders.”
Nathan Lee, head of HLF North West, said: “I’m delighted that we can support the British Commercial Vehicle Museum to become a modern museum fit for the 21st century.
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the museum will be able to make the most of its impressive collection and open up brilliant opportunities for people to engage with their heritage, through volunteering, training and fun activities.”