The end of an era?

October 29, 2010

An exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum documenting the demise of the vehicle building industry in Coventry was created with input from university students.

Coventry used to be a centre for bicylce manufacture and was later the heart of the British motor industry – home to Jaguar, Rover and Rootes among others – but now vehicle manufacture is all but gone from the city. The Coventry Transport Museum documents the history of this industry.

Introductory panel to the exhibition Ghost Town at Coventry Transport Museum

An exhibition called ‘Ghost Town?’ documents the period from 1980-2010 when all the large car factories in the area closed down. The exhibition challenges visitors to explore the reasons why this happened. Primary source material in the form of press coverage is all around the exhibition – blown up big on the walls and floor; there are videos featuring people talking about their years of working in the industry and listening posts to explore more of the story; and there are places where people can share their own responses – including a giant magnetic poetry wall.

I loved the way this exhibition invited its audience to look beyond the cars and the industry to the stories of the people.

An interesting way for visitors to share their thoughts

A really inviting listening post on a wall at the Coventry Transport Museum


The back and white newspapers on the wall combined with the red used in the exhibition infrastructure and design is striking.


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