A Cutting Edge Museum
WHEN JOURNEYING UP THE M6 recently I took a diversion to Southport, to visit the British Lawnmower Museum. Most people to whom I mentioned it to had thought it was a joke. I can assure you it is not…
The museum has been put together by Brian Radam (above) a former lawnmower racing champion. It is a vast collection of all sorts of makes and sizes of lawnmower. The lawnmower was invented in 1830 by Edward Budding of Gloucester who developed a cylinder cutting device to trim nap from cloth. In secret he developed this to be a grass cutting machine either powered by horse or by hand.
The museum houses 100s of machines from hand powered ones to large engined motor examples, from horse drawn to sit on, petrol or mains or battery powered electric. They are all here with some surprises. All the makes you have ever heard of are represented and there are a number which have strong connections to the motor industries.
There is one car in the collection made by Atco who in 1939 announced the Atco Junior Safety-first Trainer which was launched with the idea of training young children in the art of car driving. Powered by a 98cc Atco Villiers engine they hoped to sell it in quantity to schools and local authorities, priced at £35 each. When war broke out some 200 had been sold; it did not appear after the war. The Museum has an excellent example.
In presentation this is much more like a private collection that a museum. Though there are a lot of explanatory captions the machines are so closely packed in places you are not quite sure which one refers to which lawnmower. There are a lot of pictures and photographs as well as showcases of lawnmowermobilia. Not only are there a huge variety of makes represented, there are some from rich and celebrity owners as well. There is an extensive archive so if you want to date that old mower at the back of the garden shed this is the place to come.
from p. 11 of issue September 2017
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