[O]ne of the most familiar faces in Cumbria’s tourism industry will be celebrating his 25th anniversary with the Lakeland Motor Museum this July.
Edwin Maher’s name has been synonymous with the popular Lake District attraction since he joined the business in July 1992. At the time, it was located at Holker Hall, before a move to the current larger premises in Backbarrow in 2010. Now a Director for more than a decade, he has seen the Museum grow dramatically to become one of the country’s leading transport heritage attractions with around 80,000 visitors every year, both from around the UK and internationally.
Edwin says, “There have been massive changes since I joined the Museum and it’s been a real pleasure to be a part of that. We have more than trebled in size and are now widely recognised as a nationally important motor collection, but I think what makes the Museum stand out is that it’s about much more than just cars.
“A lot of people don’t realise that we have more than 30,000 exhibits altogether and a massive part of that is motoring memorabilia – from rare diecast model cars and children’s pedal cycles to badges, signage, and all the smaller items people remember from years gone by. We had one satisfied visitor from Australia donating a car mascot of a kookaburra just the other day. It really is a diverse range!
He adds, “The collection is also presented in a social context. Our location in the Leven Valley was a cradle of the Industrial Revolution and reflects South Lakeland’s contribution to woodland industries, gunpowder manufacture, iron smelting, charcoal production and the making of ultramarine pigment – often remembered as ‘Dolly Blue’. Visitors are sometimes surprised to see carefully re-created period shop window displays or the story of the Women’s Land Army. I’m proud of the fact that we continue to refresh our displays and keep giving people something unexpected to see!”