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Awards and Loans

The Trust offers financial assistance to individuals or groups to carry through restoration or improvement projects to completion. The Trust also invites enquiries about sponsoring one or more Awards.



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Vic Smallshire

2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards Dudley TunnelAs a teenager in the late 1950s, Vic persuaded his father to build him a boat to tour the Black Country canals. He found the Government was closing them quicker than he could discover them: so began a 50 year association with the Dudley Canals.

From direct action in the early days to prevent official vandalism of locks and
installations, with the years has come a more subtle approach: “

2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards Vic Smallshire

dragging officialdom with us rather than colliding head on with it has served us well”. The Dudley Canal Trust was set up in 1964, and of course one V Smallshire was among the founder members.

The Canal Trust set up its own trip-operating company, currently carrying 85,000 passengers a year into Dudley Tunnel and the limestone mines that the Trust opened up in the 1980s. In this way it has “turned a derelict stinking ditch into the busiest canal in the country and the abandoned limestone mines that were universally regarded as a liability into one of the Black Country's greatest assets”.


Dennis Talbot

Dennis has been a bus man since his time at university when with a group of friends he bought a 1958 Manchester City Transport Leyland Titan (now in the Museum of Road Transport). The Museum opened to the public in 1979 and Dennis was amongst the group who realised the need to run the place for the benefit of the public: within two years he was elected vice Chairman.

2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards Dennis Talbot

The Museum now receives about 

12,000 visitors a year, has a collection of well over 80 buses and coaches, and there are hundreds of thousands of documents and photographs in its archives, which now represent a well known social history resource. Dennis became Chairman in 1984 and has held the position ever since.

In 1981 came the suggestion of setting up an informal group of volunteer-operated transport museums as well as those aspiring to open such a museum. The National Association of Road Transport Museums (NARTM) was the result, and Dennis has been Chairman since about 1987. NARTM has grown from to almost 100 members today, caring for well over 2,000 buses and coaches with a database listing over 4,000 vehicles. Over more than two decades Dennis has overseen the growth and transformation of NARTM to sit alongside umbrella bodies for other sectors of transport heritage.


Jan and Len Crane

Few restorers of steam road locomotives are trained silversmiths. Len Crane practised the trade in Birmingham for a short while but switched to become a toolmaker and machinist, developing a passion for model engineering. 2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards EngineSoon he had a full size Fowler Crane Road Locomotive, which he restored and still owns. Len has also been an active supporter of the Black Country Museum since its inception. Hearing in the 1980s that the large steam pumping engines in Wombourn were to be scrapped, he wrote to the water company pointing out their significance. was followed by acquisition and restoration of a Burrell Crane Engine and a Marshall Steam Roller. Restoration of a Burrell Showman’s Road locomotive is about to begin. When not actively engaged in a restoration or a road run or the Great Dorset Steam Fair, he is President of the National Traction Engine Trust.

2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards Len and Jen CraneSomehow nothing happened to the engines for 20 years, then the water company responded, asking Len to restore them. Over a period of 6 years one of the 400 ton machines was restored to operation under Len’s leadership.


This is very much a joint operation and Jane has not only supported Len in his steam activities but has owned her own Marshall Steam Roller. She gets involved with organising and running events at the pumping station and is a regular at all the events their steam vehicles attend. Together they have for many years been a formidable team in the steam world, respected by many enthusiasts who have benefitted from their assistance and advice over the years.


Roy Watts

2011 Lifetime Achievement Awards Roy WattsRoy joined the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society as a young lad in 1968 and soon volunteered his services to the traffic department, undertaking such duties as manning the car park, ticket-checking and platform duties. But the ticket office beckoned, where he became one of the railway’s chief booking clerks, and in turn moved on to become first guard and then station master.

Over 40 years Roy rose to become Chairman of the preservation society. The Bluebell line is now a £3m a year turnover business, delivering its latest £2.4m lottery-funded carriage shed and facing the prospect, only a year away, of reopening the line to East Grinstead and connection with the mainline.

Roy played a central role in marking the Bluebell’s 50th anniversary in 2010, and last year he accepted the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for the railway, the only heritage railway to receive such an award. Away from the railway, Roy also owns three classic buses and is now a Trustee of the Transport Trust.




The National Transport Trust makes loans to groups, associations and individuals at advantageous rates for the restoration of artefacts - whether mobile or part of the infrastructure.  Applications must be supported by a simple business plan which demonstrates the financial viability of the project. A sample business plan is available on request from the Treasurer.


The Trust does occasionaly make Awards for schemes which further the preservation movement. Again if you wish further information please contact the Treasurer.


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