Vintage car museum to open in Derbyshire - creating dozens of jobs

An artist's impression of the museum.
An artist's impression of the museum.

Plans for a vintage car museum in Derbyshire have been given the green light – creating 30 jobs.

The proposals, filed by The Great British Car Journey Ltd, have been granted approval by Amber Valley Borough Council officers.

An artist's impression of the museum.

An artist's impression of the museum.

The scheme will see a large section of the former Richard Johnson & Nephew Wire Works, now the Derwent Works site, off the A6 in Ambergate, brought back into use.

The proposals for the site, which would be called the Ambergate Motor Heritage Centre, were filed in June and the museum hopes to open in April next year.

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Part of the project would involve visitors being able to drive a selection of the museum’s exhibits along a defined mile-long route on the extensive site, around the buildings of an existing construction firm.

This would be called the Drive Dad’s Car experience.

An artist's impression of the museum.

An artist's impression of the museum.

More than 100 cars would be on display.

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The theme of the attraction would be a specific part of motoring history – the mass production, in the UK, of vehicles aimed at providing affordable family transport.

Visitors will take a “ten-stage journey” through significant periods of British car history, from the 1920s to the modern day.

This exhibition will be called “The Great British Car Journey – when Britain ruled the road”.

The project would include building a deck and seating area overlooking the River Derwent.

A car park is already in place on the site, from its time as a factory, with 50 spaces. This would be improved and increased to 65 through the scheme.

The main access to the site off the A6 would also be upgraded.

The project would affect the two most northern buildings at Derwent Works.

It is intended to house the museum in the largest building, which covers 2,635 sqm.

This will also contain a cafe, gift shop, and a vehicle workshop to maintain and repair the exhibit vehicles.

The main building, built shortly after World War II, is said to be in a reasonable state with “minor structural and cosmetic repairs” required.

Roof lights will also be cleaned and replaced or repaired as necessary.

A smaller barn-type building, built pre-1940, was the former factory’s canteen and will be used to house the cars for the “driving experience”.

A derelict two-storey former workshop to the south of the main complex would be demolished due to its “poor condition” and because it contains asbestos.

A brochure for the museum reads: “The Great British Car Journey charts the history of the British car industry by focusing on the great car brands and the men behind them.

“It gives a fascinating insight into the ever more perilous business of volume car making by placing British cars and their creators at the centre of the history of family transport.”

The proposed site had operated as a wire factory from 1876 until it closed in 1996.

In 2001, the Litchfield Group bought the complex and used the intended car museum buildings for storage of door and window products.

However, the buildings have fallen into a state of disrepair.

At its peak, the wire works had employed 500 people and famously produced the telegraph cables laid underneath the English Channel during World War II.