SURREY AND THE MOTOR by Gordon Knowles

This is the latest publication by the Surrey Industrial History Group which was launched earlier this year [2005]. It was written by our Vice-President, and will be seen to be a comprehensive book about all aspects of our county and its relation to the motor car.

The book contains chapters on the development of roads in Surrey, from turnpikes, trunk roads and bypasses to motorways. The growth of traffic and the impact of legislation on the motorist and the role of the police, including the notorious Captain Sant and his speed traps, leading to the formation of the Automobile Association, is discussed in detail.

A chapter on the pioneers includes John Henry Knight of Farnham and the debate on who was the first to drive a British car on a public road in this country. Chapters on Brooklands describe the building of the track before World War I, through the glorious years of the twenties and thirties until its closure in 1939 and the subsequent development of the site including the museum.

Chapters give detailed histories of two vehicle manufacturers who have each completed 100 years of activity in the county, Dennis and AC. Historical descriptions are also given of some post-war sports and racing cars including Brabham, Cooper, Connaught and Tyrell as well as Caterham, McLaren and Lister.

There is an outline of two important body builders, Abbott of Farnham and Weymann of Addlestone. A comprehensive list of over 100 car manufacturers who are, or have been, based in Surrey is provided together with a similar list of engine and accessory makers.

The [softback] book retails at 10.95 and copies may be obtained from local book shops or ordered, post free, from John Mills, 35 Trotsworth Avenue, Virginia Water, GU25 4AN; cheques payable to 'SIHG.'

Peter Tarplee, Publications Secretary, SIHG

Gordon Knowles is also a member of the Leatherhead & District Local History Society