Foundation News September – October 2014
Welcome to Foundation News in its new format! A pipe dream of several for some time, today sees FN change from being an “insert” to being an integral part of this prestigious publication. We hope you like it (we’re sure that some of you won’t!) and we invite you to tell us what you think by email to [email protected] or by writing to us at The Hunt House, Main Street, Paulerspury, Northants NN12 7NA.
What we must do before we continue is to thank the RREC for making the space available to us and for demonstrating once again (as if proof were needed) that the two organisations are united in support of each other, but individual in outlook.
In this edition we have three items. The main offering is by Jane Pedler, Deputy Chairman of the Board of SHRMF, and attempts to clarify once and for all the origins of the Foundation, its role and relevance at The Hunt House, and its ambitions for the future: next is a brief and light hearted look at the Foundation presence at the Annual Rally: finally there is a short announcement about the forthcoming AGM in November and the vacancies to be filled then on the Board.
The SHRMF – Past, Present and Future
The Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation was formed in 1977 and was the brainchild of our late President, Eric Barrass, and intended to deal with the vast amount of archives then coming out of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at Crewe following the move into receivership. It was being stored in lofts, spare rooms and barns thanks to the generosity of Club members, and it was felt a central location was desirable. As an add on the premises could also be used to provide the RREC with a much needed headquarters as it was then being run from Eric’s dining room table! His vision was set out in full in an excellent article in the Club Bulletin of January 1977 by the then Chairman, John Schroder. At the time the prime purpose was stated as follows “We cannot properly administer the invaluable collection of material we have taken over from the Company, and generally described as the Archives. This alone is a monumental undertaking with all the storage, indexing and research involved. The Maurice Booth Memorial Library, many documents, drawings, photographs, records of many kinds and an immense amount of technical material must be properly and permanently housed”. The entire text is reproduced in Bulletin 325 as part of Clive Green’s article about the Archives.
In a later statement Eric expanded further on his vision:
- Why has the Foundation been established?
- a) Rolls-Royce Motors Limited have made over to the Club the “Archives” which consist of the Royce Papers going back to before 1914, some 35,000 chassis cards for pre and post war cars, together with thousands of drawings and photographs etc. They have also promised large quantities of other valuable material. The Company acknowledges that is would not itself be able to make the best use of this material but that the necessary knowledge and enthusiasm can be found in and through the Club.
Having been entrusted with this substantial amount of material, the Club had effectively three choices. First it could store the material, in which case it would be more or less unavailable and therefore useless. Secondly it could house and make available the material at its own cost. This would almost certainly necessitate an increase in the subscription over and above the one already proposed and which is dealt with below. Thirdly steps could be taken to form a separate organisation to look after the Archives, to provide a permanent home for them and to see that the best use is made of them In view of the tax advantages of charitable status, the reasons why this new organisation should be a charity are self –evident.
- b) The Club is now twenty years old and has grown from a handful in 1957 to over 3,000 members at the present. With this increase the amount of paperwork has escalated enormously and the task of coping with it is spread amongst the Club’s secretariat and is run from a number of private homes. These offer widely different degrees of facility, and the system inevitably proves inefficient and slow, quite apart from imposing a heavy burden on a few dedicated members of the Club. The Club already owns a certain amount of office equipment and it has been apparent for some time that it would need to find a central home for its administration. The purchase of the Hunt House at Paulerspury by the Foundation will enable the Club to carry on its administration there on the most cost effective basis. Such accommodation will of course have to be paid for by the Club, but in turn the Club will be released from the major burden of having to house the archives.
- c) The least tangible of the reasons for setting up the Foundation is perhaps the most important. The growth of the Club has already been mentioned and in addition there are flourishing Clubs in America and Australia not to mention independent enthusiasts all over the world even behind the Iron Curtain. The “home” Club, like all the others, is based on the works of Frederick Henry Royce, a man whose contribution to engineering and to his country has been immense, but perhaps never fully recognised. Many of his ideas were never brought to fruition, and it is hoped that by making available the Archives for instance in the field of aero-engineering, the value of his work and of the standards which he sought to achieve, will be more fully appreciated and developed by today’s engineers and students. This is the vision which lies behind the establishment of the Foundation.
The Foundation is a charitable organisation which has been set up by certain members of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club. It takes the form of a Trust and will be under the control of the trustees, all of whom are members of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club, and an Advisory Committee. The Committee is drawn from the Club, from the Rolls-Royce Owners Club Inc., the Rolls-Royce Owners Club of Australia and from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Additional members can be co-opted by the Committee.
