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Transport Museum

Tramway Managers

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visitors since 21st July 2005
The Wirral Transport Museum

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201 Bus Group
Model Railway

Welcome to The Wirral Transport Museum

Why a tramway and museum in Birkenhead? American George Francis Train created the first street tramway in Europe here in 1860. He was quite a character. It is thought that the fictional character Phileas Fogg (Around the World in 80 days) was based on him.

The Wirral Transport Museum is housed in a building that has seen many uses since it was built. The original part of the building (1892) was used for stabling horses in transit from Ireland. This was unusual in that the stabling was over two storeys. The stables area now houses our model railway. The next occupant of the building was Moorhouses Minerals. Used as a manufacturing facility for their range of carbonated soft drinks. The company was taken over by Birkenhead Brewery in 1951. In the late fifties the company was taken over by Threlfalls Brewery and again in the sixties by Whitbread Brewery. Moorhouses lemonade then became R Whites (Whitbread Minerals division). All production ceased in 1983. Wirral Borough Council later purchased the building to replace Pacific Road as the home of The Wirral Transport Museum.

Wirral Borough Council created The Wirral Transport Museum as a visitor attraction at Pacific Road in 1995, mainly through European funding. Pacific Road also became home to the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society which was formed by a group of Liverpool University students in 1960 to preserve Liverpool Corporation Tramways car 869. Two Hong Kong tram cars were purchased and shipped to Birkenhead courtesy of P&O ferries. The Hong Kong cars together with some of the restored heritage fleet operated a service between Woodside and Pacific Road. The tramway was extended to Egerton Bridge. Following a decision to convert the rear of Pacific Road into a theatre, the line was further extended to Taylor Street, the line opening on 10th February 2001. The Museum and Tramway then completed the move into the Taylor Street building.

Between 2008 and 2011 the future of the Museum and Tramway hung by a thread. There was constant talk of closure due to budget constraints. The Museum and Tramway were put up for sale by Wirral Borough Council in 2009 / 2010 and were almost bought by Merseytravel. They withdrew their interest at the 11th hour. In 2013 Wirral Borough Council officers approached volunteer groups with a view to inviting us to manage and operate the facility on behalf of the Council under an asset Transfer. A business plan was presented to the officers and Councillors unanimously approved, sadly the three WBC staff who had operated the facility were made redundant or took retirement. We started operating and managing the Museum and Tramway in January 2014. No real progress has so far been made with regard to completing the Asset Transfer so we now approach the end of our third year of operation.

The museum closed on the 16th December 2017 to enable the museum to undergo major transformation. Many of the displays had to be dismantled and artefacts put into safe storage. The work was completed in early May which gave our volunteers very little time to rebuild displays and clean the museum of dust left after the buildimg work.
What's new? A new pedestrian entrance was created to the right of the big grey door where the trams entered and exited the museum thus making it infinitely safer for our visitors. As you enter the museum you are greeted by a pair of original Mersey Ferry ticket booths now fully restored and in use as our new gift shop. Further in we have our new tea rooms where you can relax with a hot or cold drink and a snack. We also have our new lift in place to enable wheelchair bound visitors and prams full access to the upper mezzanine floor and our new viewing area where you can watch restoration and maintenance being carried out and easily move through to the bus display area.  We have two new sets of visitor toilets with fully disabled person compliant toilets also with baby changing facilities right by the tea room and sales kiosk. The Museum was fully re-opened to the public on 21 July 2018.

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