Our Archivist has recently catalogued the previously unprocessed papers of Margaret Smallwood (née Bradley), which contains material relating to a survey of a transnational road between London and Istanbul. The collection includes a promotional booklet published by the Automobile Association and all of the original artwork produced by Bradley as part of the survey. The collection is now available to view on Archives Hub, a national online database for archival collections.
In the early 1930s, the AA commissioned a survey for a Transcontinental Highway, an initiative that was proposed by the Alliance Internationale de Tourisme. This was to be a transnational road allowing motorists to travel quickly and easily across Europe with ‘no more complications than booking a seat at the theatre’ and would cross France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Turkey. The road, extending for almost 2000 miles, was intended to continue onwards east to India and south to Cape Town.
In 1933, the renowned correspondent William Fletcher Bradley undertook the driving for the epic trip, with his daughter Margaret as the official artist and navigator. The journey, which was made in a Siddeley Special open tourer took place at a time when roads ‘were more often than not just fields!’, as Margaret Bradley quipped. The resulting booklet published by the AA and all of the original illustrations are held within the Motoring Archives, having been donated by Margaret Bradley in the 1980s.
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