Big Stuff Webinar 27th September- The Pros and Cons of Wet Steam Lubrication

Join us in helping the UK’s Science and Industry Museum (Manchester) work out whether wet steam lubrication is right for their steam engines!  

Register here.

The Details 

The UK’s Science and Industry Museum, Manchester (part of the Science Museum Group) has asked the Big Stuff community to help them work out an innovative plan for operating their steam engines in their newly designed Power Hall. They want to create a display that is exciting, informative AND environmentally friendly. However, their steam engines use large quantities of water which get contaminated with lubricating oil and have to be jettisoned as waste. So they are interested in using wet steam lubrication for the engines, but want to how it works in practice and whether it will translate to the museum situation successfully. 

Whether you have experience with this method or are just interested in knowing more please join us for a great debate. More information is here: 

Schematics of the proposed gallery plan and steaming plan are available at: 

Money & Medals Network Zoom Event : Planes, Trains And… Numismatics?

The Money and Medals Network is hosting a Zoom event titled Planes, Trains and… Numismatics? on Wednesday 29th September 2021.

The Money and Medals Network exists to build and develop relationships between UK museums with collections of coins, medals, banknotes, tokens and associated numismatic objects. Training days featuring seminars led by contributors from local and national museums are being provided across the UK with a view to sharing knowledge and expertise. Numismatic support networks can then be set up as a result of these training sessions.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Money and Medals Network is now running online training sessions on a variety of topics.

Session moderated by Henry Flynn, the British Museum

Booking is essential – to register email

Programme of events:

10:00 – Welcome and introductions

10:10 – Introduction to transport-themed numismatic collections and their storage, Henry Flynn, Project Curator: Money and Medals Network, the British Museum

10:45 – Coventry Transport Museum numismatic collection, Megan Nass, Curator (Cycles & Transport Objects), Coventry Transport Museum

11:15 – BREAK

11:30 – An introduction to London Transport Museum and its numismatic collections, Ellie Miles, Documentary Curator, London Transport Museum

11:45 – Coins, medals and the Brunels: telling the story at the SS Great Britain, Tim Bryan, Director of Brunel Institute, SS Great Britain Trust

12:15 – BREAK

12:30 – National Railway Museum numismatic collection, Ed Bartholomew, Lead Curator, National Railway Museum

13:00 – Magnificent mini medals: a community engagement project during lockdown, Daniel Ball, Outreach and Engagement Officer, Army Flying Museum

13:30 – Q&A, Final chance for questions/comments based on the morning’s events

14:00 – END

Environment Bill Debate- Heritage Fuels Amendment


On Monday 5th July 2021, the House of Lords discussed amendment 279 to ‘plea for an exception to clause 73’. The Hansard report details this here.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester stated:

“My Lords, I shall speak to my Amendment 279, which is grouped with the amendments in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley. I tabled it with noble Lords from across the Chamber, the noble Lords, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean and Lord Bradshaw, and the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, because we believe that the members of the heritage steam alliance—heritage railways, steam boats and ships, steam road vehicles, engineering museums and historic houses—are entitled to have confirmed the guarantee given by the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, in a private meeting on 25 May and repeated by him at Second Reading on 7 June, that they will be permitted to continue to burn coal. That guarantee should be placed in the Bill and enshrined in the Act when it finally passes.

At Second Reading, the noble Lord said:

‘The Government are very confident, as am I, that heritage railways will continue to operate, because although our electricity systems will no longer rely on coal, it can still be used by a range of industries that need it’.—[Official Report, 7/6/21; col. 1306.]

In our meeting a fortnight earlier, he said that banning heritage coal use would be a disproportionate response to the clean air and climate change agendas and would damage the great cultural and economic value of the steam sector to our tourism economy. There is no need for me make again my Second Reading speech about the value of the heritage rail sector and other aspects of the heritage steam alliance to tourism and the regional economy in particular. I simply make the point that all Amendment 279 does is to put it beyond any doubt that the assurances Ministers have repeatedly given us that the heritage steam sector will remain in being have the force of law and cannot be reversed without fresh primary legislation.”

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist stated:

“I turn to Amendment 279 from the noble Lord, Lord Faulkner. The Government understand the important contribution that the heritage sector makes to our national culture, and I appreciate the concerns raised by the noble Lord and others who have participated in this debate. I can confirm for noble Lords that heritage vehicles are not within the scope of the legislation, and that includes trains and boats. As for historic buildings, I confirm that local authorities, when declaring a smoke control area under Section 18 of the Clean Air Act 1993, have the power to exempt specific buildings or classes of buildings under Section 18(2)(c) of that Act. They could exempt specific historic houses or historic houses in general from the requirements applying to the smoke control area. The Bill will not impinge on that ability. We listened to the concerns raised by the heritage bodies during consultation on the measures, as well as engaging with the inquiries of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail. I can confirm that there will be no direct impact on the heritage steam sector as a result of this Bill. The Government do not intend to bring forward policy that would have a direct impact on it.

