In Matlock, in the heart of Derbyshire sits the National Tramway Museum, at Crich Tramway Village, an attraction dedicated to preserving the heritage of trams. It gives you the chance to have a ride on a genuine, lovingly restored tram and see the fabulous views as the village is built overlooking the Derwent Valley.
As you travel along the track, sitting on the hard wooden seat you experience a little bit of life as it was. Trams were first used in Victorian times but the popularity of the motor car meant that by the 1950’s trams had all but disappeared from the UK’s streets. It was at around this time that tram enthusiasts, who had been squirreling away disused tramcars got together to form a museum where they could be restored and displayed. The magnificent result of their undying enthusiasm is the Tramway Museum at Crich.
The museum has expanded its scope in recent years to include preserving buildings which are rebuilt within the tramway village. When my father, Derby born and bred, visited he was more than a little taken aback to see the Derby Assembly Rooms there; he remembered riding past it on trams himself as a small boy, and there it was, preserved at Crich.
The attraction also boasts a woodland walk and sculpture trail, a mining display, an interactive exhibition on trams and their restoration, as well as indoor and outdoor play areas for the children.
Children will love the excitement of riding along as the trams travel around the village, and the atmosphere is enhanced by the huge collection of authentic street furniture, signs and restored facades.
The attraction is wheelchair and pushchair friendly and has a programme of events all year round for transport enthusiasts. With trams once more a feature of many city centres around the world, this museum is a delightful reminder of the tram’s distinguished history.
For details of opening times and admission visit their website at www.tramway.co.uk
Crich Tramway Village, nr Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 5DP. Tel. 01773 854321