Museum of Liverpool - 2018
Rare AC 'Acedes' at the Museum of Liverpool - October - December 2018
During October and December of 2018 the Museum of Liverpool hosted one of the rarest vehicles in the UK, an AC 'Acedes'. The 'Acedes' was made AC Cars, one of the world's most prestigious car manufacturing companies and one of the oldest independent car makers founded in Britain. It was showcased in at the Museum of Liverpool as part of the Heritage Fund supported project, 'The Carrying of Passeengers is Forbidden'. Mckeown also exhibited at the nearby Neoclassical St George's Hall where Mckeown presented an Argson eclectic invalid carriage exhibition during late November and early December 2018.
The history of British Invalid Carriages which were three-wheeled and often blue, is not a simple story of automobiles. Following the First World War the UK Government provided mobility for injured war veterans, and for the general population with the arrival of the NHS.
In the 1970s the British car company ‘AC’ made one of Britain’s fastest and most prestigious sports car, the ‘AC Cobra’. They also made one of Britain’s slowest cars, the aluminium ‘AC Acedes’ which was installed in the museum. Battery powered (72 Volt), with a top speed of 12 miles per hour it was often referred to as ‘The Mobile Roadblock’ by the lay public. Whilst spacious, it offered limited comfort and warmth and critically no passengers were allowed.
Provided by the Ministry of Health (NHS) and administered by the government’s ‘Invalid Vehicle Service’ vehicles such as the ‘Acedes’ whilst being problematic, hard to use, unreliable and dangerous, nevertheless provided independence for working-class disabled people over many years.
They were abolished in the mid 1970’s by a campaign led by disabled people including Sir Bert Massie, CBE, replacing them with the Motability Scheme.
The 'Acedes' showcased at the Museum of Liverpool is part of a collection of vehicles owned by artist Simon Mckeown and was once a common sight on our roads, with over 25,000 trikes and cars registered in 1975. It is very rare, with approximately only 20 ‘Acedes’ cars surviving, dispersed throughout the world. It is currently being conserved and repaired.
Between 19 November and 8 December 2018 Mckeown also had an exhibition of related vehicles and ephemera at St George’s Hall showcasing a social and cultural history unique to the world.