Among the many aspects of vintage and veteran interest, may I suggest another one that of keeping one’s eyes open for interesting pictures with motoring themes in pubs, restaurants and hotels?
Years ago I was intrigued by a photograph of Burford High Street which hung on the dining-room wall of the Cotswold Gateway Hotel. It was a view of this popular trials venue, taken long before traffic-lights were installed at the bridge over the stream at the bottom of the hill; a happily deserted village then, in direct contrast to the same place now. On the left of the photograph were seen parked a Trojan saloon, a 14/40 Sunbeam and another car I could not identify. Opposite, a solitary bullnose Morris two-seater awaited its owner.
Other such ‘finds’ have included a rear view of an Ulster Austin Seven in a Little Chef restaurant, captioned as showing a street in a nearby town; with a magnifying glass I might have been able to read its registration number one of the racing Sevens on test, possibly.
In one Welsh town a number of pictures of veteran cars graced a pub wall, and in another I found photographs of an Edwardian Renault tourer and an earlier car which, in the dark passage, I could not see well enough to guess its make. In the Elan Valley Hotel there are still a few pictures of the 1932 Daily Express Rally, which must have had a check-point or lunch stop there.
The most interesting such discovery was in a small hotel off a dual-carriageway not far from a very famous stately home, and not all that far from the VSCC’s HQ. It was a framed photograph of a very early motor lorry, circa 1900 I would think, with perched on it a veteran car, an 1898 Benz Ideal or similar. Was this very early motor car being delivered to an early exponent of the homeless-carnage movement, or had it broken down, or what?
I do not think that hotel proprietors will mind people looking for such pictures, as those searching are likely to order a meal or support the bar. But one hopes that they would not waste a hotelier’s time by asking questions or wanting to take away or buy such discoveries. Have you come upon any such prints from the past?