Originally located in the old kitchens of Palace House, the library was opened by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu on 28 April 1961. Based on his father’s collection of motoring books and journals, the library was later moved to the John Montagu Building and officially opened by HRH The Duke of Kent on 4 July 1973 before finally being transferred to its present location in the National Motor Museum Trust Collections Centre on 6 November 1989.
The library has grown substantially over the years to become one of the largest resources of its type anywhere in the world covering cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles to horse-drawn carriage material dating from the 1880s onwards. The majority of the Collection is in English but also includes a number of foreign language publications.
The type of material held is wide and varied and includes approximately 12,500 books, 30,700 workshop manuals and handbooks, 11,600 event programmes, 2,700 auction catalogues together with around 104,850 manufacturers’ sales catalogues and items. Added to this are some 6,500 bound and 73,000 unbound periodicals with titles including:
La Vie Automobile
Light Car and Cyclecar
Road and Track
Veteran and Vintage
The library continues to receive a large number of transport-related titles on a regular basis, including many club magazines and newsletters.
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