End of the road for Stondon Motor Museum

PUBLISHED: 09:56 25 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:56 25 March 2015

Mark Barker, manager, Maureen Hird, curator and Chris Saunders, director

Mark Barker, manager, Maureen Hird, curator and Chris Saunders, director

Archant

A motor museum with one of the biggest collections of vehicles in the country will reach the end of the road on Easter Monday.

Curator Maureen Hird says the Stondon Motor Museum in Station Road, Lower Stondon, is calling it a day as it can’t attract enough people to come through the gates.

She told the Comet: “We can’t get enough people to come to the museum. The rates are also too high.

“A lot of people don’t know we are closing, so we are inviting people to come before we shut up shop.

“It’s sad that it will be closing, I have been here since the beginning – I’m part of the furniture.”

The museum was opened in 1994 by John Saunders, who had always dreamed of a museum to house his collection of vehicles.

His dream became the largest private motor museum in the country, with 400 classic vehicles and many other exhibits displayed across eight halls.

But he died at the age of 85 in 2013, and although staff have applied for grants to keep the museum open, they have been refused.

Maureen said: “It’s a private museum so we don’t get any help from grants although we have asked. It’s a shame because people don’t seem to want to come to things that are local.

“They want to go elsewhere during their time off.”

John’s son Chris Saunders said: “We have spent many happy years amassing the collection, but the care and maintenance of such a large and diverse assortment of vehicles has become increasingly onerous and we have now decided that the time has come to move on.”

After the museum shuts on April 6, the vehicles will be auctioned off by Brightwells at its 10-acre sales site in Leominster, Herefordshire.

Chris added: “We have enjoyed a close working relationship with Brightwells over the last few years, using their services to buy and sell on a regular basis, and we have now appointed them to handle the dispersal of the entire collection, all to be sold at no reserve.”

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