The history of the MSA is inevitably bound up with the history of the motor car and that of driver training. These brief notes do not attempt to chronicle that history in detail but to give a brief flavour of the background of the past as it affected the MSA.
  • 1880sThe First Motor Car

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  • 1905End of the Red Flag Law

    Still celebrated today by the London to Brighton Vintage run.
  • 1910The First Driving Schools

  • 1914Mass Training of New Drivers for the Military

  • 1920sTraffic legislation starts to be introduced white lines, cats eyes etc.

  • 1934Transport Minister Hoare Belisha legislates for a driving test

  • 193531st March MSA is formed

    MSA is formed to set standards of professional and ethical behaviour for members.
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    1st June Mr Bean passes first L test
  • 1939Activities suspended due to hostilities

  • 1947Driving Tests Restart

  • 1950sMSA membership grows

    - Suez Crises
    - Fuel Rationing
    - Driving Tests Suspended
  • 1956MSA adds "of Great Britain"

  • 1958MSA incorporated as "a company limited by guarantee"

  • 1960sVoluntary Register introduced for Driving Instructors

  • 1970s

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    - ADI Register Becomes Compulsory
    - Membership basis changed from schools to individuals
    - Glossy Magazine launched
  • 1884

    - New Management Team Installed
    - Old Head Office property sold
    - Members records computerised
    - Preparations made for Golden Jubilee celebrations
  • 1985 to 1990

    - Golden Jubilee Conference attended by Minister
    - Turnover increased from £35,000 to £350,000
    - Staff expanded
    - Membership benefits extended and new ones added
    - Increasing membership by MSA of external bodies
    - MSA represents Britain on European stage
    - Membership rises to nearly 8,000
  • 1990 to 1995

    - Demographic trends
    - 20 - 30% decline in driving school business
    - Data Protection
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    - DSA formed - ADI register withheld
    - Economies enforced, staff reduces
    - Membership retention improved
  • 1995 to 2000

    - Re-Focus
    - Diamond Jubilee Conference
    - New Computer System installed
    - Separate Theory Test for Learner drivers confirmed
    - DSA release ADI details
    - First mail shot nets 400+ new members
    - New MSA logo agreed
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  • 2000 to 2010

    - MSA produces teaching material to assist with the introduction of show me tell me questions to the driving test
    - Parliamentary select committee back MSA calls for changes at the DSA
    - Plans for all ADIs to retake their theory test rejected by the MSA a compromise agreed for ADIs who had not yet passed to sit HPT test, MSA ensure training available for all members none who request help fail to pass the test
    - Industry assists DSA with standards setting project
    - Summit meetings of ADIs launched MSA plays full part
    - A large gathering of members including honorary members attend the Platinum anniversary (70 years) conference and AGM


Presidents of the Council of the Motor Schools Association
1935 - 1939 J Woodhouse-Oakley
1939 - 1946 Activities suspended due to hostilities
1946 - 1955 Col H Atherton
1955 - 1957 C Tetlock
Chairman of the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain
1957 - 1958 H Sands
Chairman of the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain Ltd
1958 - 1960 S A Pearce
1960 - 1967 A M Clare
1963 - 1967 F Spencer-Tucker
1967 - 1973 Capt G E Melville
1973 - 1975 K Leigh
1975 - 1978 R Matthews
1978 - 1980 B E Rogers
1980 - 1982 C Westaby
1982 - 1989 Mrs E L Blair
1989 - 1995 R T Feltham
1995 - Present day P J Harvey