Sir Malcolm Campbell’s cigarette case auctioned

Sir Malcolm Campbell

Sir Malcolm Campbell


A silver cigarette case owned by “Speed King” Sir Malcolm Campbell is expected to fetch up to £3,000 at auction.

Sir Malcolm, who lived in Chislehurst, gained the world speed record on land and water during the 1920s and 30s, and was also a pioneer aviator.

Inscribed with more than 50 signatures, humorous messages, doodles and nicknames by his team of engineers between 1916 and 1918, the case will be sold by Gorringes auctioneers in Lewes, East Sussex, on September 8.

It is inscribed: “If found, return to M.Campbell, Chislehurst, Kent. Reward will be given.”

Auctioneer and valuer, Andrew Elhinn, said: “This was Malcolm Campbell’s personal cigarette case that he carried with him at all times and which was presented to him by his crew.

“He is such a legend in the motoring circuit it is likely to be a collector who buys it.

“There have been several items of his which have come up – his wallet sold for £4,700 not long ago.

“There is always great demand. People want to be associated with him.”

Sir Malcolm turned his attention to motor racing after building his own monoplane in a shed at Pick Hill, Bromley, during 1909-10.

It managed to get airborne over Orpington on several occasions but its air-cooled V-twin engine was not powerful enough and he ended up selling his invention at auction.

The cigarette case was passed down to his son, Donald.

He didn’t smoke and gave the case as a present to Beryl Norris, the wife of his chief engineer, Lew Norris, in the early 1960s, who were both close, personal friends.

He was one of the two Norris brothers who designed the turbo jet-powered Bluebird boat for Donald in which he made the world record speed of 276.33mph on water, as well as designing the gas turbine powered Bluebird CN7 in which he set a new world land speed record of 403.10 mph in 1964.

Donald was killed in another attempt to break the world water speed record in 1967 in Coniston Water, Cumbria, and the double of world land and water speed records in the same year remains unbroken to this day.

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