There are several museums in the United Kingdom that specialise in antique collections and are worth visiting in addition to the more traditional and art museums in the country. This articles lists just a few of them. All of which are representative of only some of the antique collections that are available for viewing in and around the United Kingdom.
The National Cycle Museum, located in Wales, is a journey through bicycle history from 1819 to the present day. Its collection includes examples of the Hobby Horse, Boneshakers and Penny Farthings as well as the more modern bicycles made of carbon fibre. Matching the bicycles are period photographs, collections of lamps, enamel signs and posters. Exhibits also include displays on past racing stars such as Bill Bradley winner of the Milk Race in 1959 and 1960, Tom Simpson, the National Mountain Bike Champion of 1996, Barry Clarke, and George Nightingale who rode the 25-mile in under an hour in 1938. The museum has 6,000 square feet of exhibit space with over 200 machines on display at any one time.
The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has three antique collections. The first is the national collection of Textiles and Fashion, which covers a period of time from Pre-dynastic Egypt more than 5,000 years ago to the present day. The textiles come from all around the world, including all parts of Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the Americas and include tapestries and carpets, printed, woven and embroidered textiles and lace. There are early woven silks from the Near East, English medieval embroidery, Indian textiles and Safavid carpets.
The collection of antique fashions covers five centuries with pieces from the 16th century of children’s kaftans from the Ottoman Empire and European men’s and women’s dresses from the 17th century. There are fashionable clothes and accessories for both men and women from the 18th century onward and items of dress for the elite in China, Japan and India which date to the 19th century. There are also hats and footwear in the collection.
The Victoria and Albert also has a Museum of Children with the national collection of childhood objects for the United Kingdom, starting with those in the 1600s and going up to the present day. There are dolls, toys, doll houses, puzzles and games and other object related to childhood such as home and childcare, clothing, learning and play, ephemera and archival collections. The museum houses the earliest surviving English rocking horse dating from around 1605.
The National Tramway Museum, located in Derbyshire, is an Accredited Museum and its collections are Designated as being important to the nation and the core of the Tramcar fleet with over 70 historic vehicles. The museum also has a wide collection of photographs and archive materials as well as street furniture from the period such as a police box, postbox and a stench pipe. Its library has a unique collection of pamphlets, books, reports and Acts of parliament which cover the history of tramways and light railways in Great Britain, Europe and North America.
So there you have it, seven magnificent museums that are on offer to visitors in and around the UK.