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Britain By Car - A Motoring History

Created Date:

22 December 2023

Last Modified:

10 January 2024

The Richard Roberts’ Archive

An extensive collection of historic advertising material, going back more than 100 years, which includes a wide range of motoring publications. 

Unit 14, Adswood Industrial Estate, Adswood Road, Stockport, SK3 8LF.

2017 – present.

The Archive includes a significant number of Small Car and Car magazines, source: Tony Thorpe collection.
The Archive includes a significant number of Small Car and Car magazines, source: Tony Thorpe collection.

The Richard Roberts’ Archive initially developed from Richard’s interest in advertisements for the Series 1 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, built between 1955 and 1966.

His appreciation of the artwork and techniques used in these and other motoring advertisements of the period, led to an expansion of the collection to include material, not only from the world of motoring, but also from aviation, cycling, lifestyle and fashion.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it soon became clear that larger premises were required to properly store and catalogue the collection and, in 2017, a unit was acquired within the former factory of Bolton’s Superheater and Pipe Works, which had closed under controversial circumstances in 1980.

A considerable amount of work was then undertaken both to make the storage space fit for purpose and to provide facilities and accommodation for research.

In 2020, the Archive was registered as a charitable trust with the aim of advancing public understanding of the history of advertising and to publicise and make available the collection for further, wider, education.

Today, the Richard Roberts’ Archive contains more than 150,000 catalogued items, together with a similar number awaiting classification. With an emphasis on retaining original copies, the Archive is primarily a collection of printed paper items, although other promotional materials are slowly being added.

In motoring terms, the Archive includes very good runs of Autocar, Motor, Motorsport, Automotive Journal, and Motor Car Owner, together with many other items, including motor show catalogues and magazines from the United States and France.

The Archive is available for club meetings and for research, by appointment. Donations of almost all printed advertising and promotional materials are most welcome, in whatever form they take – as are, of course, volunteers, to help with the cataloguing.

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