Cambridge auctioneers Cheffins are to offer a recently rediscovered archive of slides that depict the daredevil Malcolm Campbell in his pomp.
The collection of glass 'magic lantern' type slides (there are
188 in total) was rescued by the vendor from the fate of a bonfire
some 48 years ago after they were cleared from the cellar of the
Reigate Hill Hotel in Surrey. The Campbells lived at the hotel
(owned by the vendor's aunt, Margaret Park) during 1949 and rented
a garage where mechanic Leo Villa set up shop to work on the first
The vendor only looked at the slides again in the last five years
when, once again, they were cleared out, this time from the family
garage by his father. It was an image of Campbell surrounded by
crocodiles and other big game (later identified as Campbell's
well-documented treasure-hunting trip to Cocos Island aboard Kenelm
Lee Guinness's yacht in 1928) that caught his eye and encouraged
him to take further advice.
Cheffins' automobilia specialist Jerry Curzon has detected the
hands of several professional photographers in the slides that
chronicle Campbell's career in the 1920s and '30s. They include a
1922 record attempt at Saltburn Sand in Yorkshire, trails at the
Danish island of Fanoe and Pendine Sands c.1924, Daytona in 1928
and 1934, a 1929 trip to Cape Town and the Sahara and the 1928
journey to the Cocos Island.
Images of Campbell posing with his young son Donald next to the
Bluebird biplane, or at speed in a Bugatti during a road race in
France, are accompanied by unpopulated topographical views (some
aerial) that were probably taken when searching for suitable land
Some of these images, or ones very close, appear in later books
including Campbell's c.1934 My Thirty Years of Speed and The Record
Breakers by Leo Villa c.1969. This latter publication credits many
of the photographs as coming from the authors' private collection.
However, the origin of the slides would seem, most logically, to
lie with Sir Malcolm, who perhaps used them to illustrate lectures
and speeches. Certainly there is cause for further research and Mr
Curzon believes there is sufficient material here for a book or
When the archive goes under the hammer within the automobilia
section of Cheffins' Vintage sale at the Saleground, Sutton near
Ely on April 21, it will carry an estimate of £2000-3000.
Contact 01223 271971 for more information.
• Bonhams are to sell the collection of annotated scrapbooks,
photograph albums, film footage and trophies from the family of Sir
Henry Segrave (1896-1930) - the first man to hold both land and
water speed records simultaneously. The collection will be sold at
Bonhams' annual Festival of Speed sale at Goodwood on June
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