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Announcing a new book

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new book on Gloucestershire motor registrations covering the period before the Great War.  It has been produced by the scholarly Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society and is being offered at an attractive pre-publication price.  Work of this kind is still quite rare. One volume was published on Wiltshire registrations, and some Scottish ledgers are on websites, but this kind of book should be encouraged and we are therefore happy to publicise it.

Tom Clarke has also reviewed its content and its importance in furthering research in this area, so we shall move this announcement to our Book Reviews section after a reasonable time in the News section, to ensure that it will not be forgotten.

Anyone with a pre-WWI Gloucestershire connection (either family or vehicle) will want to be aware of this book.  Its title is ‘Conspicuously Marked’, and it is edited by Cheltenham authors Peter Barlow and Martin Boothman.  It provides unique insight into the almost 7,500 registrations in the AD and FH series made between 1 January 1904, when registration was introduced nationally, and December 1913.

Each entry in the original records has been transcribed and annotated, with full notes of owners and any transfers of numbers to new vehicles – in effect a mini-biography for each registration.  A full introduction sets the scene, analyses early ownership trends, and comments on the range of British, foreign and purely local manufacturers supplying Gloucestershire’s first motorists.

The carefully-edited register entries, correlated with street directories and census records, demonstrate how widely car and motor cycle ownership spread in the county in that first decade. A glance through the entries shows that men and women in all walks of life took advantage of motorised mobility. By the eve of WW1, practically every hamlet in the county, and many streets in all its towns, boasted at least one car or motor cycle owner.

A sample entry:

The book includes over 30 photos of early vehicles, many reproduced for the first time. Fully indexed, it is sure to be of value to many different users, including those interested in the demographics of vehicle ownership; local historians; family historians, and of course those with a more technical interest in the vehicles themselves. Weighing in at some 350 pages, and a further 100 pages of appendixes and indexes, this is an impressive hardback production (in the Gloucestershire Record Series), bound to become the standard reference source on this subject.

The book is due to be launched in Gloucester in September 2019.  The price on publication will be £30 in UK plus p&p, but orders received by 1 AUGUST will qualify for a 25% discount – £22.50 per copy. Email enquiries to please, with ‘Book order’ in the subject line.

ISBN 978 0 900197 97 0


Cover image (photo courtesy of the late Bryan King) shows AD-582, a 6hp de Dion. It was registered on 12 Oct. 1905 to a Churchdown GP, Dr John Joseph Foster. The body style is a ‘single phaeton’, and the paintwork was recorded as red, with yellow wheels.


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