Drive It Day - 25th April 2021

History Of The One Thousand Mile Trial

At the turn of the 20th century, most people felt the new-fangled motor car to be a bit of a silly fad – inappropriate, unreliable and dangerous. To prove them wrong, the Automobile Club organised a demonstration trial for the spring of 1900. London to Edinburgh and back again, 1000 miles in only 20 days, to show just what the motor car could do.

The event started from London on the 23rd of April and went through Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Derby, Kendal and Carlisle to Edinburgh. Then returning via Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham, with the first car arriving back in London, on May 12th. There were 83 entries of whom 65 started. By Edinburgh 51 were still running and 35 vehicles completed the whole route.

The event was a major logistical challenge as petrol stations did not exist and at the beginning of the twentieth century, petrol was purchased from blacksmiths, village stores and bicycle shops in containers holding 2 gallons, about 9 litres.

The principal supplier was Carless, Capel & Leonard, in 1899 they had 178 agents selling their petrol (19 in London,147 in the provinces, 4 in Scotland, 5 in Wales and none in Ireland!). By 1904 the company had 1,260 stockists including 4 in Ireland.

Drive-It Day celebrates the One Thousand Mile Trial

In a normal year, there would be numerous events taking place up and down the country to mark the anniversary of this event but with the present restrictions, the FBHVC (Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs)The FBHVC is pleased to announce that the latest news, is good news.

This year’s Drive It Day celebration is scheduled for Sunday, 25th April and many enthusiasts have been asking for the latest information on what can and cannot proceed to mark this National Awareness Day. 

David Whale, Chairman of the FBHVC said,

“National Drive it Day has its place as a symbolic season opener, a chance to get historic vehicles of all shapes, sizes and types out in use, seen by the public and enjoyed by their custodians. It’s a statement of national importance because, not only does it ensure that our transport heritage continues as a moving, working, living experience, but also raises awareness of the size, importance and contribution that the historic vehicle movement makes to the world.”

This year, that contribution is even larger because the FBHVC has teamed up with the NSPCC’s Childline® to raise money as an integrated part of Drive it Day in order to use our movement to contribute to a section of society that has needed huge help and support during the pandemic – vulnerable children. Lockdown has magnified all sorts of societal problems and the long days and weeks trapped in broken homes or abusive environments have put vulnerable children even more at risk.

Furthermore, the restrictions on social contact and the movement of people have seriously curtailed fundraising efforts for charities across the board and charities have found themselves underfunded, just at the moment when they need the resource the most. All profits from our official Drive it Day rally plate go towards the NSPCC’s Childline®, so get yours now via www.driveitday.co.uk.

Sir Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC said

“We are delighted with the support of classic and historic vehicle enthusiasts in contributing to the work of Childline® in our first year of partnership. This support is especially important at the moment, Childline® is a crucial service on which young people can rely - day or night - whatever problems or dangers they are facing.”

As we know, each devolved nation has provided bespoke guidance throughout the pandemic and this is the current position:

ENGLAND
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through the Tourism Alliance has confirmed that at Step 2 of the road map for exit from lockdown applicable from 12th April, an event such as the Federation’s Drive It Day may go ahead providing that:

  • The event takes place outdoors
  • Attendees will arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day
  • It does not involve attendees converging on and congregating at a site for a specific discrete activity, such as a theatre or music performance
  • Rule of 6 or two households mixing outdoors applies

NORTHERN IRELAND
The FBHVC are in contact with the Honorary Secretary of the Association of Old Vehicle Clubs and he tells us no decision has been made by the NI Assembly regarding opening things up but the Association will continue to monitor the situation and post new information as soon as it is announced on www.aovc.co.uk/

SCOTLAND
Travel restrictions are not scheduled to be relaxed until the week after Drive It Day. We know enthusiasts have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity asking for an exemption to be made for historic vehicles on Drive it Day. We have also written to the Cabinet Secretary, our letter has been acknowledged as received but as the Scottish Parliament is suspended and in purdah, a reply may be unlikely. If we receive further news, it will be published on the following news page at www.fbhvc.co.uk/news

WALES
Travel restrictions within the UK will be lifted from 12th April. We hope this information is helpful but in all cases, government guidance applicable on Sunday 25th April must be followed.

Get Your Plates 

Rally plates can be purchased via www.driveitday.co.uk, where enthusiasts may also make an additional donation to the Just Giving page. All profits from the Drive it Day rally plates will go to NSPCC’s Childline®.

This is a great opportunity to have a reason to get out and about in your ‘Veedub’, meet up with a small handful of your friends and raise awareness for a charity that has been and continues to support children through this challenging time.