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History of the VMCC

On 28th April 1946, a band of 38 enthusiasts assembled at the Lounge Cafe, Hogs Back, Guildford, Surrey, with the object of forming a Motor Cycle Club for owners of machines manufactured prior to December 1930. The majority of those who attended that meeting over fifty years ago had ridden there on Vintage machines and, despite very bad weather conditions, came from as far afield as Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire and Leicestershire. The Press also attended and excellent photographs were obtained of the event. The Police and the AA also assisted in regulating the traffic and the parking of machines. After lunch, 'Titch' Allen, who had been the promoter of this meeting, took the chair and outlined his ideas. His main object was to promote the use and preservation of 'Vintage' machines and from his vision the Vintage Motor Cycle Club was formed.

Initially, membership was restricted to owners of motorcycles manufactured prior to 31st December 1930, solos or sidecars, but not three-wheelers and the idea that someone without a motorcycle should be able to join providing that they acquired a suitable motorcycle within six months was firmly rejected. It was hoped that the Club's activities would include Rallies, Hill Climbs, Trials, a Workshop and Museum, a Library, a Sales and Wants system for spares and motorcycles, Insurance for difficult cases, a free of charge Bulletin and an Annual Dinner.

As the years have passed by, many of the activities envisaged on that day have materialised and are now accepted as the 'norm' by VMCC members. Without the vision of those Founder Members of the Club, motorcycling history would not have been preserved. Membership today stands at over 17,000 - but this has been achieved without losing any of the camaraderie or helpfulness usually associated with smaller clubs.

More on: HISTORY OF THE VMCC

The above story begins with the inaugural meeting at the Hogs Back in 1946. For a wider account, events leading up to that could be of interest.

Enthusiasm for the formation of a club was fostered by articles and correspondence in 'Motorcycling' throughout the war years. A very early reference found is a letter in the green'un of April 9th 1941 under the heading "Why Not a Vintage Club'"in which the writer says "Of course in wartime it is out of the question to think about starting any new kind of motorcycle club. When peace returns again, however, it looks as though there would be considerable support for a club for owners of vintage models, and I suggest that all enthusiasts should bear this in mind". This came from N.R.T of Scarborough. Wonder who N.R.T. was ?

On the front cover of 'Motorcycling' April 9th 1942 is the subhead "Why Not a Vintage Club?" asks JJ Hall. And the issue carried a lead editorial on the subject. Captain JJ Hall was an avid collector of ancient motorcycles and throughout the war years wrote for the magazine many interesting and amusing articles on their acquisition. Tribute was paid later by Editor Graham Walker when in reply to a correspondent he said "many of the machines described would have been scrapped had not Captain Hall and others acquired them often with the intention of making them available to enthusiasts when they return from overseas."

Interest there certainly was at this early date - 1942 - the Editor's Correspondence section of the 23rd April issue was headed "The proposed Vintage Club" and contained several letters of support and suggestion. Subsequent issues carried more of the same under "Vintage Club Enthusiasm" and "More Views on the Vintage Club" .In the latter, a joint missive from Signals Don Rs CE Allen and TG Griffiths, Home Forces, made several useful suggestions and stated "We realise that little can be done at present, but a start can be made, and would suggest that on the ample shoulders of Capt. Hall and Mr Graham Walker the foundation can best be laid we promise a prompt subscription if such a club is formed".

The lead editorial in the same issue, 21st May 1942, said "Correspondence concerning the proposed formation of a post-war Vintage Club continues to pour in. There can no longer be any doubt that such a club would be assured of a large and enthusiastic membership and we look forward to the day when expressed hopes can be translated into action". The seeds were sown, but it was going to be a few more dark years before Titch Allen was able to call that first meeting.

From 'Old Timer'

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