The origins of the Keighley Bus Museum lay in the need to locate covered accommodation in the West Yorkshire area for some of the growing number of vehicles entering preservation at a time when other available accommodation was already full to overflowing. In an attempt to solve a problem, which is not going away as a result of even more vehicles being preserved, a shed was found in Denholme which had formerly been part of an abattoir, and various vehicles were housed there and the foundations of the Keighley Bus Museum were laid. It was not until a few years later that KBMT became a registered charity, with a view to acquiring the collection of vehicles owned by the then West Yorkshire Transport Museum and operated at its Low Moor site under the Transperience banner.
Prior to the acquisition of the Transperience collection, some of the privately owned vehicles previously housed at WYTM’s former premises at Ludlam Street depot in Bradford moved to Denholme at the time Transperience was opened, and a second shed on the Denholme site was occupied. At the time of the acquisition of the Transperience vehicles, there was no further room for expansion at Denholme, and after much searching; KBMT was offered the use of the old Keighley College site at Dalton Lane. These premises were somewhat dilapidated, but provided relatively secure accommodation for the growing collection. With more space available, more privately owned vehicles were attracted to help pay the storage costs, and Bradford Council were only too eager to return the Keighley Corporation trackless to its home town, partly because, at the time. It was trying to create more space at its Industrial Museum for Horses at Work which was being moved from Halifax to a, then, somewhat more secure home.
It was always known that this site would only be seen as a temporary home as there were plans to redevelop the site by Keighley College, and when it became clear that we could no longer housed there, the collection was moved further down Dalton Lane to the Riverside complex which is our current home. Not without an indirect connection with the transport industry, Riverside had been one of the two sites operated by West Yorkshire Foundries, who were bought by British Leyland Motor Corporation as they supplied many castings to that organisation for vehicle use, though originally built and operated by Prince, Smith and Stell’s, a producer of textile machinery, which was at one time one of Keighley’s staple industries.
Since the move to Riverside, more vehicles have arrived, since the building is extremely large and capable of holding in the region of a 100 vehicles. With the ever increasing number of vehicles entering preservation, it has not been too difficult to find vehicles to fill the space, though at the time of writing (July 2015) it is by no means full, and we are still in the fortunate position of being able to offer covered accommodation to new entrants. We have acquired further vehicles of interest from Bradford Industrial Museum, some restored, some in need of loving care and attention.
Recent changes in the museum management and a change in attitude from our landlord have led us to believe that the time has come to provide a more permanent home for the museum collection by purchasing the building if and when it becomes available. This will for the first time provide KBMT with a permanent base without the necessity of having to find new premises every time the landlord decides to redevelop his land/property. This will enable KBMT to think about developing a much more user friendly environment, enabling us to display vehicles in a better environment and to encourage the donation/loan of suitable artifacts to illustrate the development of public transport in line with the aims of the charity. Until that time, KBMT continues to hold special events and open days as outlined elsewhere on this website. By visiting the museum or its events, you are helping to further the development of the museum, which will hopefully fill a much needed gap since the demise of the West Yorkshire Transport Museum and its ill fated successor Transperience.