The Making of
The water softening plant at
Mouldsworth, built in 1937, ceased to function in the 1960's. This was partly
due to the corrosive action of salt on the machinery (salt was brought in
from Northwich by railway to soften the water), and the use of an alternative
source which became available - Lake Vyrnwy in North Wales.
James Peacop, the Museum's
proprietor, met a fellow motoring enthusiast in 1970 and approached the Water
Authority with a view to using the disused building for vintage car storage.
In 1971 planning permission was granted and after a few months they had 10
cars in storage for friends and fellow enthusiasts.
The first replica garage was built
to coincide with the Chester Vintage Enthusiasts Club use of the site
for driving tests and this led to the opening of a Museum. The core of the
exhibits was provided by Eddie Farrall and his collection of SS
Over the years, the museum exhibits
have been expanded: not only vehicles but motoring memorabilia including
old pumps, signs, mascots and garage paraphernalia. The museum has also been
the subject of several radio and TV programmes and the vehicles have been
loaned to property buyers for use in period dramas.
Radio Stoke produced a number of
memorable 'Sounds of Mouldsworth' programmes whilst Granada TV covered the
museum's acquisition of the 1964 Ford Anglia which was the family car of
Mr Hughes of Chester. This distinctive Caribbean Blue classic now doubles
as a Harry Potter car, as a similar vehicle was featured in the second film
'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'. In 1997 the museum featured in
the TV series 'Hart Davies on History'.
The present-day collection is very
much down to the character and industry of proprietor James Peacop. James
has greatly enlarged the now famous collection of automobilia as well as
providing 'hands on' activities with children in mind. He is particularly
aware of the educational value, and there are reference works, rubbing-down
tables and a very popular quiz with prizes.
James is also kept busy with popular
talks on motoring mascots (a particular interest), collecting automobilia,
and motoring art. He is especially knowledgable on the latter and brings
his expertise as head of graphic design at one of the major Cheshire colleges
and a lifetime of experience as a commercial artist. He also works as a
cartoonist and illustrated the popular Rivers Fletcher motoring book
The Museum is very fortunate in
that it has been able to feature a number of very special vehicles over the
years. These include the 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C owned by Ferrari (valued at over
one-and-a-half million pounds) and, more recently, the world-famous 'BABS'
- the fastest car on the planet when Parry Thomas broke the land-speed record
One of the main features of the
Museum is the always-changing nature of exhibits and ongoing development
work. A recent and popular addition is the collection of Art Deco teapots
by Sadler of Stoke on Trent, whilst the resurfacing of the flat roof (aided
by the Water Authority) has provided a warmer and dry interior.
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