I reiterate that I understand the concerns raised by the noble Lord. I thank him for the recent discussion that he and others, including my noble friend Lord Forsyth, had with my noble friend the Minister on this issue. The Minister and his officials are happy to continue to engage with him as guidance is developed. I hope that the assurances that I have set out at the Dispatch Box are persuasive and that I am able to reassure noble Lords about the Government’s view about the importance of the heritage sector and that nothing in this Bill will impact on it. I hope that the noble Lord withdraws his amendment.”

Supportive speeches on Amendment 279 were also made by Lord Bradshaw (Lib Dem),  Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Con), Baroness Randerson (Lib Dem), Lord Khan of Burnley (Lab).

Vacancies at the National Motor Museum Trust- Learning Manager and Audience Research and Development Plan Consultant

The National Motor Museum Trust (NMMT) at Beaulieu is currently advertising vacancies for two roles, a permanent Learning Manager and an Audience Research and Development Plan Consultant (freelance):

Learning Manager

37.5 hours per week, £28,000 p.a.
New and permanent position

Are you the education practitioner we need to take the new role of Learning Manager forward? Can you enhance and grow our formal and informal learning offer in-line with our ambition as a world-renowned, nationally-styled accredited museum with designated collections?

We are seeking a dynamic, enthusiastic and creative practitioner to lead the team in developing and delivering a wide range of curiosity-generating learning opportunities for schools (KS 1 – 4 and SEN groups), FE, HEI, family and community groups. Engagement activities would take place on-site, off-site and online.

The successful candidate will manage the learning team to imaginatively expand our offer of STEM/STEAM programmes, engaging and inspiring children and young people to discover more about the history and future of motoring. You will help us extend our audiences, reach out to the local community and increase visits to the Museum and website. You will be a member of the Museum’s management team, supporting the implementation of our ambitious new five year strategy and assist in funding applications which help develop our programming.

You will manage competing tasks, have planning, time-management, organisational and practical teaching skills. You will be excellent at motivating and enabling a team in addition to being a productive and supportive team member and a helpful colleague.

If you would like an informal discussion about the position please contact Andrea Bishop, Director of Collections and Engagement on 07776 346444

Please download an application form from our website at . Alternatively, please email or call 07818 454539 if you would like an application form and job description sent to you.

Closing Date: Monday 12 July at 12 noon
First Interview Date: 21 & 22 July 2021
Second Interview Date: 28 & 29 July 2021
Please Quote Ref: V17

Audience Research and Development Plan Consultant

Freelance, maximum fee £20,000, completion by 31/03/2022

The National Motor Museum Trust (NMMT) at Beaulieu is seeking an experienced consultant to develop a detailed audience development plan, to enhance the quality of its engagement in order to appeal to new and existing users.

The NMMT is an independent, charitable organisation dedicated to engaging and inspiring people with the story of motoring through its world-class collections. In 2022 it celebrates its 50th Anniversary and is now in the process of embarking on an ambitious 5 year strategic plan.

The audience development plan will inform a range of new activities and displays that are part of ambitious programming plans. In addition to the experience of its onsite visitors, the NMMT is committed to offsite and digital engagement with users and their communities, and these areas of interaction are an important part of its future plans.

The appointed consultant will research and review the museum’s audiences and devise an audience development plan to support the NMMT’s strategic ambitions. Applicants will have previous experience of delivering a similar project in the museum and heritage sector, with strong communication and project management skills.

Please send requests for further information and applications to:

To apply for this position please submit a CV and covering statement in response to the project brief which can be downloaded at .

Closing date: 5th July
Interviews will take place via video call on 12th and 15th July

Environmental Bill Debate- Heritage Fuels Appeal

On Monday 7th June the House of Lords debated the Environment Bill. The Hansard report details this here.

Lord Faulkner of Worcester stated:

“I am happy to support what the Government are doing in this Bill, and I do not dissent at all from their wish to improve the natural environment and air and water quality. It is entirely appropriate that there should be legislation to bring about the necessary changes…However, such a policy brings with it a danger of unintended consequences. Had a ban on coal burning extended beyond domestic consumption, it would have wiped out almost overnight the entire heritage steam sector: coal-burning railway locomotives on conserved lines and main lines, traction engines, steamrollers, industrial museums, steamboats, pumping stations and traditional fires in historic houses.

