A day in Coventry should include a Tour of the Transport Museum and a visit to the archives, held at the History Centre of the Herbert Museum, just a few minutes walk away, a route which takes in the sights of both the Cathedral and the University.
City centre maps are available in all the museums and on the websites. Parking in the city is difficult and a visit to the various websites will give you up to date information. We opted for Park and Ride starting from the Memorial Park on Kenilworth Road, postcode CV3 6PT which is easy to find, well signed with a huge 400 space car park. The bus arrived within no time and flashing a bus pass, or £2.50 as applicable, got us into the city in minutes.
The History Centre is on the ground floor of the Herbert, a modern glass structure, next to the cafeteria, good for a lunchtime snack.
It is preferable to give notice of your visit but not essential. What is in the archives is listed on a computer and you request what you want to see by making out a slip with the reference on it, and a member of staff goes into the bowels of the building to retrieve it.
You are then able to sit a table within a secure area and browse to your heart’s content. The archives include complete bound sets of Autocar and Motor and old registration records for the Coventry District.
As well our holding much of our material, the Herbert has a great collection of Alvis photos and documentation which has not yet been catalogued. We are steadily going through these, scanning and identifying them.
Not everything is held in the Herbert, so if you have anything in particular you want to see, ask the trustees first……send a comment.
The Trust exists for the preservation of all Alvis related records and material and to arrange for them to be accessible.
What has it got?
It currently holds a range of brochures, photographs, books, films and publications relating to Alvis Plc, the Alvis Register and the Alvis Owner Club all of which have long histories. This material complements the records and factory material held by Red Triangle Autoservices and the Alvis Car Co. Ltd.
So what is the future?
Our aim is for collections to come together at a dedicated central location in the Midlands so that Alvis enthusiasts may have ready access to them and the invaluable information they hold. The process of digitising the collection so that it is available remotely is equally important.
Our preferred solution is to open our own premises located in the Midlands close to Coventry and Kenilworth. With access on a daily or pre-arranged basis Alvis enthusiasts could call in and carry out research or just browse the collection. The centre would be staffed by volunteers on a part time basis with the long term aim of having permanent employed staff along the lines of the facilities already enjoyed by other British one-marque clubs such as Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
Achieving this aim is a long way off and requires not only dedication from a team of people but funding as well. In the meantime we intend looking at other options such as outsourcing the collection to other clubs, or under a FBHVC scheme, housing it within a museum or university with an engineering background; in the latter cases, security and part-staffing would be managed within their current facilities.
Whichever course we take the trustees recognise the collection will expand in time and action needs to be taken sooner rather than later if we are to preserve the Alvis name for future generations.
Friends of the Alvis Archive Trust
2020 Vision – The Alvis Collection
So how are we going to fund this aim?
At the moment the only source of funds is the Alvis Owner Club Limited but we need a substantial annual income to support a home for the Collection. We intend to apply for charitable status to make use of tax concessions and possible grants by asking you to join us as a “Friend” who may be able to do one or more of the following:
- Give your time to support the activities of the trust such as cataloguing and scanning photographs and other material
- Donate Alvis material to the archive – any items that become duplicated in the Collection can be sold to raise further funds
- Make an annual donation which will entitle you to privileged access to the Collection and its material
- Pledge a loan to help enable the building to be purchased
- Pledge a lump sum from your estate or pension fund which would be free of inheritance tax
Is the trust financially secure?
The trust is independent of Alvis, the Register and AOC but currently relies on the AOC for funding. It holds a small reserve from monies raised for the trust over the past few years. As more income is generated directly the trustees will hold the funds separate from the AOC. Any donations or pledges will be dealt with in a professional manner in accordance with your wishes. The trustees are experienced in dealing with such matters.