Wednesday, 6 October 1999

New Mill or not New Mill?

Now that the collective knowledge of the wired Trials Community has solved the 'Jenkins Chapel puzzle', it's time to start the next piece of historical research. So here goes ...

Not many competitors in the Lands End, descending the steep hair-pinned road to the start of Treworld, know that they are actually descending New Mill, a famous Pre-War hill included in both the 1938 and 1939 Lands End. There are good photographs of the foot of New Mill, all taken on the 1938 Lands End, on Page 70 of Peter Garnier's history of the MCC (although this is incorrectly captioned as 1937), Page 53 of Roger Thomas' history of MG Trials Cars, and Page 121 of Donald Cowbourne's mega-tome British Trials Drivers, Their Cars and Awards.

However, what really interests me is another sequence of photographs referring to New Mill which is clearly not the same hill. These, all apparently taken on the same event (and definitely not the Lands End), appear on Page 48 of Roger Thomas' book, and Pages 122 and 156 of the large-format book The Golden Age of British Motoring by Roy Bacon with photos by Bill Brunell. They can't be before 1937 as two of the photographs show Musketeer team MG cars from that year (ABL 961 and JB 9445).

I've checked the trial numbers against the lists in Donald Cowbourne's book and they don't match any of the major events listed so the pictures must have been taken on another trial, albeit one of sufficient importance to warrant an entry by the MG Team. Unfortunately I don't have the facilities to scan the photographs easily but, hopefully, there may be someone out there who has the books and recognizes the hill. All information will be gratefully received and, when we've solved this mystery, I'll move on to my next 'where is it' conundrum!

Thanks in anticipation.



  1. Just got back late from a club night. However, I have all those books so I will have a good look over the week end.

  2. Well,well, well! got in at last ! Just to add that the
    farm cottage (p122 has the best pic.)is most unlikely
    to be in Cornwall as it appears to be made of brick-
    not much of it seen down here.The shadow on the roof seems to indicate a half hour between p156 and p122.
    The early numbers on the cars hint at a none MCC trial,could have been the London to Barnstaple as shown in other pics? John Lees PZ.

  3. From Mike Furse by Snail Mail
    Sent with his Edinburgh report sometime at the end of October
    ....... On another topic, I enjoyed The Jenkins Chapel debate in Classical Gas (the hard copy one in the Falcon magazine). I think I've found you another one. Again it involves Roger Thomas' MG Trials Cars book which, incidently, I enjoy re-reading regularly. On page 48 there is a large picture of Macdermid on New Mill in 1937. From the competition number, it is obviously not an MCC event. On page 53 there is a picture of Toulmin at New Mill on the 1938 Lands End. C.A.N. May states that New Mill was a new hill on the 1938 Lands End (page 141, Wheelspin). To me, these pictures are not taken on the same hill, unless the start and watersplash are further down the hill to the left of the p 48 picture. May suggests that it would not have been a difficult hill on an MCC event. Did the MCC route turn left at the cottage and up the "escape" route, whereas on this small event the cars had to turn right up the edge of the field? Judging by the lack of wheeltracks, the failed car (?) at the bottom and the wheelspin of the Musketeer, this would appear to have been difficult. Tuck's book lists only one trials section called New Mill, with no location details, so that's no help. I would guess that the 1938 Lands End picture is captioned correctly, but where is the other one if the foregoing surmises are not true? And which event was this? The cottage is of a style and construction common in the Chilterns (brick and flint), but Thomas does not list a New Mill in MGCC Chiltern Trials.
    Want another? What happened in 1936 to make Maidensgrove and Crowell so difficult on the MG Chilterns Trial? (Thomas - p78).
    Does Roger Thomas know we're pulling his book to pieces!!
    Mike Furse

  4. Mike - That one's too easy, I'm afraid! The answer, of course, is that it had recently snowed - see Wheelspin Page 65.