Some Owners of early Motor Cars in Notts

 The first person to own a motor car in Nottinghamshire

The first man to own a motor car in Nottinghamshire is generally stated to have been Mr Robert Millingtom Knowles J. P. of Colston Bassett Hall. He had a Serpollet Steam Car and a very early Daimler.

Over the years there has been some debate about this, however, and in 1926 the  Nottingham Guardian newspaper thought it had been  Mr Samuel Harvey, Snr of Blythe Street Nursery in Mapperley who was often seen driving up and down Coppice Road, Arnold.

The Nottingham Journal, meanwhile, in 1904 ran a series of articles called ‘Who’s who in the Local Motor World’ and claimed that the first person to own a car was Mr George Cowen who was the engineering son of the founder of G R Cowen and Co an engineering company on Beck Street Nottingham.

In 1897 he went to Leicester to collect his new Daimler and after a trip round the block to familiarise himself with the vehicle drove it home to Nottingham with no trouble. By the time he reached Trent Bridge there were hugh crowds waiting to see the car that had to be held back by the police.


Vehicle Registration

The 1903 Motor Vehicle Registration Act came into effect on 1st January 1904.  Owners had begun registering vehicles in late 1903 in readiness for the implementation of the act.

It had become necessary to identify cars because of the number of misdemeanours where the car owner had just driven off afterwards and was impossible to identify at a later date.

The first motor vehicle registration in the County of Nottinghamshire was AL1. It was registered on the 26th November 1903 . The car it went on was Robert Millington Knowles 6 h.p. Sempollet Steam Car.

AL2 was on Mr Millington Knowles 1899 8 h.p. Daimler

The first motor vehicle registration in the City of Nottingham was AU 1 . It belonged to Mr William Enfield Dowson, and remained in the family for many years. 

The Nottingham City Registration documents no longer exist.


Vehicle Licences

The first licences to drive motor vehicles were also introduced in 1903 . Each one for Nottinghamshire had to be signed by the County surveyor, Mr Purnell Hooley. He issued the first one to himself as he drove a 9 h.p. De Dion Bouton.


Some other early owners of cars in Notts include:-


Sir J.F. Laycock of Wiseton Hall

Who, in addition to three motor cars (AL 91, AL 92 & AL 93), is also the registered owner of an 'electric omnibus' (AL 94)


Mr Bond of Kirklington Hall

"On Monday morning a motor car passed through Newark which was very much admired.  It glided quietly along at a good pace, without any objectionable disturbance.  It was also a handsome car so far as appearance goes.  It was said to belong to Mr. Bond of Kirklington Hall who was driving it" (From The Newark Herald, Saturday 27th July, 1901 (p2 c3).

Local Trade Directories. unfortunately, do not provide any details as to who Mr Bond was: The 1900 directory shows a Mrs Armitage living at Kirklington Hall, whilst in the next available directory (1904), the resident is Gerald Craven.


Owners of cyclecars made by the Dukeries Motor Co. (DMC) of Notts:-

AL 94 was registered by George Henry Payne  54 Victoria St Mansfield for private use on 4/1/1913 at 10.45 a.m.  kept until 21/5/1914 then transferred to Ernest Templeman Avidene Alexandra Avenue, Mansfield.

AL240 was registered to Walter Allen, Sutton Road Mansfield on 28/6/1913 at 10 am.  The licencing authorities tried to contact him on 15/8/16 and had no reply.





This page was added by Website Administrator on 20/06/2014.
Comments about this page

How interesting to see this article. George Cowen was my great Grandfather, the story about his motorcar was published in his obituary, along with a photograph I seem to recall. 

By Elizabeth Moran
On 27/03/2017

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