Early Motoring Celebrated by The Tim Harding Collection

Jill Scott’s no.84 Riley at Brooklands in 1930

I am excited that Toovey’s are offering the second and final part of The Tim Harding Collection of Motoring Photographs at auction on Wednesday 15th November 2023.

The collection was amassed over a lifetime of collecting by the late Tim Harding – a motoring historian who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of early vehicle marques.

The collection comprises photographs in all formats from full plate to ‘box brownie’. There are over 20,000 images recording the very earliest days of motoring to the early post-war era. Most are loose but some are framed and mounted, and there are also ‘family albums’ compiled in period.

A number were taken at Brooklands, the country’s first purpose-built race track. It was constructed on the 330 estate of Hugh and Ethel Locke King at Weybridge. Work began on the famous Brooklands race track with its high speed banking in 1906. It opened on June 17th 1907.

The ‘Double Twelve’ race came about because 24 hour racing was prohibited due to noise restrictions at Brooklands. As a result the event was divided into two daylight sessions and the cars were locked up overnight.

During the summer of 1930 the Double Twelve Race at Brooklands was won by Barnato and Clement in a 6 1/2 litre Bentley with Davis and Dunfee taking second in a similar car. 3rd place went to C. R. Whitcroft and H. C. Hamilton in a privately entered Brooklands Riley. They covered 1,629.08 miles at an average speed of 69.96mph to win their class. The no.84 Riley illustrated in the photograph was driven by Mrs E. M. Scott and the man who would become her second husband, Ernest Mortimer Thomas. They finished 6th. Jill Scott, as she was known, was popular in racing circles and drove at Brooklands between 1928 and 1932. She was the first woman to complete a lap of Brooklands at an average of 120mph.

An Atalanta crossing the finishing line at the Lewes Speed Trials, Sussex

Brooklands was the only race track in the country and with the renewed interest in motor racing after the First World War local speed events were organised by small clubs. Amongst these was The Lewes Speed Trials. Just ten years after its first trials in 1924 it had grown into an important event attracting many of the top drivers of the period including Malcolm Campbell, Archie Frazer-Nash and Dick Seaman. The Atalanta crossing the finish line at Lewes evokes the heyday of this remarkable event.

The Tim Harding Collection auction catalogue will be online at tooveys.com from Saturday 5th November 2023.