Wiltshire Motor Vehicle Registers 1903–1914, Ian Hicks


The appearance of this WRS volume will be something of a landmark for the Society. No English Record Society has published any source examining this form of transport which has transformed our lives. It is only the second time that the Wiltshire Record Society has published any 20th-century material.

Vehicle registration was introduced in 1903 and Wiltshire was assigned the letters AM. The first registration AM-1 was issued, appropriately enough, to the County Surveyor. The volume covers motor cars (up to 2 tons unladen) and motor cycles AM-1 to AM-4000. Registers give the owner’s name and address, description of the vehicle, use (private, trade and public conveyance) and details of the vehicle’s subsequent history. Where possible, information from county and trade directories is being used to identify the trade use, thus giving an insight into the social and economic impact of motor vehicles in pre-First World War Wiltshire.

Anyone wishing to date photographs and postcards will find this edition useful, as will those writing parish histories, since it will list the owners of the first vehicles in each parish, and the numbers, the types of vehicle and their uses. It also illuminates various themes in the social history of Wiltshire, by examining the growth of vehicle use in the County up to the First World War, the social composition of car owners and the increasing popularity and spread of car ownership.

If any members have any photographs or postcards of AM registered vehicles, I would be most grateful to have details, since I am seeking possible illustrations for the volume. I would also be interested in any information relating to motoring before 1920, whether connected to Wiltshire or not.