Having spent more than 25 years overseeing the success and growth of one of the county’s best-known heritage attractions, one of the most familiar faces in Cumbria’s heritage sector is retiring,
Edwin Maher’s name has been synonymous with the Lakeland Motor Museum since he joined the business in June 1993 at the age of 39. At the time it was located Holker Hall, before a move to the current larger premises in Backbarrow in 2010.
Having been part of the museum’s team for almost three-quarters of the attraction’s history, Edwin oversaw the museum’s dramatic growth, from a modest collection of motor cars to one of the country’s leading transport heritage attractions with around 80,000 visitors every year, both from around the UK and internationally.
Edwin says, “Amusingly, the only reason I was given the job back in 1993 was because I wasn’t actually interested on old cars! I was approached by Donald Sidebottom who established the museum in 1978, who asked me how I felt about vintage vehicles and I told him I only really liked newer cars. Because he knew I wasn’t a vintage car enthusiast at the time, I wouldn’t be distracted by the exhibits and he offered me the job of looking after the collection at Holker Hall. He later revealed that if I had told him I loved old cars, he wouldn’t have given me the job in case I’d spend all day chatting with visitors and not get any work done! Obviously, I quickly fell in love with all the cars anyway!”
Edwin recognised the museum’s potential immediately and began a programme of transformation over the following five years – not only at the museum itself, but also by raising awareness of the attraction by networking with other motoring museums across the UK.
“It was important to me to raise the museum’s profile and develop recognition that the collection of vehicles and memorabilia was of significant importance in preserving motoring heritage for posterity”, Edwin continues.
“I’d always considered the museum to be rather special and I wanted to help it become a world class heritage attraction. I really do believe I have succeeded in that task. It was especially satisfying to see the museum celebrate its 40th anniversary last year, after being named ‘Britain’s Best Classic Destination’ by Practical Classics magazine”.
Les Micklethwaite, Chairman of the Lakeland Motor Museum, adds, “We are sure that Lakeland Motor Museum would not have been as successful as it is today had it not been for Edwin’s efforts. He can look back on his career with great pride. We are pleased to welcome Andrew Simon to the Board and are confident that he will help us to build on Edwin’s legacy.”