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Pictures from the Heritage Archives

When searching through the Heritage archives the picture featured below caught our eye. Interiors are often shown but to be attributed to a specific person, in this case The Right Honourable Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister from May1937 to May1940, suggests that it must have been very special.

The car in question was a dark blue 25hp. Limousine registered CGN1 purchased on the 22nd May 1939. Newsreels of the time show the car at Downing Street and both Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlain are to be seen. The second picture shows the car in Charlecote Park, Warwickshire taken by the A.S. publicity department.

I suspect in keeping with most of our readers we best remember Neville Chamberlain returning after a third visit to Germany waving the peace treaty signed by Mr Hitler. Being a curious bunch we wondered if the car appeared at the grand reception on his return to Heston aerodrome. Very quickly we realised that could not be the case as the triumphal day was the 29th September 1938, some nine months before the Armstrong Siddeley was purchased. The planes in which he made three visits to Germany were British Airways, Lockheed 14 Electra, twin engine, powered by Pratt and Whitney.

The government car provided for the Prime Minister was a Humber Limousine registration LXF 140. However at the declaration of war on the 3rd September 1939 it was in his own Armstrong Siddeley he rode to see the King at Buckingham Palace.

Footnote:- It was in 1950 that the question was raised in the House of Commons as to why the number of government cars has risen from ‘one in 1938 to thirty five today?’ Also why could not owners drive their own vehicles and save the cost of cars and chauffeurs? Hansard records the exchange and concludes, ‘Quite a number of ministers do not have their own car.’ A bit of an understatement one suspects.

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