The History of the Guild

Seven motoring correspondents met at the Press Club, off Fleet Street in London, in October 1944 to form the Motoring Correspondents’ Circle. Laurie Cade (above left, with later chairman Basil Cardew centre) was elected chairman and Dudley Noble became the Circle’s secretary and treasurer. The annual subscription was five shillings.

The Circle invited key motor industry figures to its regular lunch events – the first one, at the Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street on 19 January 1945, being attended by Sir William and R.C. Rootes of the Rootes Group. They were manufacturers of Hillman, Humber, Singer and Sunbeam cars and two of the most important men in the British motor industry of the time.

The Motoring Correspondents’ Circle soon became more than just a dining club, and at the AGM in December 1946 it was agreed that the name would be changed to The Guild of Motoring Writers.

Our logo – combining a steering wheel and Pitman shorthand for the Guild’s name – was drawn up by motoring artist Roy Nockolds and Guild committee member Charles Fothergill on a beer mat in the Steering Wheel Club.

The first Guild award was the Harold Pemberton Trophy, presented to Basil Cardew of the Daily Express in 1949 for his journalistic efforts in developing Silverstone as a racing venue. That same year the Guild organised a test day, primarily for overseas journalists visiting the London Motor Show. The event was such a success it was opened to all, and years later was adopted by the SMMT which moved it to its current home at Millbrook Proving Ground.

In 1969 we established a Benevolent Fund to make provision for members as they become older, infirm or fall upon hard times, a task it continues to perform to this day.

In recent years we have broadened the range of events we organize, from track days to training courses, in a calendar combining social and professional activities.

We have celebrated the Guild’s 70th birthday, but our eyes are very firmly on the future. We support the motoring journalism courses at Coventry and Cardiff universities which are producing the next generation of automotive writers, and we encourage new talent with the Sir William Lyons and Phil Llewellin awards. There’s also a mentoring scheme for new members.