Francis Bolton was a member of the Bolton family who owned the copper works in Oakamoor. He lived at nearby Moor Court and was an avid motorist. He owned and designed a number of cars and competed widely in numerous hill climbs and at Brooklands.
In September 1906, the Mid-Staffordshire Automobile Club organised their second hill climb at Oakamoor. The route was 1 mile from the bridge over the River Churnet to the Star Inn at Cotton. A press report of the event relates how “the chocolate coloured Daimler of Mr F A Bolton of Oakamoor, the seventh Daimler that he had owned, ascended the hill at 35 mph whereas the other cars were capable of no more than half this speed. Handicapping rules meant that Mr Bolton was pipped at the post and the winner of the £5 first prize was a Mr Brindley from Stafford who had entered a Clement Talbot.
The seventh annual contest for cars and the fourth annual contest for motorcycles took place in June 1912 over the same Star Bank course. The prizes for the winners were the Bolton Silver Challenge Cups and were presented by Mr Bolton, who was at this time President of the Derbyshire and North Staffordshire Automobile Club. Both events were run on a handicap, knock-out basis. The winner of the Cup in the motor car contest was R Wilkie of the Yorkshire Automobile Club who was driving a 20 hp Vauxhall. D C Bolton, Francis Bolton’s nephew, performed creditably on his 3 1/2hp Rudge in the motorcycle contest and won a silver medal for putting up the fastest time. The final of this event was won by C Smith of the Derbyshire and North Staffordshire Club. His machine was a 2.75 hp Douglas.
With the help of Sarah Elsom, Francis Bolton’s grandson, Edward and his wife Lucinda have very kindly arranged for a display in the Paddock of a selection of photos and awards won by Francis in the early 1900s.
Fast forwarding to last year, a dozen cars assembled on the car park of the former Lord Nelson pub on 3rd September. At 2.30pm the rain stopped and the cars were flagged off, one by one, up Star Bank to The Star at Cotton for a demonstration run. They then took to Carr Bank which was closed for the afternoon. Despite the rain, which had set in again by then, there was a queue of people eager to experience the thrills of open-top touring!
Pictured here is the great 90 hp Napier "Samson", with its pointed prow, on the start line at Oakamoor.
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