Museums Directory

Cloverlands Model Car Museum

How Cloverlands Came to Montgomery

In 2013, Bruce Lawson completed a biography of Charles Rolls, pioneer motorist and aviator, Victorian/Edwardian racer, garage proprietor and co-founder of Rolls-Royce.

In 2014, Bruce joined The Society of Automotive Historians , which then had an American affiliate. Looking in the American magazine, he found a reference to the Cloverlands Museum. He telephoned and spoke to Gillian Rogers, who asked him and his friend, Roy, to visit the museum at Llansantffraid, just fifteen miles from Montgomery!

On visiting, they were told there were never any visitors, but were stunned to find 1500 model cars in an adjoining barn, some dating back to the 1940s, with a handwritten card index for each item! Gillian had made many of the models herself. As officers of the Montgomery Institute, both Bruce and Roy offered to rent the collection, and display it in the Institute in Authur Street. Miss Rogers was thrilled and kindly agreed.

The Institute (Charity No. 1113442) is a building in Montgomery, given to the town in 1923, by Lord Davies of Llandinam, near Llanidloes, whose grandfather, ‘Top Sawyer’ or ‘Davies of the Ocean’ was a farmer, and then an  early Welsh railway baron.

The models were removed from Llansantffraid to Montgomery in May 2015. A further Canadian collection of three hundred cars was offered (and accepted) following an article in Model Collector magazine. This collection has now been purchased outright. Meanwhile, Gillian had recommended a keen and knowledgeable model car collector to join the team, and Bruce, Roy and John Nunn became Custodians of the collection. Neil Dunbar and Nick Stephens became involved in 2016, bringing further expertise and great collections of American and Peugeot cars.

They were, in turn, joined by David Beare, and SAHB member and motoring historian from Montgomery with published work on Panhard and other cars, and Max Tomlinson from Llansantffaid, a published writer (Veloce) on Bugattis, Gillian herself is a motoring writer - a former member of The Society of Automotive Historians (SAHB) and whose self-published book ‘Driving Through the Decades’ is on sale in the museum, and chronicles motoring in her family from 1929 up to the Millennium. A collection of a thousand items has been given by Richard Loake from Liverpool, being Formula 1 and touring cars, almost since records began.

A rota of a dozen volunteers has been built up, but the custodians of the museum are always looking for additional helpers. A ‘Friends’ group has also been formed. The custodians believe the collection to be the largest public collection in Wales, and the second largest in the United Kingdom. 

We hope you enjoy your visit. For more details, please visit www.cloverlandsmuseum.wales    

Montgomery Institute Arthur Street Montgomery Powys SY15 6RA
01686-668004 or 07891696844
bruce.lawson@btinternet.com

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