Friday, 5 February 2010

A City's Transportation History

One thing that I love about London is that, despite the fact that its urban heritage can be found in pretty much every step you take, they still take the time and effort to do a great job at preserving and showing their urban heritage.

There is the Museum of London looking at the good and bad from London's history. The London War Museum looking at urban life in the 1940's. This time around I visited the London Transport Museum - a fascinating place.

London Transport Museum

Located at Covent Garden the museum has recently undergone a rehabilitation and expansion. This is just the 'showpiece' site, there is another containing the remainder of the vehicles etc. elsewhere in London.

London Transport Museum

In London it is difficult to separate transport from it's history and that is presented well at the museum. There is what you would expect: buses, trolley's, early Tube cars and a bit about the people and engineering that made them happen.

London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum

There is also an extensive section on the 'art of transportation', urban images and, in an exhibit called Suburbia, the growth of the city as new transport technologies were implemented.

Winnipeg Archives

Sadly, we have no such museum in Manitoba. Even the archives that hold pretty much the entirety of Winnipeg's treasures in a sea of cardboard boxes is stored in a leaky, damp building just one mechanical failure or tarp slip away from being destroyed.

Winnipeg Archives
Winnipeg Archives

Preserving the city's paper, and some of it's built, history may be a bit of a lost cause due to lack of interest but there is a group ready to go at it from the transportation angle.

Manitoba Transit Heritage Association
The Manitoba Transit Heritage Association, around since 1989, now has nine restored buses ranging from the 1930's to the 1980's and is working with Heritage Winnipeg to restore the circa 1909 streetcar 356.
The group is beginning the hunt for space to show the vehicles, as well as the other transit and urban heritage items that they have collected.

Hopefully, in a few months, the bud of an urban history related museum will show up on the scene.

For more images:


cancelbot said...

On that last note, I agree completely - an urban history museum would be an excellent asset for the City.

In addition to being an educational attraction, it could properly house some of the most important historic Winnipeg documents and artifacts.

Unknown said...

Yes we need a Winnipeg museum showing actual items from the history of Winnipeg, including the transit history, but also other items and artifacts, such as seats from the Wpg. Arena, momentos from Eaton's, etc.