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World-class collection in a World-class museum

Pioneers 1868 to 1900

In 1868, The Coventry Sewing Machine Company received an order from Paris to make a number of Velocipedes, an early type of bicycle that was popular in France. This event heralded the beginning of the city’s cycle industry.

Such was the success of that first order that the Coventry Sewing Machine Company soon became the Coventry Machinists, and possibilities for improving the bicycle gripped the imagination of several of its employees who went on to set up on their own.

Improvements to the Velocipede led to the development of the Penny-Farthing, with its distinctive giant front wheel. The obvious problem with the Penny-Farthing, however, was safety. Coventry’s Henry Lawson was the first to tackle this issue, patenting a ‘safety bicycle’ in 1876. Singer, Humber, Premier, the Coventry Machinists and Swift all produced their own versions, but none really took off until J K Starley developed the Rover Safety Bicycle, which became the blueprint for all bicycles to this day. 



Don't miss out on the latest from the Coventry Transport Museum

Home of Record Breakers

Coventry Transport Museum is home to the world's two fastest cars.

Marvel at these spectacular feats of British engineering.

Get up close to the two fastest cars in the world, Thrust SSC and Thrust 2.



Bring the curriculum to life!

Coventry Transport Museum's interactive exhibitions make the perfect venue for school visits in Coventry.

We offer a wide range of sessions for school groups, all 'Learning Outside The Classroom' quality assured. 


Family Fun

We thoroughly believe there is no such thing as being too old for play! 

Get involved in our ever-growing Family Programme around Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

We also have free to loan family activities which are available at the Box Office.