It was during the first days of the motor car that a landmark journey was made to test the potential of the new invention – and it included a section through Birmingham.

Now a photo album depicting the 1,000 Mile Trial of 1900, which is seen as a pivotal moment in motoring history, has been uncovered.

The pictures were taken by the event's official photographer Albert Argent Archer, who had been appointed by the trial's organisers, the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland.

Now the album has been acquired by the National Motor Museum Trust which is aiming to digitise the collection and publish it online.

It has been claimed that this one-off event helped to change the public's negative perception of motor cars at the turn of the century.

Taking place at a time when few motorists would have attempted to drive more than 100 miles in a day, the 1,000 Mile Trial tested not only the stamina of the drivers and mechanics but also the reliability of their cars.

The album reveals that one of those taking part in the event was John Montagu, father of the current Lord Montagu, who founded the National Motor Museum in the village of Beaulieu, Hampshire.

The trial started from London and went through Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Derby, Kendal, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and back to London. It began on April 23 and ended on May 12.

There were 83 entries, of which 65 actually started. By Edinburgh, 51 were still running, but only 35 vehicles made it back to London.

They included an 1899 Daimler driven by Montagu who was awarded a bronze medal for his efforts.

The gold medal for the 1900 trial went to Charles Rolls who, with Henry Royce, founded Rolls-Royce.

Mandy Schaller, curator of photography for the museum's trust, said: "This album of original prints by Albert Argent Archer, a very influential figure in early transport photography, is important not just because of its coverage of the 1,000 Mile Trial but also because it depicts John Montagu competing in the event with his 1899 Daimler."

The album will be archived within the museum collection and, once digitised, copies of the prints will be available to purchase online at