As Enfield Pageant of Motoring gets set to return, Robert Haydock from Enfield and District Veteran Vehicle Society explains how it all began
The 43rd Enfield Pageant of Motoring takes place this month at Enfield Playing Fields.
Many people don’t realise the event is organised by volunteers from Enfield and District Veteran Vehicle Society (EDVVS), as the primary fundraising event for Whitewebbs Museum of Transport.
The society was formed in 1961 by a group of like-minded people interested in saving and preserving old vehicles. In the first few years, three vehicles were saved from the scrapyard. With so many early commercials being scrapped, it was a tribute to members that these were saved. The cost of owning and preserving vehicles was high and to meet the expense, small events were staged.
Through donations at fetes, public entry fees and rallies, a small fund was built up to help restore the club vehicles. The club held a rally on a farm in Buckhurst Hill, Essex. Rain fell and fell, and the takings were small. The farmer then decided to sue the club for severe ground damage. The solicitors involved advised the club that members and officers were liable. A 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 taxman wanted 45% of the profit!
In the mid-1970s, EDVVS reached an all-time low. Rain fell on every event and funds to keep the vehicles going were not sufficient. Dry, safe storage was also vital as the vehicles were stored under tarpaulins. A new committee emerged at the society’s annual meeting in November 1976 and a proposal to create a museum by funding a bigger event was adopted. The status of the society was also enhanced, and the tax problem solved, by the formation of a charitable trust to operate alongside it.
But a bigger event needed more funds to stage it. A recently discovered Armstrong Siddeley 20-horsepower limousine was put on a trailer and taken to Alexandra 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 money in the bank, the pageant was launched.
Enfield Council was supportive and granted permission for Enfield Playing Fields to be used. The only condition imposed was that the event must be held in May and have ‘Enfield’ in the title. Around 500 vehicles and 50 stalls were expected to attend the first two-day event. Over 100 stallholders booked in and more turned up on the day. Six hundred exhibitors attended, with a wide range of vehicles. The weather was hot and the public attended in huge numbers. At the end of the weekend the first Enfield Pageant of Motoring had taken more money than the previous 20 years of the old society. No rain, no tax, and a good event now enabled the dream of a museum to become reality!
So what can punters expect at this year’s event, the first since the pandemic? In addition to the great vehicles, there are motorcycle stunt displays, an ‘auto-jumble’, trade and food stalls, vintage village, bar and fairground. New this year is a demonstration from the Brentwood Radio Controlled Car Club, racing high-speed models. Cars from the movies will be displayed on the Saturday. There’s also live bands and a DJ, playing rock’n’roll on Saturday and swing on Sunday.
Enfield Pageant of Motoring takes place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May, starting at 9am each day. Entry is £10 for adults, £5 children aged between six and twelve. For more information and to enquire about bookings: