These two members of SWOG had clearly dressed for the occasion!
In a fascinating presentation, backed by the tome shown below, Craig explained that, even at the turn of the century, there was a thriving second-hand market, cars were available on finance, and number plates (when they were introduced in 1904), could be 'cherished'. If I heard him correctly, the first registration number to be issued in Cheshire - to Lord Egerton of Tatton - 'M1' - was sold in 2006 for £331,500, apparently to a mystery buyer who bought it as a birthday present for his six year old son.Craig has spent many happy hours transcribing the scrawled ownership entries of all the cars registered in Cheshire since registrations began! This is just the first volume, and you can't see from the picture, but it's about 3 cm thick. Geek!
In the early days, most cars were manufactured on the continent, mainly in France, by people like Lutzmann. Most of the names from that period have been lost to common knowledge in the mists of time, but 'Benz' does appear, and I have another book that pictures a car built by Herbert Austin in 1895, ten years before the formation of the Austin Motor Co.
All very interesting, and it appeared to inspire Cary into measuring the Christmas decorations, which he then dutifully re-hung!