Haynes Brit scooter exhibit
26th May 2016
BMCT | Robin Spalding | British motorscooters
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This, we hear, has been in the planning for several years, and now it's happened. Having opened on Saturday 21st May 2016, the British Motorcycle Charitable Trust (BMCT) launched an exhibition of British scooters at the Haynes International Motor Museum near Yeovil, Somerset. Haynes, as most of you know, are the publishers behind the much-derided (but very handy if not essential) automotive workshop manuals. The scooter collection "showcases the development of the motorscooter from its beginnings after World War 1 through to the demise of scooter manufacture in Britain in the nineteen seventies."
Apparently, the exhibition is largely due to the vision of one man, Robin Spalding, who set out to collect one example of every scooter built between 1946 and 1970. The press release hasn't made it clear if he was successful in that regard. However, whatever bikes he amassed were displayed at the Coventry Transport Museum. Spalding also published a book on the subject of British scooters.
When that exhibition ended, the BMCT acquired the collection "to prevent its dispersal or possible sale abroad", and now the scooters live at the Haynes Museum and, for the time being at least, won't be broken up and sold.
Here at Sump, we like the look of this exhibition. The bikes are as cool as ever, and they're getting cooler by the year. So okay, scooters ain't the greatest handling or the sportiest two-wheelers ever built in these green and sceptred islands. But transport is transport. Forward motion is forward motion. And we wouldn't kick any of these out of the garage. Beyond that, when it comes to great biking country, Somerset is pretty cool too. Take a hint.
Meanwhile, if you're looking for a copy of Robin Spalding's book, there are still a few kicking around. So if scooters are your thing, grab a few pages while you can. The title is: British Motor Scooters 1946-1970. The ISBN is 978-0-9573144-0-5). James Robinson, editor of The Classic MotorCycle, has written a foreword. You can get a copy from the museum which is open every day except the 24th, 25th, 26th December and the 1st January.
Telephone: 07754 880116
UPDATE: We've just heard that Robin Spalding did indeed collect one scooter from every year and duly appeared in a BBC Radio programme called The Completist which featured interesting people who manage to complete their private collection of whatever.
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