Two years ago, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail—I declare an interest as one of its vice-chairs and also as president of the Heritage Railway Association—was sufficiently alarmed to conduct an inquiry into the requirement of heritage railways for coal and the future of steam locomotives in the United Kingdom. The group’s report concluded that steam trains are an essential part of the railway heritage offer and are the principal attraction for visitors. There is no practical alternative to the use of coal for steam locomotives on Britain’s heritage railways. The economics of heritage railways are fragile, and they would lose most of their unique appeal if they were unable to run steam trains. Such a loss would result in redundancy among paid staff, a restriction in operations, and a smaller sector.

It is worth recalling that, in normal times, these railways attract 13 million visitors, provide 4,000 jobs, with 22,000 active volunteers, and have a £400 million positive impact on the national economy. The impact on local tourism economies where heritage railways are located, particularly in rural areas, is immense. They also provide training and apprenticeships in a wide range of skills and disciplines. In remote areas, such as north Wales, they are already contributing to the levelling-up agenda. The value of the wider sector, which embraces steam road vehicles, ships and boats, is also considerable. It, too, contributes to local economies and offers training, education and apprenticeships. The same goes for engineering museums and historic houses.

I understand why the Government are ending coal-fired power generation by 2025, and I support the restrictions on domestic coal burning proposed in the Government’s consultation on the clean air strategy. I also welcome Ministers’ repeated assertions that the heritage sector is excluded from the proposals in the Bill. They are right to do so, bearing in mind that the quantity of coal used by the entire sector is no more than about 35,000 tonnes a year—the amount burned each day by the Drax power station before it was converted to biomass. Clearly the risk to public health is tiny.”

Lord Faulkner of Worcester’s full speech can be found here.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park stated:

“The noble Lord, Lord Faulkner, mentioned heritage rail. I enjoyed a passionate conversation with him recently, and he really made the case for the exemption. The Government are very confident, as am I, that heritage railways will continue to operate, because although our electricity systems will no longer rely on coal, it can still be used by a range of industries that need it. The decision on where to source coal is, obviously, a matter not for the Government but for the companies involved.”

Discover why a Formula 1 car doesn’t fly this half term at Haynes International Motor Museum

From 10am –2pm on Monday 31 May – Friday 4 June, the Education Team at Haynes International Motor Museum are demonstrating their working wind tunnel as they simulate how and why a Formula 1 car’s aerodynamic design cuts through the air.

In addition, Haynes International Motor Museum’s new exhibit Williams F1: The Drivers and the Driven lets visitors get up close to some of the most iconic Formula 1 cars in Williams’ history, such as Nigel Mansell’s FW14 or ‘Red 5’ and Damon Hill’s FW17. The new exhibit also enables visitors to experience a Formula 1 race car from a Driver’s point of view in the new cinema space. A special display of a crashed Formula 1 car showcases why driver safety is so important on the track, as well as explaining the high tech materials used in Formula 1 race cars.

The Williams F1 exhibition is one of seventeen large areas to explore and one of four new exhibitions which immerses visitors in the stories, sights and sounds from throughout motoring history.

To book your day out this half term visit or call 01963 440804.

The Museum has been awarded the ‘We’re good to go’ industry charter mark by Visit England. This means the museum has all the processes in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for all.

International Association of Transport and Communications Museums Webinar

Today, the International Association of Transport and Communications Museums are hosting a webinar titled ‘How are our visitors and working practices changing post-Covid?’.

Steve Mills of Decision House will present his UK research on current trends in customer sentiment, and Claire Cheriyan from TfL City Planning will join Sam Mullins, IATM President and Laura Wright, Director of the Postal Museum, to discuss the context in which museum visiting will be relaunching.

The webinar will look at how our potential visitors feel about a return, how city centres have changed and how the way we work will change in the future.

The webinar can be found here. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the IATM website after the event.

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.

Consultation Open for Historic England’s Industrial Heritage Strategy Draft

Historic England have produced an Industrial Heritage Strategy draft which is currently open for consultation here.

Historic England state:

“Responses to this draft Industrial Heritage Strategy are welcome particularly responses to the following:

  • Comments on the identified priorities;
  • Suggestions on any significant gaps or omissions in coverage;
  • For those responding on behalf of external bodies or organisations to suggest how they might be able to work with us in its delivery. “

 The guidance is open for three months and will close on Monday 7th June 2021.


Here are details of a new post of Senior Curator (History) at Bristol:

The postholder based at M Shed and Blaise Museums will manage a team of history curators (currently three) caring for social, industrial, and maritime history collections relating especially to the past and, very importantly, the contemporary life of Bristolians.

In addition the Senior Curator will also oversee the operation of the ‘working exhibits’ in the City Docks – the Bristol Harbour Steam Railway, three historic boats, 4 electric cranes and 1 steam crane – managed through one of the curator posts and utilising an extensive volunteer force.

The Senior Curator will also work closely with the Bristol Archives team, especially regarding photographic and oral history collections.

More information is available at: