Big Heritage aims to double size of Wirral Transport Museum

Big Heritage has revealed its plans to raise £6m to double the size of Wirral Transport Museum.

The community interest company took over the museum in November from Wirral Council and will now run the museum going forward. This agreement was put in place to help secure the museum’s future and will reportedly create 10 new full-time jobs.

Big Heritage also hopes to finalise an agreement with the volunteer group, Mersey Tramway Preservation Society, who previously ran the museum to continue looking after their trams.  The society agreed to do this though the transfer has not been without controversy after volunteers were shut out for months due to serious health and safety issues.

The museum’s new managers said they want to “completely transform the museum” using between £5m and £6m, adding, “We have appointed architects to explore options to double the size of the museum by extending onto the yard area of the site and join this new structure to the existing building.

“The overarching aim of the redevelopment is to create a new transport museum that not only displays locally relevant vehicles but also collects and shares hundreds of stories of the journeys local people took and the influence these trips had on their lives.”

The museum is being expanded in the hope of creating more space for visitors. Currently, only 20% of the museum is accessible.

An update from Big Heritage said it also has plans for “a heritage bus network” which would operate at peak tourist times taking people to Birkenhead Priory, New Brighton, and Port Sunlight on the historic buses.

The company however said, “We will need to balance this service with a responsibility to protect the historic vehicles, but the potential is considerable.

“We would also seek to use these buses to offer free transport to Wirral schools wishing to make school visits. Currently, the cost of transport is the biggest factor in schools no longer offering school trips to pupils.”

As for when the museum could reopen, Big Heritage said they expect to make an announcement in early January once they have confirmation of funding. They plan to continue running bus and tram services in 2024 while any refurbishment takes place.

The expanded museum is also looking to tie into Big Heritage’s plans for a new U-Boat museum at Woodside as well as the Western Approaches museum which they operate in Liverpool.

Image: www.birkenhead2020.com

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