Vehicle Builders & Repairers Association (VBRA) collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection provides a fascinating insight into the development of the Vehicle Builders & Repairers Association (VBRA) and its predecessors, spanning the years 1864-1990. It includes minute books, lists of members, rules, conference proceedings, yearbooks, and minimum price lists. Represented in the collection are the National Master Wheelwrights', Smiths', Coach and Motor Body Builders' Association; the National Employers' Association of Vehicle Builders; the National Federation of Vehicle Trades; and the VBRA. The earliest example, a minute book of the Bradford Master Wheelwrights' Society, dates from 1864, some 50 years prior to the latter's formation.

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Master Wheelwrights', Smiths', Coach and Motor Body Builders' Association was formed on 16 Jun 1914, to represent the needs of business, to mediate in discussions with employees, suppliers, customers, and the government. The Association sought to bring collective bargaining power to an otherwise fragmented, regional market. Prior to this (and in some cases, contemporaneous) there existed localised wheelwright associations, the oldest represented in the collection being the Bradford Master Wheelwrights' Society, for which there is a manuscript minute book, dating from 1864-1873. In 1919 the National Master Wheelwrights', Smiths', Coach and Motor Body Builders' Association changed its name to the National Employers' Association of Vehicle Builders (NEAVB). NEAVB's principal aims were the regulation of both wages and prices. By 1920 it had in excess of 2,000 members, but it was not the only such organisation at this time: NEAVB were joined in the market by the Scottish Vehicle Builders' Association, and the National Federation of Vehicle Trades. In a spirit of cooperation, these three sat together on a 'Whitley' joint industrial council (succeeded by the Joint Wages Board) to discuss wages and working conditions. The Vehicle Builders & Repairers Association (VBRA) itself was formed in 1959, under the auspices of NEAVB, to guide and set standards for the trade. As membership of the VBRA grew, the Scottish Vehicle Builders' Association and National Federation of Vehicle Trades saw a decline, ultimately leading to their amalgamation into the former in 1979. The VBRA continues to represent its members and, tracing its origins back to 1914, celebrated its centenary year in 2014. (Sources: contemporary records; The Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association Year Book, 1989.)

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers, by appointment. For further information, please see: http://nationalmotormuseum.org.uk/Motoring_research_service

Acquisition Information

Donated by John F Morecroft, Area & Corporate Development Manager, Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association, 2013 [#s E01097 and E00478].

Other Finding Aids

Box lists are available.

Archivist's Note

Description created by Helen Sumping, Sep 2014.

Conditions Governing Use

Please apply to the Archivist if you would like to make any copy of the material.