The above images are stills from a 12 minute film of the 1959 VCB Leeds Vespa rally.
The film, held at the Yorkshire Film Archive, was made by Vespa enthusiast Andrew Bryden, who can be seen in the film riding his red scooter, wearing blue overalls, a white hat and sunglasses. The 1959 rally assembled at Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, they made their way down Woodhouse Lane into the city centre before ending up at Roundhay Park.
The film provides a fascinating picture of a significant aspect of social life in the 1950s: the motorcycle club and rally. Many motorcycle and scooter clubs were formed in the 1950s, and they become a forum for people to come together and put on events. Vespa clubs popped up throughout Europe, and by 1952 worldwide Vespa Club membership had surpassed 50,000. The British Vespa Club, itself starting in 1952, is the oldest continuous club of its kind. In the film clubs can be seen from all over the country, from as far afield as Southend: which, given the comparative slow speed of scooters, is testimony to the enthusiasm of their owners. Both scooters and motorbikes sold in their tens of thousands during this decade.
Click link here to view full length film.
Thanks to Graham Relton, Archive Manager of the Yorkshire Film Archive for his help with this post.