In 2023 Boundless by CSMA celebrates a hundred years of great adventures, unbeatable deals and community spirit all the way to present day. Follow our story from a small group of enthusiastic and like-minded Civil Servants, to over our 165,000 members today.
A century ago, a motorbike-loving civil servant named Frank Vernon Edwards launched a club for fellow pioneering motorists: the CSMA. Join us as we follow our club as it evolves through social, political and digital revolutions, spreading out of London and embracing the whole public sector.
New beginnings: The Civil Service Motoring Association is founded at the Treasury by Frank Edwards and fellow motoring enthusiasts. Members receive a ‘wings and wheels’ badge and benefit from discounted insurance with Frizzell, as they do today with Frizzell’s descendant, LV=.
Getting out and about: The club holds its first social run, with 130 members driving and riding from London to Newlands Corner nature reserve near Guildford in Surrey.
The first dinner: Members gather for the first annual dinner at Frascati on Oxford Street. The meal is followed by “10 minutes of humour” from a Mr George Buck.
The launch of the Austin 7: The Austin 7 goes on sale. Relatively affordable, and popular among early members, it becomes Britain’s best selling car.
CSMA begins to grow: The CSMA’s first centre outside London opens in Birmingham. Today there are over 30 local groups.
The first continental run: Showing a thirst for adventure and travel that Boundless members still share today, pioneering CSMA members hold the first of many Continental Runs, travelling down through France to Aix-les-Bains, and onwards to the Col du Galibier.
Famous dinner guests: CSMA dinner guests include speed record trailblazer Sir Henry Segrave: the first person to travel at over 200mph on land, in his Sunbeam 1000hp. Tragically, he dies in 1930 while attempting a water speed record. Segrave was a super-celeb of his time. Aside from his speed record antics, he was also a racing driver and in 1923 became the first Brit to win a Grand Prix in a British car.
The first CSMA rally: CSMA members enter the very first RAC Rally of Great Britain, paving the way for a CSMA team entry the following year.
Two Boundless caravans: The club buys the first of two caravans for members to rent. Both are retired in 1938 due to heavy wear and tear. The beginning of a lifelong love affair with holidays on the open road, the Boundless Camping and Caravanning Group is still going strong to this day.
Spark plugs and motor oil: The CSMA begins selling branded, discounted motor oil and spark plugs to members. The scheme is overwhelmingly popular, and the club is soon supplying more than 100,000 gallons of oil and 17,000 spark plugs every year.
A lesson in Motor Law: To complement its free legal defence scheme, the CSMA publishes its first Motor Law booklet, helping members navigate the perilous new world of speed limits, traffic signs and scrupulous local police constables.
A close escape: While competing in the International Six Days Trial in Austria (which had been annexed by the Third Reich), the CSMA team receive word from the British Consul to leave the country as quickly as they can. Just in time, they manage to exit via Switzerland. Within days, Hitler’s Army invades Poland and war is declared.
VE Day: After the dark days of war in which millions of lives were lost, including those members who tragically never returned from the front lines, the CSMA community rekindles the club spirit and plans an important, morale boosting purchase.
The beginning of Boundless Breaks: The CSMA buys Nun’s Acre at Goring on Thames – the first of many properties for members to use for events, day trips and overnight stays. The idea thrives today with Whitemead Forest Park, Bournemouth West Cliff Hotel and Cotswold Cottages. boundless.co.uk/breaks
The creation of the NHS: The National Health Service is founded in July. Weeks later, the Olympics is held in London – overseen by Sir Noel Curtis-Bennett, CSMA President and member of the International Olympic Committee.
The birth of a legend: The original Land Rover goes on sale in 1948. Engineer Maurice Wilks made the first drawing of the famous 4x4 in the sand, while explaining it to his brother on the beach near their Anglesey home.
CSMA motorcycle racing: The CSMA team continues its long history of off-road motorcycle racing at the Six Days Trial in Wales, the first held since the Second World War.
Crowning glory: June sees the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey. Frizzell Insurance presents the CSMA with the Coronation Trophy, later awarded to the winners of the Services Trial, where CSMA riders compete against the police and armed forces.
A membership milestone: The CSMA recruits its 100,000th member, while four lads from Liverpool form a band called The Beatles.
A new HQ: The CSMA moves to a new head office in Streatham, home to the new travel desk and many systems to manage a rapidly expanding membership.
Foreign fixes: In the new era of overseas travel, the CSMA launches its Continental Spares Scheme, helping members source parts for their cars in case of breakdowns in Europe (in a world before global supply chains).
