The National Motor Museum Trust Reference Library Celebrates its 60th Anniversary

Today the National Motor Museum is celebrating 60 years since the opening of the National Motor Museum’s Reference Library. To mark the occasion, a selection of films will be available to watch on the National Motor Museum’s YouTube channel, taking viewers behind the scenes of the library to reveal its remarkable history.

Reference Library opening party outside Palace House, 1961 (c) National Motor Museum Trust.

The Reference Library, originally called the National Road Transport Library, was officially opened in the kitchens of Palace House on 28th April 1961 by the late Edward, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, who recognised the importance of providing a motoring library and archive service for historians, researchers and members of the public.

From its unlikely location in the kitchens of Palace House, the Montagu family home, the library expanded quickly, relocating to larger premises at Beaulieu’s John Montagu Building in 1972, then to its current location in the National Motor Museum Trust’s Collection Centre in 1989. Today, it occupies five rooms over two floors and contains over 300,000 items.

The Reference Library curators, Carina Taylor and Lindsay Whitaker-Guest, are looking forward to commemorating this invaluable resource. Lindsay said: “The 60th anniversary is definitely a proud moment for us as it shows how far the collection has come over the years”. Carina said: “Thanks to the expert knowledge of all its librarians, staff and volunteers, past and present, the service has become the place for information and advice whether you are a vehicle restorer, academic researcher or finding more about your family history”.

Like many places the library has had to close its doors due to
the national lockdown restrictions. Once Government guidelines allow and it is safe to do so, the library hopes to reopen with new Covid-secure procedures and welcome back visitors again.

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