Perfect Prints

Pin-ups were a bit naff. Trendy people used to have a home space they called a den, and instead made statements through books or pictures of a different sort. I liked precise, geometrical framed prints with an engineering quality. No perspective, just careful detailing and exactitude. Hugh Evelyn prints I thought masterpieces. Beautifully reproduced, large 43cm x 25cm (17in x 10in) format, they displayed expertise and good taste. I used one in our MG Classics Book 2 1945-1965 to illustrate the transition from the TB of the 1930s to TC with which production resumed in October 1945.


It came from a book published by Evelyn in 1967 compiled by the meticulous although slightly pedantic George A Oliver on English Sports Cars. Twelve (Bentley, Alvis, Sunbeam etc.) are once again available as prints around a bargain £20. They have been rescued by Iain Laird who inherited the collection of Hugh Evelyn Street’s large folio prints from the 1950s and 1960s.

Street died 10 years ago and Laird, a retired solicitor winding up his affairs, discovered a lock-up garage piled with packages produced 50 years ago for books long out of print. Street had had a shop in the King's Road and later on Richmond High Street where he sold them before moving on to other things. He must have expected to come back to them but never did. Laird rescued them, rented a barn, and catalogued them.

The 40 books of the collection covered more than Veteran, Vintage and Edwardian cars. Hugh Evelyn’s buses, trams, ships, aircraft, locomotives and regimental uniforms were too interesting to discard so Laird set up

My den’s prints were not all cars and not all Hugh Evelyns. I treasure Glasgow tramcars and a Douglas DC-3 BEA Pionair class Dakota of the sort I made landmark flights in to London. I also have a 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron Spitfire that flew from RAF Westhampnett, the Goodwood circuit where I covered motor races and drove many memorable laps.

My Spitfire (below by my desk) was signed by Sandy Johnstone, Battle of Britain hero, more properly Air Vice Marshal Alexander Vallance Riddell Johnstone CB DFC AE DL (1916 – 2000). Meeting him in 1997 we exchanged books. He kindly inscribed a dedication into his autobiography Diary of an Aviator, while I gave him a copy of our Jim Clark signing it: “To one Scottish hero – a book about another Scottish hero.”

IMG_2182 - Copy.JPG