History of The Enfield Pageant of Motoring

The first Enfield Pageant of Motoring came about in 1978 due to Beer and Rain! For many years the Enfield and District Veteran Vehicle Society held small events in and around the Enfield area. The Society was formed in 1961 by a group of like-minded people interested in saving and preserving old vehicles. In the early 1960s three vehicles were saved from the scrapyard. So many early commercials were being scrapped it was a tribute to the early members that these were saved. The cost of owning and preserving the vehicles was high and to meet the expense small events were staged. Through donations at fetes and public entry fees at rallies a small fund was built up to help restore the club vehicles. Fund raising was always a problem, there was never enough in the bank!

The club decided to hold a rally on a farm in Buckhurst Hill, Essex. RainAmerican fell and fell and fell! The takings were small and the farmer who owned the field decided to sue the club for severe ground damage. The solicitors involved advised the club that the members and officers were liable. Settlement was reached and the club formed a Society, constituted under the Friendly Societies Act, to protect its officers. The Society took over the running of the events but with a major disadvantage. The members and officers could no longer be held liable, but the taxman wanted 45% of the profit! Every year a cheque was raised to pay the tax, but members felt they paid enough tax at work and did not want to pay more tax on the back of their hobby. In the mid 1970s the Society had reached an all time low. Every year rain fell on every event it organised and funds to keep the vehicles going were not sufficient. A figure of 100 was difficult to raise for tyres, repairs, etc. For the Society to continue more funding for the vehicles was paramount. Dry, safe storage was also vital as the vehicles were stored under tarpaulins. A new committee emerged at the Society's AGM in November 1976. The need to increase funding and provide adequate vehicle storage was at the top of the agenda. But, the taxman was still demanding 45% and the rain was still falling at every event. A proposal to create a museum by funding a bigger new event was adopted. The status of the Society was enhanced by the formation of a Charitable Trust to operate alongside. The tax problem was solved ­ charities do not pay tax!!

London Buses A bigger event needed more funds to stage it. No funds were available in the Trust. It was decided to appeal for funds through a Grand Draw (a raffle). A recently discovered Armstrong Siddeley 20hp Limousine was put on a trailer and taken to Alexander Palace. A beer festival was in progress and CAMRA, the organisers, were kind enough to allow the vehicle (with its door hanging off) into the hall where tickets were sold in a draw. Huge support was given by the public and a profit of 685 was made after the prizes were paid. With 685 in the bank, the Enfield Pageant of Motoring and Collectors Bazaar was launched. The London Borough of Enfield were very supportive and granted permission for the Enfield Playing Fields to be used for the Pageant. The only condition imposed was that the event must be held in May and have the word "Enfield" in the title. Advertisements were placed in all of the national magazines and local press.

Around 500 vehicles and 50 stalls were expected to attend the first two-day event. Stalls were 7 for one day and 10 for two days. Over 100 stallholders booking in and more turned up on the day. 600 exhibitors turned up, with vehicles ranging from a steam engine to a Rolls Royce. The weather was very hot and the public attended in huge number. At the end of the weekend the first Enfield Pageant had taken more money and made more profit than the previous twenty years of the old Society. No rain, no tax and a good event, now established that the prospect of a future museum was now more than just a dream.