The Historian, Collector and Author

Jim with items from his collection.

As Jim was no longer shackled by the burden of employment he could indulge in his passions of collecting, book reading and studying anything he could find that was to do with the Midland’s vehicle industry.

Jim was a frequent visitor to second hand bookshops in the area, his favourite being Vincent Bulman's book shop in Warwick Street. The bungalow soon began to fill as his collection grew and a friend said that in their sitting room there were only two vacant chairs and that Mrs. Boulton was afraid to get up from hers in case it filled with books in her absence.

In 1956 after a tip-off from fellow enthusiast Graham Walker, Jim made a memorable purchase of a number of old motorcycles that had been stored in a cellar at Southampton. There were about 18 machines in all and he got them for the princely sum of £50 plus £15 for the cost of transportation.

At the time he worked for a transport company and his boss allowed him to use one of the firm's lorries to collect the machines.

Jim with some of his machines at Bridge House.

Jim and his favourite machine, the Rudge Multi.

Jim had the use of the lorry for a day and he set off with a friend and managed to bring them all back except for one, which wouldn't fit on the lorry. This was later dispatched by the seller. One of the machines, a 1914 single cylinder 750c.c. Rudge Multi became a firm favourite and he rode it in many events over many years and as far afield as Paris and the Isle of Man.

Jim was no mechanic however and the others were sold for scrap. When he had to finally part with his beloved Rudge because of increasing mechanical problems, it was sold to a fellow member of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club and became known as “Jim’s bike”. The new owner restored the machine mechanically but decided not to restore it cosmetically until after Jim’s death.

Jim had been a member of several specialist book clubs for a number of years and had built up a large transport library. Authors of specialist books often sought his advice and he wrote many reviews and articles related to transport. Jim became a valued member of the Black Country Society and their expert on transport.

Over the years he wrote many articles for the society’s magazine “The Blackcountryman”. 

Jim with some of his gramophones and an A.J.S. radio.

Jim in 1995 at the book launch of "Black Country Road Transport".
Jim had many interests including the Second World War, the lives of film stars, politics, radio and local history, to name but a few.

He once had a large collection of old gramophones and phonographs, films, projectors, radios and cast iron money boxes. In recent times his collection has mainly been limited to books, magazines, posters and placards, model vehicles, model aircraft and his two A.J.S. radios.

He loved military brass bands and had a large collection of records. He would sometimes travel as far afield as London to hear a military band. He also attended the annual Remembrance Day Service and concerts at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

Jim’s mother Florence died on 13th February, 1976 and was cremated at Gornal Wood crematorium and cemetery. The following day, family friend Marie, who had been acting as a home help, initially for Mary and later Florence, joined Jim as his companion and brought some order and tidiness back to the bungalow. She also helped Jim with his many interests and activities.

Jim and Marie.

Jim soon finished his first book and became a prolific writer. His books are as follows:

"Men & Machines in the Banbury Run. Silver Anniversary Year" published by Turntable Enterprises, Leeds.

"Powered Vehicles Made in the Black Country (1900 – 1930s)" published by the Black Country Society.

"Some Achievements of Wolverhampton Motorcycles" published by Jim Boulton.

"Wolverhampton Cycles and Cycling" published by Brian Publications.

An updated and enlarged version of  “Powered Vehicles Made in the Black Country” published by the Black Country Society.

"The Story of the First Midland National Aviation Meeting at Dunstall Park, Wolverhampton. June 27th to July 2nd, 1910". A limited edition of 100.

"Black Country Road Transport" published by Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd.

Reprint of "Black Country Road Transport" published by Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd.

There was one other that would have been Jim's masterpiece. When Jim's bungalow was cleared after his death, two chapters of an unpublished book were discovered. It appears to have been written in 1986 but it is not known if it was ever completed. The book would have been a complete chronological history of vehicles made in Wolverhampton and their sporting achievements. The two chapters rely heavily on Jim's unique in-depth knowledge of the subject. If the complete work had been published, it would have been the definitive book about the history of Wolverhampton's vehicle manufacturers.

The two surviving chapters are included here as a tribute to a kind and always helpful friend:

  Read Chapter 2
1905 to 1914
  Read Chapter 5
1925 to 1929

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