Wednesday, 4 March 2009

London Motorcycle Museum

Located in the slightly unpromising wilds of suburban West London, this is a small but fascinating museum for anyone interested in the history of British Motorcycles. The museum is housed in some rather anonymous former farm buildings just off The Broadway in Greenford, which give little hint of what’s inside.

The collection is the main event, and includes over 80 motorcycles dating from 1902 to the 1990s. The core of the display is the amazing collection of Triumphs belonging to museum founder Bill Crosby, with over 50 bikes loaned and donated from other sources.

Although the Triumphs dominate the selection, there are many other familiar names: Rudge-Whitworth, BSA, Brough, Ariel, Matchless, Norton and Royal Enfield, alongside a few foreign bikes. There are vintage, racing, road, police, sprint, custom and military bikes on display, as well as various items of motorcycling ephemera and memorabilia.

One of the most fascinating is a small 50cc Moto Minarelli sprint bike built for the successful record attempt by Des Heckle in 1973. It doesn’t even have a seat, and was built to his personal measurements. Other items of specific interest include a rare 1902 Ormonde, several Triumph prototypes, and - my favourites - an amazingly modern-looking 1930s Coventry Eagle 1000cc Flying 8 and a Rudge TT from 1911. (My grandfather owned a Rudge Multi).

The main building has a (very) small shop and eating area with seating and drinks machines, although there are plans to expand the museum by opening up one of the sheds behind, currently used as a store and workshop. The volunteer staff are friendly and helpful and, as well as the museum, they also put on displays at events elsewhere.

This museum is clearly a labour of love by dedicated enthusiasts, and doesn’t have the glitz of bigger museums, but its collection is both fascinating and absorbing for those interested in British motorcycle heritage.


The site has free car parking, and is a short walk down Oldfield Lane from The Broadway in Greenford. It’s a 15 minutes walk from Greenford underground station (turn right and just keep going, using the subway to cross under the A40), and there are buses both to Greenford and Ealing Broadway stations.

The museum has a short ramp to enter and a long sloping access ramp through the main building, suitable for wheelchairs, and there is a disabled toilet on the site.

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