BAC Wadsworth Prize
BAC Vice President Edwin Green presents the award to publisher Alistair Hodge
The BAC Wadsworth Prize is awarded annually by the BAC to an individual judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the study of British business history in that year.
The winner of the 2012 Business Archives Council Wadsworth Prize for British Business History is Steve Koerner for his study of the British Motorcycle industry. The Business Archives Council awarded the Wadsworth Prize in Business History for books published in 2012 in a reception held at the HSBC tower in Canary Wharf. The prize was presented to the publisher Alistair Hodge, as Dr Koerner now lives on Vancouver Island in Canada. However he was able address the gathering via a video message recorded earlier. The prize was presented by the Honoury Vice President of the BAC Edwin Green. The judges for this year’s prize were Duncan Campbell Smith, last year’s winner, Gerald Crompton and Sara Kinsey, HSBC Archives, who acted as Chair of Judges.
The judges congratulated the publisher for the design of the book, and in particular the many pictures that illustrate the narrative. The origins of the book lie in a thesis written while the author was at the University of Warwick in the early 1990’s, and is reflected in the use of archival material from the Modern Records Office at Warwick. The judges were impressed by the variety of evidence consulted: the Motor Cycle Industry Association, trade press and government records from the National Archives were all consulted. This is used to illustrate the decline of an industry that while technologically sophisticated, produced unreliable designs largely unappreciated by customers. This, along with increased competition put the industry in a difficult position from which it was unable to recover.