The museum was created by the collector and businessman Roy Richards and opened in 1984 in purpose-built premises near Birmingham Airport. It was rebuilt after a fire in 2004. The museum holds the largest collection in the world of British-made motorcycles. There are around 1,000 examples, including at least one by each of the 170 manufacturers that have existed in the United Kingdom. The best-represented makers are BSA, Triumph and Norton (the museum is close to Meriden, the home of the Triumph motorcycle factory from 1941 to 1983, and Birmingham, where BSA and Norton began). The first gallery presents motorcycles from 1898 to 1960 with an emphasis on Vincent and Sunbeam. The next three halls show road bikes in alphabetical order (ABC to Zenith) and displays about military, working and prototype motorcycles and the makers Brough Superior, BSA, Matchless and Royal Enfield. The final gallery is concerned with racing bikes.