We're celebrating our Ruby Anniversary this Easter

Lakeland Motor Museum management team are reunited with the museum's founder.

The founder of the Lakeland Motor Museum has made an honorary visit to our museum as we prepare to celebrate our Ruby Anniversary this Easter.

The Museum first opened its doors on 1st April 1978, meaning it will officially turn 40 on Easter Sunday. In the last four decades, the attraction has welcomed 1.5 million visitors and is now one of the North’s leading heritage attractions, with a unique collection of 30,000 exhibits, including well over 150 classic cars and motorbikes.

Ahead of the landmark anniversary, the Museum’s original founder Donald Sidebottom has paid a VIP visit to the Museum to look back at the major growth and investment that taken place since it passed over to its current owners, Winander Group Holdings Ltd.


Late 1970sLancashire entrepreneur Donald Sidebottom is invited to create a complementary visitor attraction in the grounds of Holker Hall, one of the country’s best-loved stately homes. It represents a welcome distraction from running his Blackpool-based Glasdon Group Limited, which designs and manufactures street furniture for both UK and worldwide markets.
Easter 1978Lakeland Motor Museum opens at Holker Hall.
1980s and 1990sThe collection continues to grow steadily, becoming the envy of other much larger motor museums. Realising that the Museum is now recognised for its national importance, Donald Sidebottom starts to consider the long-term legacy of his treasured collection without his involvement.
2006The collection is sold to a subsidiary company of Winander Group Holdings Ltd becoming the sister company to one of England’s top ten ‘paid for’ visitor attractions, Windermere Lake Cruises.
Late 2000sWinander Group Holdings Ltd acquire a derelict industrial site at Backbarrow, near the southern end of Windermere. The company embarks on a multi-million pound project to create a new state-of-the-art museum facility and triple the amount of exhibition space.
May 2010The new facility opens to the public, creating new jobs and an enhanced visitor experience with new exhibits, interpretation, fixtures and fittings to help tell the story of motoring heritage throughout the 20th century.
2010sThe attraction continues to increase in popularity, attracting more than 80,000 visitors each year. Many customers also take advantage of combined ticketing arrangements with Windermere Lake Cruises and The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.

Don Sidebottom says, “I am so proud of the Lakeland Motor Museum. From modest beginnings, it has steadily grown and grown, and I am delighted to still have a strong association with this world-class attraction. When I withdrew from the museum, it was vitally important to me that the collection was kept together, so we could have a lasting legacy devoted to our diverse motoring heritage. It is a pleasure to know that the Museum is still evolving, with new exhibits constantly being added for visitors to see.”

Further celebrations will get underway with a Ruby Anniversary ‘Drive and Ride In Day’ on Sunday 15th April. The event will bring together the owners of vintage and classic motor cars, motorcycles, trucks and vans, along with a selection of modern classics and high-performance cars. There will also be an eye-catching ruby trophy on offer for the vehicle judged to be the most interesting or unique on the day.

Flashback to 1978:

  • May Day becomes a bank holiday for the first time
  • Argentina win the World Cup
  • Louise Brown becomes the world's first ‘test tube baby’
  • Grease and Saturday Night Fever are box office hits…while on the small screen, people are watching the likes of Happy Days, Charlie’s Angels and The Muppet Show.

photos: Happy Days - By ABC Uploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Argentina 78 - By Editorial Atlántida (Editorial Atlántida) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the main photo

The present managers and directors of the museum meet the original founder Donald Sidebottom. In addittion to a fully restored replica (example) of Glasdon’s first delivery van, which has been loaned to the Museum as part of its Ruby Anniversary celebrations. First registered in 1957 to Glasdon Laminates, the original Fordson 5cwt van was used by the company’s first-ever sales rep to make calls and deliveries throughout the North West. Pictured left to right: Bill Bewley (Director), Nigel Wilkinson (director), Les Micklethwaite (Director), Don Sidebottom (Founder) and Edwin Maher (Director), Chris Williams (Duty Manager), Chris Lowe (Operations Manager).

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