“John Montagu Of Beaulieu — 1866-1929. Motoring Pioneer And Prophet” by Paul Tritton. 291 pp, 9 1/2: in o 6 1/4 in. (Golden Eagle/George Hart, 73 New Bond Street, London, W1. £9.50).
John Walter Edward Montagu-Scott Douglas, first son of Lord and Lady Henry Scott, born in Mayfair in 1866 and father of the present Lord Montagu of Beaulieu of National Motor Museum fame, was a colourful character who strongly influenced the development of the motor car, Royalty’s interest in it, and the building of Brooklands Track, etc. In the year of the 100th anniversary of the horseless carriage it is fitting that at last his biography should be published, ably handled by its author Paul Tritton.
The book tells of early days at Beaulieu. liar. Montagu’s acl tures in Matabele land, running on to his pioneer motoring interests, which included racing and taking part in the 1900 1,000 Mile Trial on his Daimlers. The rides he gave Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1899, resulting in the King ordering a Daimler, and Lord Montagu’s successful entry into publishing, with the weekly The Car Illustrated, etc, are properly described for us, as are his love affairs, his military years, his various hobbies, and his later close associations with Rolls-Royce cars. And much more besides . . There is a great deal in -John Montagu Of Beaulieu” to commend it to Rolls-Royce enthusiasts, because not only did Lord Montagu own several of these cars, described in the book, but he opened the new Derby R-R factory in July 1908 and his devoted secretary Eleanor Thornton is thought to have been the model on which sculptor Charles Sykes based the famous R-R radiator mascot Spirit of Ecstasy. All this Paul Tritton clarifies in the book, which is illustrated with some delightful pictures.
The sad loss of Miss Thornton in the sinking of the Persia in which she and Lord Montagu were sailing for Aden during the war is graphically covered, as are the wide interests of His Lordship in things like driving railway locomotives, flying, his army career, the development of improved roads, the Beaulieu Estate, etc.
Altogether a very readable book, especially as the present Lord Montagu is so well known in modern motoring circles. The Foreword is by HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who recalls driving Lord Montagu’s 1900 6 hp Daimler in the 1980 Brighton Run. — W.B.