Motor Cycle Association

Scope and Content

Main Committee minutes, 1909-1987; Finance Committee minutes, 1949-1971; Executive Board minutes, 1983-1993; Board of Directors minutes, 1993-1997; Safety Foundation minutes, 1981-1986; Council, Finance and Executive Board minutes, 1982-1984; 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 press cuttings, 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 Manufacturers' Trade Protection Association which had come into existence by 1893. The Association was renamed the Cycle and Motor Cycle 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. 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 co-operation 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

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See Written permission is required from the Association for access to any unpublished materials later than 1974.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by the Motor Cycle Association in 1979,1980, 1982,1984 and 2003.

Other Finding Aids

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.