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Homepage. This page: A fold-out card of appointments for one customer of the BSM, from the 1950s.

British School of Motoring.

Chatham branch, 1957.

1957 would be an interesting year for a Mr R.F. Golding, as it was in that year that he undertook a series of driving lessons with the British School of Motoring (BSM), in this case operating out of offices at 323 High Street, in Chatham. This original appointment card records a series of lessons that were undertaken between 19th November 1957, and 13th January 1958. The first 12 lessons cost 10:6s:0d.
I can just imagine Mr Golding nervously clutching this card when attending the offices for his next lesson, sat in the waiting room, tapping his foot in anticipation of the lesson to come. What model of car, or cars, might he have learnt to drive in? The A40 Farina, a popular choice in later years, hadn't yet been announced (so maybe an A35 was in use instead), nor had the perennial driving school favourite of the 1960s, the Triumph Herald, with its comfortable driving position, excellent visibility, and taxi-like turning circle. Perhaps the Herald's fore-runner, the Standard 8/10/Pennant, would have been a good choice, or the Morris Minor? TXY 468, written to the top right of the un-folded card, is likely to have been the car's registration number. The driving instructor's name was Mr. C. Perfect!
Driving test appointments, 1950s
The final entry is for Mr Golding's driving test, booked for Wednesday 15th January 1958. This followed on two days after his final lesson, and there are no further entries, so presumably Mr Perfect's instruction was up to scratch. Learning to drive, and take the test, over the winter of 1957/1958 would have exposed this new driver to some "interesting" weather conditions, a good grounding in conditions that wouldn't have been encountered had the lessons taken place in say June/July/August of the same year.
The cover of the card incorporates an illustration of mainland Britain, "altered" slightly to make it look like the island itself is behind the controls of a motor-car. There is also a reminder of the fact that BSM was established in 1910.

Swansea Branch, 1960.

Several years after the above driving lesson appointments book was added to OCC, another similar example turned up. While the aforementioned example belonged to a gent in the South East, the following copy belonged to a Mrs D. Scoble in South Wales, who enrolled on a series of fifteen, one-hour, lessons, in 1960. Her local branch of BSM was located at 90 Mansel Street in Swansea, which is now home to a cafe yet in the early 1960s, buzzed with excitement as nervous aspiring drivers signed up for lessons at the wheel of BSM cars. The instructor's name was, as you might expect, Mr Jones (great name). No registration for the car due to be used is recorded, it's simply referred to as "Car 7".
More driving lessons booked, in Swansea 1960
Mrs Scoble first climbed behind the wheel of a BSM-owned car on Saturday 18th June, 1960, for a one-hour lesson commencing at mid-day. Lessons followed on quickly, the final recorded lesson - number fourteen - taking place on Saturday 24th September. What happened to the final lesson, number fifteen, I wonder? Two entries are crossed out in the appointments card. Perhaps Mrs Scoble took her test and passed after just fourteen lessons, or changed driving school, or maybe despite fourteen hours of on-the-road tuition, she decided that motoring wasn't for her? I guess the answer to those questions will remain unanswered, unless a relative of Mrs Scoble spots this page and can shed light on what happened.

Other references to the British School of Motoring on OCC.

I discovered a prospectus produced by BSM in 1910, the company's first year in business, it can be found on this page of Old Classic Car.
A BSM driving simulator, dating to the 1950s and called the "Prep Driver", is described on this page.
More old items relating to motoring can be found in the Motoring Collectables section of the site.

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