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Important and useful archives


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#1 tsrwright

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:37

I have only just seen some old posts in another topic (Russ Catlin) about the Royal Automobile Club and the Motor Sports Association archives and felt a wider discussion of archival resources might be useful.

After quite a bit of courteous and understandable to-ing and fro-ing about a project of mine, I was given access and made welcome at MSA House in August 2012. My having an MSA licence seemed to help. As far as I can tell, all that is held from RAC days are the bound minutes of the Competition Committee and the chairmens’ agenda books. I understand MSA may now be taking steps to digitise this material which will safeguard the originals and should make their content more readily accessible. It certainly is an important and fascinating resource but that is about all the MSA has from before its formation.

I believe the archives of the RAC contain all the other motor sport material and these are in the care of Churchill College, Cambridge. I have not yet made use of it, but an on-line catalogue can be found via http://bookings.roya...tstartframe.asp ; I believe all the original motoring and motor sport material is available at the Churchill College archive centre.

I haven’t enquired but I would hope the CSI archives are preserved in Paris; it would be useful to know and perhaps this is something our various national historic delegates might follow up? The archives of the Auto-Cycle Union are at the University of Warwick and there is an on-line catalogue which I haven't made use of. I enquired at the FIM and understand it does have archives but I haven’t sought access.

I also made a number of enquiries of the major British national clubs regarding events they promoted in the 1940s and ‘50s and understand as follows:

· BARC – results, programmes only

· BRSCC didn’t reply but DCPR told me all 500 Club stuff was destroyed years ago

· BRDC - results, programmes only

· VSCC - minutes are digitised and I haven't asked about other documents

The purpose of this post is to suggest others share their knowledge and experience of useful archives whether public or private. It is also useful to know what doesn’t exist - saves looking.

Edited by tsrwright, 14 January 2013 - 06:59.


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#2 Stephen W

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:56

BARC (Yorkshire Centre) are currently scanning old results/programmes and posting them on their website.

As for the MSA - I understand that when the move from Pall Mall to their current location at Colnbrook was undertaken all the old results were sent to the furnaces. Currently the MSA Steward gets a hard copy of the results after the meeting which are included with his report. I guess these too will end up in the scrap bins.

Considering the MSA's position as THE body in charge of motor sport in the UK they do not seem to attach any importance to their history. When I started trying to put together a compilation of all the results for the British Sprint Championship all that the MSA could provide was a list of Champions. They couldn't even provide the Championship Points tables so it was impossible to ascertain who actually scored points let alone who scored points in which round!





#3 Supersox

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:00

BARC (Yorkshire Centre) are currently scanning old results/programmes and posting them on their website.

As for the MSA - I understand that when the move from Pall Mall to their current location at Colnbrook was undertaken all the old results were sent to the furnaces. Currently the MSA Steward gets a hard copy of the results after the meeting which are included with his report. I guess these too will end up in the scrap bins.

Considering the MSA's position as THE body in charge of motor sport in the UK they do not seem to attach any importance to their history. When I started trying to put together a compilation of all the results for the British Sprint Championship all that the MSA could provide was a list of Champions. They couldn't even provide the Championship Points tables so it was impossible to ascertain who actually scored points let alone who scored points in which round!

Whilst somewhat sympathetic to the point above we should remind ourselves that outside their championships the RACMSA has no history. They are simply licensees and the meetings are put on by the licensed who are those really responsible for the events and logically the records. Clearly the MSA would ideally keep the results in perpetuity but there is no incentive to do this amongst the clerks and jobsworths who work in motor sport today. These people are not historians.
This is not new. Many years ago when Neil Eason Gibson worked for the BRDC they instructed him to dispose of all the membership proposal files since the beginning of the club.It was only because Neil wanted to have his father's proposal he intercepted the rubbish .Many many years later the BRDC were pathetically grateful that he had kept them and he subsequently gave them back to the club. When he was secretary of the meeting of the BGP every year rather than bin it he kept the drivers signing on sheet-in the eyes of officialdom scrap once the meeting was over. A lot of the sheets over the years he sold, keeping only the years which were very special to him.

Over the years I have heard this complaint about the FIA but their position is the same, ASN apply to run events for and on behalf of the FIA who have no involvement in what happens on the ground.


#4 Stephen W

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:35

As for the MSA - I understand that when the move from Pall Mall to their current location at Colnbrook was undertaken all the old results were sent to the furnaces. Currently the MSA Steward gets a hard copy of the results after the meeting which are included with his report. I guess these too will end up in the scrap bins.

Considering the MSA's position as THE body in charge of motor sport in the UK they do not seem to attach any importance to their history. When I started trying to put together a compilation of all the results for the British Sprint Championship all that the MSA could provide was a list of Champions. They couldn't even provide the Championship Points tables so it was impossible to ascertain who actually scored points let alone who scored points in which round!



Whilst somewhat sympathetic to the point above we should remind ourselves that outside their championships the RACMSA has no history.


In the early years the British Sprint Championship was run by the RAC/MSA and all I could get was a list of champions and not even the final points tables!

#5 tsrwright

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:52

Over the years I have heard this complaint about the FIA but their position is the same, ASN apply to run events for and on behalf of the FIA who have no involvement in what happens on the ground.


It's not just results though. Correspondence, minutes, reports etc are all invaluable. Minutes are just that of course - brief - but better than nothing.

#6 tsrwright

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:17

If you have access to ancestry.com they have just published the records of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers up to about 1930. Lots of interesting biographical detail of motoring people.