The charitable status of the Foundation has been accepted by the Charity Commission and it confers very considerable tax benefits on the Foundation. In this way the trustees will be able to recover tax on the Foundation’s income, and other gifts to the Foundation will not normally attract any tax liability at all. There is the additional fact that many people are prepared to make gifts to a charity but not to a private club
Over the years the regulations concerning charities have been updated and in many cases tightened up. For instance when it came to renewing the Hunt House Lease in 2009 the sort of friendly, mutually beneficial agreement that had existed between Club and Foundation was no longer possible. Such agreements had to be totally transparent and the Trustees had to be shown to be acting in the best interests of the charity and getting a proper commercial return on their assets. This led to the infamous Section 25 notice which was a legal requirement! What some of you may not be aware of is that the Foundation’s solicitors actually served the wrong kind of Section 25 which is what led to all the trouble! (they were sacked!!). Once the mistake was realised the Trustees offered to withdraw the notice but by then it was too late! Several years of negotiation followed during which time it was decided to incorporate the Foundation as a Limited Company. This is perfectly acceptable and in fact is now recommended Charity Commission policy. It has one major benefit. Under the terms of the old trust if it was felt that Trustees had not acted in the best interest of the charity, and their actions had resulted in a severe financial loss, then their personal assets could be sequestered to cover the supposed deficit. This obviously prevented many highly respected and suitable candidates from coming forward. As Trustee Directors of an incorporated body they are still duty bound to act in the best interests of the charity, but their personal wealth is not at risk. So now we have a capable body of 11 elected Directors, the matter of the Lease and the constitution of the Foundation is all solved and we are ready for the 21st Century. As our current Chairman, Bob Riding has been heard to remark frequently “we are where we are”
What of the present? Things have now moved on. In the last 10 years or so there have been several new Charities Acts, all of them tightening up on the various regulations. Unfortunately over time matters had got blurred and many charities had been set up purely to make use of the various tax exemptions, and many showed little “public benefit”. This was brought home not too long ago when many of our well known public schools started to open their swimming pools, theatres and sports facilities to local communities in order to be seen to fulfil this “public benefit”.
The Foundation exists in the eyes of the Charity Commission to further education and act for the public good and this is the aspect of its work that needs to be emphasised, although it does not preclude the Foundation from supporting the Club as they have in the past (or for that matter the Club from supporting the Foundation!) the Archives being a case in point. The Foundation can support the archives as part of its charitable work but there needs to be an obvious “wider public benefit” and the Foundation has to be seen to be getting some return for any contribution made.
The new Lease was signed at the Annual Rally in June 2012 and the Club and the Foundation are now working in harmony to develop and improve the Hunt House and its contents for the benefit of everyone. The facilities are to be updated, displays modernised and improved, and more use made of the premises for selected outside bodies which will bring in much needed income. With the departure of AX 201 to new pastures it is hoped to have a “rolling” display of Concours cars, together with a new cabinet housing the Club trophies. It is also intended that better use will be made of the American Room and it is hoped to be able to expand and improve the toilet provisions.
The Foundation’s Prizes and Awards have been revised and realigned over the past few years and are now beginning to be more relevant in the modern engineering world. This brings us more acclaim and although small we are now regarded as an important player in the sector. The two Ministry of Defence apprentices from Gosport who spoke at the Foundation presentation in the Seminar Tent on the Friday of the Annual made it clear how highly regarded these awards are. To further the science of engineering and make certain there is a steady flow of suitably trained apprentices into the industry is a vital part of our charitable purpose. There is an obvious benefit here to RREC members in a supply of well trained and experienced people to service and restore their precious motor cars.
And the future? We hope to increase our Prizes and Awards and are a partner in the FBHVC’s “Skills Programme” detailed below:
“FBHVC Launches Europe’s First Apprenticeship in Historic Vehicle Restoration”
The UK is to get an OFQUAL accredited apprenticeship programme in historic vehicle restoration. This means that through the initiative of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, the skills gap which had previously been identified by FBHVC research (carried out in conjunction with the University of Brighton Business School) will be filled by a whole new generation of craftsmen and craftswomen who will replace many of the specialist technicians now approaching retirement.
FBHVC have been working with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) to develop this new apprenticeship in vehicle restoration”.
The improvement and updating of the Hunt House and its facilities must continue for the benefit of all, and the Archive project still has a long way to go. All this needs your support. Two members of the “Board” are standing down this year and we need to find new, dynamic, forward thinking people with proven skills to replace them. The challenges are not over yet but hopefully we are moving ahead.
