Out of the Past, April 1984

At the VSCC Goodwood DTs that great enthusiast Monica Whincop, arriving as a Passenger in an Aston Martin instead of driving her 1100 HRG as she usually does, gave me a huge magazine called The Throne and dating from 1906. It was a society weekly couched in terms which would never do these days, advice about how to control and run stately homes being given a definitely Edwardian style. On the motoring front it carried advertisements for motoring clothing that ranged from Peter Robinson’s “Boulogne” ladies real moleskin lasies’ motoring coat at 45 gns., to Debenham & Freebody’s Russian sable paletot at prices from £720. The magazine divided its pages between Royalty and the stage, the frontispiece photograph being of the late Queen Victoria and Prince Edward, later Edward VII. The motoring pages seem to have closely followed the advertising, for Daimler, Delaunay-Belleville and Argyll occupied the latter and written up were a Daimler built for the Nizam of Hyderabad, although in the advert this becomes the standard “Stratford” seven-seater limousine, a 40 hp Delaunay-Belleville supplied to the Grand Duke Alexander of Russia, and a 14/16 hp Argyll double-landaulette, which that Company’s ad shows to have been priced at £650, the coachwork by Mulliner. Dorothy Levitt was shown doing 96 mph on the 90 hp Napier “Samson” and Graham White taking an loM hairpin in his 18 hp Siddeley. Remembering that dogs are not allovved at today’s speed events, it was amusing to see three large ones captioned as “Interested canine spectators at the Crystal Palace AC Hill-Climb” . . . It was suggested that it was unwise to allow one’s servants to dress up in the evening clothes of their Masters and Mistresses for dances below stairs, as this gave them ideas above their station, so was very cruel. But one sees that in 1906 it was possible to buy an AD 1602 10-bedroom manor house, with five acres of land, in Wiltshire for £3,000 or over 1,000 acres and a house for much less than the better vintage cars fetch today, while there was a castle with 12 bedrooms apart from the servant’s quarters to let in “Lord Fitzwilliam’s country”, at £250 a year, or “per annum” as they said then, to include electric light and eight loose boxes in the stables, a place suited, one might say, to a SheffieldSimplex owner! — W.B.