Musical feast: CSMA Annual Dinner guests are entertained by the Ted Heath Band – regarded as Britain’s greatest post-war big band (not to be confused with the PM of the same name).
Launch of the mustang: Ford launches the Mustang, starting the era of the ‘pony’ car and inspiring European wannabes like the Ford Capri.
A woodland retreat: The CSMA buys Whitemead Park in the Forest of Dean, for members to use at a discounted rate – and it’s still going strong. Today, Boundless members can still enjoy camping, glamping, log cabins, a swimming pool and gym, adventure golf and more with a 20% discount.
A royal role: HRH the Duke of Kent, a hands-on motoring enthusiast, becomes Patron of the CSMA, a title he still holds in 2023. Pictured here with the Duke of Kent, road safety pioneer Dr Barbara Sabey was the first female Chair of the CSMA and a keen rally driver.
Thank you for the music: ABBA release ‘Waterloo’, their first UK number one, despite Brits giving it ‘nul points’ in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton – the city that later becomes home to the CSMA’s head office.
Beach weekend: Total CSMA membership reaches 200,000 and the club holds its first ‘weekend spectacular’ at Pontins Holiday Camp, Brean Sands, Somerset. Over 3,000 members and their families come along, enjoying various activities to raise money for charity.
Brighton rocks: The CSMA moves its HQ to Brighton – the place Boundless still calls home today, albeit in a new, purpose-built office.
CSMA to the rescue: Building on previous popular breakdown schemes, the CSMA launches Britannia Rescue, its very own roadside recovery service for members. The brand becomes a household name and still exists today as part of LV=.
Hot off the press: The CSMA launches Motoring and Leisure magazine – the third incarnation of its in-house title, which started life in 1927 as the CSMA Gazette, and lives on today as this very publication.
A quarter of a million members: Miss DB Kilbride becomes the CSMA’s 250,000th member.
Peace of mind: Frizzell, a CSMA partner since 1923, is acquired by Liverpool Victoria, now LV=. Look out for exclusive savings on insurance at boundless.co.uk/lv.
The CSMA goes online: As a new millennium approaches, the first CSMA website goes live, along with Netlink, which provides members with unlimited internet access, a dial-up modem, free web space and free email for a yearly fee of £103.
Treasure trove: The CSMA buys the Cotswold Motoring Museum in the picture-perfect village of Bourton-on-theWater, where Boundless members now enjoy free admission to the treasure trove of vintage vehicles, classic memorabilia, much-loved toys and nostalgic glimpses into life on the road – the way it used to be. And Boundless members can visit for free.
Final rallying call: The CSMA enters the Rally of Great Britain for the final time, before costs and regulations make it prohibitive for private teams. Having entered a team for 40 years running, it’s the end of an era.
Through the night: The CSMA Karting Group takes part in a gruelling round-the-clock endurance race, on the karting circuit at the home of the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car event. The group returned to Le Mans in 2016 and 2017, competing as Boundless.
CSMA on tour: CSMA goes on the road with its mobile events unit, providing members with pop-up hospitality at major events including the Bournemouth Air Show and Bristol’s ever-popular Balloon Fiesta.
A new era: In a changing world, the CSMA rebrands to Boundless by CSMA – remembering its roots while welcoming a wider membership from the public sector, including NHS staff, teachers and emergency service workers.
To the beach: Boundless Breaks now include the Bournemouth West Cliff Hotel, with its great views, two swimming pools, spa and gym. Bournemouthwestcliffhotel.co.uk
It’s life, but not as we know it: The Covid-19 pandemic strikes and the UK enters its first lockdown. Boundless groups move online, while countless members become frontline heroes.
Out and about again: As we venture out again, Boundless adds fantastic new benefits to help members enjoy dining out and days out for less. These include Kids Pass membership and unlimited access to Kew Gardens and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust sites.
Happy 100th: A century since that very first CSMA meeting, Boundless celebrates its 100th birthday. And we’re still going strong!
100 Years in a hardback: For even more CSMA history, look no further than this new, 96-page hardback, packed with stories and photographs from the archive. It’s available from Member Services, the Cotswold Motoring Museum shop or at Boundless events and costs £10 + £2.50 P&P.
Do more with Boundless
To benefit from amazing offers, along with dozens of other deals on holidays, days out, experiences, shopping and more, join Boundless today. To find out how, visit www.boundless.co.uk