In conclusion to those Club members who support the Foundation and its works, many thanks. To those who do not please consider a donation to help what is, after all, the Club’s Charity. Any amount is gratefully received but if you give more than £20 per year and sign the limited liability guarantee you become a voting member and can take part in the decision making of the charity by voting at the AGM, standing as a Director, and taking a more active part in the running and future development of the organisation. If you are a UK tax payer and sign a Gift Aid form then the Foundation can claim back the appropriate amount of tax from HM Government; an added bonus!.
Eric’s original announcement ended by saying “All your enthusiasm and effort will be needed to make the Foundation the world’s centre for the study and perpetuation of the classic qualities of endeavour and the search for perfection exemplified by that modest genius, Henry Royce, Mechanic. The heritage of that great man, his illustrious colleagues and successors is our great and proud responsibility!” That statement holds good to the present day; and beyond.
Deputy Chairman – The Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation.
The Foundation at RREC Rally, Rockingham – 20th to 22nd June 2014
Unbroken summery weather and a wealth of interesting exhibits combined to guarantee the overall resounding success of RREC’s last Rally at Rockingham and it is good to report that this achievement was mirrored by the performance of SHRMF. Not only did we have the most attractive display for many years in our tent, but we also improved our “turnover” of recent years by one hundred per cent. We were fortunate to be positioned in close proximity to some very attractive exhibits, not least the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car, and this helped greatly in increasing our footfall.
Friday started with a bang and almost before the kettle had boiled we had sold over £400 worth of books and recruited a new member. This set the tone for the day: three former members subscribing through their annual payment to the Club “topped up” their donations to the new level set by the Board in 2012 and two new Life members were signed up. At noon there was the Foundation Presentation in the Seminar tent next door to our own. John Lowe, aided by two apprentices from the MOD Apprentice School in Gosport, explained the importance of the work done by the Foundation in encouraging young engineers and Andy and Craig spoke eloquently of the inspiration they had derived in designing, making and submitting work for the Sir Henry Royce Medal. Our thanks are due to the MOD Apprentice School for loaning us both the Artefacts and the young men.
Jane Pedler followed with a concise explanation of the new collaboration between Club and Foundation over the award of the Pursuit of Excellence Trophy and Graham Cottrell brought up the rear with some comments on work carried out on The Hunt House during the previous year and the rationale and reasoning behind our membership campaign.
Saturday was noisy: Peter Grieve, who had given such an interesting talk at the Heritage weekend last November, arrived with his Merlin engine, and from 11.00 onwards the day was punctuated by several “firings” of this magnificent beast. Each one was met with prolonged applause from the delighted spectators, while in the peaceful periods in between these storms we were serenaded from the Refreshment tent by a traditional jazz band. Business carried on in our tent apace: more books were sold and seven new members were enrolled, five of them from Continental Europe. All said how important it was to be able to access through the Hunt House Archives the drawings needed for spare parts to keep their cars running.
Sunday was judgement day: people with clip boards moved purposefully among the ranks of gleaming cars and made decisions that would make or break the owners’ day, the Merlin ”fired” again, but only twice, and the jazz band played. In the tent the redoubtable Gerard Le Clerc, President of the Club’s Romande section, introduced one new Life member and two annual, and then demonstrated his belief in the Foundation by upgrading his own position to that of Life member. The afternoon saw Linda Scott and Graham Cottrell judge the most elegant car in show and this was followed by the final parade and presentation of trophies. The highlight for many, however, was the aerial display of the Spitfire and Hurricane and all the memories and emotions it invoked, and afterwards it was time to pack up the display, return to The Hunt House and build on the memory of a very successful show.
Fresh Blood Required
Election of new Board Members
Foundation AGM 22nd November 2014
Now that you have read Jane Pedler’s article and understand in more detail why the Foundation was formed, what it does and where it’s going, why not consider contributing to its future by playing a part in its organisation and governance?
Foundation Chairman Bob Riding has made no bones about the fact that fresh blood is needed on the board of directors and the current Board established last September at a brain storming session that expertise was required in the important areas of Marketing, Publicity and Archive Management, and a fresh approach and enthusiasm would benefit the issues of Membership, Lectures and Events at The Hunt House.
Each year three of the nine elected directors stand down and either offer themselves for re-election or withdraw from service. This November there will be two vacancies to be filled, so please consider whether you might not have the qualifications and impetus to fill one of them. There are two routes open: for existing members of the Foundation all that is required is a proposer and seconder who are also members, while, if you belong to the Club only, you need to be nominated by the Board of RREC and should contact Duncan Feetham, the Chairman, to forward your request.