Last month the M.G. Car Club welcomed its 5,000th Home Member, Mr. A. J. Hobbs of Cyncoed, Cardiff, so perhaps it is timely to say a few words on the club’s past and present.
There are seven Home Centres in the Club, two Sub-Centres, and four Registers for members who own discontinued M.G. models. In addition there are nearly 50 Overseas Centres in the U.S.A., Canada Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Africa, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Switzerland. Overseas membership totals approximately 4,000.
It was on October 12th, 1930 that the Club was formed at a meeting in the Roebuck Inn, near Stevenage, arranged by two enthusiastic “M”-type owners—Roy Marsh, who now lives in South Africa, and John W. Thornley, now Director and General Manager of the M.G. Car Company Ltd. At the Club’s first Annual Dinner, held in 1931, it was announced that Cecil Kimber had agreed to become Chairman and Sir William Morris to be Patron; membership was approaching 200 at that time.
Membership rose steadily from then until the outbreak of war. The first Overseas Centre was formed in Ceylon in 1936, total membership exceeded 1,000 in October 1937, and by September 1938 it was just over 1,500. After the war the Club was re-formed in May 1947 and by the end of that year it had 385 members, with no Overseas Centres in existence. By September 1950, at 1,611 membership exceeded the pre-war total for the first time. During 1952/53, the post-war boom in M.G. exports was reflected in the M.G. Car Club, Overseas membership (2,231) eventually exceeding the Horne membership figure (1,670). The end of 1955 brought total membership to just over 5,000.
In recent years it has been the Home membership which has shown the greatest increase, and it is noteworthy that although M.G. ownership is not a prerequisite of membership, in practice more than 90% of those who join the Home Club do own an M.G., old or new. Although the Club enjoys the friendliest possible relationship with the M.G. Car Company Ltd., its activities are planned and controlled by its local Centre Committees, who organise every type of event from social get-togethers to race meetings. The Home Membership subscription is 35s. per annum, including the Club’s monthly magazine, Safety Fast. The President is Captain George Eyston, the Chairman is John W. Thornley, and the General Secretary is F. Wilson McComb, Abingdon-on-Thames, Berks.