Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

Honorary and Life member Edward, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, 88, died in the early hours of  Monday morning at Palace House, Beaulieu in the New Forest after a short illness writes Chris Adamson.

He was best known as the creator in 1952 of the Montagu Motor Museum, which started off as a selection of vintage and veteran cars in the entrance hall at Palace House. This eventually became the National Motor Museum in 1972 and is run by a charitable trust.

In addition to being the driving force behind the internationally renowned museum and its collection (which includes a display of Guild memorabilia), Lord Montagu was also a motoring journalist, editor and publisher and author of numerous books.

He was the founder and editor of Veteran and Vintage Magazine between 1956 and 1979, President of the Federation Internationale de Voitures Anciennes between 1980 and 1983 and President of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, Historic Commercial Vehicle Society and the Disabled Drivers’ Motor Club.

An active campaigner on all things related to motoring, he was a prominent member of the All-Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Club.

A member of the Guild for more than half a century he was made a Life member in 2010 and created an Honorary member in 2011. Last year he hosted the Guild’s 70th annual meeting at Beaulieu and opened the Guild exhibition within the museum.

The Guild extends its deepest sympathy to his wife Fiona, his son and heir Ralph, daughter Mary and second son Jonathan.

The National Motor Museum and the Beaulieu visitor attractions continued to operate as usual this week and will host the International Autojumble, which Lord Montagu created, this weekend where the Guild will have its own stand raising funds for the benevolent fund.

An estate funeral will be held at Beaulieu, followed by a memorial service at St Margaret’s, Westminster. The dates of these are to be advised.

Guild chairman Guy Loveridge adds:

Lord Montagu had long been a leading figure in British motoring and alongside his establishment of The Montagu (Later National) Motor Museum in 1972, he was until the last decade, actively involved in the Upper House in matters concerning transport and road users. He also launched what could be termed the first “Music Festival” with the Beaulieu Jazz events of the early 1960s.

Edward was always hugely supportive of The Guild and was, as he told me on more than one occasion, very proud of his membership. He was on hand to help Murray Walker, Richard Aucock and I unveil the Guild display for our 70th Birthday at last year’s AGM and even though frail and wheel-chair bound he made a point of attending all NMM functions. My own chief memory will be of Lord Montagu in one of the Beaulieu Veterans on the London to Brighton Run – swathed in furs and clearly revelling in the event.

His last journey, we understand, will be made in his father’s 1909 Rolls-Royce, which the Beaulieu workshop team under Doug Hill are preparing for this purpose. His legacy in the world of motoring will endure, and with The Guild, his Lord Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy will continue, with Mercedes-Benz support, as it has done for 43 years. God Speed, sir. You will be missed.