The Society of Automotive Historians in Britain Ltd (SAHB) is an entirely independent organisation that was originally established in 1980 as a Chapter of the American-based Society of Automotive Historians that had been founded in 1969.
The principal purpose of the SAHB is to
‘encourage research, preservation, recording, compilation, and publication of historic facts concerning the development of the automobile and related items, from its inception to the present day, throughout the world’.
Membership is open to all those who share these aims, whether of amateur or professional status. For its members, the SAHB provides a unique camaraderie and an information exchange network through which other people with similar interests can be located. The Society’s membership also includes corporations, museums and other institutions that support the preservation of our motoring heritage for future generations to appreciate.
From the very beginning the British Chapter of the SAH attracted a relatively small but extremely knowledgeable and dedicated group of members who were based in the UK. Until 1989 these people remained as individual members of the parent organisation and only a few activities were arranged in Britain. In 1991 the SAH staged a hugely successful workshop and seminar at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, and consequently the society was invited to repeat the exercise on 18 October 1992. About 110 delegates (some travelling enormous distances to attend) enjoyed a marvellous selection of talks in the prestigious lecture theatre at this second event and, instigated by the tireless efforts of Peter Card as Secretary along with Michael Worthington-Williams taking on the role of Chairman, the embryonic UK Chapter came into being.
In April 1993 Issue No. 1 of ‘SAH Newsletter’ was launched, edited by Andrea Green. The first edition contained just four pages and carried a list of 33 members – including one each from Czechoslovakia, Singapore and Switzerland – plus articles on cars converted into mobile canteens during wartime and small promotional stickers referred to as ‘Cinderellas’ by postage stamp collectors. This small publication was sent out free to members in addition to those produced by the SAH in America.
A third SAH seminar held at Beaulieu in October 1993 had the SAH President, Jack Martin, opening the event, and he also gave a talk on the subject of the Indianapolis Speedway. Attendance was over 120 people. Andrea Green stepped down as editor of ‘SAH Newsletter’ with Issue No. 16 (January 1997) but unfortunately her replacement failed to produce a single edition that year. In response to a request in a letter distributed by Peter Card in December 1997, Tony Beadle volunteered to take on the role of editor and Issue No.17 (January 1998) became his first effort. Later that year Peter Card resigned from the Secretary’s post and Tony Beadle was elected to replace him.
The decision to become the Society of Automotive Historians in Britain (SAHB) was taken at the AGM in November 1999, and the magazine changed its name to ‘SAHB Review’ to reflect this at Issue No. 25 (May 2000). The year was also notable for the SAHB making its first appearance at the Beaulieu Autojumble in September thanks to a generous donation by Michael Worthington-Williams to cover the cost of the stand – benevolent sponsorship that he repeated annually for quite some time.
Held at The Whitewebbs Museum in Enfield, the 2001 AGM resulted in a new committee made up of Chairman Michael Worthington-Williams, Membership Secretary/Treasurer Graham Orme-Bannister, Event Organisers Robin Barraclough and Mike Dalby, Committee Member Anders Clausager and Newsletter Editor Jeremy Bacon. SAHB events in 2002 consisted of the Spring Seminar at the Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford, in May, the Beaulieu Autojumble and our first visit to the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, The Hunt House, Paulerspury, for an AGM. New editor Jeremy Bacon renamed the magazine ‘SAHB Quarterly’ (Issue No. 32) and reduced it to A5 size.
A milestone for the SAHB occurred in November 2003 when current membership rose above the magic figure of one hundred for the first time.
An innovation at the 2005 Spring Seminar (held at the Reigate Manor Hotel) was a brain-teaser quiz conducted by Bryan Goodman which has since become a favourite feature of these occasions. The make-up of the committee altered at the 2005 AGM, with Graham Orme-Bannister stepping down, to be replaced by Michael Penn as Treasurer and Mark Morris taking on the role of Membership Secretary. This meeting also saw the first publication of ‘Aspects of Motoring History’, a top-quality annual edited by Malcolm Jeal and issued free to members.
The Spring 2006 issue of ’SAHB Quarterly’ (No. 47) was Jeremy Bacon’s last as editor, an influx of 21 new members also being announced that year. ‘Aspects of Motoring 2′ was produced in the autumn and much acclaimed. Mike Dalby took over as ‘Newsletter’ editor, and he chose to revert to an A4 page size. 2007 was a memorable year for the SAHB; it included a marvellous Seminar at Basingstoke, and the creation of a new post for Michael Worthington-Williams as Chairman Emeritus at the AGM after he decided to give up the Chairman’s role, with Malcolm Jeal being elected to replace him. ‘Aspects of Motoring History 3′ maintained the standard of excellence established in previous years and SAHB membership topped 150.
The magnificent SMMT headquarters at Forbes House near Hyde Park Corner provided an historic venue for the 2008 Spring Seminar and Tony Beadle returned to the editor’s chair of a revamped ‘SAHB Times’ with Issue No. 52, which returned to A5 format because of changes to postal charges. Tim Sutton’s first Autumn Seminar and AGM at Paulerspury in October 2008 was a terrific success and thoroughly enjoyed by over 40 delegates. Peter Card returned to the committee as Treasurer, with the remaining officials unanimously re-elected en bloc. ‘Aspects of Motoring History 4′ was published, as was a new promotional flyer. This website was set up.
In 2009, the Spring Seminar was held on Sunday 29 March at the Aston Martin Heritage Trust at Drayton St. Leonard in Oxfordshire. A viewing of the archives was a very impressive experience. On 20 August an extra event was a special visit to the new Science Museum archives and library at Wroughton, near Swindon in Wiltshire. A large group attended and was treated to a viewing of rare treasures and early motoring archives. The Autumn Seminar and AGM was held at the Royce Foundation in Paulerspury on Sunday 18 October with a dinner the preceding evening. This pattern has continued ever since.
THE SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE HISTORIANS
IN BRITAIN LTD DIRECTORS (Current February 2021)
Anders Ditlev Clausager
SAHB Times Editor:
Aspects of Motoring History Editor:
Dr Craig Horner
Michael Sedgwick and Malcolm Jeal Awards Chairman:
Archive Consultant and Seminar Organiser:
Webmaster, Publicity Officer and Vice Chairman:
Peter Card (Honorary Committee Member)