Carstairs collection finds new home in East Cowes

Trustees agree to move historic trophy collection to Classic Boat Museum

One of the world’s most valuable collections of motorboating trophies is to be displayed in the Classic Boat Museum in East Cowes.

The trophies were awarded to Marion ‘Joe’ Carstairs, an early pioneer of powerboat racing, in the 1920s and early 30s.

The collection was presented to the Motor Boat Museum in Basildon by the executers of her estate following her death at the age of 93 16 years ago but since the closure of the museum earlier this year there was a strong possibility the collection would be returned to America.

Joe Carstairs, who was British by birth, was the world’s leading powerboat contender in the halcyon days of the sport following the Great War.

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Extremely wealthy, she competed unsuccessfully on three occasions against Garfield Wood for the Harmsworth Trophy on the Detroit River (pictured) in 1928, 1929 and 1930.

Her associates included Herbert Scott-Pain, Sir Henry Seagrave and Sir Malcolm Campbell, to whom she presented the Rolls Royce engine that gave him the world speed record in Blue Bird in 1937.

Cowes is perhaps a fitting home for the collection. Joe Carstairs had strong connections with the town  it was here that two of her famous Harmsworth racers were designed and built.

It is thought the collection will go on display in East Cowes within the next three months.