Motor Taxation Records

Scope and Content

Records of motor vehicle licensing for Caernarfonshire, 1904-1977, including vehicle registers, 1904-1921; licence registers, 1932-1955; trade plate registers, 1931-1960; correspondence, 1948-1950; register of limited trade licences, 1946-1962; trade plates, 1937-1952; registers listing Caernarfonshire registered motor vehicles files of which have been transferred to other authorities, 1921-1922; registers of new registration numbers, 1952-1977; index cards to motor vehicles, [20th century]; and miscellaneous papers, 1913-1972.

Administrative / Biographical History

Under the Motor Car Act 1903, all motor vehicles and motor cycles had to be licensed by their local county for use on public roads, and were assigned a unique registration number. Drivers of motor vehicles were also licensed by their local authority. Local authority powers were consolidated by the Roads Act 1920. There were 17 registration authorities in Wales, who acted as agents for the Ministry of Transport. A new system of central administration was started in 1965, but the transition from local authority control to the new central office, based in Swansea, took until 1978. Local offices across the UK dealt mainly with the registration of new and imported vehicles.


Arranged into the following: Vehicle registers; Licence registers; Trade plate registers; registers of limited trade licences; Trade plates; Registers listing Caernarfonshire registered motor vehicles the files of which have been transferred to other authorities; Registered new registration numbers; and Miscellaneous registers.

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions


Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Caernarfon Record Office, Motor Taxation records, catalogue; London Metropolitan Archives, Information Leaflets, Vehicle Registration and Licensing,(, viewed 23 August 2004; DVLA Homepage (, viewed 23 August 2004; Riden, Philip, How to Trace the History of Your Car (Academy Books, London, 1991).

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available in Caernarfon Record Office and the National Library of Wales. The catalogue is available online.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at Caernarfon Record Office have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

Geographical Names