The papers described in this catalogue were found by chance in 1980 in the derelict former glove factory of Holman Byfield & Co. Ltd. in the Regency Arcade, Warminster. On examination, they proved to document, albeit unevenly, aspects of the public and business life of Mildred Mary Bruce, née Petre, between 1926 and the early 1950s - in particular her endurance, reliability and record-breaking motoring experiences of the late 1920s, her 19,000-mile flight round the world in 1930-1931, and her later business involvement in commercial aviation companies from 1934.
Known usually as the Hon. Mrs. Victor Bruce during this period, she was to settle in Bradford-on-Avon in 1950 where she continued her business interests in the glove trade with, among others, Holman Byfield & Co. Ltd.
It is clear from those papers which have survived that a far larger proportion has been either lost or destroyed. For example, the majority dealing with the operation of Mrs. Bruce's aviation companies between 1934 and the late 1940s have disappeared - many having been destroyed by enemy bombing at Croydon Airport in 1939. The main reason a proportion has survived at all was due to their retention by Mrs. Bruce for Inland Revenue tax purposes. Also, there are very few documents which deal with the wartime aircraft construction, repair and modification contract work carried out at Cardiff between 1941 and 1945 by her principal aviation company, Air Dispatch Ltd.
The papers as a whole, especially the large number of extant personal accounts for the purchase of mainly luxury goods and services and those papers dealing with Mrs. Bruce's various houses and London apartments, provide a good insight into her life style at this time.