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Coventry Vehicle Registrations

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mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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1 of 26  Tue 22nd Oct 2013 9:45pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:316

As has been mentioned elsewhere in the forum, in the pre 2001 system of vehicle registration plates, Coventry issued numbers which can be identified by the six codes DU, HP, KV, RW, VC and WK. The original licensing act was passed in 1903 and from January 1st, 1904, all vehicles in the UK had to be registered with the local council and carry a number plate at the front and rear. Councils were allocated a one or two letter code initially in the range A to Z then AA to FP. The code allocated to Coventry was DU and thus number plates began to be issued in the range DU 1 to DU 9999. As councils used up all numbers for their code, they were issued a further free code. DU lasted for 15 years, then Coventry was issued with the code HP in 1919, then RW in 1924, WK in 1926, VC in 1929 and KV in 1931. Eventually when there were no more two letter codes left, a prefix letter was added to each code, eg. Coventry started at ADU 1 and numbers were then only used up to 999. This was follwed by the AHP series and so on until AKV 999 then BDU 1 etc. The two letter codes however were still issued in the same non-alphabetical order. The prefix letters I, O, Q and Z were not used, so this system lasted until YKV 999 was issued in 1959. The whole series was then reversed, starting at 1 DU and so on. This however only lasted until 1963, the CWK series. At this point the familiar year suffix system was adopted nationally. A list of approximate dates for each registration series can be found on the internet at www.oldclassiccar.co.uk. Amazingly, the first Coventry car number DU 1 is still taxed according to the DVLA site, which claims it's a 1921 green Daimler with a 236cc petrol engine. The 1921 date though seems to have been used for anything already registered when a new licensing system began in that year. I also have doubts that Daimler produced any vehicle with a 236cc engine. Does anyone have information on DU 1, its whereabouts or even a picture? There are several other early numbers still taxed. DU 13 is a 1921 (or earlier) MMC tractor; DU 14 is a 1922 (really 1903) Vinot sports car in yellow; DU 16 is a 1915 Triumph Junior motorcycle; and DU 18 is a 1921 (actually 1904) Speedwell which the DVLA says has a 5cc engine!
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
Midland Red
Cherwell
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2 of 26  Tue 22nd Oct 2013 9:52pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4397

Hello and welcome to the forum Wave Thanks for a great post, very interesting!
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
Foxcote
Warwick
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3 of 26  Wed 23rd Oct 2013 8:52am  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:954

Thanks for the interesting post, it will help me a lot with the old photographs that I find. I found this link that may be of interest.
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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Thread starter
4 of 26  Wed 23rd Oct 2013 3:18pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:316

Many thanks for that link Foxcote, though oddly the car shown carries a different number? I believe it is FL 921, a 1911 Daimler 12hp, which is now at the Transport Museum. The DU series, unlike following series, does not seem to have been issued in numerical order. DU 179 is a 1914 fire engine, yet DU 198 is an 1899 Hurtu. DU 2401 is a 1910 Riley and DU 6552 is a Daimler bus also from 1910. Perhaps vehicle owners could request the number they wanted, or numbers were somehow re-used. There's also this picture of a plate that doesn't fit the regulations at all. Perhaps an early trade plate (D for dealer?).  Edited by member, 23rd Oct 2013 4:09 pm
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
Midland Red
Cherwell
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5 of 26  Wed 23rd Oct 2013 3:21pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4397

I like this thread Cheers
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
Foxcote
Warwick
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6 of 26  Fri 25th Oct 2013 9:54pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:954

Regarding DU 1, could this link be is use?
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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7 of 26  Fri 25th Oct 2013 10:36pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:316

Thanks for that article. If DU 1 was on a 1911 Daimler, this would surely be the second car to have the number. It was once possible to transfer a void number to a different vehicle. If, as the previous link says, the car was stored at Daimler in Radford in 1960 then I'm sure it would have become part of the Jaguar Heritage Museum collection at Browns Lane, though when this closed last year, the cars were split between the Coventry Museum, Gaydon and elsewhere. Maybe this 1995 Jaguar Calendar image is it.  Edited by member, 25th Oct 2013 10:52 pm
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
Foxcote
Warwick
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8 of 26  Sat 26th Oct 2013 9:15am  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:954

