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News from November 1902 – A Scottish Automobile Club Run

The main picture here is from a report in November 1902 of a late October run by the Eastern Section of the Scottish Automobile Club.  Members gathered at Philiphaugh, the residence of Mr. W. Strang Steel.  There are only two further pictures to identify the cars, but there is a complete list of the visitors and their vehicles.  So this provides an interesting challenge: how many cars can we identify from the group picture?

We start with the two that can be identified.  The first is the 10-h.p. Delahaye of Dr. Dawson Turner, the Vice President of the club.  Dr. Turner is driving, with Mr. Norman MacDonald, the Chairman, alongside him.  Mr. George Macmillan, Eastern District Honorary Secretary, is standing at the side of the car.

Dr. Dawson Turner’s 10-h.p. Delahaye


The second is the 12-h.p. Arrol-Johnston of Mr. William Strang Steel, the Laird of Philiphaugh.  He is sitting in front, with his chauffeur behind him at the wheel. Strang Steel was born in October 1832 and would thus have been 70 in this photograph.  His son, Samuel Strang Steel (1882-1961) was made 1st Baronet Steel on 2 July 1938, and was Conservative Member of Parliament for Ashford from 1918 to 1929 and Lord-Lieutenant of Selkirkshire from 1948 to 1958.

Mr. William Strang Steel’s 12-h.p. Arrol-Johnston


We can therefore identify these two cars in the main picture.  The Delahaye is second from the right on the front row, and Dr. Dawson Turner can be seen in the driver’s seat.  The Arrol-Johnston is second from the left on the front row, with Mr. Strang Steel and a lady (his wife Rosetta, née Barber?).  The same chauffeur is standing to the left of the car.

For the rest, we can only give the list of cars and their owners:

  • Blair of Jedburgh – 3-h.p. Benz
  • James Ballantyne – 22-h.p. Daimler
  • D. Cameron – 12-h.p. Gladiator
  • James Cruickshank – 8-h.p. Argyll
  • R. D. Croall – 9-h.p. Napier
  • A. J. Drake – 5-h.p. Stirling
  • P. Drummond – tricycle with trailer (no make given)
  • Ian Macdonald – 7-h.p. Daimler
  • G. Macmillan (Secretary) – 7-h.p. Panhard
  • A. Melvin – 6-h.p. M.M.C.
  • Sir John Murray (Vice President) – 8-h.p. Albion
  • J. E. Naismith – 6-h.p. Stirling Daimler
  • J. H. Paterson of Aberdeen – 12-h.p. Peugeot
  • Bruce Ronaldson – 10-h.p. Delahaye
  • Thomas Sanderson – 3⅓-h.p. Benz
  • W. L. Sleigh – 10-h.p. Clement
  • W. L. Sleigh (again!) – 16-h.p. Waverley
  • (in the list as Professor) Dawson Turner (Vice President) – 10-h.p. Delahaye
  • John Wilson – 8-h.p. Peugeot Landaulette.

Owners from Edinburgh (at that time 52 miles away to the north) were stated to have left the city “as it suited themselves”, to meet at the Lodge gate at 12.45 and proceed up the avenue in file.  It was a fine autumn morning, and all went well until the high ground near Heriot, where mists and drizzle turned the roads into “slushy slime”.  Speeds had to reduce, and several cars were late in arriving.  George Macmillan, the club secretary, burst a tyre near Stow, but was determined to attend and he and his party commandeered a horse-drawn vehicle.  Since 19 vehicles are listed and only 18 appear in the picture, we suggest that the 7-h.p. Panhard may not be there.  This may also explain why Mr. Macmillan was standing alongside Dr. Dawson Turner’s car.

Apart from the Laird of Philiphaugh, at least two other names are of distinguished individuals.  The Doctor pictured above on board the Delahaye was Dr Dawson Fyers Duckworth Turner FRSE, FRCPE (1857-1928).  He was a British pioneer of radiology and patron of the arts, who died of radiation-related cancer.  He was born in Liverpool, studied in Nova Scotia and then in Edinburgh and attained his MD in 1890.  When X-rays were discovered by Röntgen in 1895 Dawson Turner was one of the first to appreciate their possible application in medicine.  In 1901 he became Physician in Charge of X-Rays at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.  Ill-health caused his partial retirement in 1911.  In the same year as this picture he had been one of the first to use X-rays in the treatment of cancer.

Mr. R. D. Croall (9-h.p. Napier) could possibly be the Robert D. Croall of Robert Croall & Co., job and postmasters and livery stable keepers, of Edinburgh.  In 1897, that company was taken over by John Croall & Sons Ltd., undertakers, coach and cab proprietors and coach builders, of Edinburgh.  Robert D. Croall was president of the Scottish Motor Trade Association in 1934.  In 1909 John Croall & Sons purchased a controlling shareholding in the Chiswick, west London, coachbuilding firm H. J. Mulliner & Co., and held it until 1959 when they disposed of it to Rolls-Royce Limited.

Please let us know if you can identify any of the remaining cars in the picture or tell us more about any of the owners, by using the Leave a Comment facility below.  We would be delighted to hear from you.  To help with this, we have blown up the left and right sides of the picture; here they are:

Left-hand side


Right-hand side

Pictures courtesy of the Richard Roberts Archive

One response to “News from November 1902 – A Scottish Automobile Club Run”

  1. Ariejan Bos says:

    This of course is a challenge I cannot resist. In total there were 20 participants, of which 18 are shown on the photo. Obstacles were the fuzziness of the photo (luckily I had a slightly better one, though still with grid) and the fact that Waverley photos were unfindable. Waverley, a Scottish brand produced between 1901 and 1904, was said to have made 9hp De Dion-engined cars. However in the list is a 16hp model, so larger ones apparently were made too. Most of the cars are rather straightforward, but sometimes I had to decide on a single detail.
    Starting with the back row, from left to right: 22hp Daimler; 8hp Argyll; 6hp MMC; 3hp Benz; 10hp Delahaye; tricycle; 3,5hp Benz; 12hp Peugeot; 9hp Daimler; 12hp Gladiator; 6hp Stirling-Daimler.
    Front row, from left to right: 8hp Peugeot possibly; 12hp Arrol-Johnston; 9hp Napier; 8hp Albion; 16hp Waverley possibly(!); 10hp Delahaye; 10hp Clément possibly.
    I decided for the Waverley, because the bonnet isn’t like any of the other makes, and besides it is a larger car.
    I cannot guarantee a 100% certainty for some of the makes: Daimler, Napier and Panhard are sometimes difficult to distinguish from each other, especially if details are hard to see. The same applies to the coal scuttle makes of course. Final conclusion is, that the 9hp Panhard and the 5hp Stirling (which must be a Stirling-Panhard car, designed by Arthur Krebs) were missing on the photo.
    It would be nice if the original photo would surface somewhere in the future, so we can see where I went wrong …

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