National Motor Museum at Beaulieu
National Motor Museum at BeaulieuNapoleon called England a land of shopkeepers but he could just as well have called it a land of collectors. The National Motor Museum demonstrates that propensity to collect items from the past. In this case it is in the  field of automobiles and the presentation here is first rate. Beaulieu is situated in the south of England, in the New Forest between Bournemouth and Southampton, with easy access from London and the Home Counties. The "New Forest" is an English medieval deer hunting area created in 1079 by William the Conqueror - his "Nova Foresta". It is still largely in the possession of the Crown. Developing motor industry in England faced a considerable considerable hindrance to its progress with the legal requirement for a man with a red flag to walk in front of any self-propelled vehicle on a public road at no more than 4mph. This Act was designed to slow down steam traction engines as they and the machines they powered were moved between farms. Ellis deliberately intended to flout this law to expose its absurdity and hasten its repeal so that English motor manufacturers, and those (like himself) ready to invest in them, would be able to compete with firms such as Daimler and Peugeot across the channel.

In June 1895 he ordered a motor car from the Paris firm of Panhard-Levassor, powered by a Daimler engine. It was taken across the channel and on by train to Micheldever station in Hampshire, from where he drove it up to Datchet with his friend Frederick Simms, a pioneering engineer in his own right. They were never actually stopped by the police but the Act was repealed in 1896 and celebrated by the first Motor Car tour to Brighton, or the 'Brighton Run', when the speed limit was raised from four to twelve miles an hour. John Douglas Scott-Montagu (founder of Beaulieu Motor Museum and father of the present Lord Montagu) would have been aware of Ellis's activities at Rosenau since his family owned Ditton Park just outside Datchet. Around the turn of the century he spoke forcefully for and about the car in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and was responsible for the laws that introduced registration plates, 'branding the motorists like convicts' some said.

National Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at BeaulieuThe National Motor Museum evolved from the Montagu Motor Museum, founded by Lord Montagu in 1952. It was originally conceived as a tribute to British Motoring achievement and a memorial to his father, John Scott Montagu, one of Britainís motoring pioneers. John Douglas Scott-Montagu (founder of Beaulieu Motor Museum and father of the present Lord Montagu) would have been aware of Ellis's activities at Rosenau since his family owned Ditton Park just outside Datchet. Around the turn of the century he spoke forcefully for and about the car in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and was responsible for the laws that introduced registration plates, 'branding the motorists like convicts' some said. Within ten years the collection numbered more than 100 distinguished vehicles. The collection now comprises some 250 vehicles - from some of the earliest examples of motoring to legendary World Record Breakers like Bluebird and the Golden Arrow . The vehicle and associated collections grew in importance and popularity, resulting in the foundation of a Charitable Trust to safeguard them for the long term benefit of the Nation.

National Motor Museum at BeaulieuThe National Motor Museum Trust Limited was created and, in July 1972, the doors of the new National Motor Museum opened to the public. Today, its multi award-winning collections command the attention of hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Opened in 1989, the National Motor Museum Trust Centre is the home of our Education Department and Reserve Collections. It also provides space for our vast Libraries. The Motoring Picture Library and the Motoring Film and Video Library are both heavily used by commercial and private researchers. The first class Reference Library is also available to all. Beaulieu is also the home of the world famous Beaulieu International Autojumble and Automart.

The National Motor Museum is open every day of the year except Christmas Day as indicated below. The last admission each day is 30 minutes prior to closing time.

10.00am - 5.00 pm - 1st October to 22nd May
10.00am - 6.00 pm - 23rd May to 30th September

National Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at BeaulieuNational Motor Museum at Beaulieu