One of Coventry’s most famous exports is in the spotlight at a major new exhibition in the city
21 January 2019
The Coventry Transport Museum, which houses the largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles in the world, will chronicle the history of the taxi and celebrate its 120-year connection to the city.
The black cab, which has been continuously manufactured in Coventry since the 1940s, is used by millions of people in the UK each year as well as being exported across the world.
The exhibition will take visitors on a journey through a history spanning three centuries, starting with the creation of the Bersey Electric Cab in Coventry in 1897 – the first cab to be used on the streets of London and an early example of an electric vehicle.
The exhibition, which was curated by Patrick Murphy as part of an artist residency at the museum starting in 2017, includes a range of early taxi models including a 1910 Humber Taxi and a 1930s Austin High Lot.
Visitors will learn about Coventry based firm Carbodies and its partnership with Austin to make FX3 (1948-58) and FX4 (1958-97) taxis. The company became London Taxi International (LTI) making the TX1 (1997-2017) which can be seen in the exhibition alongside the TX eCity, a 21st century zero-emissions electric taxi being made in Coventry , by LEVC at its new multi million pound factory in Ansty Park.
Other vehicles on display include ‘Hannah’, the Guinness World Record-breaking Austin FX4, which completed the world’s longest taxi journey of just-under 70,000km, clocking up an eye-watering fare of £79,006.80.
Cabs from across the world will also feature, including the famous yellow New York Checker Taxi, and the Toyota Crown taxi – all the way from Japan.
Francis Ranford, Cultural & Creative Director at the Coventry Transport Museum, said: “We are delighted to be opening this exhibition which will bring to life Coventry’s incredible role in an industry that keeps people moving all over the world.
“It will explore the history and heritage of the taxi but also look at the very latest developments which are happening right on our doorstep.”
The Coventry Transport Museum will also be running February half-term activities in search of the city’s next great engineers.
She added: “We will be hosting half-term activities for children to experiment and test their skills by designing their own model taxi, and making it run with a battery powered motor.
“The sessions do not require advance booking, and cost just £3 per child. It’s a chance for our budding engineers to have a go at engineering the taxi of the future for Coventry and, who knows, it may even inspire them to be pursue a job in the industry.”