Future of Ipswich Transport Museum secured with new 20-year extended lease at iconic depot
PUBLISHED: 07:30 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:00 22 August 2019
It offers a fascinating glimpse into Suffolk's past and how its people used to get around, with a stunning array of more than 100 modes of transport dating back generations.
And now the future of a historic transport museum has been secured after it negotiated deal to stay at its iconic site for 20 more years - paving the way for a major expansion.
The extended lease at the Old Trolleybus Depot in Cobham Road, negotiated by Ipswich Transport Museum, means it will now be able to pursue what it has described as "ambitious expansion plans".
Its vision includes a larger and more modern visitor entrance, as well as a new mezzanine floor to accommodate exhibitions on everything from bikes to prams and pushchairs.
If it can find funding for the plans, it would free up space for some of its larger and most famous attractions - such as historic Ipswich buses and some of the first family motor cars.
And it also plans to create a new building for restoration, vehicle maintenance and undercover storage, so even its oldest exhibits can remain in peak condition.
Bob Mellor, Ipswich Transport Museum chairman, said following the three years of negotiations with Ipswich Borough Council: "I am extremely pleased with this result, since it secures the museum on this site for the foreseeable future.
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"I would like to thank Russell Williams of Ipswich Borough Council for assisting in the granting of our lease extension, and finally one of my fellow trustees, Eddie (Ted) King who has been responsible from day one in leading and finally concluding these negotiations."
The museum says the lease extension is "critical" to its future plans, which also include enlarging the popular Sunbeam Tearoom and providing more seating for visitors.
It is also hoped that parking facilities will be improved, including dedicated disabled parking immediately adjacent to the public entrance.
The transport museum's collection - which started in 1965 and moved to the current location in 1989 - houses more than 100 large exhibits which celebrate the transport and engineering heritage of Ipswich and the surrounding area.
Items in the collection include the world's oldest preserved Trolleybus which ran in Ipswich for its entire working life, the world's first mobile crane - again built in Ipswich - and a firefighting pump from 1732.
The museum is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers and is open to the public from March to December each year.
Alternatively call 01473 715666.