Motor Cycle Association

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Minutes, 1909-1981; Finance Committee, 1949-1971; attendance books, 1951-1969; register of subscriptions, 1954-1959; guard books containing notices of, agendas for and minutes of meetings, reports, circulars, copies of telegrams, membership lists, periodicals and presscuttings, 1911-1981; show catalogues, 1894-1975; Quarterly Journal/Bulletin, 1918-1970; annual reports and balance sheets, 1915-1957; bonds, 1913-1956; publications; market analysis reports, 1956-1985; press cutting books, 1921-1973; photographs; statistics, 1913-1959; Cycle Trade Union papers, 1914-1961; subscriptions register; British Motor Cycle and Cyclecar Research Association, 1920-1931.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Motor Cycle Association (MCA) and the Bicycle Association (BA) were formed in 1973 as successors to the Cycle and Motor Cycle Association (CMCA). The CMCA had its origins in the Cycle Manufacturer' Trade Protection Association which had come into existence by 1893. The Association was renamed the Cycle and Motor Trades Association in 1900 and from 1910 until 1956 it was known as the Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers' and Traders' Union Ltd. In 1956 the name was changed to the British Cycle and Motor Cycle Industries Association, this was subsequently shortened to the Cycle and Motor Cycle Association.

From approximately 1910 until the 1960s the Association was dominated by manufacturers: it regulated the wholesale and retail trades in order to maintain manufacturers' pricing policies and terms of trade. The Association also interested itself in the promotion of overseas trade, the regulation of press advertising and the distribution of prizes awarded in races and other competitions and it undertook the organisation of the annual national cycle and motor cycle show. From the late 1950s the large increase in imports of foreign cycles, scooters and motor cycles undermined the manufacturers dominance of the Association: between 1967 and 1969 constitutional reforms were made which gave dealers and concessionaires effective control.

The Association has had its headquarters in Coventry since 1899. From its offices it has provided secretarial and administrative services to at least four organisations. One of these was the Coventry Armaments Committee which existed during the First World War. It would appear that MSS.204/3/1/50 below was originally the minute book of this Committee and that during the Second World War the minutes pasted into the volume were torn out so that it could be re-used.

The Bicycle and Motor Cycle War Export Groups (renamed the Bicycle and Motor Cycle Industrial and Export Groups in 1946) were formed in 1940 under the auspices of the BCMCMTU. The Director of the latter became chairman of the Groups. The Groups were responsible for liaison between their industry and the government and the collection of statistics and apparently played a major role in the allocation of rationed materials to manufacturers.

The Cycle Trade Union was set up on the initiative of the BCMCMTU in 1914 to maintain the "security of selling value" (i.e. to enforce retail price maintenance), to control auction sales and advertising, and generally to regulate the cycle trade. It was wound up in 1962 following the passage of legislation outlawing retail price maintenance.

The British Motor Cycle and Cycle Car Research Association was established in 1921, with the cooperation of the Research Association of the British Motor and Allied Manufacturers, to conduct research into the design and construction of 2 and 3 wheeled powered vehicles. By 1931 it had ceased to function.

Reference: Deposit information


The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

Written permission is required from the union for access to any unpublished materials later than 1970. Please contact Modern Records Centre staff for further details.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by the Motor Cycle Association in 1980 and 1984.

Other Finding Aids

A copy of this collection-level description is available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom.

An authority record exists for the Motor Cycle Association (GB 152 AAR2113); the Cycle and Motor Cycle Association (GB 152 AAR2112); the British Cycle and Motor Cycle Industries Association (GB 152 AAR2111); the Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers and Trade Union Ltd (GB 152 AAR2110); the Cycle and Motor Cycle Trades Association (GB 152 AAR 2109); the Cycle Manufacturers Trade Protection Association (GB152 AAR 2108); and the British Motor Cycle and Cycle Car Research Association (GB 152 AAR 2114).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

This collection has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The Modern Records Centre holds a rich collection of archives relating to cycling and the motor cycle industry. Please consult the Centre's Summary Guide.