Thanks mcsporran, I have been looking in the newspaper archives and the Registration Act came in force in January, 1904 but there were 31 Motors registered by December, 1903. I was hoping to find an article concerning the first ever registration but haven't come up with one yet Roll eyes Your link with the Daimler seems to fit the bill doesn't it. Tantalising with the obscured registration but it looks like it could be the one. This motor must have been one that was registered before January 1904  Edited by member, 26th Oct 2013 10:03 am
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
Astons Garages
Hinckley
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9 of 26  Sat 26th Oct 2013 11:31am  
Member: Joined Aug 2013  Total posts:77

BDU338 Trying to find info on this Coventry number. The Transport Museum have no records of it. Even trying to identify, think it is probably a Rover Good picture of Astons garages anyway Did you know some companies pre-registered blocks of numbers and used them when the cars were built. Some of these BDU numbers were pre-registered to Autovia, had hoped at first this might have been an Auotvia my father owned but sadly it isn't, wrong engine If anyone can help out on this number would be grateful PS This is Astons Garage at Spon End, now a National Tyres Depot
David Aston Historian of Astons Garages and Light Cars Coventry

Coventry Vehicle Registrations
mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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10 of 26  Sat 26th Oct 2013 1:27pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:316

On 26th Oct 2013 9:15am, Foxcote said: This motor must have been one that was registered before January 1904
The design of that car is much too advanced to be a 1903 model. I would guess at 1914ish, as per the last image on this page. I'm coming to the conclusion that many of these early registration numbers were re-used, I suspect the concept of cherished numbers is not a recent innovation.
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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11 of 26  Sat 26th Oct 2013 2:38pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:316

On 26th Oct 2013 11:31am, Astons Garages said: BDU338 Trying to find info on this Coventry number. The Transport Museum have no records of it. Even trying to identify, think it is probably a Rover BDU 338
Without the radiator grille, I can't guess what this is, but the BDU series dates from 1935 or 1936.
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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12 of 26  Fri 1st Nov 2013 1:25pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:316

The History Centre has a card index of cancelled Coventry registrations from 1921 to 1963, which I've now examined. It records the vehicle make, type (saloon/coupe), class (private/goods/cycle), colour, chassis/frame & engine numbers, cylinders, horsepower, dates of the first post-1921 registration and the last date licensed along with the owner's name & address at these dates. The pre-1921 vehicle registration records for most councils, including Coventry, were destroyed long ago. Note that the date of the original registration was not copied from the old records. Cards continued to be kept, and updated, when vehicles were re-licensed by other local authorities. The index has a near continuous series in the range DU 1 to 50 so it seems certain that cancelled numbers must have been re-issued at least once during the previous 16 years. Only numbers DU 1, 14, 18, 46, and 49 are missing as these were never cancelled during the lifetime of the index (as per earlier post). Only one number is noted as being a re-issue, DU 33 in 1934. However it is not clear which were re-issued prior to 1921. DU 13 is now carried by a 1900 MMC dogcart, yet the card index shows it was a Calcott coupe 1921-34. In theory, after 1963, it was no longer possible to transfer cancelled numbers other than to the 'original' vehicle. As an example of what can be found in the index, DU 24, as pictured in the link above was a green Standard two seater, first registered 17th March 1921 (or earlier) by William H White of Leamington and licensed up to 30th September 1925 by E H Bissell & Sons of Leamington. The colour had been changed to dark blue in July 1925. I'm going back to look at the numbers up to DU 100 at least. Edited by member, 1st Nov 2013 1:54 pm
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
Foxcote
Warwick
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13 of 26  Sun 3rd Nov 2013 2:00pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:954

Brilliant homework from you, mcsporran Thumbs up You bothered to go out sleuthing and came up with some great information. A revelation to discover the history of DU 24 as well. From the newspaper archive, it seems the early car registrations were issued from the police station in St. Mary's Street. I still haven't found any significant links to the first registered motor that must have proudly paraded the streets with the identification plate DU 1 Sad
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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14 of 26  Fri 8th Nov 2013 3:53pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:316

I've now transcribed most of the information on the card index of cancelled registrations, up to DU 100. With the permission of the History Centre, the list has been added to the Members' Articles section of this website. The omitted items are the engine details and exact addresses. If for any reason you need these, you'll have to arrange to examine the original cards.
Coventry Vehicle Registrations
Foxcote
Warwick
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15 of 26  Fri 8th Nov 2013 9:52pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:954

Thanks mcsporran. Just had a look at your efforts, really impressive, you can have a Gold Star for that Cheers Cheers I can't study an old photo now without checking for a registration plate!
Coventry Vehicle Registrations

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