Report: Visit to Humber Car Museum in Hull
Humber-lievable! This museum houses the world’s largest and best preserved collection of these superb vehicles, enthusiast Allan Marshall having assembled and restored twenty-six Humbers, from Pullmans and Super Snipes to the more modern Sceptres and Imperials over many years. It’s probably just as well that Allan keeps his collection in a remote location away from home as he’s told his wife that he only has the six!
The cars take their name from Thomas Humber who was schooled in the city in the 1840s before moving back to the Midlands where he was to make his name in the bicycle manufacturing industry. In particular he was responsible in 1868 for the technical innovation we all take for granted today – a chain between the pedals and the back wheel! Allan also has a number of old bicycles on display.
After being left to our own devices to explore the collection, we all took our seats with our teas and biscuits to learn more of the history of the marque and to be entertained by many anecdotes from Allan himself. Tucked away and owned by the man who has more Humbers than anyone else, the museum’s not flash by and means but offers a fascinating insight into history and Allan’s own journey.
He’s recently put his collection up for sale. He is now selling almost all of his fleet, fifty-eight years after his father Reg bought the family’s first Humber car in 1960 so we were indeed fortunate to get this amazing tour sorted before the collection moves on. He intends to keep just three of the cars, including the one first purchased by his father, in order to continue with his wedding car business.
Over the years, Allan’s hoard of cars has been featured on a host of TV programmes, including Flog It, The Antiques Roadshow and the aptly named Collectaholics. He’s bought a Humber driven by Buddy Holly, which he found abandoned in a scrap yard, and another car used by the Queen Mother. There’s also a Humber that was driven by the legendary Sir Stirling Moss in the collection.
With far too many memories of the afternoon to record here, it was a great opportunity for us to be possibly the last Car Club to be invited to see the Humber collection which, and it’s rather a shame to have to mention this, is still one of Hull’s best kept secrets despite the Council missing a trick during the Hull City of Culture celebrations topromote this automotive jewel which has attracted visitors from literally all over the world. Everywhere it seems, other than Hull which for Allan, being Hull born and bred and immensely proud of his museum, must be sadly heart-breaking for him.
Allan; it was an absolute pleasure. Thank you from all of us.
Pictures by Colin Metcalfe and Stuart Merton.