Many of the first cars seen in Dorset carried the unfortunate number plate ‘BF’ which caused considerable embarrassment to the drivers. This is because they became nicknamed the ‘BFs’ or ‘Bloody Fools’. Dorset car owners strongly objected to these ‘obnoxious initials’. Many had their vehicles registered in Somerset, Hampshire or London instead which resulted in a loss of revenue to the county. To prevent any further driver embarrassment, the county stopped using the ‘BF’ registration in 1904. An order of the Local Government Board dated 27th December 1904 allocated Dorset ’FX’ instead. Motorists who already had a ‘BF’ mark could swop it for a ‘FX’ one. ‘BF’ marks still in use in 1921 were re-registered with ‘FX’ .
Featured in the Market Place is one of Blandford’s earliest vehicles which was a 1903 two-seater Humberette with Arthur Conyers at the wheel. This was reckoned to be a well-made and sturdy vehicle with a two-speed gear box and a single spoke steering wheel. It had a top speed of 25 mph and was Britain’s first successful effort at producing a light vehicle.
First motor vehicle to be seen in Blandford is believed to have belonged to a circus family and had solid rubber tyres. It made a noise like a threshing machine and was followed around the town’s streets by around 100 cheering children. A man trotted in front carrying a red flag and this motor car travelled at a stately 4 mph.
In 1907, the Blandford Automobile Club was formed with Mr F W Farquarson of Tarrant Gunville appointed as President. In 1911, a day trip to the New Forest was organised for some 40 members & guests and included afternoon tea at the White Hart Inn in Ringwood.