This collection of material is mainly correspondence from the late 1950s and early 1960s, relating to motoring matters. Graham Walker was heavily involved in the Montagu Motor Museum (now the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu) and so there are papers relating to this; there are also articles and scripts, indicating his involvement in sports journalism regarding motorcycles, following his successful career as a rider; there are papers relating to the R.A.C. Motorcycle Committee of which he was a member; and the same for the Army Motorcycle Association; there are also some technical and miscellaneous papers which make up the remainder of this collection.
Glass plate negatives in Photographic Collection. Material in Reference Library.
Open to bona fide researchers. By written appointment only.
Administrative / biographical background:
Born in 1896, the son of the Secretary of the Union Castle shipping line, Graham Walker rode motor cycles from the age of 13. He joined up in 1914 as a despatch rider but was invalided out in 1918 with a damaged leg, having been the youngest sergeant-major on record. Despite this injury which required him to ride with a specially modified brake pedal, he had a very successful career in motorcycle road racing, crowned by setting the first road race-winning average of 80 mph in the Ulster Grand Prix of 1928 and winning the Lightweight T.T. in 1931. He also took part in six day trials, and was captain of the British team of 1932 and was in the Silver Vase-winning team. He was also respected for the design of the Hughes T.T. racing sidecar. He had by now gained a reputation as an author and motorcycling writer, and during the 1930's he persuaded the BBC to broadcast items on motorcycling. From 1938 to 1954 he was editor of Motor Cycling which he ran almost single-handedly throughout World War Two, and when the war ended he also became involved with developing TV broadcasting of sport, to the extent that motorcycle racing became popular viewing. His son Murray also started as a motorcycle commentator alongside him before moving on to motor racing. Later in life he dedicated himself to setting up the motorcycle element of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, including bequeathing his collection of photographic and other material to the Museum. Remembered as a man of enormous knowledge and hard work, and a champion of the cause of motorcycling, he died in 1962.