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Beaulieu Autojumble and auction to go ahead after death of Lord Montagu

Lord Montagu, who established the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, died after a short illness on 31 August. It was his wish that events, such as the Beaulieu Autojumble and the associated Bonhams auction would go ahead.

A leading authority on veteran and vintage cars, Lord Montagu founded the National Motor Museum on the 7,000-acre (2,800-hectare) estate in 1952, and was a participant in the London to Brighton run.

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The museum was established as an extra incentive to get people to visit Palace House at Beaulieu. His home wasn’t as grand as others such as Longleat, so it needed an extra ingredient, as Montagu later explained: ‘What catapulted me permanently into the major league for the future was the idea of commemorating my father’s life… by exhibiting veteran cars. Without it, my life would have been very different and I doubt whether I would have been able to remain as owner and occupier of my ancestral home.’

Although the collection started as a single car - a 1903 6hp De Dion Bouton - it grew to a small display inside the stately home. It soon outgrew this location, and in 1956 it was moved to some large sheds in the grounds.

By the 1960s Beaulieu was attracting more than half a million visitors a year. Not only did the museum prove a great success, it also gave Lord Montagu the opportunity to pay tribute to his father, who had been a keen campaigner for the early motorist, and publisher of the first motoring journal Car Illustrated.

The first autojumble was held in 1967. It has since become Europe’s biggest annual outdoor sale of motoring items, where you can buy anything from a set of wheels to a double decker bus. It has more than 2,000 stands, and attracts collectors and enthusiasts from around the world.

A highlight of recent years has been the Bonhams Auction, which offers a great selection of cars, motorbikes and automobilia. 

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By Claire Evans

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