On this day in auto history - December 24th

Thu 24th Dec 2020

It was on this day in 1903 that England issued its very first licence plate - the number ‘A1’.

With competition keen, a host of suitors for the plate braved freezing temperatures to queue all night outside of the London County Council offices.

Eventually, it was the 2nd Earl Russell - brother of the world-famous author and philosopher Bertrand Russell - who emerged with the prized certificate, courtesy of the queuing of his butler.

The Earl used the prestigious plate on his customised Napier car.

With the Earl having no natural heir, the prized A1 licence has since passed through a number of owners, including the Dunlop company who put it onto a Daimler limousine which was used to transport VIP’s to and from Dunlop factories in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Currently, the A1 plate is believed to be owned by the London-based Prince Jefri, a younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei, who purchased it in a private sale.