Lakeland Motor Museum gears up for 40th anniversary

15th March 2018News

The founder of the Lakeland Motor Museum has made an honorary visit to the attraction as it prepares to celebrate its Ruby Anniversary this Easter.

The Museum first opened its doors on 1st April 1978, meaning it will officially turn 40 on Easter Sunday. In the last four decades, the attraction has welcomed 1.5 million visitors and is now one of the North’s leading heritage attractions, with a unique collection of 30,000 exhibits, including well over 150 classic cars and motorbikes.

Ahead of the landmark anniversary, the Museum’s original founder Donald Sidebottom has paid a VIP visit to the Museum to look back at the major growth and investment that taken place since it passed over to its current owners, Winander Group Holdings Ltd.


Late 1970s –  Lancashire entrepreneur Donald Sidebottom is invited to create a complementary visitor attraction in the grounds of Holker Hall, one of the country’s best-loved stately homes. It represents a welcome distraction from running his Blackpool-based Glasdon Group Limited, which designs and manufactures street furniture for both UK and worldwide markets.

Easter 1978 – Lakeland Motor Museum opens at Holker Hall.

 1980s and 1990s – The collection continues to grow steadily, becoming the envy of other much larger motor museums. Realising that the Museum is now recognised for its national importance, Donald Sidebottom starts to consider the long-term legacy of his treasured collection without his involvement.

2006 – The collection is sold to a subsidiary company of Winander Group Holdings Ltd becoming the sister company to one of England’s top ten ‘paid for’ visitor attractions, Windermere Lake Cruises.

Late 2000s – Winander Group Holdings Ltd acquire a derelict industrial site at Backbarrow, near the southern end of Windermere. The company embarks on a multi-million pound project to create a new state-of-the-art museum facility and triple the amount of exhibition space.

May 2010 – The new facility opens to the public, creating new jobs and an enhanced visitor experience with new exhibits, interpretation, fixtures and fittings to help tell the story of motoring heritage throughout the 20th century.

2010s – The attraction continues to increase in popularity, attracting more than 80,000 visitors each year. Many customers also take advantage of combined ticketing arrangements with Windermere Lake Cruises and The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.

Donald Sidebottom says, “I am so proud of the Lakeland Motor Museum. From modest beginnings, it has steadily grown and grown, and I am delighted to still have a strong association with this world-class attraction. When I withdrew from the museum, it was vitally important to me that the collection was kept together, so we could have a lasting legacy devoted to our diverse motoring heritage. It is a pleasure to know that the Museum is still evolving, with new exhibits constantly being added for visitors to see.”

Further celebrations will get underway with a Ruby Anniversary ‘Drive and Ride In Day’ on Sunday 15th April. The event will bring together the owners of vintage and classic motor cars, motorcycles, trucks and vans, along with a selection of modern classics and high-performance cars. There will also be an eye-catching ruby trophy on offer for the vehicle judged to be the most interesting or unique on the day.

Image: Donald Sidebottom visiting the Museum in a fully restored replica (example) of Glasdon’s first delivery van, which has been loaned to the Museum as part of its Ruby Anniversary celebrations. First registered in 1957 to Glasdon Laminates, the original Fordson 5cwt van was used by the company’s first-ever sales rep to make calls and deliveries throughout the North West. Left-right: Bill Bewley (Director), Les Micklethwaite (Director), Donald Sidebottom (Founder) and Edwin Maher (Director).

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