Newsletter March 2008 – Number 7

There are four areas that the team would like to update you on.

  1. A recent talk by the trustees at Bruce Castle in Haringey
  2. Where are we on the location front
  3. The Jim Clark Festival
  4. Potential television documentary about the Lotus 25, Colin Chapman and the Hornsey site.

Bruce Castle

Bruce Castle Museum is accredited by MLA London. The MLA’s Accreditation Scheme sets national standards for UK museums.
Bruce Castle is a Grade I listed 16th Century manor house in 20 acres of parkland. William Compton – a member of Henry VIII’s court, built the oldest surviving parts of the building.
Since then the building has been modified several times by new owners including the Coleraine family. One of the wives of the 2nd Lord Coleraine is said to haunt the building.
Sir Rowland Hill’s family ran a progressive school for boys at Bruce Castle during the Victorian period. Sir Rowland reformed the British postal system and became famous for introducing the Penny Post.
Bruce Castle opened as a Museum in 1906 and now houses the Borough of Haringey’s local history collections and archives.

Key aims

  1. To acquire cultural material of relevance to Haringey’s past, present and future.
  2. To manage the collections and the museum to relevant local, regional and national standards.
  3. To make accessible the building, collections and associated information by means of exhibitions, publications, events, education and outreach work.
  4. To be relevant, responsive and accessible to all members of the community.
  5. To care for Bruce Castle Museum and to develop it further as a valued community resource.
  6. To contribute to the quality of life of Haringey’s residents including a contribution to the regeneration of the Tottenham area.

In January the Colin Chapman Museum and Education Centre were invited to give a talk about the aims of the museum and what we are trying to achieve.

The photos were taken by John Douglas, one of our trustees.

CCMEC at History Fair

The CCMEC flew the flag for Colin Chapman and Lotus at the Haringey (North London ) annual History Fair.

The Fair, held in the Bruce Castle community museum on 9th February, gave local historical and specialist interest groups the opportunity to set out their stalls for the public and show something of the recent history of the Borough. Other participants included the New River Preservation Society – dedicated to maintaining public access to a 17th Century artificial waterway still in use bringing drinking water to central London; genealogical enthusiasts; steam engine restorers and collectors of local maps.

The CCMEC stand featured a display of “then and now” photographs and emphasised the point that a world-beating and highly technologically-advanced enterprise had its roots in a humble bottle store in Hornsey and that one man’s drive and vision took the Lotus badge to the forefront of motor sport through technical innovation allied to the ability to inspire greatness in others.

The CCMEC thanks Deborah Hitchcock, Curator, Bruce Castle Museum, for the opportunity to publicise the museum project.

Some display pictures taken from “Lotus – The Early Years” Peter Ross, Coterie Press and “Colin Chapman, The man and his cars” G Crombac, Patrick Stephens Ltd.


2. Where are we on the location front


A previous update explained this has been a difficult task. Britain has been a property owning democracy since the war and for most families property investment has become an alternative to a pension. In the last twenty to thirty years an industry has grown up based on property development and speculation being extremely profitable because demand exceeding supply [particularly land]

The consequence of this is that socially driven projects are unable to compete or generate sufficient income in short term. Readers might also note that the greatest demand for community education exists in the urban city areas where too exists the greatest demand for residential housing development.

A third factor impacts on our proposal. London is a tourist mecca and a leading International City. A new institution here has the greatest prospect of attendance, social/ educational provision and usage; but once again faces the severest competition and land prices.

Should we move further from London the land becomes cheaper but the attendance is likely to fall and the social community service element suffers.

The trustees naturally wanted a relatively quick, easy and reasonably financially modest solution preferably be off the shelf. The old Lotus site at Tottenham might have offered this but the issues outlined mitigate this.

The Trustees continue to work to secure the site at the old Lotus works at Tottenham Lane. If available for commercial redevelopment this might cost £2m+ sterling.

The CCM&EC trustees have conducted detailed discussion as to the merits of the project and its location. The adoption of our title reflects the priority given to the achievements of Colin Chapman .We have therefore examined other locations as we feel there is an obligation to celebrate Chapman’s achievements .To fulfil this objective we have examined complementary and connected locations.

Most recently this has been within the Cherwell Valley Council area of North Oxford.[ an area known as motor sport valley] In this region most of the engineering companies that service F1 are located. Its also very close to Silverstone the home of the British Grand Prix. he area is about 60 miles out side London; an hour by train and close to the M40 and M1 motorways.

In the last couple of weeks trustees investigated a property in Bicester. n detailed survey this was found to be too big, expensive, lacking sufficient parking and the internal layout was not perfect.

With an off the shelf solution not immediately presenting it self the trustees have committed to:

Keeping options open, building bridges and networking with interested parties.

Developing a theoretical model [design /layout] of an idealised museum in relation to determining parameters off exhibits. space including parking , attendance preference and patterns and costs [set up and running]

It is hoped that these measures will produce a reasonable definitive practical devise with which to locate suitable property or sites and to raise finance determine budgets etc.
Shortly we might be able to place on the web our thoughts and opinions would be appreciated as these are extremely useful in establishing the attractiveness, attendance and making the case for permission and support.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.

3. The Jim Clark Festival

Museum Update March 3_clip_image002
February 23rd/24th 2008
15 Meadow View
OX28 3TY

Friends and fans pay tribute to F1 Champ Clark

Hundreds of fans and many of his friends paid tribute to the great double Formula 1 Champion Jim Clark at the recent Jim Clark Film Festival, which took place at Eynsham Hall near Witney in Oxfordshire on the weekend of February 24th and 25th.

Clark, who died in a tragic racing accident at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany nearly 40 years ago, won the 1963 and 1965 Formula 1 World Championship titles as well as the Indianapolis 500 race in 1965 and was renowned for his versatility behind the wheel of a huge variety of cars.

Although unable to attend the event, Sir Jackie Stewart, who shared a flat in London with Jim for three years during the 1960s, sent a touching message to the diners at the Gala Dinner, as did Dan Gurney, whose tribute was particularly moving and poignant.

Visitors to the Festival saw film covering his racing in Europe, in the Tasman series and in the US at Indianapolis, as well as rare footage of his final TV appearance the night before he died and colour film shot on the day of his death.

They were also treated to a talk session where people who knew Jim talked about their memories of him. Guest speakers included his mentor Ian Scott Watson, his 1959 Le Mans 24 hours co-driver and saloon car team-mate Sir John Whitmore, designer Len Terry, team-mate Jack Sears, mechanics Bob Dance, Bob Sparshott and Jim Endruweit and photographer Peter Darley.

Three cars were also present on display outside the Hall, these being Jim’s first Lotus Elan road car, 997 NUR, his Tasman Lotus 32B and the car he was due to test at Zandvoort the day after his death, the Type 58 Formula 2.

The organisers intend to make the Film Festival an annual event, with a different theme each year.

4. Potential television documentary about the Lotus 25, Colin Chapman and the Hornsey site.

More details to follow however we have had a request from a television producer who is making a documentary about the Lotus 25, Colin Chapman and wants to film inside the original Hornsey building. We are currently trying to arrange this for them.