This page: Original poster from 1953 promoting a race at Thruxton Aerodrome on Whit Monday.
Thruxton Aerodrome, May 25th 1953.
This original poster was acquired, some years ago now, via a slightly convoluted route. It all started with the acquisition of a crumbling Mk3 Spitfire, bought from a work colleague who knew of my liking for lost causes, and who sought to make space on her parents' driveway. The reasons for buying this Canley-built classic are lost in the mists of time, I assume it must have been cheap - plus I've run similar cars before and have a soft spot for them.
A short while after, I was chatting to a contact of mine who regularly has a stand at autojumbles. This was probably in 2000 or 2001. He seemed keen on getting his hands on the car. Rather than discuss a price, he offered to swap a few items of memorabilia that he had for it. I don't recall all the items he suggested swapping for the Triumph, but included were two original motor racing posters, one being this example for the May 25th 1953 race meeting at Thruxton. Having an interest in post-war racing, I agreed.
The poster's condition isn't the best, but surviving examples have to be few in number now. Printed on what must be the thinnest paper known to man, even touching it might cause damage. Because of this, it was swiftly transferred into a frame to aid its preservation. I think it may have been printed with a view to it being pasted onto a display board, or similar. Rather than being a souvenir for a spectator to take home, it was used to promote the race ahead of it taking place. Being an ephemeral item, most of its type would have simply been binned that evening. How or why this poster survived, isn't known.
The first race meeting, for motorcycles not cars, to be held at Thruxton was in 1950. Events for cars began in 1952, so just a year or so prior to this poster being used. The organisers for the race were the Bristol Motor Cycle And Light Car Club Ltd, aided by The Sporting Owner Driver's Club, in conjunction with the Wiltshire School of Flying Ltd. The date was Whit Monday, May 25th, 1953. Adult admission cost 3s 6d, while under 16s had to hand over 1s for the privilege of watching races for 500cc racing cars, single-seaters, and contemporary sports-cars. Bus services were laid on by Wilts & Dorset Motor Services, and by Amport & District Bus Company.
Sports-cars to feature at the Whit Monday meeting included examples of Jaguar C-Type, Frazer Nash, and Aston Martin DB3, while racing cars included Cooper-MG, Riley Sprite, Lotus Mk6, and Connaught A-Type. Piloting cars around Thruxton's fast and flowing course, were drivers of the day such as Jimmy Stewart, Colin Chapman, Tony Rolt, Ken Downing, Dennis Poore, Eric Thompson, and Archie Scott-Brown, all of whom would have been familiar to racing enthusiasts in the post-war years.
Thruxton's early days.
As with Goodwood and Silverstone, the modern-day Thruxton racing circuit evolved from meetings held on what had previously served as a military airfield during WW2. RAF Thruxton began operational life in late 1941, situated to the west of Andover in Hampshire. Combat operations were flown by both the RAF and the USAAF until its closure in 1946. The following year, Wiltshire School of Flying took over the airfield's lease and commenced civilian flight instruction, an activity that continues there to this day. Car racing commenced in 1952, two years after the first motorcycle meeting. At these early meetings, the circuit utilised both the main runway and the perimeter roads. A major re-working of the site in 1968 saw the circuit change significantly, although sections of the perimeter roads still feature in its layout.
Footage of a particularly rainy day of motorcycle racing, held at Thruxton in 1961, can be found in the following Youtube video.