Cars in books, February 1982

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In “The Hall In The Field” by Margaret Evans (Hodder & Stoughton, 1978), about running an ancient manor house in North Wales as an hotel at a date unspecified but atter World War Two. there is a reference to some visitors arriving in an Alvis. But this may not plase members of the Alvis OC or the Alvis Register, because the authoress says that “this elderly car was surely the most fragile motor ever to negotiate our hill…”! Other cars mentioned are the local doctors small Austin and another visitor’s “opulent Royce”, in which he carried a scooter in the boot for getting to the local golf-course, leaving the Rover for his wife.

On a more serious note there are many parallels with the present dav in the political happenings and opinions about the future in “Harold Nicholson’s Diaries — 1930-1964” by the famous author and publisher who became a Labour MP in the hope of receiving a peerage. The book is obviously meticulously edited by Stanley Olson (Collins, 1980). The author was no motorist, so all we glean about cars is that H. Nicholson was asked in the summer of 1939, with war imminent, whether his “…Buick would take an 8 ft. stretcher or only sitting cases and corpses.” Although he quite frequently met the King and Mrs. Simpson he was unlikely, I think, to have been influenced by them in his choice of car.

Lloyd George is likened by 1943 to an old Rolls-Royce backfiring and spluttering (do they?), and after the abdication it was suggested that the Duke of Windsor would make an admirable Rolls-Royce representative, except that an ex-King could not start to sell motor cars. In December, 1947, a “lovely hire Daimler” took Nicholson to a party at Buckingham Palace and the car, described “my huge Daimler”, was in use in London in 1950. There is a later reference to it – “I sailed off magnificent and outrageous in my Daimler” – in 1954 and mention of the Daimler ambulance which took Nicholson’s wife (Vita Sackville-West) from the hospital in Canonbury to their home, Sittinghurst Castle, in Kent in 1962, and to a Daimler driving them to a station en route for sailing to New York in the Queen Mary in 1963. I have a feeling that these cars may have been from Daimler Hire and advocates of the make may like to speculate about which models they would have been. W.B.

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