Reference Library

A researcher looking at a book in the National Motor Musteum Trust's library
The Reference Library today


Originally located in the old kitchens of Palace House, the library was opened by Edward, Lord Montagu 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.

Reference Library Collection

The cover of the brochure for the Austin A40 DevonThe type of material held is wide and varied and includes approximately 13,800 books, 31,000 workshop manuals and handbooks, 9,700 event programmes, 2,700 auction catalogues together with around 112,800 manufacturers’ sales catalogues and items. Added to this are some 6,900 bound and 96,000 unbound periodicals with titles including, Autocar, Car Illustrated and 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.

Please contact the Motoring Research Service for access to the Reference Library.

If you would like a copy of any of our images, please visit our dedicated Motoring Picture Library website